Close Your Eyes And Make A WISH

The feminist campaigner Julie Bindel has written an article in the Independent Online about prostitution. I can’t agree with everything that Bindel publishes but on a lot of matters she’s still a breath of fresh air. However there are matters on which I am sure that Julie is remaining silent when she shouldn’t be – which is odd, because Julie Bindel has not been afraid to place herself in the firing line on a number of subjects. One of those issues on which she remains curiously quiet is the way in which a lot of women ended up in secure mental health settings because they had alleged sexual abuse at the hands of the social services or mental health services. Bindel and others – including Helena Kennedy QC – formed ‘Justice for Women’ back in the early 1990s and worked very closely with the women’s prison system and the mental health system. They will have known what was happening to women in those systems and the ways in which so many women ended up there. They did not utter a word. My posts ‘Eve Was Framed – As Were A Lot Of Other People’ and ‘Ieuan Stands Down – And Other Updates’ details the work of ‘Justice for Women’ and some of their high profile cases. I also explain how Helena Kennedy had relied on the ‘court room skills’ of Professor Nigel Eastman of St George’s Hospital Medical School to win cases. Eastman was one of the psychiatrists at St George’s who knew about the abuses and criminal activities of Dr Dafydd Alun Jones and Dr Tony Francis (Dr X) in north Wales and kept schtum (see post ‘Some Very Eminent Psychiatrists From London…’.) In her book ‘Eve was Framed’ Kennedy also praises the work of Dr James Earp from Leicester – James Earp was the first ‘second opinion’ to whom I was referred who was also brought up sharp against the malpractice of the Top Doctors in north Wales but decided to keep quiet (see post ‘An Expert From England’). Of course there was a paedophile ring in operation in Leicestershire involving a powerful figure – Lord Greville Janner. I suspect that Earp knew about that and wasn’t going to tangle with him, let alone take on Dafydd et al, who were concealing the paedophile gang that was directly supplying boys to the Westminster Paedophile Ring.

In her article, Bindel mentions Emma Humphreys. Emma was born in Dolgellau, north Wales, had a very difficult life and ended up working as a prostitute whilst a teenager. She killed her pimp when she was 17 and was imprisoned. ‘Justice for Women’ took up her case, secured her release and Emma became one of their cause celebres. Sadly Emma died from an overdose just three years after being released from prison. There are a lot of unanswered questions about Emma’s case and her death took place in very worrying circumstances. ‘Justice for Women’ have never raised some very obvious questions (see posts ‘Eve Was Framed – As Were A Lot Of Other People’ and ‘Ieuan Stands Down – And Other Updates’). Yet an Emma Humphrey Memorial Prize was established by ‘Justice for Women’ – Julie’s article in the Indie contains a link to the relevant webpage. One of the Patrons listed on the webpage is Vera Baird QC – Baird represented Emma Humphreys on appeal. Like Helena, Vera has built her reputation on being a feminist barrister. Yet like Helena, Vera has metaphorically got into bed with people who have inflicted great harm on the very people whom she claims to have been fighting for. My post ‘News Round Up, August 15 2017’ described how Lord Charlie Falconer effectively removing Legal Aid resulted in people who had been abused by the health and welfare services being completely unable to obtain justice, which of course rendered New Labour’s much boasted about Human Rights Act meaningless. Vera Baird was Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State to Charlie Falconer in the Department for Constitutional Affairs when Legal Aid was withdrawn.

The Emma Humphrey’s Memorial Prize webpage contains a link to WISH, Women in Secure Hospitals (formerly known as Woman In Special Hospitals). WISH was established in the late 1980s to represent women detained in Ashworth, Rampton and Broadmoor. Like ‘Justice for Women’, WISH will have known that a lot of these women had been banged up because they had complained of being abused by the children’s services or the mental health services (see posts ‘Socio-Political Context Of North Wales Mental Health Services In The 1980s’ and ‘Ieuan Stands Down – And Other Updates’). They will have known that those women were being sexually abused all over again in those secure hospitals and they’ll have known about Jimmy Savile as well. They did not breathe a word. The current WISH website is spectacularly lame. The biographies of the people listed as Trustees suggests that none of them would be capable of taking on institutionalised corruption in psychiatry – indeed the absence of WISH in highlighting any of the serious problems that are now being admitted to be rife in mental health care suggests that indeed none of these people could take on the mental health establishment. Instead the WISH website is littered with very familiar things – advocacy, gender mainstreaming, references to the way that the services ‘make women feel’ etc. Not a word about violent or sexual assaults on patients, not a word about miscarriages of justice, not a word about deaths in secure mental health units, nothing. However WISH does mention that it provides advocacy services for women in a number of Cygnet hospitals. Cgynet Healthcare is a multi-million pound American company which is rapidly gobbling up huge swathes of the UK NHS. The Medical Director of Cygnet is Robert Kehoe, a man who was happy to submit a pack of lies about me, Brown, the Hergest Whistleblower, my lawyer and even my PhD supervisor in an ‘expert witness report’ (see post ‘An Expert In Resistant Service Users’). A lot of eyes and ears were very firmly closed when someone decided to make a WISH.

