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West London Mental Health Trust

Police investigate dropped nurse tribunal case in wake of Savile report

Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the withdrawal of an employment tribunal case involving a former Broadmoor Hospital nurse, which was brought to light by the Savile inquiry.

The lead investigator into Jimmy Savile’s involvement at Broadmoor Hospital concluded he could not “confidently exclude” the possibility of an “irregular payment” to the ex-employee.

His report into Jimmy Savile’s involvement at Broadmoor Hospital between 1968-2004 has called for the police to look into the circumstances of the tribunal case which was withdrawn after the ex-employee “threatened to make public embarrassing revelations about the hospital’s management”.

“We are particularly concerned that we cannot confidently exclude the possibility that an irregular payment was made”

Bill Kirkup

The investigation into Savile’s involvement at Broadmoor and a number of other NHS healthcare settings was led by Dr Bill Kirkup CBE. His findings were published at the end of June.

According to his report, a nurse was reported to have had a sexual relationship with a female patient and was dismissed for unprofessional conduct. She appealed and lodged an industrial tribunal case.

Documents from the time suggest that the nurse’s tribunal statement included allegations about the “personal conduct” of Broadmoor’s then general manager, Alan Franey, “involving herself and other members of staff”.

The case was subsequently withdrawn and Mr Kirkup noted that “remarkably” the investigation team were unable to find “either any documentation about it or anybody who can remember why the case was dropped”.

“Although it is possible that the nurse decided to withdraw voluntarily without compensation, we cannot exclude the possibility that an irregular payment was involved.”

The report added: “This case, and the view widespread among staff that the nurse received financial compensation after she had committed gross professional misconduct by abusing a vulnerable patient, contributed to an atmosphere within the hospital that tolerated inappropriate behaviour, including sexual misbehaviour, and that discouraged reporting. The nurse concerned was, like Savile, a close associate of Franey’s.”

Bill Kirkup

Bill Kirkup

In his recommendations, Mr Kirkup called for the incident to be investigated “by the responsible authorities”.

He wrote: “We are particularly concerned that we cannot confidently exclude the possibility that an irregular payment was made to settle an impending tribunal case at which embarrassing personal allegations would have become public.

“We recommend that NHS Protect and the police investigate this possibility,” he said.

Thames Valley Police confirmed that they were investigating the matter.

A spokesman for West London Mental Health Trust, which now runs Broadmoor, said: “The relevant authorities have been passed information about a possible irregular payment and we await the outcome of their investigations.”

 

Readers' comments (3)

  • This is nothing more than sensationalist pap and has no place in the online journal of a nursing organisation.

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  • I disagree. This needs investigation. If, as reported, the nurse “threatened to make public embarrassing revelations about the hospital’s management” she's guilty of blackmail. If she did act as the report suggests then she needs to be brought to book. If she didn't, she needs the opportunity to face her accusers and clear her name. All the time there's any doubt, she'll be unable to work in any capacity with vulnerable people.

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  • michael stone

    I've read the report - it is quite lengthy, and quite 'hard going', but the nurse (named in the report) is covered on pages 55 to 59. A special section, devoted entirely to the issues around that nurse.

    More generally, the report makes me despair about so-called civilised humanity: it is all hugely depressing !

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