Hospitals may curb celebrity visits


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The Independent Online

Celebrities may face restrictions on visiting patients in hospitals for fundraising and morale-raising tours after the head of the NHS reportedly called for reviews of access rules following the Jimmy Savile paedophilia scandal.

Sir David Nicholson, the health's service's Chief Executive, has written to all trusts and foundation trusts following the allegations that Savile may have abused vulnerable children in the 1970s and 1980s while touring wards at Stoke Mandeville in Buckinghamshire, as well as Leeds General Infirmary and Broadmoor.

In a letter seen by the Health Service Journal, Sir David wrote: "I would ask that you take the opportunity to review, with your boards, and working as necessary with local agencies, your own arrangements and practices relating to vulnerable people, particularly in relation to: safeguarding; access to patients (including that afforded volunteers or celebrities); and listening to and acting on patient concerns."

Sir David added: "While the nature of protection for children and young people in the NHS is far in advance of what it was in the 1970s and 1980s, we must be absolutely sure that all our existing NHS procedures are robust."

Sir David said that the abuse claims against Savile "are appalling allegations and it is deeply disturbing to think that abuses of this nature may have occurred in NHS organisations".