The institutional abuse to which some of those women in secure hospitals had been subjected but whose interests WISH failed to effectively represent was the forerunner to the large scale abuse and trafficking of disadvantaged young people that is leading the news bulletins at the moment.

Yesterday Sarah Champion resigned from Jeremy Corbyn’s front bench team after an article appeared in The Sun using comments from her with regard to the widespread sexual abuse of girls in Rotherham – Sarah is the MP for Rotherham. I applaud Sarah for her campaigning on this matter, but as I have repeatedly stated on this blog, this is not only a matter of ‘South Asian’ or ‘Muslim’ men sexually exploiting white girls – the press are highlighting those cases involving South Asian men but have ignored the other cases in which the same sort of crime was perpetrated by people who were not South Asian or Muslim. Unfortunately Sarah didn’t choose her words too wisely – although if she had made more nuanced comments I doubt that The Sun would have run the article – and she now stands accused of racism. Sajid Javid has tweeted a response to Sarah’s resignation saying that we ‘need an honest open debate on child sexual exploitation’.

We could start by admitting that it has been going on for decades and that by the 1980s it had metamorphosed into a form of organised crime that was evident in the social services of most UK local authorities – and that ALL political parties colluded in denying and concealing it at the highest levels. Javid’s own Conservative Party were instrumental in this – the Home Office under Leon Brittan ‘lost’ dozens and dozens of crucial files with details of Westminster figures involved in child abuse and under John Major, William Hague – in his capacity as Secretary of State for Wales – organised the Waterhouse Inquiry into the North Wales Child Abuse Scandal which was the biggest whitewash that has ever been conducted in Wales. Radio 4 broadcast an interview with Hague by Peter Hennessey this morning and Hague spoke frankly about having to be ‘ruthless’ in Gov’t and remove people if they were a liability. He could have added that when the scandal was so great, stretched back so many years and involved so many people that you couldn’t just remove them, one organises a large scale cover-up a la Waterhouse.

The Times also commented extensively on Sarah’s resignation today, questioning how it was possible to change attitudes without causing offence. They could start by working on one of their own journalists, Matthew Parris. Parris has admitted attending parties with his mates at an Italian venue known as the ‘villa of shame’ where ‘boys who were always willing’ were supplied. Before becoming a Tory MP Parris worked as Thatcher’s correspondence secretary – so he will have known all about the sex parties with under-aged boys that Sir Peter Morrison the MP for Chester and Thatcher’s aide was known to be attending. Parris also worked in the Foreign Office so he was in a position to know about Sir Peter Hayman, the UK diplomat who was a paedophile and was eventually convicted for that. Another person who has had doings with The Times is Gyles Brandreth, who became the MP for Chester after Morrison stood down. My post ‘I Want Serious Money Now Please’ explains why I believe that Brandreth knew about Morrison’s activities. I’ve just begun reading Brandreth’s autobiography ‘Breaking The Code’ and I note that he mentions that he has been friends with Edwina Currie since they were at Oxford together. That’s the Edwina who described Peter Morrison in her own book as a ‘pederast’. The Times reminds us that in 2011 when it first began reporting on the sexual abuse of white British girls by gangs of South Asian men, Jack Straw described those girls as being seen as ‘easy meat’.

