Where is support for Jacintha Saldanha's family, asks MP

Dec 11, 2012

Family of nurse who fell victim to hoax call say they have not been counselled by hospital

Getty Images

QUESTIONS are being asked about the lack of counselling and support offered to the devastated family of the nurse who apparently killed herself after transferring a prank call  from an Australian radio station to the ward where Kate Middleton was being treated for morning sickness.

On a visit to the nurses' accommodation at London's King Edward VII private hospital where the 46-year-old Jacintha Saldanha killed herself on Friday, her widower, Benedict Barboza, revealed that he and his family have not received any counselling from the hospital, The Daily Telegraph reports.

Labour MP Keith Vaz told Radio 4's World at One programme yesterday that the lack of support offered to Saldanha's relatives contrasted with the extensive counselling given to the "fragile" Australian DJs who made the prank call.

"I would like to see them [Saldanha's family] get the same support that is apparently being given to others because this is a very traumatic time," Vaz (above left) said. "I am a little surprised that nobody has made the journey to Bristol [Saldanha's home town] to sit with them and offer the counselling they need."

Other developments:

Permission mystery:  The King Edward VII hospital has denied that anyone from the Australian radio station 2DayFM contacted its senior managers or press department seeking permission to broadcast the prank call. The claim contradicts the station's assertion that it tried to contact the hospital on "five occasions" to discuss airing the prank. The Daily Mail quotes hospital sources saying they were "extremely surprised" the radio station had made the assertion because it indicates 2DayFM was well aware of its responsibility to get permission to air the call, but went ahead and broadcast it anyway.

Memorial service:  A post-mortem examination of Saldanha's body will take place later today, reports the BBC, and a memorial service will be held later this week. The King Edward VII hospital has also set up the Jacintha Saldanha Memorial Fund which "will go to helping Jacintha's husband and children at this terrible time," said John Lofthouse, the hospital's chief executive.

Radio station fund:  Sydney tabloid The Daily Telegraph reports that 2DayFM will resume advertising during its broadcasts on Thursday, but all profits made until the end of the year will be donated to "an appropriate memorial fund". The station has cancelled its staff Christmas party out of respect for Jacintha Saldanha, it said.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Disqus - noscript

Keith Vaz should be ashamed of himself. He is capitalizing on a families grief for a bit of publicity.

RIP Jacintha Saldanha: IF two dunce DJs can get through to KE7 first time how is it that 2DAY FM claims it tried to get permission to broadcast FIVE TIMES? NO! This claim has to be a shabby lie! Of course I can't prove it and my remark may be deemed libelous - go ahead and give me the airing of a civil action! Where is the record of these FIVE CALLS? NO again - 2DAY FM was trying to boost its listener figures regardless of any ethics/code/permission or anything else and its so-called 'managers' are utterly culpable! And it is called a PRANK? No amount of TV-weeping or money can bring back this conscience-stricken lady to her family.

Completely agree with Cammenbert. If Mr Vaz wanted to meet the family they could have been met somewhere quietly, not arrive in front of the Houses of Parliament in full view of the waiting media. A disgrace - I hope he has the insight to be ashamed.

I am surprised that the Saldanha family has not been offered support. Given the outrage and vitriol the Poms have heaped upon the heads of Greig and Christian, I would have expected the Sadanda family to have been well cared for.

The DJ's prank was stupid, however Hospital security should have screened all incoming calls relating to Duchess. If those responsible for Security had done a proper job, the call would not have reached the nurse, and tragedy could have been avoided.

I do not begrudge the DJ's for the level of support they have been given. I just wish the British were as forthcoming with practical offers of support to the grieving family, as they are with moral outrage at two very shallow, stupid, ignorant young people.

At least the Radio Station has set up a Trust Fund for the family, even if it is out of self-interest.