UK & World News

  • 14 December 2012, 22:42

Royal Hospital Says It Stood By Hoax Nurse

A hospital has told an MP representing the family of a nurse found dead after a prank call that it had stood "by her judgement" in putting the call through.

In a letter sent to Keith Vaz MP, the chief executive of the King Edward VII's Hospital said Jacintha Saldanha had been "reassured on a number of occasions by senior managers" and offered support in the aftermath of the hoax.

Mr Vaz said Ms Saldanha's family needed to know the "full facts" of what happened, and has called for the hospital to provide the family with more support and to hold an inquiry.

"Jacintha believed that the call was genuine, and she felt it appropriate to put the call through. We stand by her judgement," said the letter from John Lofthouse.

"Jacintha was reassured on a number of occasions by senior management that no blame was attached to her actions and that there were no disciplinary issues involved, because she had been the victim of a cruel trick."

Ms Saldanha was offered time off, the possibility to return to her home in Bristol and counselling, the letter said.

"Jacintha said that she would prefer to continue working. Neither ourselves, her friends or family noticed anything to give cause for concern," Mr Lofthouse wrote.

Ms Saldanha, 46, was found dead last week in a block of nurses' flats close to the hospital in an apparent suicide.

Days earlier she had received the hoax call from two Australian radio DJs and put it through to a colleague who disclosed details of the treatment being given to the Duchess of Cambridge, who is pregnant and suffering from acute morning sickness.

A memorial fund for Ms Saldanha has been set up by the radio station responsible for the prank.

Southern Cross Austereo, the parent company of radio station 2Day FM, said the remainder of the profits for 2012 should go to a memorial fund to benefit Saldhana's family.

The sum is expected to amount to a minumum†of†AUS$500,000 (£326,000).

Mel Greig and Michael Christian - the DJs who pretended to be Queen and the Prince of Wales in the call - have said they are devastated over the death.

Interviewed on Australian TV networks, the 2Day FM presenters said there had been a "tragic turn of events no-one could have predicted or expected".

Ms Saldanha was married to Benedict Barboza and was the mother of two teenage children.

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