Jack’s own hands are not clean. He was Margaret Hodge’s deputy on the Housing Committee in Islington Council whilst the Council’s homes were rife with paedophiles who were abusing the children. Islington Council were repeatedly told what was happening and ignored it. In 1986 the Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens raised serious concerns about child abuse in Islington. A whistleblowing social worker disappeared in fear of their life and was assumed to have ‘gone abroad’. (There’s another rather more worrying possibility which comes to mind when someone disappears after telling people that they rumbled crime so serious that they’re in fear of their life.) In 1995 the White Report confirmed everyone’s worst fears – Islington children’s homes had been infiltrated by gangs of organised paedophiles and the Council had failed to act. Margaret Hodge was famously sued by a man who had been abused whilst in the care of Islington Council when she was Council leader after he wrote to her and told her what had actually happened to him and she insulted him.

This is where we now come to Jeremy Corbyn. This blog has detailed how scores of figures in the Tory Party and New Labour knew about organised child abuse and said nothing, but it seems as though Jeremy knew as well, although he has now issued a statement stating that the ‘Harris-Savile scandal shows how serious the problem of sexual abuse is, the way it can arise in different parts of society and the need for effective action to tackle it’. A correspondent to this blog, Mike Claybrook, left a link in my comments column a few hours ago to an open letter to Jeremy Corbyn from John Mann, a fellow Labour MP. John Mann details how Jeremy was told on a number of occasions what was happening to children in Islington, but like nearly everybody else Jeremy did not take appropriate action. The Labour Party are currently organising the speakers for their forthcoming conference. Keynotes lined up include Diane Abbott, Keir Starmer and John McDonnell. Abbott was former Head of Press and PR for Lambeth Council, which had a problem with paedophiles in it’s children’s homes every bit as big as the problems in Islington and north Wales (see post ‘Tower Hamlets, Paul Boateng and Tessa Jowell’). Keir Starmer, whilst he was DPP, personally ordered an intervention in a massive police corruption trial in south Wales which caused the trial to collapse (see post ‘A Future Leader Of The Labour Party?’). The police on trial had been involved in framing innocent people for the murder of Lynette White, a young woman in Cardiff who had given an interview to the BBC about how she was forced into prostitution as a child. My post ‘A Few More Who Might Be Able To Answer Questions’ gives the reasons why I think that John McDonnell also knew about the large scale sexual abuse of children in care in London in the 70s and 80s.

The Chief Executive of the EHRC has also jumped on the bandwagon, stating that it was a ‘real shame’ that Sarah Champion had resigned ‘over sensitivity about language’. What is an ever bigger shame is that Dr Rachel Perkins has a seat on the EHRC – Perkins was Clinical Director of Springfield Hospital whilst they concealed evidence concerning organised child sexual abuse.

But whilst everyone is now banging on about the serious problem of child sexual abuse and how we’re all fully aware of it now and ooh we’ll never ignore it again, just look what was reported from Cardiff Crown Court yesterday. Dr Armon Daniels, a GP, was found to be in possession of more than 16,000 indecent images of children and 850 indecent video films of children. He received an 8 month prison sentence – suspended for two years. The GMC has given him an ‘interim suspension order’. We have learned nothing – in the 70s, 80s and 90s the paedophile ring in north Wales was facilitated by the Top Doctors. No-one would act because they were fucking doctors – everyone knew what they were doing, but the GMC made excuse after excuse not to take action against them. Meanwhile witnesses were found dead after giving evidence against the paedophile gang. How much worse could it have got? Yet now we’re all supposed to be so aware, a Top Doctor is caught with more than 16000 images – oooh dear, well perhaps we’ll suspend him just for a little while… Dr Daniels might as well have murdered a few of the witnesses, there’d have been no investigation.

 

