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Stoke Mandeville Hospital under pressure to open Savile inquiry
STOKE Mandeville Hospital is under increasing pressure to hold an inquiry into allegations of sexual abuse of patients by Jimmy Savile.
The hospital is also said to be facing legal action from alleged victims – as well as questions about why the TV presenter had access to his own room on the hospital site right up until his death last year.
Claims emerged last week that Savile had groped young patients at Stoke Mandeville, where he worked as a volunteer porter and fundraiser from 1969. He is thought to have raised £40 million for charity, much of which went towards the hospital's spinal injuries unit.
Reading MP Rob Wilson said: “I do not think what is alleged to have happened at Stoke Mandeville Hospital to be acceptable in a decent society.
“I have written to the chief executive of Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust today to request a full inquiry into what happened, what was known at the time, what records were kept and what is known now.
“If it is true, as alleged by ex-staff, that they were warned about Savile by hospital managers, they could be complicit in the most disturbing of crimes.
“For the sake of the hospital’s reputation, I urge the Trust not to drag its feet and act quickly. We now need openness and transparency, not the establishment closing ranks.”
The BBC has opened two separate inquiries relating to the claims about Savile.
Personal injury lawyer Liz Dux says she has been contacted by several women who want to sue over the allegations.
She is preparing cases against the BBC and Stoke Mandeville Hospital, saying even if Savile was only a volunteer he still acted as an ‘agent’, while the hospital has a duty of care to patients.
Meanwhile ex-patient Rebecca Owen, who spent several months in the hospital’s spinal injuries unit in the 1980s, has questioned why the Jim’ll Fix It star was ever given a flat within the hospital site.
Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs Stoke Mandeville Hospital, said in a statement: “We have been shocked and saddened to hear of the very serious allegations about Jimmy Savile dating back to the 1970s.
“We have no record of any complaints of this nature and would have taken swift and decisive action if this had formally been raised with us.
“In 2010/11 we participated in a multiagency review which concluded that our current safeguarding processes were robust, however we constantly assure ourselves that all the correct procedures are in place.
“We continue to cooperate fully with the police in their enquiries and have met with them to discuss their review.
“We will maintain close contact with the police and once they have reported back over the next few weeks we will look at their findings to agree whether we should follow-up with our own internal enquiry.
“We are working closely with our staff and will support them in reporting to the police should they have any information related to the allegations.
“Jimmy Savile and his team had access to a room outside of the main hospital and away from clinical areas. This was made available to them in conjunction with their fundraising activity, and was utilised by them until his death.”
On a national scale, police say Savile's alleged catalogue of abuse could have included about 60 victims and spanned six decades.