The Sydney radio station linked to the apparent suicide of a London nurse said on Monday it tried repeatedly to reach King Edward VII Hospital management before airing a prank call, in which its hosts impersonated Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles.

“We attempted to contact them on no less than five occasions,” Rhys Holleran, the station’s boss told local radio. “We rang them up to discuss what we had recorded.” But 2Day FM’s claim that it followed established protocols in airing a prank call inquiring into the heath of the Duchess of Cambridge was rebutted by former employee and veteran radio journalist Wendy Harmer.

Harmer, speaking to her current employer, national broadcaster ABC, said that the rules would have obliged presenters Mel Greig and Michael Christian to have the permission of Jacintha Saldanha and the other nurse involved before the piece went to air. She said that radio insiders believed 2Day FM had been “flouting the rules.”

The station’s defence that it had sought to contact the hospital appeared to contradict Saturday’s statement from hospital chairman Lord Glenarthur, who made no mention of any attempt to contact hospital management.

In its official reply to Lord Glenarthur’s withering criticism of the station, no claim was made that attempts were made to reach hospital management.

Saldanha’s body was found in hospital accommodation three days after she was duped into breaking patient confidentiality, by revealing details of the treatment the former Kate Middleton was receiving for acute morning sickness in the early stages of her pregnancy.

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