Government appoints ex-barrister to oversee Jimmy Savile probes

Bucks Free Press: Government appoints ex-barrister to oversee Savile probes Government appoints ex-barrister to oversee Savile probes

THE Government has appointed an ex-barrister to oversee the investigations relating to Jimmy Savile’s involvement with Stoke Mandeville Hospital and other NHS facilities.

Claims emerged last week that Savile had groped young patients at Stoke Mandeville, where he worked as a volunteer porter and fundraiser from 1969.

On a national scale, police say the late TV star may have sexually abused 60 people over a period of six decades.

Ex-barrister Kate Lampard, formerly of the Financial Ombudsman Service, has been appointed to oversee the police probes - which also encompass Leeds General Infirmary and Broadmoor psychiatric hospital.

She will oversee the hospitals' input into the inquiries.

Stoke Mandeville Hospital is also facing legal action from alleged victims of Savile – as well as questions over as to why the TV star was allowed access to a bedroom on the hospital site right up until his death last year.

Savile is thought to have raised £40 million for charity, much of which went towards the hospital's spinal injuries unit.

The storm over his connections with Stoke Mandeville comes just weeks after the hospital was being celebrated by the world's media as the birthplace of the Paralympics.

Reading MP Rob Wilson has already called for hospital chiefs to hold an internal inquiry “into what happened, what was known at the time, what records were kept and what is known now”.

In a statement, Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs Stoke Mandeville Hospital, said it has "no record of any complaints of this nature and would have taken swift and decisive action if this had formally been raised with us".

When questioned further by the Bucks Free Press, a spokesman for the Trust said board members were also unaware of any rumours about Savile’s behaviour, and no issues were ever raised informally.

The statement added: "We have been shocked and saddened to hear of the very serious allegations about Jimmy Savile dating back to the 1970s.

"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."

"To the best of our knowledge, Jimmy was not given free access around our clinical areas and whenever he attended the hospital he would give advance notice and usually be in attendance with his fundraising team."

Meanwhile, a cafe at Stoke Mandeville Hospital which is named after Jimmy Savile will be given a new name, it has been confirmed.

Jimmy’s cafe, which has a white neon sign in the shape of the Savile’s signature, was opened by the TV presenter in 2005 following his years of fundraising for the spinal injuries unit.

Volunteering charity WRVS, which runs Jimmy's, said it had agreed with the hospital to rename it Cafe@WRVS.

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