Police investigating hundreds of patient deaths at a Hampshire hospital have identified more suspects.

Officers say three people are due to be interviewed under caution in relation to alleged health and safety offences committed at Gosport War Memorial Hospital.

In 2018 an independent report said at least 456 patients died between 1987 and 2001 after being given powerful painkillers they did not need.

Daily Echo: Relatives include Bridget Reeves, whose grandmother was among those who died at the hospitalRelatives include Bridget Reeves, whose grandmother was among those who died at the hospital (Image: PA)

Around 150 serving and retired police officers are working on Operation Magenta, which is being led by Kent and Essex police.

So far they have examined more than three million pages of documents, including the medical records of 750 patients, and taken witness statements from 1,150 family members.

READ MORE: Police probing patient deaths at Gosport War Memorial  Hospital have identified 19 suspects

In May this year, it emerged that police investigating a range of possible offences had identified 19 suspects.

The three people due to be interviewed for allegedly breaching health and safety laws are in addition to this, bringing the total number of suspects to 22.

Daily Echo: Police are investigating more than 450 deaths that occurred at the hospital between 1987 and 2001Police are investigating more than 450 deaths that occurred at the hospital between 1987 and 2001 (Image: PA)

The investigation is being led by Deputy Chief Constable Neil Jerome, who described it as one of the largest and most complex in the history of UK policing.

He added: "The families of those who died at the hospital were informed at the start of the investigation that the full range of criminal offences would be considered, including homicide and any that may have been committed under the Health and Safety at Work Act."

Mr Jerome said officers involved in the inquiry were working "as quickly and thoroughly as possible".

READ MORE: Fresh inquests ordered into deaths of three patients at scandal-hit hospital

The independent report published in 2018 said the lives of more than 450 people were shortened because of the routine practice of prescribing and administering opioids, adding that a further 200 patients were probably affected in the same way.

The report cited a “disregard for human life and a culture of shortening the lives of a large number of patients" at the hospital.

It claimed there was an "institutionalised regime of prescribing and administering 'dangerous doses' of a hazardous combination of medication not clinically indicated or justified.

Over the years the high number of deaths have sparked several police and health probes, including a General Medical Council inquiry and multiple inquests.

Relatives of those who died have repeatedly voiced their anger and frustration at the time being taken to establish what happened at the hospital.

Many are elderly and fear they may not live long enough to learn the outcome of the latest investigation.