Regarding wrongdoing in the NHS, news hot off the press is that Sir Leonard Fenwick, the CEO of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – the longest serving NHS executive in the country – has been sacked for gross misconduct. Details of his alleged sins have not been released but it has been confirmed that the Trust has ‘reported a number of concerns’ to the NHS counter-fraud and security management service. The dismissal of Sir Leonard is particularly intriguing because the Trust that he ran was in the news earlier this year, after it was alleged that a ‘sex ring’ was operating in the hospital, the leading lights of which were two consultants who were caught having sex with female staff on hospital premises whilst on duty. Sir Leonard tried to force the resignation of the Top Doctors involved but the dismissals were stopped by the Trust Chair Kingsley Smith and non-executive director Bryan Dodson – the Top Doctors were reinstated within twenty minutes and an ‘outside HR specialist’ brought in to investigate Sir Leonard for ‘bullying and abusive behaviour’. Now I know one thing about the NHS – although senior executives are very powerful, the mass force of the medical establishment is even more powerful. The two groups hate each other and are constantly trying to get one up on each other. The ‘sex ring’ consultants were caught on the job as it were – sex on duty on the premises was witnessed and loads of indecent e mails written during working hours and on the NHS IT system were found. What if the Top Doctors had gone running to the BMA and MDU for help once the scandal broke? Again and again in institutions I have seen examples of people who have been caught doing something that they shouldn’t turn the tables on any manager who tries to discipline them by levelling a charge of ‘bullying’ against the manager concerned. This is why institutions like universities and hospitals are so difficult to manage. Dr Alberto, the one competent, patient-friendly decent psychiatrist that the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board has was accused of bullying by the bunch of psychopaths who work at the Hergest Unit – whose patients regularly committed suicide – when he challenged them about their lethal practice.

So was Sir Leonard up to no good as well as the Top Doctors and this was only discovered during the course of a major investigation? Or has Sir Leonard been the subject of an NHS stitch-up? Either way Sir Leonard is out on his ear – whilst the shagging Top Doctors and their bedfellows are still in their jobs and have not been identified.

 

The Parliamentary Ombudsman in England carried out a survey which discovered that 58% of the families of elderly people who had concerns about their care whilst they were in the hands of the NHS did not complain because they feared that it would make matters worse. Sadly they are probably quite right – they would be faced with the usual passive-aggression from the NHS, the nearest they’ll ever get to an admission of service shortcomings is ‘I’m sorry you feel like that’ (rather than ‘I’m sorry that we’ve nearly killed your grandmother’) and that’ll only happen after letters have been exchanged for two years. If the complaining patient has inadvertently discovered a paedophile ring being facilitated by the Top Doctors they’ll find it nigh-on impossible to ever get NHS treatment again, a campaign of slander will be conducted against them and they may well find themselves up in court on serious but ludicrous charges.

Whilst we’re on the subject of the conduct of the Top Doctors in north Wales, the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales Nick Bennett has stated that the number of complaints against the NHS in Wales has continued to rise and a huge proportion of the complaints are about the Betsi, particularly Ysbyty Glan Clwyd. Not that Ysbyty Glan Clwyd will suffer any ill-effects – the Betsi have proudly announced that they’ve put forward a ‘business case’ for a new vascular unit in Ysbyty Glan Clwyd costing £2.7 million. This comes after a 2015 report from the Royal College of Surgeons confirming dreadful behaviour on the part of the vascular surgeons and an admission that they were making decisions based on their needs not the patients. The vascular surgeons went apeshit at the suggestion that a reorganisation of the service might take place and their former colleague Dr Christine Evans went into battle on their behalf, disguised as The Patients Voice aka the North Wales Community Health Council. They’ll be cracking open the champagne down at The Raven, the community pub in Denbighshire that Dr Chris helps run, now that the Top Doctors have been rewarded with a unit worth millions to misbehave in after screaming and screaming until they were sick. Likewise the special care baby unit costing millions is well underway, that’s going to Ysbyty Glan Clwyd as well, specifically to the obstetrics service that was so crazed that the student midwives from Bangor University were withdrawn and a hit-squad from the Welsh Gov’t were sent in with the aim, in their own words, of ‘achieving normality’. I wonder if they’ve achieved it yet. But this is how things are done in the NHS – if the Top Doctors are really unhinged and are killing people, the building is blamed and they’re given a brand new building in which to continue their misconduct. As at the North Wales Hospital Denbigh. It was the fault of the building. The building was actually weird but splendid, one of the best examples of architecture of that sort in the UK. It was in the hills with lovely views and squirrels in the grounds. Unfortunately Dafydd and Gwynne were in there as well, lobotomising people, molesting them, drugging them and refusing to ever let them out. That was the problem, rather than the building. So new buildings were created across north Wales – and Dafydd and co took up residence in the new buildings! Guess what? Not much changed. A few new people arrived and they did try, but they were pretty soon hounded out and ten years after Denbigh shut it was clear that things were still grim. Now once more, it is all being blamed on the buildings. Indeed it is so much the fault of the buildings that there are now ‘home treatment teams’. But it’s the same dreadful staff on those teams so the empowered service users are now insulted and threatened in their own homes by the Angels instead of in the hospitals.

