Family of royal hoax call nurse turn to Leicester MP Keith Vaz for help
The family of royal hoax call nurse Jacintha Saldanha turned to MP Keith Vaz for help to get the truth about her death, the Leicester East member has said.
Ms Saldanha was found in her quarters at London's King Edward VII Hospital days after two Australian DJs rang the hospital posing as the Queen and Prince Charles and asking for information about its patient, the Duchess of Cambridge.
Mr Vaz has appeared in several media reports with, and speaking in support of, the family of 46-year-old Ms Saldanha, of Bristol, leading some people to question why he is involved in the case.
The MP said the family had asked him for assistance and that he was determined for them to be told "the truth" about what had happened.
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"The family approached me because of my position on the home affairs select committee and as there was a police investigation being conducted," said Mr Vaz.
"In my capacity as chairman of the home affairs committee, I sat on the Hillsborough inquiry.
"The family of Jacintha Saldanha deserve to be told the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth."
Ms Saldanha answered the prank call and put it through to another nurse on the ward where the Duchess of Cambridge was being treated for morning sickness.
Reports in national newspapers claim Ms Saldanha left a letter that was critical of the treatment she had received from some colleagues in the aftermath of the stunt. The hospital has denied any suggestion that she had been criticised by staff.
It has established a fund in her memory and a senior staff member has been appointed to support the family.
Mr Vaz said he wanted the hospital to furnish the family with a complete picture of what happened to Ms Saldanha.
"The family of this dedicated nurse have gone through hell in recent days," he said.
"We need to be told the truth in two areas.
"They are the hospital's response to what happened and the conduct of the Australian DJs."
Mr Vaz has written to the hospital demanding full disclosure.
Hospital chief executive John Lofthouse wrote to Mr Vaz saying no disciplinary procedures were taken against Ms Saldanha, who was found dead on December 7. On the contrary, it was recognised that she had been the victim of a "cruel trick", he said, and was offered support.
Mr Lofthouse said: "We have been in regular contact (with the family) since Friday, December 7 and have repeatedly made offers of support, which I am pleased to say have now been accepted.
"We also met the family earlier this week and shared with them everything we know.
"We all agreed that these discussions would remain private."
A spokesman for the hospital confirmed an internal investigation was continuing and it was helping the police with their inquiries.
The body of Ms Saldanha was escorted from the UK to Mangalore, in India, on Sunday by Ms Saldanha's husband and two children for her funeral yesterday.