Memorial service for tragic nurse

Andover Advertiser: Jacintha Saldanha was found by a colleague and member of security staff (Met Police/PA Wire) Jacintha Saldanha was found by a colleague and member of security staff (Met Police/PA Wire)

A private memorial service has been held at the King Edward VII's Hospital for the nurse who was found dead after being duped by a prank call from two Australian radio DJs.

Staff gathered at the London hospital to pay their respects to Jacintha Saldanha, a mother-of-two from Bristol, who was found hanging in her nurses' quarters by a colleague and a security guard last Friday.

The nurse transferred the DJs, believing they were the Queen and Prince of Wales, to a colleague who described in detail the condition of the Duchess of Cambridge during her hospital stay for severe pregnancy sickness.

John Lofthouse, chief executive at the hospital, said: "King Edward VII's is a small hospital, with a tight-knit team. Everybody knew Jacintha, and we were all left deeply shocked by her tragic death following the hoax telephone call. Today's service was a chance for everyone here to pay their respects and remember a dear colleague."

An inquest into her death on Thursday heard that Ms Saldanha left three suicide notes, with The Guardian reporting that one of the notes criticised staff at the hospital. A hospital spokeswoman said: "No-one has seen the notes, so we can't comment on the reports or their accuracy."

She added: "We can reiterate that Jacintha was an outstanding nurse doing her duty caring for sick patients. Following the hoax call, hospital management offered her their support and told her that they considered her to be the victim of a cruel hoax, and that they stood by her actions." She said that no disciplinary action was taken against the nurse.

A mass is due to be held for Ms Saldanha at London's Westminster Cathedral on Saturday. The mass will be offered "for the repose of the soul of Jacintha and her grieving family", a spokesman for the Cathedral said. "We would hope to hold a more formal memorial after the inquest has concluded." A provisional date of March 26 has been set for the next inquest hearing.

Labour MP Keith Vaz, who is campaigning on behalf of the family, has written a letter to Rhys Holleran, the chief executive of Australian radio company Southern Cross Austereo (SCA), calling for the full facts.

Mr Holleran said in a letter to Mr Vaz that there would now be a review of SCA's procedures. He said an initial internal review of events leading up to the broadcast of the call showed that set processes were followed but that in the circumstances they had decided upon "a complete review of all of our procedures and processes".

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (Acma) has announced an investigation into the broadcast, he added. Mr Holleran said SCA has been given a deadline of January 4 to comply with detailed requests for information. He added: "As we have stated publicly, we are truly sorry for what has happened." Mr Vaz, in response, invited Mr Holleran to send an apology addressed to Ms Saldanha's husband, which Mr Vaz said he would pass on. He added that he would be asking Acma to make the results of its investigation public.

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