Disgraced entertainer Jimmy Savile abused 63 people connected to Stoke Mandeville Hospital, an independent report has found.
The report found that Savile’s reputation as a “sex pest” was an “open secret” among some staff at the hospital, but said that allegations may have not reached management.
Savile had “virtually unrestricted access” to patients and clinical areas of the hospital, and took the opportunity to abuse victims aged eight to 42 years old between 1968-92.
A number of complaints were lodged against Savile to staff members, but only one was a “formal complaint”, which “should have led to his suspension from the hospital and a police report being made”. However, the report by a victim’s father in 1977, was ignored.
Following the publication of the report, lead investigator and Chief Executive of Health and Social Care Advisory Service, Dr Androulla Johnstone, said:
“It must be noted that all NHS services should be alert to predatory sexual offenders like Savile who can be placed in a position of trust and authority. Individuals like Savile operate covertly and use their influence to further their own ends in such a manner that may not be immediately obvious to those around them. Policies, statutory frameworks and safeguards are in place nationally to protect society’s children and vulnerable adults. All workers in the NHS and all other responsible agencies have a duty to ensure these are adhered to at all times. The failure to do so could lead to a similar situation happening again.”
In a statement, Hattie Llewelyn-Davies, Chair of Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, said:
“This is the third of three major reports on the activities of Jimmy Savile within the NHS.
“In some respects it’s similar to the reports into Savile’s activities in Leeds and Broadmoor that were published last year. It contains the horrific and deeply distressing accounts of some 60 people who were abused by Savile. Their pain and their anguish floods across every page of this report and is matched only by their courage and resolution in coming forward to tell their story.
“Together these accounts paint a bleak story of a deeply flawed and repellent individual who used his role as a fundraiser, his celebrity status and his national contacts, to conceal his wicked activities. And for too long people were taken in by this controlling and manipulative man.
“But this report differs from the other Savile reports in that it deals exclusively with abuse that happened in the distant past. The first victim account in this report dates back to 1968 and the last is dated 1992.
“These awful events took place between approximately 25 and 50 years ago but it would be wrong to assume that diminishes their importance or their impact.
“On behalf of the NHS organisations that existed at that time – and on behalf of the NHS today – I want to say sorry to all of Jimmy Savile’s victims. I know how difficult it must have been for you to come forward and tell your stories after such a long time.”