Jimmy Savile abused patients at a quarter of all acute NHS hospitals, the health secretary has said.
Jeremy Hunt has apologised again to the victims of Savile’s five decade-long as the latest reports on the DJ’s horrific crimes are published.
Mr Hunt told MPs victims were let down as a result of no one challenging Savile, describing the paedophile as a “manipulative and deceitful predator”.
Mr Hunt said that overall, 177 men and women have come forward to report abuse, from 1954 to just before Savile’s death in 2011.
At least 72 were children, the youngest only 5 years old.
The abuse claims cover around a quarter of all NHS acute hospitals, Mr Hunt said.
The health secretary said changes made as a result of the report would include stricter safeguarding arrangements for staff.
He added that it was unacceptable that staff report Savile abuse claims were not listened to, and said the Government was investigating a change in the law to make such reporting a legal obligation.
Making a statement in the Commons, Mr Hunt acknowledged the Government apologised last summer for allowing Savile’s “terrible abuse” to go unchecked.
He said: “Today I repeat that apology. What happened was horrific, caused immeasurable and often permanent damage and betrayed vulnerable people who trusted us to keep them safe.
“We let them down.”
He added: “Today we must show by our deeds as well as our words that we’ve learned the necessary lessons.”
On Stoke Mandeville, Mr Hunt said there were no suggestions ministers or officials knew about Savile’s activities but accepted governance processes were not followed.
He said ministers made the expedient decision to use Savile not just to raise funds to redevelop Stoke Mandeville’s national spinal injuries centre but to oversee the building and running of the centre even though he had “no relevant experience”.
Mr Hunt said: “Because of his celebrity and useful fundraising skills, the right questions, the hard questions, simply were not asked.
“Suspicions were not acted on and patients and staff were ignored. People were either too dazzled or too intimidated by the nation’s favourite celebrity to confront the evil predator we now know he was.
“Never again must the power of money or celebrity blind us to repeated clear signals that some extremely vulnerable people were being abused.”
Mr Hunt said three new investigations were under way at Humber NHS Trust, Mersey Care NHS Trust and Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.