Did NHS chief lie to MP over Savile’s access to hospital?

Jimmy Savile
Jimmy Savile
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THE chief executive responsible for Stoke Mandeville Hospital told a local MP two years ago that disgraced entertainer Jimmy Savile had not been given free access to clinical areas, it has been revealed.

An independent report yesterday found that Savile was given open access to the Buckinghamshire hospital, where he raped or assaulted at least 63 patients, staff and visitors over two decades.

It does seem unlikely that the hospital at some level didn’t know

MP Rob Wilson

But Reading East MP Rob Wilson said that when he wrote in 2012 to raise concerns about the broadcaster’s activities at the hospital, the chief executive of Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust Anne Eden responded with a letter assuring him that Savile’s access was limited.

In the letter, obtained by the BBC, Ms Eden said: “I would like to clarify that he was not given free access around our clinical areas.

“To the best of my knowledge, whenever he attended the hospital, he would give advance notice and usually be in attendance with his fundraising team. He and his team were given access to a room, but this was not within the main hospital nor in any clinical area.”

Mr Wilson told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The answer I received was really an attempt to reassure me that everything was fine, that Jimmy Savile had no access to patients in clinical areas in the hospital and there was no need to be concerned.

“Unfortunately, it was completely at odds - even at the time - with information spilling out into the open from the media and people contacting me.

“That’s why it felt so worrying to me and so uncomfortable in dealing with the chief executive at the time.”

In a statement to the BBC, the Trust said: “We explained truthfully that, to the best of our knowledge at that time, Savile was not given free access around clinical areas. Following the comprehensive independent review of Savile’s activity, we now know far more than anybody did in 2012.”

But Mr Wilson said: “It does seem unlikely that the hospital at some level didn’t know. The reputation of Savile, his activities and his access to clinical areas at the hospital - that was knowledge somewhere in the hospital and it’s come out in this report.

“It’s very difficult for me to know if the chief executive was briefed fully when she wrote the letter.

“What comes across to me from the response I got at the time was - and I made a note of this at the time - was that she didn’t seem to want to know the full extent of what was going on and didn’t seem to feel that it was important to leave no stone unturned. That’s what concerned me at the time.

“I think that that is symptomatic of a bigger problem we have in public life, in that there are still many organisations out there who, when they are presented with these issues, don’t seem to want to follow them up and get to the truth. “


Jimmy Savile abuse: Yorkshire Post coverage