Jimmy Savile NHS abuse victims aged five to 75
- 26 June 2014
- From the section UK
Ex-BBC DJ Jimmy Savile sexually assaulted victims aged five to 75 in NHS hospitals over decades of unrestricted access, investigators say.
He assaulted patients in bed, and claimed to have abused corpses, reviews into his conduct on NHS premises found.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt apologised to victims, saying Savile's actions "will shake our country to the core".
Savile, a Radio 1 DJ who also presented the BBC's Top Of The Pops and Jim'll Fix It, died aged 84 in October 2011 - a year before allegations that he had sexually abused children were broadcast in an ITV documentary.
The reports on Leeds General Infirmary and Broadmoor are detailed and, at times, graphic.
They explain how Savile was allowed unsupervised access to vulnerable patients, with a failure to question the risks of his unconventional and promiscuous lifestyle.
The Leeds investigation found:
- Sixty people came forward to say they had been abused between the ages of five and 75, including staff
- The offences ranged from lewd remarks to sexual assault and three cases of rape and took place between 1962 and 2009
- Only nine victims told members of staff. There were a further eight female victims who met Savile at the hospital, but were not patients
- Savile had a well-known fixation with the dead and the report contains allegations he posed for photographs and performed sex acts on corpses in the hospital mortuary
- While there is no way to verify the claim, Dr Sue Proctor - who led the Leeds inquiry - said there is no doubt controls on access to the mortuary were "lax"
- Patients, including teenagers recovering from surgery, were abused in their beds
- A 10-year-old boy was sexually assaulted while he waited on a trolley for an x-ray on his broken arm
- A number of organisational failures over the years enabled Savile to continue unchallenged
- The situation allowed someone "as manipulative as Savile to thrive and continue his abusive behaviour unchecked for years"
Mr Hunt told the Commons one victim being treated at Leeds General Infirmary feared she was pregnant after being abused.
There were also reports that Savile made jewellery out of glass eyes taken from dead bodies from the hospital mortuary, he told MPs.
A victim's story
One victim "Jane" - who was 16 when she was assaulted - told the BBC Savile took her to a local shop to buy sweets and magazine, but soon afterwards sexually assaulted her in a hospital basement.
"He pulled me in immediately and started to kiss me with his tongue", she said.
"At the same time his left hand went on to my right thigh under my dress."
"There was no conversation up until that point. I couldn't have said anything even if I'd wanted to, because he had his tongue in my mouth, which wasn't pleasant".
After the assault she said she felt "dirty and ridiculously stupid". She said she began to tell nurses about the incident but when they laughed felt she couldn't finish.
"All the staff accepted it, patients accepted it, clearly the porters accepted it as well."
Mr Hunt apologised on behalf of the government and the NHS, saying of the victims: "We let them down badly."
The health secretary said there was a "deep sense of revulsion" over the findings.
He added: "As a nation, at that time we held Savile in our affection as a somewhat eccentric national treasure with a strong commitment to charitable causes.
"Today's report shows that in reality he was a sickening and prolific sexual abuser who repeatedly exploited the trust of a nation for his own vile purposes."
Mr Hunt is writing to all NHS trusts asking them to ensure they are confident about patient safety.
A spokesman for Prime Minister David Cameron said he was "deeply shocked", adding it was "important lessons are learned".
The Leeds report was clear that no one person is to blame for what happened at the hospital other than Savile. But it did describe a lack of curiosity about his activities.
Lesley McLean, Victim Support manager for West Yorkshire, said: "The parents of the children [Savile] abused in Leeds hospitals were already anxious about their child's health.
"What they thought was a treat for their loved one was actually their worst nightmare."
Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust issued a statement apologising to "each and every one of Savile's victims".
"There should have been far more scrutiny of him and what he was doing at our hospitals over the years, and more robust safeguards and internal controls in place to protect our staff and patients in our care," chief executive Julian Hartley said.
In 1988, Savile was appointed by the Department of Health as the head of a taskforce overseeing Broadmoor.
The report describes an inappropriate culture at Broadmoor that allowed sexual liaisons between staff and patients and discouraged reporting of concerns.
The Broadmoor report found:
- Savile watched and made inappropriate comments when female patients stripped and showered naked in front of staff, a practice which was common in the late 1980s
- The late DJ was "narcissistic, arrogant and lacking in any empathy"
- He was also very manipulative and staff were convinced he had close connections in high places
- There was "no evidence that those responsible knew anything of the very much darker side" to Savile that was later revealed
- Eleven allegations of sexual abuse were reported to the review. Six of them involved patients, two staff and three children
The report said the numbers were very likely to be an underestimate of the true picture because so many former patients simply wished to forget their time at Broadmoor.
