The Panel has formally outlined the findings of its report to invited family members at Portsmouth (Anglican) Cathedral, and briefed the media.
Dr David Chilvers, speaking on behalf of the local NHS, including Southern Health, said:
“Many families have faced a painful, prolonged wait for this day, and we want to offer our full sympathy and sincere apologies to all of those affected. Not only have they had to cope with grieving the loss of loved ones, they have also had to endure many years of uncertainty, which has made that loss so much harder to bear.
’The events in the 1980s and 1990s described in the Panel’s report should not have happened, and we are truly sorry that the standard of care provided was entirely unacceptable, and that families were not treated with the dignity and respect they deserved. No one who goes into an NHS hospital should ever have cause to doubt the quality of care and treatment provided to them, a relative or a friend. At the same time, no one who raises concerns about NHS care should be ignored.
“Having been a GP in Gosport for several years I know that much has changed since these events took place, and I have every confidence in the care people receive there today – it is a much valued hospital in the local community.
“We have only received the report today, and so it is not yet possible, or appropriate, for the local NHS to comment on the detail it contains – however, we will treat all of the findings with the utmost seriousness.
“Clearly, the report highlights important lessons for the health service and am sure that both the local and the national NHS will learn much from the diligent work of the Panel members. We are grateful to them for carrying out such a comprehensive and thorough investigation.
“So the task of all local NHS organisations now – and the debt we owe to those families - is to meticulously review the contents of the report, and to make whatever changes are required so that everyone can be assured that such a situation can never arise again.”
A telephone and email helpline has been set up to offer support those affected by these issues: 0113 254 5290