Radio boss says hospital hoax not illegal

The station is "incredibly saddened" by death of nurse

Rhys Holleran, head of the Austereo network which owns radio station 2Day FM, has said he is "confident we haven't done anything illegal" in relation to the hoax call to the hospital at which Kate Middleton was treated. A nurse, Jacintha Saldanha, was found dead three days after taking the hoax call from the 2Day FM presenters.

Holleran said: "We are satisfied that the procedures we have in place have been met. Our main concern at this point in time is that what has happened is deeply tragic and we are incredibly saddened and incredibly affected by that... This is a tragic event that could not have reasonably been foreseen and we are deeply saddened by it. 

He added: "I think that prank calls as a craft in radio had been going on for decades. They are done worldwide and no one could have reasonably foreseen what happened."

The King VII hospital where Kate Middleton was treated (Getty Images)
Photo: Getty
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The big problem for the NHS? Local government cuts

Even a U-Turn on planned cuts to the service itself will still leave the NHS under heavy pressure. 

38Degrees has uncovered a series of grisly plans for the NHS over the coming years. Among the highlights: severe cuts to frontline services at the Midland Metropolitan Hospital, including but limited to the closure of its Accident and Emergency department. Elsewhere, one of three hospitals in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland are to be shuttered, while there will be cuts to acute services in Suffolk and North East Essex.

These cuts come despite an additional £8bn annual cash injection into the NHS, characterised as the bare minimum needed by Simon Stevens, the head of NHS England.

The cuts are outlined in draft sustainability and transformation plans (STP) that will be approved in October before kicking off a period of wider consultation.

The problem for the NHS is twofold: although its funding remains ringfenced, healthcare inflation means that in reality, the health service requires above-inflation increases to stand still. But the second, bigger problem aren’t cuts to the NHS but to the rest of government spending, particularly local government cuts.

That has seen more pressure on hospital beds as outpatients who require further non-emergency care have nowhere to go, increasing lifestyle problems as cash-strapped councils either close or increase prices at subsidised local authority gyms, build on green space to make the best out of Britain’s booming property market, and cut other corners to manage the growing backlog of devolved cuts.

All of which means even a bigger supply of cash for the NHS than the £8bn promised at the last election – even the bonanza pledged by Vote Leave in the referendum, in fact – will still find itself disappearing down the cracks left by cuts elsewhere. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. He usually writes about politics.