Back last November, an excitable Alan Collins of Pannone, once a proudly independent Manchester law firm of some repute, but now a mere sub-division of the global Brobdingnagian Slater and Gordon, was breathlessly announcing that he was getting ‘fresh claims every week’ and now 32 National Health Hospitals where the ‘Pervert Savile, who died in 2011 aged 84, is believed to have used his privileged access to abuse hundreds of children in NHS care.’
32 Hospitals had to divert senior staff to investigate these ‘claims’ – so far I have gone through 20 of those reports, and I am still looking for the ‘Truly awful, dreadful‘ abuse which the media tell us has been carried out on ‘children as young as five’.
Full scale investigations like this cost a great deal of money in respect of man hours. Money that the NHS is desperately short of.
Hospital after hospital, on opening the highly secret envelope containing the ‘Yewtree allegations’ in respect of their hospital, have found themselves holding a piece of paper which can be roughly summarised as “someone who wouldn’t give their name phoned Yewtree and said that someone whose name they couldn’t remember, had told their aunty, who is now dead, that someone who looked like Jimmy Savile might have been on their ward five years before they were admitted….”
I am fully in agreement that all allegations of abuse by Jimmy Savile or anyone else should be thoroughly investigated – but someone, certainly Yewtree, and I suspect the lawyers of the claimants, would have been totally aware that an allegation that Jimmy Savile ‘might’ have once walked across the tarmac of hospital property, without any further allegation of impropriety – shouldn’t be taking up valuable NHS resources.
That isn’t a brave victim coming forward after 40 years when they were too upset to speak out earlier – that is plain nonsensical tittle tattle forced to consume NHS resources to counter the PR campaign run by the lawyers of potential claimants.
Someone has gone without treatment, or a pay rise, to pay for each of these execrable reports. Maybe it was your Aunty.
De La Pole Hospital, Hull 29 pages by the Chief Nurse Information Officer.
Operation Yewtree recorded a sexual offence in respect of Miss ‘A’ that JS had sexually assaulted her whilst she was ‘in traction’ in an orthopaedic ward – the allegation was made by a nurse (N1) who alleged she was told this by another nurse (N2). (N2) was allegedly given this information by the patient, but had not witnessed the incident.
A ‘second’ allegation was made anonymously, allegedly describing the first incident.
The alleged victim (Ms ‘A’) when interviewed, ‘vehemently denied’ that any such incident had taken place. She remembered the visit by JS to her ward, but stated he was accompanied and ‘would not have had the opportunity to do anything untoward’.
(N1) denied being behind the anonymous phone call. She could not provide any information which allowed (N2) to be identified or contacted.
Investigators concluded that there was no evidence to support that any incident involving JS took place at De La Pole Hospital.
Dryburn Hospital, and Shotley Bridge Hospital County Durham. A thumping 61 pages by the Senior Associate Director of Assurance and Compliance and legal advice was provided by the Trust’s legal advisors, Ward Hadaway.
Operation Yewtree recorded a call from a Northumbria police officer that in or around 1992-1993, he was speaking with a woman involved with hospital radio at the (then) Dryburn Hospital about Peter Hetherington, a North East disc jockey who had been arrested in connection with sexual offences against children. The woman in question stated that Mr Hetherington “used to lure” young girls / boys to hotels for Jimmy Savile. No allegation of misbehaviour by JS at Dryburn Hospital.
The visit to Shotley Bridge Hospital was recorded in a book entitled ‘The Story of Shotley Bridge Hospital, Consett’ which was brought to the attention of the Trust by a member of the public. According to the account in this book, Jimmy Savile visited the children’s ward on 4th January 1981. No allegation of misbehaviour by JS at Shotley Bridge Hospital.
61 pages later…the investigator concludes that JS, visiting the children’s ward, accompanied by the Hospital Photographer, his assistant, a Hospital Sector Administrator, a Ward Sister, four members of the nursing staff and police officers PC Brian Jones (now retired) and Superintendent Albert Baines (JS was there to present a cheque on behalf of Consett police!) didn’t abuse any children, nip off to the mortuary or steal any glass eyes…
The investigators were unable to conclude whether JS ate a sandwich before going onto the ward, afterwards, or even if at all…
No evidence of anything untoward or inappropriate taking place during the hospital visit, involving Jimmy Savile and the children on the ward, has come to light. Nor were there ever any allegations.
The Hospital Radio manager was identified as a Mrs Staley. She was asked whether, to her knowledge, any alleged procurement had taken place at Dryburn Hospital, or involved the Hospital, its staff or anyone else connected to it. Mrs Staley explicitly stated that it had not and that, based on what Person X had told her, she had the impression that any such procurement had taken place at a specific location and involved a third party unrelated to Dryburn Hospital. Mrs Staley told us that she did not report these matters to the police as, from her previous experience of Person X, she doubted the reliability of the statements.
Hammersmith Hospital, London 37 pages by the Director of Governance & Assurance.
Operation Yewtree passed on two allegations to Hammersmith Hospital.
An allegation of serious offence by an employee at Hammersmith Hospital made by an anonymous caller, and an ‘allegation’ that Jimmy savile had attended a fundraising event at the Hospital in 1974.
The investigation team found that, due to insufficient detail having been provided by the anonymous informant to the MPS, this allegation proved extremely difficult to investigate. As such, despite enquiries, no leads could be found and therefore the allegation could not be investigated further or corroborated.
The investigating team was able to confirm that Savile was present at a Friends of Hammersmith Hospital fundraising Autumn Fair in November 1974. The investigation team did not uncover any reports of an untoward incident and individuals who remember this Fair recall that Savile was accompanied throughout his visit to Hammersmith Hospital.