 

The Welsh Ambulance Service continues to excel – another elderly person, 88 year old Anton Kusz, died after an eight hour wait for an ambulance after fracturing his hip. A narrative verdict was returned at the inquest. Just in case anyone thought that this death might have had something to do with an 88 year old man being left on the ground with a fractured hip for eight hours.

 

Dafydd, Lucille and CAIS could hit the jackpot again soon. The Welsh Gov’t is about to shell out another £2.1 million for projects tackling ‘rough sleeping and youth homelessness’ and it has been suggested that a cut of this dosh could be used to fund a ‘Black Mamba Day Centre’ to care for people who’ve overdone it on the Mamba and are terrorising Wrexham by ‘standing still like zombies’. The paedophiles’ friend, Arfon Jones the North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner, thinks it’s a great idea, but he does tend to support anything that might pass a few more million in the direction of CAIS.

Lastly, the 40th anniversary of Elvis’s death hasn’t escaped the Betsi. The Rev Wynne Roberts, the hospital chaplain at Ysbyty Gwynedd, has been doing some more dressing up and pretending to be Elvis. For the background on Wynne and the many reasons why he should not be a hospital chaplain, please see post ‘Music Therapy Anyone?’. But as a correspondent to the blog noted a few months ago when the Betsi tried to reconstruct Wynne as a ‘music therapist’, why would anyone want a proper chaplain when the Betsi has got a ‘singing Elvis-impersonating vicar who shags his parishioners?’.

 

The Great And The Good

As promised I’ll provide brief reviews of those Top Doctors and their associates who have popped up in the media today. The first one that I heard was Cathy Warwick, Chief Exec of the Royal College of Midwives on the ‘Today’ programme this morning. As well as awakening to the Mental Health Crisis which has been with us for years, the UK has now awoken from it’s slumber regarding the Maternity Care Crisis. It has been revealed that during 2016 nearly half of the maternity units in England temporarily shut down at some point as a result of a ‘bed shortage’. Some of the media reports have attributed the problems to ‘women choosing to give birth at a later age’ thus increasing the number of complex deliveries, or ‘a higher number of obese mothers’. So it’s the patients’ fault then, I thought that perhaps it might be, they’re all old and fat. Now and then the real reason for the problem has been mentioned – the NHS is short of thousands of midwives. Discussions have been held about the possible reasons – such as pay or the loss of training bursaries. The one factor not mentioned is that good midwives won’t work in an NHS where women and babies are regularly put at risk or where the midwives are scapegoated for cock-ups that are beyond their control – I actually know midwives who have left midwifery who have not hesitated to state that these were the reasons why they left their jobs.

So Cathy was wheeled out to comment on Radio 4. She didn’t admit the real reasons why midwives are fast becoming an endangered species either. But then she is very much part of the problem. Cathy Warwick has led the RCM since 2008 and knows exactly how dreadful some maternity care is. Not only has she never spoken out about this, but when James Titcombe, a former advisor to the CQC, was a little too critical of the state of maternity services for her liking, she wrote to the Chief Exec of the CQC and asked them if they could persuade James to be ‘less antagonistic’ on social media. James ended up resigning from his post as a result of the relentless pressure that he was subjected to by the midwifery establishment.

James Titcombe had good reason to be blunt about the danger that women and babies are regularly placed in – his own baby died as a result of negligence at Furness Hospital. Not only that, but after James was faced with a less than honest response following his son’s death, he did a bit of digging and found that many other babies had died at that hospital and that there had been a major cover-up regarding the dreadful conduct of a small number of midwives. James faced extreme hostility and efforts to silence him after he had been appointed to his role with the CQC and at one point a midwife even sent out a tweet about it being difficult to disagree with a ‘grieving and angry man’ who was blaming a whole profession for his loss. James had every right to be angry and of course he was grieving, his baby had died. Furthermore he wasn’t blaming a whole profession for his loss, he had simply very skilfully demonstrated that the ‘whole profession’ closes ranks and risks patient safety and that it is a considerably dishonest profession. In 2015 James commented that the National Review of Maternity Care failed to examine the current quality and variation in safety on maternity wards. Anyone want to admit that he was correct?

