The chairman of the hospital that treated the Duchess of Cambridge and employed Jacintha Saldanha — the nurse found dead from a suspected suicide two days after transferring a prank call from two radio DJ’s — has blasted the chairman of the radio station’s parent company.
As global fallout continues following the hoax call from two radio presenters at Sydney’s 2Day FM — Mel Grieg and Michael Christian — ultimate responsibility for the incident is now focusing higher up the food chain.
Lord Glenarthur, Chairman of the King Edward VII hospital in Central London, has fired off a strongly worded letter to Mr Max Moore-Wilton, Chairman of Southern Cross Austereo — the parent company of 2Day FM.
The letter, sent on Saturday morning, reads (in full):
“I am writing to protest in the strongest possible terms about the hoax call made from your radio station, 2DayFM, to this hospital last Tuesday.
King Edward VII’s Hospital cares for sick people, and it was extremely foolish of your presenters even to consider trying to lie their way through to one of our patients, let alone actually make the call.
Then to discover that, not only had this happened, but that the call had been pre-recorded and the decision to transmit approved by your station’s management, was truly appalling.
The immediate consequence of these premeditated and ill-considered actions was the humiliation of two dedicated and caring nurses who were simply doing their job tending to their patients.
The longer term consequence has been reported around the world and is, frankly, tragic beyond words.
I appreciate that you cannot undo the damage which has been done but I would urge you to take steps to ensure that such an incident could never be repeated.”
The decision of King Edward VII Hospital to make the letter public will put further pressure on 2Day FM and Southern Cross Austereo in the wake of global condemnation of the prank call.
The two DJ’s who impersonated the Queen and Charles, Prince of Wales, spoke first to Jacintha Saldanha, who then transferred the call to the ward where Kate Middleton was being treated for acute morning sickness.
Since that Tuesday call, numerous advertizers have pulled their business from 2day FM and all advertising is currently suspended. But although DJ’s Mel Greig and Michael Christian have been taken off the air, neither 2Day FM or their parent company have — as yet — publicly criticized them.
At a news conference in Sydney, Rhys Holleran, CEO of Southern Cross Austereo said:
“We’re confident that we’ve broken no rules… we’re satisfied that the procedures we have in place were met.”
“I think that it’s a bit early to be drawing conclusions from what is really a deeply tragic matter. I mean, our main concern is for the family. I don’t think anyone could have reasonably foreseen that this was going to be a result.”
Holleran did go on to say that the two radio presenters were “shattered” by the news of Saldanha’s death.
Nurse and married mother-of- two Jacintha Saldanha, 46, was found dead on Friday morning after police were called to an address near the hospital.
Following the tragedy, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge released a statement via St James’s Palace which said they were “deeply saddened to learn of the death of Jacinctha Saldanha.”
Disturbing media footage of Mrs Saldanha’s grief-stricken family in South India has also gone around the world following the death of the nurse.
Reportedly, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) are keen to speak to Southern Cross Austereo about the incident.