Health

Jimmy Savile NHS hospital abuse inquiry widens

Jimmy Savile in November 1973 Image copyright Getty Images

The number of NHS organisations investigating allegations of abuse by Jimmy Savile has been extended to 41, the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt says.

The findings of inquiries at 28 hospitals were published in June.

A further wave of allegations has since emerged at some of those hospitals, and meanwhile a further eight hospitals and one ambulance service are starting investigations.

The results are expected in January 2015.

The former BBC presenter of Top Of The Pops and Jim'll Fix It, who also worked as a Radio 1 DJ and received a knighthood in 1990, died aged 84 in October 2011.

He was an opportunistic and prolific sex offender, who took advantage of his celebrity status to carry out abuse in dozens of NHS hospitals, according to the reports published in June.

Assaults on victims aged from five to 75 were described in reports into Leeds General Infirmary and Broadmoor.

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Media caption"Jane" was abused by Savile when she was staying in hospital aged 16

Wider net

Reports from four hospitals which were also due in June - Stoke Mandeville, Rampton Hospital in Nottinghamshire, Springfield Hospital in London and Crawley Hospital in West Sussex - but have been delayed.

Eight further hospitals are starting fresh inquiries:

  • Birch Hill Hospital in Rochdale
  • Scott House Hospital in Rochdale
  • Bethlem Royal Hospital in London
  • Shenley Hospital in Hertfordshire
  • St Martin's Hospital in Canterbury
  • Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead
  • Meanwood Park Hospital near Leeds
  • Calderdale Royal Hospital

West Yorkshire Ambulance Service is also investigating allegations.

Not all the hospitals mentioned are still in existence, including Shenley psychiatric hospital and Meanwood Park, while others have changed function.

The allegations at Scott House Hospital relate to a period the site served as a children's home. And Calderdale Royal Hospital is built on the site of the former Halifax Royal Infirmary where the alleged abuse took place.

The precise details of Savile's links with all these institutions or the number of alleged offences are unknown.

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital has launched an investigation after it found records of visits by Savile, but there have been no specific allegations of abuse by the public.

'Sports event'

The Shenley Hospital closed in 1998, but the Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust is conducting the investigation.

It said: "The allegation is about a teenager, not a patient, who took part in a sports event held there when Savile was present.

"We have spoken to this person, our report will be published in line with all the others."

The South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Bethlem Royal Hospital, said: "We are investigating this evidence thoroughly and if necessary will ensure that any lessons are learnt for the future."

Image copyright PA
Image caption The report on abuse at Leeds General Infirmary is one of the most detailed of the 28

Meanwhile, Leeds General Infirmary, Stoke Mandeville and the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle are investigating fresh allegations that have emerged since June.

Peter Garsden, from the association of child abuse lawyers, told the BBC: "It's quite shocking, I'm sure we all thought we'd heard the last of the Savile locations, but here we are with several more allegations.

"It seems that his net spread very far and wide, which is perhaps not surprising considering he was constantly visiting hospital under the guise of doing charity work and inevitability he behaved the same way wherever he went."

He said the inquiries helped victims of abuse in the "journey to justice".

Delayed

In a written ministerial statement, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: "At the request of the Crown Prosecution Service, the publication of the NHS investigations into Jimmy Savile is being delayed until the conclusion of ongoing legal proceedings.

"Therefore, I wish to advise the House that there will be a delay in the publication of the outstanding NHS investigation reports.

"We now hope trusts will publish their reports in January 2015."

The investigation at Leeds, published earlier this year, found patients, including teenagers recovering from surgery, had been abused in their beds and one 10-year-old boy had been sexually assaulted while waiting on a trolley for an X-ray on his broken arm.

When the reports came out, Mr Hunt apologised on behalf of the government and the NHS.

He said there was a "deep sense of revulsion" over the findings, adding: "We let them [the victims] down badly."

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