Not only has Cathy Warwick failed to speak out regarding the many problems in NHS maternity services, but she’s kept very quiet about the systematic way in which independent midwives have been prevented from practicing. A number of them such as Beatrice Carla were subjected to high profile show trials at the hands of the NMC and were driven out of the profession in that way, but because a few dared to persist their insurance was then withdrawn and midwives are legally unable to practice without insurance, so it was curtains for them. It is unlawful for women to give birth unaided in the UK, so unless one is very wealthy indeed and books oneself into somewhere like the Portland Hospital – which provides lovely grub and rooms as good as the best hotels but has presided over some major clinical disasters itself – it’s off down to the local NHS Unit for everyone now, even if the one nearest to you is lethal. The only way around this is for a woman to lie about her delivery due date and give birth ‘accidentally’ at home. Which is actually what some women are resorting to if they’ve previously had a really bad experience in hospital.

This is no way to treat women is it. The biggest laugh of all is that whilst risking women’s and babies safety, Cathy Warwick maintained that as a feminist she would make an ‘executive decision’ on behalf of the RCM to support the abolition of any time limits on abortion – members were not balloted. Hundreds of furious RCM members who had conscientious objections to abortion protested but Cathy ignored them.

Cathy rakes in a good deal more than the average midwife – in excess of £100k pa. She was awarded an honorary doctorate by that hallowed institution St George’s Hospital Medical School in 2007.

 

Then Radio 4 inflicted a Top Doctor upon it’s listeners on ‘The World At One’ – John Ashton, who was fuming away about the health of ‘northerners’ and maintaining that what was needed was more funding for public health in the north. Ashton’s angry near-rant followed clips of interviews with a number of northern men who all showed a healthy disrespect towards the BBC journalist when he quizzed them about their smoking habits and diets. Ashton banged on about the sins of Public Health England in spending far more per head of population in the south than they do in the north and also got in a mention of the ‘male identity crisis’ as well. The male identity crisis is not something that is going to be solved by the Gov’t giving more money to bodies like Public Health England or indeed by Public Health England upping their budget for the north. There is massive inequality between the south and the north but Public Health England is not the sort of body which will address the sort of inequality that needs addressing. John Ashton sounded so furious that I thought that it would be worth googling him because I hadn’t come across his name before.

Professor John Ashton has passed through the hands of a few institutions that have been named on this blog as concealing the wrongdoing of the Top Doctors – the University of Southampton, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the University of Liverpool Medical School. Ashton is the former Director of Public Health for Cumbria – well the NHS had a few problems in Cumbria didn’t it John, which were of course concealed. Such as all those babies who died in Furness Hospital, one of whom was James Titcombe’s son. It was also the NHS in Cumbria which appointed William Bingley to a senior role in the regional Trust – the William Bingley who colluded with the criminal activities of the Top Doctors in north Wales whilst he held senior positions with MIND and the Mental Health Act Commission. Bingley ended up resigning from the Trust after his business activities and associated conflicts of interest were made embarrassingly public. He ended up with a Chair in Mental Health Law and Ethics at the University of Cumbria, so he didn’t go far.

John Ashton might have known about Dr Dafydd Alun Jones and the paedophiles’ friends in north Wales himself. In 1986 John Ashton was employed as a Senior Lecturer in Liverpool Medical School. It was in 1987 that Dafydd told me that if I dropped my complaint against him he’d have a word with his friend who was a Professor in Liverpool Medical School and he’d get me a place there. In the summer of 1984 I had been told by a friend of Sonia Maxwell, the daughter of Terry Maxwell the Clinical Director of Ysbyty Gwynedd, that Sonia had been offered a place to study medicine at Liverpool regardless of her A level results before she had even applied ‘because they know her dad’. Ashton himself whilst he worked in Liverpool in 1986 established a pioneering needle exchange scheme for addicts. So I presume that Ashton knew the pioneering psychiatrist Dr John Marks from Liverpool who achieved impressive results regarding the reduction of harm among drug users, who in the early 1990s wanted to go to north Wales to work. Whose appointment was blocked by Gwynedd Health Authority because they wanted to give the contract for ‘substance misuse services’ to Dafydd. Which indeed they did (see post ‘The Evolution Of A Drugs Baron?’)

