Jimmy Savile NHS investigations: lessons learned

Allegations against TV presenter Jimmy Savile first came to light in 2012, through an ITV documentary which featured claims from women that they were sexually abused by Savile when they were children. In October 2012, the Secretary of State for Health asked former barrister Kate Lampard to provide oversight of investigations into Jimmy Savile's association with NHS services. In February 2019, the government published her overview report, covering the findings from 44 investigations reports.

The investigations revealed harrowing reports of abuse carried out by Jimmy Savile on patients, staff, visitors and volunteers in NHS institutions between 1962–2009. The investigations into Stoke Mandeville Hospital and Leeds General Infirmary reported the largest number of allegations against Savile.

Themes

From the investigations, the report identified common themes of relevance to the modern NHS hospitals and hospital settings, and grouped them under six headings:

  • security
  • links with celebrities
  • management of volunteers
  • safeguarding
  • complaints
  • fundraising and charity governance
  • observance of due process and good governance.

Recommendations

The report made 14 recommendations for NHS hospital trusts, Monitor, the Trust Development Authority, the Care Quality Commission and NHS England.

These included recommendations that NHS hospital trusts review their voluntary services arrangements, develop a policy for managing visits by official visitors, such as celebrities, and develop a policy on managing patients’ and visitors’ use of the internet and social networks.

On safeguarding, the report recommended trusts regularly review their procedures and ensure their staff and volunteers have regular, formal refresher training in safeguarding. It also recommended all trusts review their recruitment, training and employment processes and those for contract and agency staff.

The report also recommended that NHS hospital trusts, supported by NHS Employers, carry out DBS checks on staff and volunteers every 3 years, and the Home Office amend legislation to require hospital staff and volunteers coming into contact with patients have enhanced DBS and barring list checks.

The recommendations also highlighted the need for Monitor, the Trust Development Authority, the Care Quality Commission and NHS England to undertake their relevant responsibilities in ensuring that NHS hospital trusts and independent hospital and care organisations comply with recommendations.

Source(s)

Lampard K, Marsden E.
Themes and lessons learnt from NHS investigations into matters relating to Jimmy Savile.
Department of Health and Social Care; 2015.

BBC News.
Jimmy Savile and the NHS.
BBC News; 2015.