Trust Chair press statement – February 2015
Statement given by Hattie Llewelyn-Davies, Chair of Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, in response to the publication of the investigation report into the activities of Jimmy Savile at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, published 26 February 2015:
This is the third of three major reports on the activities of Jimmy Savile within the NHS.
In some respects it’s similar to the reports into Savile’s activities in Leeds and Broadmoor that were published last year. It contains the horrific and deeply distressing accounts of some 60 people who were abused by Savile. Their pain and their anguish floods across every page of this report and is matched only by their courage and resolution in coming forward to tell their story.
Together these accounts paint a bleak story of a deeply flawed and repellent individual who used his role as a fundraiser, his celebrity status and his national contacts, to conceal his wicked activities. And for too long people were taken in by this controlling and manipulative man.
But this report differs from the other Savile reports in that it deals exclusively with abuse that happened in the distant past. The first victim account in this report dates back to 1968 and the last is dated 1992.
These awful events took place between approximately 25 and 50 years ago but it would be wrong to assume that diminishes their importance or their impact.
On behalf of the NHS organisations that existed at that time – and on behalf of the NHS today – I want to say sorry to all of Jimmy Savile’s victims. I know how difficult it must have been for you to come forward and tell your stories after such a long time.
In addition to examining Savile’s activities at Stoke Mandeville Hospital this Investigation was also tasked with considering whether our current safeguarding, whistleblowing, complaints and other policies and processes are fit for purpose.
Today Stoke Mandeville is a very different place. The Investigation says that now: “The Trust has a safeguarding team of experienced and qualified staff members who are fully aware of the importance of safeguarding” and it “has not found any safeguarding related situation where either children or vulnerable adults have been at risk.”
The report says the Trust “has a comprehensive set of evidence-based and fit-for-purpose policies and procedures” and it concludes that at the present time, “safeguarding processes are appropriate, and the safety of both children and vulnerable adults is not thought to be at risk.”
All of this is encouraging but as the Trust chair I would be failing in my duty if I allowed any sense of complacency to set in. We’ve made real improvements. We are developing a culture of openness, transparency and engagement. We are also encouraging our staff to speak out when they see practice that falls below acceptable standards.
We will continue to support the people who were abused by Savile. We owe it to them that we listen and learn, that we remain constantly vigilant, and that we continue to improve our services. I promise we will do just that.
The ultimate responsibility for the shocking activities of Jimmy Savile must rest with the man himself but that doesn’t absolve anybody from learning the lessons that emerge from this important report.