Many of you will recall the highly publicised inquests which were held last year into the death of ten patients in the 1990s at the Gosport War Memorial hospital in Hampshire.

The inquest concluded that three of the patients had been given painkillers that were not appropriate to their condition and symptoms and although it was held that medication also contributed to the death of two other patients, the jury found that it was given for therapeutic reasons and was appropriate for their condition.

Many family members believed that sedatives including diamorphine had been over prescribed and that this led to the deaths of their relatives.

Jane Barton, who worked as a clinical assistant at the hospital and who prescribed the drugs in question, has now been found guilty of serious professional misconduct by the GMC although she will be allowed to continue to work as a doctor. She was found to have prescribed diamorphine at various levels and the panel found that her failings included “the issuing of prescription drugs at levels which were excessive to the patients’ needs and which were inappropriate, potentially hazardous and not in the patients’ interests”.

The case is now to be reviewed by the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence, the ombudsman for misconduct cases. If found to be unduly lenient the decision could be overturned.