Duchess of Cambridge’s hospital condemns ‘deplorable’ prank call

07:46 06 December 2012

The callers gained information about Kate

The callers gained information about Kate's condition. Picture: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

The chief executive of the hospital which revealed confidential details about the Duchess of Cambridge’s health to a pair of Australian hoax callers says he regrets what happened.

Pippa Middleton visited her sister yesterday. Picture: Gareth Fuller/PA WirePippa Middleton visited her sister yesterday. Picture: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Two Australian radio DJs impersonated the Queen and the Prince of Wales to dupe a nurse into giving a condition update on Kate, who is suffering severe morning sickness.

John Lofthouse, chief executive of the private Edward VII Hospital, said he regretted the breach, but condemned the call as “journalistic trickery”.

The presenters, from 2Day FM, remarked during their show how their efforts were the “easiest prank call ever made”, as they put on mock British accents they later described as “terrible”.

Mr Lofthouse said: “I think this whole thing is pretty deplorable. Our nurses are caring, professional people trained to look after patients, not to cope with journalistic trickery of this sort.”

He said there was no chance the Duchess could have received the call, adding: “Technically I think this was a breach of patient confidentiality, which I very much regret. Having said that, the information which was inadvertently revealed is already in the public domain.”

William visited his wife for almost five hours yesterday and is likely to be angered by the intrusion into Kate’s health, despite the call having a humorous rather than sinister motive.

The 2Day FM presenters, Mel Greig and Michael Christian, later apologised for their actions as did their radio station.

Mr Lofthouse said the hospital was considering whether to take action against the radio station.

He added: “I’ve received advice that what the Australian broadcasters did may well have broken the law.

“On the other hand they’ve apologised for it so we’re going to have a long and careful think about what, if anything, we do.”

The prank call was pre-recorded and vetted by lawyers before being broadcast to listeners in Sydney.

In their apology the two presenters said: “We were very surprised that our call was put through. We thought we’d be hung up on as soon as they heard our terrible accents.

“We’re very sorry if we’ve caused any issues and we’re glad to hear that Kate is doing well.”

During the day the Earl of Wessex gave the Royal Family’s first public words of support for William and Kate.

Speaking as he attended a charity fundraising event in the City of London, Edward said: “We’re thrilled by the news but also deep, deep sympathy with Catherine because we know someone who suffered exactly the same, and we wouldn’t wish that on anyone at all.”

The Duchess was visited by her younger siblings Pippa and James Middleton who spent just over an hour with their sister.

Kate was admitted to hospital on Monday after developing severe morning sickness known as hyperemesis gravidarum.

The condition can leave patients feeling tired, dizzy and suffering from headaches - all signs of dehydration.

But it now appears she is responding to treatment and is likely to be having less severe bouts of vomiting.

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