It appears to have started in the late 1980s: a loose regime of medics and nurses habitually dosing mainly elderly patients with opioids, the innocuous instruction on their notes: “Please make comfortable.”
At least 456 patients died prematurely, and because records are incomplete, the true number may have been over 600. It happened at Gosport War Memorial Hospital near Portsmouth.
Today the official report lists numerous failures at the hospital and at every level of public administration.
Relatives have wept in the knowledge that they were deprived of ever saying goodbye to their loved ones.