Jimmy Savile and the NHS

  • 26 February 2015
  • From the section UK

Savile and the NHS


NHS investigations in total

  • 34 hospitals

  • 5 mental health units

  • 2 children's hospitals

  • 1 ambulance service, 1 hospice and 1 children's convalescent home


A total of 44 investigations have been undertaken at NHS institutions in connection with Jimmy Savile's abuse.

There have been 41 at hospitals - including five mental health units and two children's hospitals - and a further three at an ambulance service, a hospice and a children's convalescent home.

The results of investigations at 28 of the institutions were published in June last year, while a further 16 released their reports in February 2015. Some have also published updates.

A report into abuse at Stoke Mandeville Hospital found Savile had abused 63 people connected with the institution.


Savile sexually assaulted victims as young as five at NHS hospitals - and this happened during decades of unrestricted access, the reports say.

He abused patients in their beds, in corridors and also targeted staff and visitors. The reports detail harrowing accounts from alleged victims.

Stoke Mandeville Hospital

One of the latest reports comes from Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Buckinghamshire, where Savile is believed to have assaulted 63 people - the youngest of them aged eight.

The report found:

  • Jimmy Savile was an "opportunistic predator" who abused victims between 1968-92
  • He had full and unsupervised access to all areas of the hospital for more than 20 years - even to clinical areas
  • The entertainer sexually abused staff and visitors at the hospital. This included an eight-year-old patient, a pregnant mother in her 20s, and a 19-year-old paralysed woman in a wheelchair. Almost half the victims were under 16, and the crimes included rapes
  • Savile's reputation as a "sex pest" was an "open secret" among junior staff and some middle managers
  • Ten of Savile's victims complained to staff but none of the nine informal complaints was "taken seriously or escalated to senior management"
  • Senior management at the hospital were probably never told about Savile's inappropriate behaviour or about the sexual assault claims

However, lawyer Liz Dux, who represents 44 of the Stoke Mandeville victims, said it "beggars belief" that the report had found no evidence of senior staff having been aware of the abuse.

Leeds General Infirmary

Leeds General Infirmary (Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust) has updated the results of its original investigation published last year.

The report records details of six victims and two witnesses. A former nurse, quoted in the report, said she was warned about the activities of someone she believed to have been Savile in the mortuary as long ago as 1954.

The original report released last year stated 60 people came forward to say they had been abused between 1962 and 2009. They were aged between five and 75. Thirty-three of the 60 were patients and 19 were children.

Organisational failures allowed someone "as manipulative as Savile to thrive and continue his abusive behaviour unchecked for years", the report said.

Broadmoor Psychiatric Hospital

The Broadmoor report, released last year, detailed 11 allegations of sexual abuse, six of them involving patients. Two were staff and three were children, it said.

It detailed how Savile watched and made inappropriate comments when female patients were stripped and showered naked in front of staff.

The report said the number of cases of abuse it found was likely to be an underestimate.

Lampard report: Lessons learned

Former barrister and NHS executive Kate Lampard reviewed the evidence of how Savile was allowed to abuse victims across NHS hospitals.

Her report, published in February 2015, warned elements of the Savile story could happen again, and said there would always be people who tried to gain undue influence within institutions such as hospitals.

It also indicated "the need for us to examine safeguarding arrangements in NHS hospitals, the raising of complaints and matters of concern, and how managers and staff respond to complaints".

The investigations showed how the free access given to Savile offered him the "opportunity to commit sexual abuses on a grand scale for nearly 50 years", Ms Lampard said.

His status was "enhanced by the endorsement and encouragement he received from politicians, senior civil servants and NHS managers", she told a London press conference.

"While it might be tempting to dismiss the Savile case as wholly exceptional, a unique result of the perfect storm of circumstances, the evidence we have gathered indicates that there are many elements of the Savile story that could be repeated in future," the Lampard report concluded.

"There is always a risk of the abuse, including sexual abuse, of people in hospitals."

NHS hospital reports - in detail

This is a summary of the findings of 44 hospitals' investigations:

