Jacintha Saldanha: Kate nurse memorial service held

Jacintha Saldanha
Image caption Jacintha Saldanha put the call from the presenters through to another nurse

A memorial service has been held at the King Edward VII hospital for the nurse who took a hoax call about the Duchess of Cambridge's treatment.

Jacintha Saldanha was found dead last Friday, three days after taking the call from two Australian radio DJs.

A memorial mass also took place in Mrs Saldanha's adopted hometown of Bristol.

The hospital has defended its actions after the Guardian reported Mrs Saldanha had criticised staff in one of her three suicide notes.

A spokeswoman said she had been given support by management.

Chief executive of the hospital, John Lofthouse, said: "King Edward VII's is a small hospital, with a tight-knit team. Everybody knew Jacintha, and we were all left deeply shocked by her tragic death following the hoax telephone call.

"This service was a chance for everyone here to pay their respects and remember a dear colleague."

Mrs Saldanha, a 46-year-old wife and mother of two, transferred the telephone call on 4 December to a colleague who then gave a detailed update on the duchess's condition to the hoaxers.

'Cruel hoax'

The duchess, who is in the early stages of pregnancy, was receiving treatment at the hospital for hyperemesis gravidarum, an extreme form of morning sickness.

On Thursday, an inquest at Westminster's Coroner Court heard that Mrs Saldanha was found hanged in her nurse's quarters in central London.

A hospital spokeswoman said she could not comment on the Guardian's report on the content of Mrs Saldanha's suicide notes as no-one had seen them.

She said: "Following the hoax call, hospital management offered her their support and told her that they considered her to be the victim of a cruel hoax, and that they stood by her actions."

Labour MP Keith Vaz, who is representing Mrs Saldanha's family, has written to the hospital's chief executive calling for him to release the "full facts" of what happened.

Writing in reply to Mr Vaz, Mr Lofthouse said: "Jacintha believed that the call was genuine, and she felt it appropriate to put the call through. We stand by her judgment.

"Following the hoax call, Jacintha was reassured on a number of occasions by senior management that no blame was attached to her actions and that there were no disciplinary issues involved, because she had been the victim of a cruel trick."

In an earlier statement, the hospital said it had met her family earlier in the week and answered all of their questions in full.

"We are continuing to support the family in a number of ways," it said.

On Saturday, a mass is also due to be held for Mrs Saldanha at London's Westminster Cathedral.

The mass will be offered "for the repose of the soul of Jacintha and her grieving family," a spokesman said.

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