The Royal Marsden Hospital, London Another thumping 48 pages exhaustively compiled by the Associate Chief Nurse supported by the Legal Services Manager.
Operation Yewtree passed on a third party allegation that 28 years ago the Informant was working for a company in Sutton.To the best of his recollection a young female colleague had a relative or friend who had cancer and was either in ‘the Marsden’ or ‘Stoke Mandeville’. One day the colleague was very upset and when asked why she said that JS had been at the hospital and had made sexual advances towards her and had possibly touched her.
The Informant was unable to recall the details. He could recall his colleague’s name but acknowledged that this could have changed. He could not provide any further details regarding his third party reporting of incident as told to him and nor could he provide further contact details/names for any of the subjects mentioned.
The current and former Trust staff members interviewed do not recall JS having any association with The Royal Marsden or being on the premises at any point. The search undertaken in local media archives revealed no evidence of an association between JS and The Royal Marsden. Operation Yewtree police searches have been unable to trace the potential witness referred to within the original allegation. The police advise that this enquiry should not be progressed any further.
Odstock Hospital, Salisbury. 25 pages by the Safeguarding Adults and Mental Capacity Lead Nurse.
Operation Yewtree recorded an allegation by Ms ‘A’ she had ‘seen‘ JS’s Rolls Royce at Odstock Hospital whilst working there as a radiographer and that JS would talk to the porters and patients at Odstock; and further, that there were patients who had been moved from Stoke Mandeville Hospital to Odstock Hospital and that in her view ‘that was suspicious’.
Having taken due care and advice re: not further traumatising (!) this witness who had set eyes on JS’ Rolls Royce (allegedly) the investigators on further talking with her, came to the conclusion that there was no point in interviewing more patients since there was no allegation of wrong doing with any patient, nor was she claiming that he had any contact with patients. 72 (including the Yewtree Witness) members of staff were identified as working in Odstock Spinal Treatment Centre between 1983 and 1993, including Consultants, Nurses, administrative staff, Therapists, Radiographers and General Porters.
Interestingly, the ‘Yewtree’ report stated she saw JS chatting to patients. On questioning her about this during the interview she was very clear she had never seen JS with any patients.
On interviewing the Porters: Porters 1 & 2 said that they were told by a colleague (Porter 3) who was on duty at the time, that JS had attended the Porters Lodge for a cup of tea. This was a weekend afternoon.
Porter 3, when interviewed, had no recollection of JS visiting the Porters Lodge, or Odstock Hospital, and had never met JS .
The Investigation Team have been unable to follow any further lines of enquiry in this regard, and have formed the conclusion that this investigation has been unable to identify evidence to corroborate the suggestion that unusual or inappropriate transfers, influenced by JS, occurred between Odstock and Stoke Mandeville Hospitals.
Prestwich Hospital, Greater Manchester. 31 pages from a 4 man team of investigators led by the Director of Governance and HR and supported by DAC Beachcroft LLP legal services.
Operation Yewtree recorded an allegation from a member of the public (“Ms C”) and did not refer to any patient related issues or concerns. The allegation referred specifically to a period in or around 1960 when Ms C alleges that she was brought onto the Prestwich Hospital site and sexually abused by Savile.
The investigation team approached Ms C to see if she would be willing to meet to talk about the allegations. Although initial contact was made with her and pursued, the Trust has been unable to meet with her and has therefore relied on the statements she has already provided.
The witness statement provided to Operation Yewtree alleges that she was brought to the Prestwich Psychiatric Hospital site when she was about seven or eight years old by Savile along with another unidentified male. The visit was used as a threat to her in so far as if she disclosed the abuse she was being subjected to she would be brought back to the hospital and locked away with the patients.
Ms C describes being taken to a room at the back of the hospital site by Savile and another unidentified male. The ward smelt horrible, had excrement everywhere and had within it naked male patients. Ms C alleges she was told by Savile that if she ever told anyone about the abuse she was suffering she would be brought back and locked in the room with the men.
On a separate occasion she alleges she was brought to the Prestwich Psychiatric Hospital site again by Savile and another unidentified male and taken onto an empty ward with beds. Ms C does not recall there being any staff on the ward. She was then sexually abused by Savile in the empty ward.
As noted in Section 4 above the Trust has been unable to meet with Ms C to interview her. The investigation team have therefore had to take a considered view of the evidence within the witness statements from Ms C and use any supporting documentary evidence and evidence from the two former staff members relating to the historical context and workings of the hospital in or around 1960 to support the conclusions. As there are no named witnesses within the account from Ms C other than Savile, there is nobody who is able to either verify or refute the allegations.
There were no empty wards at Prestwich Hospital at this time. Ms C’s memory of it being “a massive place” is consistent with what we know about the size of the hospital at the time. It is unlikely that patients would have been walking around naked in the main ward area but there were communal bathrooms on the male wards where patients could have been naked, and there were occasions when patients were incontinent of faeces and needed to be cleaned. Thus her description of there being excrement everywhere and men, some of whom were naked, walking in it would be consistent with what could have been happening on one of the wards at a particular moment in time.
Despite their being no other corroborating evidence of Savile ever having visited the hospital, despite her declining to be interviewed, her ability to describe the hospital is taken as evidence that yes, it was Savile, and yes, it did happen, and yes, she is telling the truth…..
Had they been able to interview her, they might have had the wit to pose other questions like – ‘have you ever visited any other patient at Prestwick hospital’. …in the absence of that:
“Taken in the context of what we know about Prestwich Hospital in the early 1960s, there is nothing in Ms C’s statements that would cause us to question the veracity of her account of what happened.”
That’s enough for me or one day.