Chapter 11: The Panel’s work
Chapters 1 to 10 of this Report provide an overview of the information reviewed by the Panel and illustrate how the information disclosed adds to public understanding of the deaths and treatment of patients at Gosport War Memorial Hospital (‘the hospital’). Chapter 12 sets out a summary of the Report and its conclusions.
This chapter explains more about the work of the Gosport Independent Panel. The Panel was established in order to fulfil the Terms of Reference in Appendix 1. The Terms of Reference refer to concerns about the care of older patients at the hospital, which have been the subject of scrutiny since 1998, and to the unanswered questions that have remained for the families about the care of their relatives. This chapter explains how the Panel has worked to deliver its Terms of Reference and to answer the families’ questions.
This chapter lists the members of the Panel and describes its principles and how it has carried out its work.
The Gosport Independent Panel has been chaired by The Right Reverend Bishop James Jones KBE, with the following members:
- Kate Blackwell QC
- Christine Gifford
- David Hencke
- Duncan Jarrett OBE
- Dr Bill Kirkup CBE
- Dr John Pounsford
- Professor Jim Smith
- Professor Deborah Sturdy OBE
Information about the Panel members is available on this website under About the Panel.
The Panel has been supported by a Secretariat led by Louise Dominian.
While entirely independent in terms of scope and delivery of its Terms of Reference, the Gosport Independent Panel was funded by the Department of Health, called the Department of Health and Social Care from January 2018, as the sponsor department. The fundamental principle of independence was key to the work of the Panel and was adhered to throughout its work. As a contributing organisation, the Department of Health and Social Care was treated in exactly the same way as all other contributors. Further comment about the relationship between the Panel and the department is made later in this chapter.
The Terms of Reference required the Panel to:
- oversee the maximum possible public disclosure of all relevant information relating to unexpected deaths and treatment at Gosport War Memorial Hospital
- manage the process of public disclosure, initially to the affected families
- produce a report which will provide an overview of the information reviewed by the Panel and illustrate how the information disclosed adds to public understanding of these events and their aftermath
- establish an online archive of Gosport documentation, including a catalogue of all relevant information and a commentary on any information withheld for the benefit of the families or on legal or other grounds.
The principle of ‘families first’, enshrined by the commitment to disclose initially to the affected families, has been fundamental to the Panel’s work.