Noami Stanley, a psychiatric nurse who treated patients who told her they had been abused by Savile at Broadmoor, said police and senior medical staff dismissed her concerns as an "irritation".
She told BBC Radio 4's World at One: "I explained what I heard and what I believed was going on in Broadmoor.
"There was a pair of police officers who appeared surprised and looked immediately to my superiors as if to say 'do something about this woman, she's nuts'."
She said of the senior nursing officer present: "He gave me quite a severe ticking office and said if I ever ever spoke out of turn like that again I would receive a disciplinary and might get sacked."
Marjorie Wallace - now chief executive of the charity Sane - also visited the hospital regularly in the 1980s when she was researching a book.
She said there was "obviously something sinister" about the DJ and attempted to raise the alarm after witnessing his treatment of two female patients: "I went to the Department of Health and said 'What is Jimmy Savile doing here?"
But she says she was told Savile was bringing Broadmoor out of the "dark ages" and that he was a "good person, liberating this closed institution".
Labour's Andy Burnham said giving Savile "gold-plated keys" to the hospital was "one of the greatest failures in public protection and patient safety we've ever seen".
The shadow health secretary called for an over-arching, independent inquiry into the scandal.
"It would appear Savile was appointed to this role without any background checks at all," he told the BBC. "There needs to be more independent scrutiny of how the government of the day handled this."
Reports have been issued on: St Catherine's Hospital (Birkenhead); Saxondale Mental Health Hospital; Portsmouth Royal Hospital; Dewsbury and District Hospital (including Pinderfields Hospital); High Royds Psychiatric Hospital; Cardiff Royal Infirmary; Great Ormond Street Hospital; Exeter Hospital; Ashworth Hospital; Barnet General Hospital; Booth Hall; De La Pole Hospital; Dryburn Hospital; Hammersmith Hospital; Leavesden Secure Mental Health Hospital; Marsden Hospital; Maudsley Hospital; Odstock Hospital; Prestwich Psychiatric Hospital; Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead; Royal Victoria Infirmary; Queen Mary's Hospital, Carshalton; Whitby Memorial Hospital; Wythenshawe Hospital, and Woodhouse Eaves Children's Convalescent Homes in Leicester.
A report about Wheatfield's Hospice, which is run by the Sue Ryder charity, has also been released.
Leicestershire Police has launched an investigation after one victim of Savile, who was abused as a young boy at a children's convalescent home in Woodhouse Eaves, told an enquiry team the entertainer was involved in the death of another child.
However, no reference to a child's death could be found in the records of the home, Roecliffe Manor, which closed in 1969.
Analysis by Nick Triggle, health correspondent, BBC News
Since the allegations about Jimmy Savile came to light, the police have looked into how many victims there may have been. A review of why he was never prosecuted has also been carried out.
But this is the most comprehensive account of how he was able to offend and get away with it for so long.
Reviews into his behaviour at the BBC and care homes are expected later this year - and will no doubt shed even more light on the scandal.
But for now the failings of the NHS - an institution that is there to care for the vulnerable - are in the spotlight.
He enjoyed unsupervised access, particularly at two sites, Leeds General Infirmary and Broadmoor psychiatric hospital, and was able to use his fame to intimidate junior staff.
What is more, senior management were too unquestioning.
The reports are loathe to blame individuals.
But with cases of abuse and improper conduct being reported up until 2009 - albeit much less frequently than in the 1960s and 1970s - the NHS has a lot of soul-searching to do.
A key report into Savile's activities at Stoke Mandeville Hospital has been delayed after new information recently came to light.
Savile had a bedroom at Stoke Mandeville, where his now-defunct charitable trust was based, as well as an office and living quarters at Broadmoor.
Reports concerning two other hospitals - Rampton and Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health Trust - have also been delayed.
There are also new investigations at Springfield Hospital and Crawley Hospital.
It is understood investigations at two hospitals - the Royal Free Hospital in London and Pennine Acute NHS hospitals Trust - found nothing to report.
The revelations made in a 2012 ITV documentary about Savile prompted more than 100 people to come forward, giving accounts of how they were sexually assaulted by Savile on NHS premises and in other places.
A report by the NSPCC said Savile abused at least 500 victims, including some as young as two.