Hospitals' Savile reports
Hospital Report date Allegations Details
Stoke Mandeville Hospital Feb 2015 63 The victims, abused from 1968-92, were aged eight to 40. The victims were "patients, staff, visitors, volunteers and charity fundraisers". Sexual abuse ranged from inappropriate touching to rape.
Leeds General Infirmary (inc St James and Seacroft Hospital) June 2014, Feb 2015 60 in original report, plus six in a second report 33 of the 60 alleged victims in the first LGI report were patients of whom 19 were children. A further 19 were staff. Encounters ranged from lewd remarks and inappropriate touching to sexual assault and rape.
Bethlem Royal Hospital Feb 2015 0 Inconclusive investigation as it was not possible to substantiate the Savile abuse claim.
Birch Hill Hospital, Rochdale Feb 2015 0 No evidence Savile had any association with the hospital - but it is possible abuse was carried out by an unidentified male.
Calderdale Royal Hospital Feb 2015 0 Allegation of abuse by a former patient was unlikely to have been carried out by Savile.
Crawley Hospital Feb 2015 0 No specific allegation of assault, but concern about Savile's presence at the site.
Meanwood Park Hospital, Leeds Feb 2015 0 It is likely a warning was issued, based on a perception that Savile was a "disruptive nuisance" as opposed to a sexual threat.
Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Gateshead Feb 2015 0 No specific allegations but suggestions of inappropriate behaviour towards staff, including "hand licking".
Rampton Hospital Feb 2015 4 Four separate disclosures of sexually inappropriate behaviour by Savile.
Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle June 2014, Feb 2015 1 Allegation relating to a former patient could not be substantiated as the person did not wish to be interviewed.
Scott House Hospital, Rochdale Feb 2015 0 No evidence of a visit by Savile - and no allegation of abuse.
Shenley Hospital Feb 2015 1 Report records one incident, which cannot be confirmed - but the alleged victim's account is credible.
Springfield Hospital Feb 2015 0 against Savile, 7 against Savile's brother Johnny No evidence of Savile visiting the hospital - but the report investigates seven allegations of sexual assault by his brother, Johnny, who worked there as a recreation officer in the late 1970s.
St Martin's Hospital, Canterbury Feb 2015 0 On the balance of probability, it is unlikely Jimmy Savile visited the hospital.
West Yorkshire Ambulance Trust Feb 2015 0 No allegations of sexual abuse by Savile - but his access to staff and patients was entirely inappropriate.
Hospital Report date Allegations Details
Ashworth / Moss Side Hospital June 2014 4 Two female ex-patients said Savile abused them. One male ex-patient said he witnessed groping. One ex-staff member speculated about abuse which may have happened. Information was found to be credible.
Broadmoor Hospital June 2014 11 10 victims of assault, two were repeatedly abused. Six patients, two children and two staff. One indecent exposure to child. Report found "clear, repeated failure of safeguarding standards" at Broadmoor at the time.
Barnet General Hospital June 2014 1 Patient had conversation with nurses who said they had seen Savile having sex with a corpse at a different hospital. Investigators concluded incident did not happen at Barnet although conversation did take place.
Booth Hall Children's Hospital June 2014 2 Woman who was aged seven or eight at the time says she was abused by her father and Savile. Man says Savile touched him when he was 10. Investigators cannot say conclusively whether the incidents took place.
Cardiff Royal Infirmary June 2014 1 Patient alleged that Savile forcefully kissed her while she was lying in bed. The investigators were "unable to reach a conclusion about whether the incident took place".
St Catherine’s Hospital, Birkenhead June 2014 1 Savile allegedly groped a 14-year-old female patient. Report found the victim credible and convincing. Metropolitan Police have recorded it as a crime of sexual touching.
De La Pole Hospital June 2014 1 Nurse alleged Savile groped a 14-16-year-old female patient but she denies the incident. Investigators found no evidence of the alleged assault but did find Savile had visited the hospital.
Dewsbury and District Hospital (inc Pinderfields Hospital) June 2014 2 Woman says that when she was a 15-year-old in-patient in 1969 Savile French-kissed her without permission. A second allegation relates to lewd comments overheard by a nurse.
Digby Hospital, Exeter June 2014 1 Former patient alleges that she was raped by Savile in a caravan in the hospital grounds. The report had "no reason to doubt the veracity" of her account.
Dryburn Hospital June 2014 1 Allegations of potential procuring of children for Savile. No evidence was found to support this.
Great Ormond Street June 2014 1 One allegation of sexual abuse of a patient in 1971. Report found no evidence that Savile was at the hospital at the time.
Hammersmith Hospital June 2014 2 One allegation related to a friend of Savile rather than Savile himself. A second allegation was of an inappropriate comment to a 13-year-old girl. No evidence of an association between the hospital and Savile.
High Royds Psychiatric Hospital June 2014 2 Patient and member of staff say they were groped by Savile at a hospital fun day. Victim accounts described as "very compelling and certainly plausible".
Leavesden Secure Mental Health Hospital June 2014 0 Person thought Savile may have visited the hospital in the 1970s but report finds this unlikely.
Portsmouth Royal Hospital June 2014 1 A man alleges being told by a cleaner that he was assaulted by Savile while unconscious. The report concludes that it is "highly unlikely" the incident took place.
Royal Marsden Hospital June 2014 1 Person said colleague had alleged Savile had made sexual advances to her at either the Royal Marsden or Stoke Mandeville hospitals. No evidence was found of Savile's association with Royal Marsden.
Maudsley Hospital June 2014 0 Person thought Savile may have visited in 1964/5. Report found no evidence of wrongdoing.
Odstock Hospital, Salisbury June 2014 0 Person said Savile used to visit the hospital in the 1980s. Report found no allegation of wrongdoing by Savile.
Prestwich Psychiatric Hospital June 2014 1 Woman alleges that when she was a young girl she was taken onto the hospital site by Savile and another man and abused. Report found that the alleged incident had probably occurred, despite not being possible to verify her account.
Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead June 2014 1 Female patient alleged she was groped as she recovered from an operation. Investigators did not doubt that the attack happened but thought Savile was not involved.
Queen Mary’s Hospital June 2014 1 Anonymous allegation that a junior nurse denied Savile access to a ward and was threatened that a BBC outside broadcast would be cancelled as a result. Investigators found it was not possible to conclude whether the incident occurred.
Saxondale Mental Health Hospital June 2014 1 Woman who was then 14 alleges that Savile lifted her skirt when she was at a disco at the hospital. She was a local resident rather than a patient. Savile had a fundraising association with Saxondale Hospital from 1972 to the early 1980s.
Wheatfield’s Hospice, (non-NHS – Sue Ryder) June 2014 1 At an opening ceremony before patients were admitted, a woman who was then 16 alleges that Savile touched her leg and made lewd comments. The report found her account credible but there was no evidence to substantiate it.
Whitby Memorial Hospital June 2014 1 Staff member said Savile had touched her inappropriately. Investigators found that the incident did take place.
Wythenshawe Hospital June 2014 1 Patient said that a fellow patient alleged that Savile was a "dirty old man" who had parties in his home with young girls. No evidence that Savile was present on the hospital site.
Woodhouse Eaves / Roecliffe Manor June 2014 1 Allegation of abuse against a boy aged between five and seven. Investigators found that it was likely that abuse had happened at the location but it was not possible to conclude it was carried out by Savile.