Speaking on the publication of the report into the Gosport hospital scandal where over 450 people died as a result of being given dangerous doses of powerful painkillers, Philip Dunne welcomes the helpline for families and calls on the Government to make sure it is adequately resourced.
I echo the tributes to the work of Bishop James Jones and the integrity and diligence that he and the panel have shown in conducting this inquiry. The Secretary of State has rightly focused on the impact on families, and I was pleased to hear in his statement that there will be a helpline for families who suspect that they have been affected—not least because the immediate catchment area around Gosport includes a lot of retirement homes, and many families whose elderly relatives went to the area to retire may live some distance away. Given the publicity that the report has given rise to, a considerable number of people may need to get in touch. Will he ensure that the helpline is adequately resourced?
Yes, I will absolutely do that. I ought to say that I know my hon. Friend met many families and relatives during his time as a Minister in my Department, and he always dealt with those cases with a huge amount of compassion. The facts of the matter are, according to the report, that 650-plus people had their lives shortened, but we are in touch with only about 100 families, so we are expecting more people to come forward.