BBC health reporter Pippa Stephens said there have been many significant changes in the law since the time Savile committed abuse.
|Hospitals' Savile reports|
|Hospital||Number of allegations||Details|
|Leeds General Infirmary(inc St James and Seacroft Hospital)||60||33 of the 60 alleged victims were patients of whom 19 were children. A further 19 were staff. Encounters ranged from lewd remarks and inappropriate touching to sexual assault and rape.|
|Broadmoor Hospital||11||10 victims of assault, two were repeatedly abused. Six patients, two children and two staff. One indecent exposure to child. Report found "clear, repeated failure of safeguarding standards" at Broadmoor at the time.|
|St Catherine’s Hospital, Birkenhead||1||Savile allegedly groped a 14-year-old female patient. Report found the victim credible and convincing. Metropolitan police have recorded it as a crime of sexual touching.|
|Saxondale Mental Health Hospital||1||Woman who was then 14 alleges that Savile lifted her skirt when she was at a disco at the hospital. She was a local resident rather than a patient. Savile had a fundraising association with Saxondale Hospital from 1972 to the early 1980s.|
|Portsmouth Royal Hospital||1||A man alleges being told by a cleaner that he was assaulted by Savile while unconscious. The report concludes that it is "highly unlikely" the incident took place.|
|Dewsbury and District Hospital (inc Pinderfields Hospital)||2||Woman says that when she was a 15-year-old inpatient in 1969 Savile French kissed her without permission. A second allegation relates to lewd comments overheard by a nurse.|
|High Royds Psychiatric Hospital||2||Patient and member of staff say they were groped by Savile at a hospital fun day. Victim accounts described as "very compelling and certainly plausible".|
|Wheatfield’s Hospice, (non-NHS – Sue Ryder)||1||At an opening ceremony before patients were admitted, a woman who was then 16 alleges that Savile touched her leg and made lewd comments. The report found her account credible but there was no evidence to substantiate it.|
|Cardiff Royal Infirmary||1||Patient alleged that Savile forcefully kissed her while she was lying in bed. The investigators were "unable to reach a conclusion about whether the incident took place".|
|Great Ormond Street||1||One allegation of sexual abuse of a patient in 1971. Report found no evidence that Savile was at the hospital at the time.|
|Digby Hospital, Exeter||1||Former patient alleges that she was raped by Savile in a caravan in the hospital grounds. The report "no reason to doubt the veracity" of her account.|
|Ashworth / Moss Side Hospital||4||Two female ex-patients said Savile abused them. One male ex-patient said he witnessed groping. One ex-staff member speculated about abuse which may have happened. Information was found to be credible.|
|Barnet General Hospital||1||Patient had conversation with nurses who said they had seen Savile having sex with dead body at a different hospital. Investigators concluded incident did not happen at Barnet although conversation did take place.|
|Booth Hall Children's Hospital||2||Woman who was 7 or 8 at time says she was abused by her father and Savile. Man says Savile touched him when he was 10. Investigators cannot say conclusively whether the incidents took place.|
|De La Pole Hospital||1||Nurse alleged Savile groped a 14-16-year-old female patient but she denies the incident. Investigators found no evidence of the alleged assault but did find Savile had visited the hospital.|
|Dryburn Hospital||1||Allegations of potential procuring of children for Savile. No evidence was found to support this.|
|Hammersmith Hospital||2||One allegation related to a friend of Savile rather than Savile himself. A second allegation was of an inappropriate comment to a 13-year-old girl. No evidence of an association between the hospital and Savile.|
|Leavesden Secure Mental Health Hospital||0||Person thought Savile may have visited the hospital in the 1970s but report finds this unlikely.|
|Royal Marsden Hospital||1||Person said colleague had alleged Savile had made sexual advances to her at either the Royal Marsden or Stoke Mandeville hospitals. No evidence was found of Savile's association with Royal Marsden.|
|Maudsley Hospital||0||Person thought Savile may have visited in 1964/5. Report found no evidence of wrongdoing.|
|Odstock Hospital, Salisbury||0||Person said Savile used to visit the hospital in the 1980s. Report found no allegation of wrongdoing by Savile.|
|Prestwich Psychiatric Hospital||1||Woman alleges that when she was a young girl she was taken onto the hospital site by Savile and another man and abused. Report found that the alleged incident had probably occurred despite not being possible to verify her account.|
|Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead||1||Female patient alleged she was groped as she recovered from an operation. Investigators did not doubt that the attack happened but thought Savile was not involved.|
|Royal Victoria Infirmary||0||People flagged up that Savile had visited the hospital in 1987 and 1991. No allegation of wrongdoing made.|
|Queen Mary’s Hospital||1||Anonymous allegation that a junior nurse denied Savile access to a ward and was threatened that a BBC outside broadcast would be cancelled as a result. Investigators found it was not possible to conclude whether the incident occurred.|
|Whitby Memorial Hospital||1||Staff member said Savile had touched her inappropriately. Investigators found that the incident did take place.|
|Wythenshawe Hospital||1||Patient said that a fellow patient alleged that Savile was a "dirty old man" who had parties in his home with young girls. No evidence that Savile was present on the hospital site.|
|Woodhouse Eaves / Roecliffe Manor||1||Allegation of abuse against a boy aged 5-7. Investigators found that it was likely that abuse had happened at the location but it was not possible to conclude it was carried out by Savile.|