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Royal Free Hospital chiefs conclude Jimmy Savile allegation ‘unfounded’

Jimmy Savile. Picture: PA Wire/Myung Jung Kim. Jimmy Savile. Picture: PA Wire/Myung Jung Kim.

Thursday, June 26, 2014
11:23 AM

Royal Free chiefs have thrown light on their decision not to publish a report following an investigation ordered by the health secretary into a suspected link between the hospital and disgraced television presenter Jimmy Savile.

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"I’d like to think the Royal Free is keeping this statement brief to protect people that would otherwise suffer and I hope they are not doing it to protect their hospital"

Esther Rantzen

The hospital, in Pond Street, Hampstead, and North Manchester General Hospital are the only trusts nationwide not to have published reports following investigations carried out on the orders of health secretary Jeremy Hunt.

Trust bosses at the Royal Free released a two-sentence statement last Thursday explaining the allegation made about Savile had “proved to be unfounded, therefore a report will not be published”.

This decision was taken following an investigation into a historical allegation.

A Royal Free spokesman said: “The allegation was made by a third party. It was not supported by the relevant individual and therefore it was withdrawn and the investigation was brought to an end.

“We do not have consent from the individual to share any further details.”

In November, the Royal Free was one of 19 hospitals nationwide ordered by Mr Hunt to investigate alleged links to Savile.

This was in addition to investigations already underway at other hospitals across the country.

Among the reports published last Thursday were those by Leeds General Infirmary and Broadmoor Hospital, which revealed chilling allegations about Savile’s unhealthy interest in dead bodies and attacks on victims aged between five and 75.

TV personality and Hampstead resident Esther Rantzen, who appeared in the original ITV documentary which exposed Savile as a child abuser, said the Royal Free’s decision not to publish the report was against a background of “major sensitivities”.

She told the Ham&High: “It’s not helpful to give such little detail because it leads people to wonder if there is some sort of cover-up.

“But on the other hand, if it’s been done to protect individuals who would otherwise suffer then they might have made the right decision.

“I am as horrified as anyone. The Leeds Hospital report includes allegations so horrific they don’t bear thinking about.

“I think there are major sensitivities at stake if an alleged victim says: ‘No, it didn’t happen.’

“I think we need to protect the people who have suffered through Savile, directly or indirectly.”

Hampstead and Kilburn MP Glenda Jackson backed the decision of hospital bosses not to publish more information in light of the circumstances.

She said: “If there has been no allegation made by a victim, and if an allegation was made by a third party, then that seems to be correct.”

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