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Published on 24 March 2009

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Inquests: nurse defends painkillers


The doses of analgesic painkilling drugs given at a Hampshire hospital where 10 patients died were not inappropriate, it has been suggested.

Anita Turbritt, a senior staff nurse at Gosport War Memorial Hospital, told a Portsmouth Coroner’s Court that she would not have administered them if they had been.

She agreed that five years earlier she had raised concerns about diamorphine levels, but said the practice had changed prior to 1996, when the the first of the deaths occurred.

Asked by coroner Andrew Bradley if she would have voiced her fears if she still had concerns, she said: “If I was uncomfortable I would have said so, and I wouldn’t have administered the painkillers.”

She said her original concerns regarded an “analgesic ladder” that specifies dosage and types of drugs, and which she alleged had not being adhered to in 1991.

Asked by Tom Leeper, representing four of the families, if she recalled concerns being raised at that time that deaths were hastened unnecessarily, she said: “I do not recall.”

The inquests are expected to last six weeks.

Copyright Press Association 2009

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