Prosecutions following Gosport Hospital enquiry?
A recent news story about the Gosport War Memorial Hospital highlighted the importance of pharmacists and their regulated staff seeking independent legal advise if being interviewed by the police.
The Gosport War Memorial Hospital Inquiry
The inquiry findings are being considered by the CPS and they will decide whether or not the police should instigate any investigation.
This decision following the inquiry highlights the very difficult position that pharmacists can find themselves in. The report reminds us of the case that involved Dr Harold Shipman which led to subsequent proceedings before the Royal Pharmaceutical Society by pharmacist Ghislaine Brant.
Questions raised about pharmacists’ actions
The media have been quick to raise questions as to the actions of the pharmacy staff at the Gosport War Memorial Hospital. They have queried the role that they may have played in the dispensing and supply of the high level of painkillers apparently featuring in this case. The suggestion has been made that the pharmacists employed at the time showed little regard for the supply of controlled drugs to patients.
Whilst this is clearly a tragic situation, it should not be forgotten that pharmacists are professional people undertaking extremely important work on behalf of the community. They respond to prescriptions received from doctors and make judgements prior to their decision to dispense and supply medications based on the limited information before them.
Some years down the line it may be difficult to see what, if any, documentary evidence exists to help the pharmacist explain their actions at the time. This obviously makes matters more difficult for a pharmacist to defend.
In such circumstances legal advice will make a significant difference to the outcome of a case.
Free and Independent legal advice is available for pharmacists
Cases alleging criminal liability against pharmacists or their staff are always likely to be complex and require sensitivity as there will often have been a death.
Our specialist lawyers can advise you on the evidence in the case, whether you have a defence, and help you put that defence forward. We will be able to advise you on the prospects of success and navigating a successful path through what can be a long and stressful investigation and court process. We will also be mindful of the potential regulatory impact of any adverse finding in your case. We are able to provide you with advice in relation to such proceedings.
As a result, if you are a pharmacist and are arrested or know that the police wish to speak to you on a voluntary basis about any criminal offence then make sure you insist on your right to free and independent legal advice.
If you have already been interviewed or face court proceedings we can still make a real difference to the outcome of your case. Legal aid may well be available to fund your defence at court.
Please contact our regulatory defence expert Martin Hadley on 0115 9599550 or by email here.
Alternatively you can use the contact form below: