Response to the independent report of the investigation into matters relating to Savile at LTHT
26 June 2014
To view the Independent Report by the investigation team looking into the activities of Jimmy Savile at hospitals in Leeds during his lifetime please see our Savile Report page.
Speaking today, Thursday 26 June 2014, after the publication of the report of the investigation into matters relating to Savile at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Julian Hartley, Chief Executive of the Trust said:
“This is a profoundly shocking report in which for the first time we are able to gain a clear picture of the abuse perpetrated by Jimmy Savile during his involvement with our hospitals in Leeds, in particular the Leeds General Infirmary, which started in 1962 and continued through to the late 2000s.
“As Chief Executive of the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust I firstly want to offer a sincere apology to each and every one of Savile’s victims, and thank them for being courageous enough to tell their stories. I recognise how difficult this must have been and I respect and thank them for coming forward.
“My first reaction when reading this report is one of tremendous sadness that this was allowed to happen, huge sympathy for the victims, as well as anger that this individual used the NHS and his celebrity status to exploit and abuse our patients, staff and public.
“I want to take this opportunity to emphasise to our patients, their families and members of the public that the way hospitals in Leeds operate today is very different from the accounts included in the report, with a much greater focus now on security, safeguarding and raising concerns. The Board at Leeds Teaching Hospitals is committed to learning from the findings of this report and ensuring we have the highest standards of safeguarding and security in place.
“The Trust commissioned this report so that we could fully understand the actions of Savile and identify the areas where we can improve and learn from these dreadful events. I would like to thank Dr Sue Proctor and the investigation team for their diligence, single-mindedness and commitment to paint as full a picture as possible of what went on in our hospitals during those years. This is a report we need to study in greater detail and ensure we and others learn from its findings.
“As a Leeds citizen and a well-known celebrity for more than six decades it is perhaps understandable that Savile would have had some involvement with hospitals in the city. This report, however, paints a grim picture of an individual with a very dark side who used his role as volunteer and fundraiser, combined with his national fame, to mask a range of dreadful acts he perpetrated on children and adults alike over a prolonged period of time.
“As an individual, Savile’s activities, as we know, were not confined to the hospitals in Leeds, and it is fair to say that we were by no means the only institution he deceived.
“Although I was not in post here in Leeds during Savile’s lifetime, I grew up in West Yorkshire in the 1970s and share the collective reaction among our staff of shock, revulsion and horror. Many of my colleagues have been bewildered by what happened and feel personally betrayed by him - a famous man they took too much on trust.
“Of course, hindsight is a gift we are now blessed with, and looking through this report it is clear to see that through the years there were individuals very discomfited by Savile’s behaviour. What was lacking at the time was the escalation of these concerns to senior figures in the Trust to act upon.
“The report is clear that there is no one person at the hospital who is to blame for what happened, other than Jimmy Savile.
“However, it is also absolutely clear that there should have been far more scrutiny of him and what he was doing at our hospitals over the years and more robust safeguards and internal controls in place to protect our staff and patients in our care. The lack of visibility of senior managers across the Trust during this time and the lack of questioning and curiosity about Savile’s role and presence in our hospitals over the years is certainly a lesson for all NHS Boards and one that we are addressing in Leeds.
“We are deeply upset by the findings of the report and our first thoughts must be with the victims who suffered in silence over so many years, and continue to do so. The important thing for us now is to learn from this report, and ensure arrangements are in place for any patient, member of staff or the public to report any issues of concern without embarrassment or fear.
“The Leeds report makes 31 important recommendations, all of which we are dealing with. Since the revelations first came to light we have been taking a long and hard look at how we manage our organisation to ensure there are no weaknesses which a determined and resourceful criminal like Savile could exploit. The Board is committed to ensuring each and every recommendation made in today’s report is delivered in full.
“Hospitals in Leeds are very different places today.
- We have much improved security in and around our patient areas including locks on wards, card access systems and a large network of CCTV cameras in place and we encourage staff to actively challenge unusual activity and visits.
- We promote a culture of openness and patient safety and have strengthened our arrangements to encourage staff at all levels of the organisation to speak out and raise concerns, however small they may seem at the time. Myself and the senior team spend much of our time on wards and in departments across all our hospitals including the Leeds General Infirmary, speaking to patients, staff and visitors.
- VIPs and celebrities do not have open access in and around the hospitals and instead are registered at every visit and accompanied at all times.
- We have significantly strengthened our internal controls to minimise risks to patient safety including much improved arrangements to protect adults and children in our care, enhanced employment checks for frontline staff and volunteers and a more robust approach to how we manage risk.
“In short, over the years we were badly taken in by a clever and manipulative individual, we let our guard down, and people came to harm as a result of this. For this we are truly sorry.
“This report would not have been possible without the courage of the victims to come forward and share their experiences. I would encourage anyone with further information that they would like to share with us about this investigation to contact the Trust confidentially and I can assure you, you will be treated with the upmost respect and sympathy.
“I think I speak for the whole of Leeds Teaching Hospitals in saying that we are determined to ensure we protect our patients, staff and public from harm and that we will derive every ounce of learning from this report. In doing so we will honour Savile’s victims who were brave enough to expose the truth”.