UK & World News

  • 14 December 2012, 19:06

Royal Hospital: Nurse 'Victim Of Cruel Hoax'

The nurse at the centre of a royal prank call was the "victim of a cruel hoax", a hospital has insisted.

King Edward VII Hospital stressed Jacintha Saldanha was not subject to any disciplinary procedure and that there had been no criticism of her.

In a statement released as the hospital held a memorial service for the nurse, who took her own life, it said it had offered her support in the aftermath of the hoax call.

The comments come after claims in The Guardian that Ms Saldanha left three notes, one of which criticised staff at the hospital.

The hospital said it could not comment on the contents of the notes found in Ms Saldhana's room in the nurses accommodation because it had not seen them.

The statement said: "There have been reports today about the alleged contents of one of the notes found in Jacintha's room. No-one at the hospital has seen these notes, and so we cannot comment on the reports or their accuracy."

It added: "Following the hoax call, hospital management offered her their support and told her that they considered her the victim of a cruel hoax. They stood by her actions, and made it clear there was no criticism of her, and that there would be no disciplinary action of any kind."

The hospital held a memorial service to allow friends and colleagues to pay their respects, a week after Ms Saldanha's death.

Lord Glenarthur, the chairman of the hospital, which has a long history of treating members of the royal family, insisted the hospital had been in contact with the family since Ms Saldanha's death and staff were helping police to determine what had happened.

Ms Saldhana killed herself just days after answering a prank telephone call from Australian DJs Michael Christian and Mel Greig to the hospital, where the Duchess of Cambridge was being treated for severe morning sickness.

The DJs from the station 2DayFM pretended to be Prince Charles and the Queen and were asking for an update on her health. Ms Saldanha put them through to the ward where the duchess was being treated.

The inquest into the 46-year-old nurse's death opened on Thursday. It heard Ms Saldhana was found in her room in the nurses accommodation close to the hospital. She had hanged herself and there were also marks on her wrists.

The mother-of-two left three notes: two were found in her room and the other among her personal possessions.

As many as 12 staff from the radio station have been moved to safehouses after death threats to the radio hosts and 10 executives have been given bodyguards.

Australian police have launched an investigation into the threats and have seized a letter sent to Mr Christian warning him there were "bullets out there with your name on it".

Southern Cross Austereo, the parent company of the radio station, said: "The safety of our employees is an absolute priority. We have sensible measures in place, as we always do, to ensure our people are safe."

:: Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans for help on 08457 90 90 90 or email jo@samaritans.org

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