The London hospital at the centre of the Australian hoax call controversy on Monday denied that the Sydney radio station behind the prank made any contact with it before airing the call.
It followed claims by 2DayFM that at least five attempts were made to obtain the permission of the two nurses involved in the incident before the taped conversation was broadcast.
One of the nurses, Jacintha Saldanha, was found dead three days after she an answered the call from Mel Greig and Michael Christian who posed as the Queen and Prince Charles in order to obtain confidential medical details of Kate William, the Duchess of Cambridge.
The hospital said it had offered to provide whatever assistance and support it could to Ms Saldanha's family.
In a statement, King Edward VII Hospital said that its chief executive John Lofthouse, personally spoke to Mrs Saldanha's husband, Benedict Barbosa and offered to meet him ``at any time and in a place of his choosing’’.
``Mr Lofthouse also made it clear that the hospital would offer any support it could. Mr Barbosa said he was grateful for the offer, and the hospital invited him to reflect on whatever help he would like. The hospital followed up this telephone call with a similar offer in writing. In that letter the hospital also offered to establish a memorial fund in the name of Jacintha Saldanha,” it said.
Rhys Holleran , whose company Southern Cross Austereo owns 2DayFM , said his staff made several attempts to contact Ms Saldanha and another nurse who unwittingly disclosed the Duchess’s medical details to seek their permission before the call was played live on air.
``We rang them up to discuss what we had recorded – absolutely (before it went to air). We attempted to contact them on five occasions because we wanted to speak to them about it,’’ said Mr Holleran.
``It is absolutely true to say that we did attempt to contact those people,’’ he insisted.
Rejecting the claim, a hospital spokesman said:``Following the hoax call they did not speak to senior management or the company that deals with our media enquiries. ‘’
Labour MP Keith Vaz, who visited Ms Saldanha'sd family at their home in Bristol, said they were ``grief stricken and shocked” and were grateful to the hospital for establishing a memorial fund in her name.
“They will love her and cherish her and take her to India for burial.”