It's easy in these circumstances for some to lose a sense of perspective and as a consequence the Australian station in question is taking a great deal of flak, liberally sprinkled it has to be said with a dash of good old 'Aussie bashing'.
Yes, the call in question was crass, juvenile and puerile but given the world wide publicity of the Duchess of Cambridge's pregnancy, and admission to hospital, it was completely inevitable that bogus calls were going to be made to the hospital - to elicit information more than anything else.
But like a magician who uses diversion techniques as part of his act, so it's proving with the hospital in question. Because ultimately it comes down to a failing on their part.
As I've noted here before, Mrs TBF used to work for the Queen, albeit indirectly via the Queen's horse race trainer. One of the first things that was drummed into her was answering the phone and dealing with possible bogus and fake press calls.
- The Queen never phoned directly. A member of staff (name known) always phoned and one of two things occurred; either a request to be transferred to the boss (and only him) who would then be connected through or, far more frequently, a request would be made to be called back on an approved number at a certain time.
- In the event of a member of the Queen's staff requesting information, it was done by terminating the call and ringing back on an approved number to give out the information.
So it begs the question why staff of the King Edward VII's hospital were not briefed in the same way, not only given the high profile nature of the Duchess of Cambridge's condition, but that historically it has been used by copious members of the Royal family including; the Queen, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and Charles, Prince of Wales.
Yet it appears that training or information was not given as a matter of course or if so it was clearly inadequate. Either way it is a failure of the hospital's management. However, like the tricks of the magician, we are persuaded to look the other way:
Lord Glenarthur, chairman of King Edward VII’s Hospital, has now written to Australian radio station condemning the call, in which two presenters pretended to be the Queen and the Prince of Wales.
In the letter to Max Moore-Wilton, chairman of Southern Cross Austereo - the parent company of 2DayFM, Lord Glenarthur said: "I am writing to protest in the strongest possible terms about the hoax call made from your radio station, 2DayFM, to this hospital last Tuesday.
"King Edward VII’s Hospital cares for sick people, and it was extremely foolish of your presenters even to consider trying to lie their way through to one of our patients, let alone actually make the call."
In the sad event of a preventable death I hear the noise of arse-covering.He added that the decision to transmit the pre-recorded call was "truly appalling".