Savile report slams Stoke Mandeville Hospital management for failing to protect patients and staff

Jimmy Savile abuse investigation report
Jimmy Savile abuse investigation report

An independent report into paedophile Jimmy Savile’s abuse at Stoke Mandeville Hospital has found that managers failed in their duty of care towards patients and staff.

The report makes it clear that policies did exist in the 1970s at the height of Savile’s crimes which should have been followed – and if it had Savile would have been unable to abuse many of his victims.

Savile outside the cafe named in his honour at the National Spinal Injuries Centre at Stoke Mandville Hospital. The cafe was renamed following the revelations.

Savile outside the cafe named in his honour at the National Spinal Injuries Centre at Stoke Mandville Hospital. The cafe was renamed following the revelations.

It says: “Whilst Savile has to be held accountable for his own actions the investigationn found there to be significant responsibility on the part of the NHS.

“Even if no-one knew the full extent of Savile’s behaviour including his sexual offending during this period the unofficial appointing of Savile whose position of trust within the hospital and the subsequent lack of the degree of management monitoring and supervision that could reasonably have been expected during the 1970s entails significant omissions in terms of the duty to protect patients, members of the public and staff.

“The fact that there are few surviving policies at Stoke Mandeville Hospital to evidence how Savile could and should have been managed is not relevant.

“There was sufficient national guidance that should have been implemented at the hospital to provide a framework for how to proceed.

The 1970s was not a lawless decade and there was there was clear national guidance

Savile report

“The 1970s was not a lawless decade and there was there was clear national guidance on portering, voluntary services and complaints management.

“Sufficient evidence was found in Buckinghamshire Medical Advisory Committee minutes of the 1950s, 60s and 70s to demonstrate that Stoke Mandeville Hospital had been provided with the relevant guidance.

“Had this guidance been adhered to in relation to Savile it could reasonably be expected that his association with Stoke Mandeville Hospital would have played out very differently, with his access being restricted, his direct contact with patients, staff and visitors both curtailed and supervised, and his performance monitored and managed.”

Between 1968 and 1992, the former DJ and Top Of The Pops presenter sexually abused 60 people connected with Stoke Mandeville Hospital, including patients, staff, visitors, volunteers and charity fundraisers.

Savile’s victims ranged in aged from just eight to 40 and almost half were under 16, with ten being under the age of 12.

Around one third of his attacks were against patients and more than 90% of his victims were female, with the abuse ranging from inappropriate touching to rape.

Dr Androulla Johnstone, chief executive of Health and Social Care Advisory Service and independent lead investigator into Savile’s activities at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, said he was an ‘opportunistic predator’ who could, on occasions, show a ‘high degree of premeditation when planning attacks on his victims’.

Between 1972 and 1985, nine informal verbal complaints were made against Savile as well as one formal complaint, but this was eventually dropped due to the victim’s seriously ill health.

The investigation found that none of the nine informal complaints were taken further or escalated to senior staff.

Dr Johnstone said: “The individuals to whom these incidents were reported failed in their duty to protect. Consequently, no intelligence about Savile’s behaviour was gathered over the years and no action was taken.”

In the foreword to the report, chief executive of Bucks Healthcare NHS Trust Anne Eden said: “The shocking findings of the main investigation into the activities of Jimmy Savile at Stoke Mandeville Hospital meant that we wanted to be absolutely sure that everyone had an opportunity to tell their story, to help us learn lessons and prevent such horrific abuse in the future.

“The main investigation was closed in 2014 when we set up a legacy investigation to talk to those people who had been brave enough to come forward but could not be included in the main investigation.

“As chief executive of Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust which includes Stoke Mandeville Hospital, I want to offer a heartfelt apology to all of Savile’s victims.

“We are truly grateful to everyone who has spoken to the investigation team to tell their story.

“It is because of their courage in coming forward that we can learn from the mistakes of the past and ensure that what happened to them can never happen again.”

Reporter Becca Choules was in Westminster for the press conference into the report and the statement by MPs in Parliament. You can read her updates here.