Page last updated at 15:47 GMT, Friday, 3 April 2009 16:47 UK

Doctor denies 'end of line' ward

Geoffrey Packman
Geoffrey Packman died nine days after arriving at the memorial hospital

A doctor at the centre of an inquest into 10 deaths at a Hampshire hospital has denied calling it "the end of the line" for patients, an inquest heard.

Dr Jane Barton said she was referring to one patient only, Geoffrey Packman, 66, who had been seriously ill and died at the Gosport War Memorial Hospital.

Inquests are being held at Portsmouth Coroner's Court into 10 deaths at the hospital more than 10 years ago.

Some families believe sedatives were over-prescribed at the hospital.

Mr Packman was seriously obese with various medical problems, the court heard.

He was transferred to the hospital's Dryad Ward from the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham. He died nine days later.

The family's lawyer, Tom Leeper, said to Dr Barton: "You said you couldn't remember any patients being transferred from Dryad Ward, which you described as the end of the line."

Dr Barton said: "Dryad was the end of the line for Mr Packman because of his medical condition.

'Not rehab ward'

"It was not the end of the line because it was Dryad Ward."

Referring to the Dryad Ward, Dr Barton told the court that when very ill patients came in, they were often put into a room on their own for greater privacy and comfort.

She also said people were often sent there from other hospitals with the word "rehabilitation" on their notes, which she said was unrealistic.

"They wrote 'rehab' on the top but we were not a rehabilitation ward," she said.

Hampshire police carried out a series of investigations into the treatment of patients at the hospital in the late 1990s, but no prosecutions have been brought.

The inquests are being held into the deaths of Arthur Cunningham, 79, Elsie Devine, 88, Sheila Gregory, 91, Ruby Lake, 84, Elsie Lavender, 83, Geoffrey Packman, 66, Leslie Pittock, 83, Helena Service, 99, Enid Spurgin, 92, and Robert Wilson, 74.

The inquest continues.



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