Health Secretary Matt Hancock hopes to prevent a repeat of the Gosport War Memorial Hospital scandal in which 656 died.

A damning inquiry found staff killed elderly patients by needlessly drugging them with medical heroin under the watch of Dr Jane Barton.

The medic, dubbed Dr Opiate, was responsible for prescribing drugs at the Hampshire hospital but has never been charged or struck off.

Health chiefs, regulators and police missed opportunities to end the “institutionalised” killings. It had “become the norm” to shorten lives from 1989 to 2000 — even though many patients had only minor illnesses.

Mr Hancock will change the law to compel NHS trusts to publish details of concerns raised by staff and patients about poor care.

Whistleblowers will be given more protection and all hospital deaths investigated by a coroner or medical examiner.

Mr Hancock said it would mean “greater transparency, stricter control of drugs, and a full and thorough investigation of every hospital death”.

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