An Eastbourne woman who has spent years campaigning for answers to her mother’s death in hospital is welcoming news that an inquiry has been launched.
Health Minister Norman Lamb MP announced this week the inquiry into deaths at Gosport War Memorial Hospital.
Mrs McKenzie’s elderly mother was admitted to Gosport in 1998 and unexpectedly passed away a short while later, leading to concerns that she had died from inappropriately administered medication.
She raised it with Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd, who introduced Mrs MacKenzie and other families to Norman Lamb MP when he was the Lib Dem Shadow Minister for Health.
Mr Lloyd has maintained this pressure in the years since being elected and last week an inquiry into the ‘higher than expected death rates’ at this hospital between 1998 and 2000 was formally announced by Mr Lamb in Parliament.
He is now a Minister for Health in the Coalition Government. It was also announced that the inquiry will be chaired by Bishop James Jones, who led the similar panel that investigated events at the Hillsborough Stadium Disaster.
Mrs MacKenzie said, “When I received the telephone call that morning that Mother was just going down to Theatre for hip surgery, my first reaction was one of concern.
“However, my mother made a remarkable recovery having had the same new procedure and technique carried out as on the Queen Mother. Within a very short time she was fit enough to be discharged back to her residential home, but I wanted time to find an alternative home with the emphasis on qualified nursing. It was arranged that my mother should go to the Gosport War Memorial Hospital for a period of ‘two-four weeks or perhaps six weeks but not a day more’. What happened next was quite horrific.
“After investigating and trying to get somewhere myself without success for a period of approximately eight years, I approached Stephen before he became my MP. He listened and contacted Norman Lamb which resulted in an interview together with three other families in Westminster.
Mr Lloyd said, “When Gillian came to see me all those years ago, I felt it in my bones that something was seriously amiss. Mrs MacKenzie is an amazing woman – her tenacity and her dedication to ensure we get to the truth of what may have happened to her mother and so many other elderly people who were treated at the Gosport War Memorial Hospital is hugely impressive.”