Police probe on ‘pathway’ death of Wigan man still continuing

Julie Hurst, Margaret Whalley and Helen Prescott
Julie Hurst, Margaret Whalley and Helen Prescott

Police inquiries into the death of a Wigan man in a care home following hospital treatment are still ongoing, his sister has confirmed.

Margaret Whalley, who has been battling for answers about what happened to her brother Benjamin Bowdler for several years, has been told it could be several months before Greater Manchester Police (GMP) finish assessing all the evidence in the case.

That is significant as an independent probe has already concluded hospital staff had taken the right decisions about Mr Bowdler’s case before his death in 2012.

Related: Family shock at outcome of care probe

Mrs Whalley has helped a number of relatives with questions over the deaths of loved ones due to the involvement of end-of-life care pathways.

Patients’ justice charity Action against Medical Accidents has submitted a list of questions to Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust concerning the report on Mr Bowdler.

Mrs Whalley also said the Parliamentary Health Service Ombudsman is also looking into her complaints about the way its staff handled her approach to it.

She said: “It’s very weird that the police say my case is still ongoing when a report has been presented to the trust.

“As a group we’ve got some questions on how the hospital report has been done. We haven’t had requests for any documents.”

GMP have been looking into a total of five cases possibly involving care being withdrawn in the final stages of patients’ lives.

Only Mrs Whalley’s case remains outstanding, with Julie Hurst, Pat Brogan and Karen Masters also receiving reports on the deaths of their mothers.

Like the one given to Ms Hurst previously reported, the report on Ms Masters’ case makes recommendations on issues such as fluid charts not being filled in correctly and a lack of communication with the patient’s family, but found no evidence of criminal action.

Ms Masters said: “My family is devastated. People are still not answering our questions. I want to know why my mother died and I don’t.”

WWL has said the families’ concerns have been investigated and changes have been made where necessary.