A Number of hospitals in the North East have become embroiled in the Jimmy Savile police investigation, it has been announced.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt confirmed yesterday that 19 more hospitals are being looked at in the alleged abuse scandal, including Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) and the Dryburn Hospital, which was formerly on the site of University Hospital of North Durham.
Health bosses in the region say that the investigation relates to one former patient of a children’s ward at the RVI contacting the police Savile inquiry line, while the Dryburn investigation does not involve any contact with a patient.
The alleged incident in Newcastle is thought to have taken place in the early 1990s when Savile arrived at the hospital unannounced around the time of the Great North Run, which he regularly took part in.
Sir Leonard Fenwick, chief executive of Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “It is believed to be in relation to a children’s ward, that has now been demolished.
“We have been seeking feedback from staff, the majority of whom have retired, and no concerns have been expressed. We are being as thorough as we can in our investigations.
“It is understood that Jimmy Savile presented at the hospital ad hoc. There is no evidence of any fundraising activities and it was not part of any structured support for the hospital.”
After details first emerged about cases of alleged abuse by Savile in hospitals, three major investigations were launched at Leeds General Infirmary, Stoke Mandeville Hospital and Broadmoor Hospital.
Further investigations were then announced at 10 hospitals across the country. These latest inquiries come off the back of investigations by the Metropolitan Police into Savile.
Detectives investigating the cases of abuse gleaned further information that patients at the 19 hospitals could have been targeted by Savile and so further inquiries were ordered.
A spokesperson for County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust said: “The trust can confirm that it has been passed information by the Department of Health regarding Jimmy Savile, which refers to Dryburn Hospital. This information does not refer to contact with patients. Dryburn Hospital closed in 2001. As the legacy organisation for the hospital, the trust will investigate this information and respond as required.”
In his written statement to MPs, Mr Hunt said former barrister Kate Lampard, who was asked to oversee the Department of Health’s investigations into Savile, will make sure the inquiries are properly carried out.
Mr Hunt said: “The Metropolitan Police Service has completed its document review and transferred various material concerning Jimmy Savile and the NHS to the Department of Health. The information has been passed on to the relevant hospital trust for further investigation as appropriate. Names of the hospitals are taken from the information received.
“These include hospitals that may have closed in which case the information has been passed on to the legacy organisation.
“Kate Lampard, who was asked to provide independent assurance of the NHS investigations on behalf of the Department of Health, will provide general assurance of the quality of all reports in her final assurance report.”
A Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust spokesman said they “had found no evidence of any wrong-doing” by the disgraced television presenter.