In Brief

Jimmy Savile: Stoke Mandeville staff were 'told of sex abuse'

'It was absolutely disgusting,' recalls one of Savile's victims, who was told by staff to just 'ignore him'

Staff at Stoke Mandeville Hospital were told of ten complaints about Jimmy Savile but failed to do anything about them, a report into sexual abuse by the disgraced DJ is expected to reveal.

The inquiry, led by independent investigator Dr Androulla Johnstone, found that he assaulted more than 60 patients, staff and visitors at the hospital over more than two decades, according to the BBC. His victims included a girl aged eight or nine who was raped ten times.

Between 1972 and 1985 nine victims are said to have told nursing staff what had happened to them, but no action was taken, The Guardian reports. There was also one formal complaint about Savile's behaviour.

"The one formal complaint was dropped by the victim’s father due to her serious ill-health," the paper says.

The report recommended that the following action should be taken to prevent future abuse: 

  • every NHS trust should appoint a voluntary services manager 
  • volunteers must be subject to criminal records checks every three years
  • volunteers and staff must be trained in safeguarding vulnerable patients every three years
  • protection strategies must address patients and visistors' access to the internet and social media.

Savile's status as a celebrity volunteer and fund-raiser had protected him from investigation, the report found.

One of his victims, an 18-year-old patient at the time, said Savile had climbed through a window beside her bed and sexually assaulted her.

"It was absolutely disgusting, it's just the worst thing possible," she told the BBC. "I told the nurses what Savile had done, the fact that he came in and had spoken to me. They just said they know he's like that and 'ignore him, ignore him'. They thought it was funny, really."

The DJ and presenter was revealed to be a serial offender after he died at the age of 84 in October 2011.

A series of major investigations into other hospitals and institutions were published last June. In Leeds General Infirmary alone, Savile was accused of abusing 60 victims and even boasted of sex acts with the dead in the infirmary's morgue. The Stoke Mandeville report was originally due to be completed by the end of 2013 but has faced repeated delays after new information came to light.

Lawyer Liz Dux, who is representing 44 people who claim they were abused at the hospital, said there was a clear example of one victim reporting the abuse to a senior nursing sister and being told to be quiet because of what Savile did for the hospital.

"It will be a disgrace if the report into Stoke Mandeville reaches the same findings as it did in Leeds – that there was no accountability or knowledge within the senior management of the hospital," she said.

Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust is yet to provide a comment.

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