Major reports published investigating Jimmy Savile’s conduct in hospitals

Jimmy Savile
Jimmy Savile

A series of reports have been published today investigating Jimmy Savile’s conduct in hospitals across the country.

The main focus is on Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Buckinghamshire, where he is believed to have assaulted more than 60 people - the youngest aged eight.

Reports on other NHS hospitals, including the former Royal Halifax Infirmary, are also being published.

Speaking in the Commons today, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, said: “Never again must the power of money or celebrity blind us to repeated clear signals that some extremely vulnerable people were being abused,”

He spoke as the damning reports revealed how Jimmy Savile raped and assaulted hundreds of people at NHS hospitals.

“People were either too dazzled or too intimidated by the nation’s favourite celebrity to confront the evil predator we now know he was,” Mr Hunt told the Commons.

He spoke as the authors of one of the reports warned that NHS hospitals remain at risk due to inadequate checks on staff and volunteers and services should be “alert to predatory sexual offenders” such as Savile.

Investigations into 41 hospitals, a children’s home and a hospice found the free access he was given offered him the “opportunity to commit sexual abuses on a grand scale for nearly 50 years”, Kate Lampard, independent report author, said.

But an investigation carried out by the Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust as part of the wider report found there is no evidence to suggest that Jimmy Savile had any link to the former Royal Halifax Infirmary.

It follows an allegation from a former patient of the Free School Lane hospital during the mid 1970s.

Julie Dawes, deputy chief executive and director of nursing at Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust (CHFT) said the trust has thoroughly investigated the allegations and has been unable to find any evidence of Savile having any link to the Royal Halifax Infirmary at that time.

The Yorkshire Ambulance Service looked at Savile’s involvement with the former West Yorkshire Metropolitan Ambulance Service, mainly between 1975 and 1995.

Steve Page, executive director for Standards and Compliance at Yorkshire Ambulance Service said, “Our investigation has found no evidence that Savile had committed any acts of sexual abuse during his association with us and our predecessor organisations.

“We recognise that it was entirely inappropriate for Savile to have had the access to ambulance service staff and patients that he did. It is regrettable that this level of access was available to him and we recognise the potential increased risk to patients and staff during this time.”

The report detailed that a former nursesaid she was warned about the activities of someone she believes to have been Jimmy Savile in the mortuary at Leeds General Infirmary (LGI) as long ago as 1954.

The woman - referred to in today’s report as TB - told investigators that as a trainee nurse in that year she was heading down to the hospital’s mortuary when the ward sister told her “to be careful and come back if the pink-haired man is there”.

The report said: “TB recalls that when she went to the mortuary, ‘he was there so I turned round and went back to the ward’.”

It said: “When we asked who TB thought the ‘pink-haired man’ was, TB was convinced that he was Savile.”

Today’s report said: “TB told us that she felt angry that there were people in a position of authority who she felt knew about Savile and she was cross that nobody said or did anything about it.

“TB was specifically referring to the ward sister, who warned her about ‘pink hair’, but also named the matron. TB felt that as they were in positions of authority, they would have known about Savile’s activities but TB did not specify any abusive behaviour.

“TB was convinced that the matron also knew about the concerns related to Savile. TB named the ward sister and matron during her interview and she felt it is highly likely that they are both deceased as TB said that they were both middle-aged in 1954.”

The woman is one of a number of new witnesses who have come forward since the main report on Savile’s activities at the LGI was published last June.

That report outlined how the entertainer claimed to have ‘’interfered with the bodies of deceased patients’’ at the LGI mortuary and a patient at another hospital overheard nurses discussing that they had seen Savile have sex with a dead body at another hospital.

Dr Sue Proctor, who led the main investigation into Savile’s abuse at the LGI, told a press conference last year that Savile claimed that large rings he wore were ‘’made from the glass eyes of dead bodies at the mortuary’’.

Savile’s other victims at the LGI ranged from five-year-old children to pensioners and included men, women, boys and girls.

The other new accounts detailed in the report on the LGI included a man who said he was groped by Savile in 1994 when he was 14 as he waited for an X-ray, and a woman who said she was sexually assaulted in a linen cupboard in the early 1980s.

Today’s report said this woman “chose not to speak out at the time of the abuse, due to a fear of not being believed, the hierarchical culture in nursing at the LGI at the time and Savile’s celebrity status and influence”.

Three other NHS trusts in Yorkshire published reports on Savile’s activities today.

Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said it had examined a claim from a former student nurse about an incident during a placement in a Mencap nursery in Leeds between July 1981 and July 1982.

She said was told by the nursery “not to let Savile near the children”. The investigators decided that “any reference to Savile was a nuisance to residents in the area he lived, rather than a threat to children.”

The trust said today: “The investigation concluded that any possible comment made by the tutor to keep Savile away from the children at the Mencap nursery would have been made in order to protect them and the staff from the nuisance and intrusive nature of Savile’s behaviour. It would not have been made with any knowledge that Savile posed a risk to them in terms of abuse.”