John Ashton originally trained as a psychiatrist. He has also worked in family planning and reproductive medicine. He’ll know all about the fertility treatment scams which have been discussed on this blog then.

In Feb 2007 the Manchester Evening News reported that Ashton was quitting his NHS post because he was fed-up with Gov’t reorganisations of the NHS and ‘red tape’. He stated that he was contemplating a career in politics.

He obviously changed his mind because between 2013-2016 John Ashton was President of the Faculty of Public Health. He was suspended from his post at one point after sending out a tweet referring to a group of people as ‘cunts’. I think that they had disagreed with him over something.

In July 2014 Ashton pledged his support for a change in the law to allow doctors to act in cases of ‘assisted dying’. The suicide statistics for north Wales suggest that Dafydd et al have been helping people on their way for years.

John Ashton has been very robust in his support of some other Top Doctors. In 2012 he took on the UK media after an article appeared in the ‘Independent’ stating that Clare Gerada, the Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners, had a vested interest in opposing the Gov’ts NHS reforms. Ashton charged into battle on her behalf, robustly defending her and later accused the Dept of Health of trying to gag him, saying that he had felt ‘bullied’. He should have just sent them all a tweet calling them cunts.

Who was the oppressed woman whom Ashton valiantly defended? Clare Gerada was the Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners between 2010-2013. She is a London based GP with interests in mental health and substance abuse. So she’ll know how crap the mental health services are then. Not that she’ll have ever publicly admitted it – because she’s one of the lot who trained in psychiatry at the Maudsley! In the 1980s – when the Maudsley’s finest alumnus Dafydd was concealing the paedophile ring and illegally imprisoning people in the North Wales Hospital Denbigh. But Clare will already have been schooled in the art of keeping quiet in the face of people doing unscrupulous things – she studied medicine at UCL. In 1992 Clare began working as a GP in Lambeth – the Lambeth that, like north Wales, ran children’s services teaming with paedophiles. The Lambeth who – until the 1990s – was also sending children in it’s care to children’s homes in north Wales where they were abused. Did you really not ever notice any of this Clare?

In April 2016 Clare was elected to the Council of the BMA. Clare is also a member and honorary fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

In Sept 2016 Clare was named as one of the Lib Dems new ‘Beveridge’ group of advisors – although she had been a lifelong supporter of the Labour Party until the EU Referendum. Perhaps she was one of these people who threw a hissy fit because they thought that Jeremy Corbyn wasn’t enthusiastic enough about the bankers club which is the EU.

Clare is a convenor of the cross party political group ‘More United’. I suspect that the only unity that Clare shows is with that of other Top Doctors.

There is a nice photo of Clare on her wiki entry. She is carefully posed – in a similar position to that famous pose adopted by Helen Mirren when she was photographed a few years ago to demonstrate that the over-65s can still look wonderful in a bikini. Clare isn’t wearing a bikini though, she’s wearing a boring but very expensive dress and for some reason is clutching an equally boring designer handbag in such a way as to ensure that it is featured in the frame. Clare must have spent ages getting that photo right, it even looks as though it was professionally done in a studio. The caption above the photo reads ‘Lady Clare Wessely’. Because that’s who she is – she’s married to a Sir!

The Sir to whom Clare is married is another Top Doctor, Professor Sir Simon Wessely, the Professor of Psychological Medicine at Kings College London and the Director of the Kings Centre for Military Health Research. If I presented ‘Woman’s Hour’ I’d call Clare and Simon a ‘power couple’.

Sir Simon is also an Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist at Kings College Hospital and at the Maudsley! Indeed he studied at the Maudsley in the mid-1980s. And at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He is a Civilian Consultant Advisor in psychiatry to the British Army.

He was knighted in 2013 for his services to military healthcare and to psychological medicine. In 2014 Simon was appointed President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Yet the mental health services are such a mess…

In an interview with the ‘Lancet’ in 2007 regarding the controversy over Wessely’s position concerning Gulf War syndrome and chronic fatigue syndrome, Wessely excused himself by saying that he was ‘keen to get published’. So what else did he publish in a hurry without thinking about it? He maintained however that regarding chronic fatigue syndrome, he was subjected to ‘a relentless, vicious, vile campaign designed to hurt and intimidate’. Never mind Simon, at least you weren’t illegally imprisoned, fitted up for crimes that you never committed, hounded out of jobs, subjected to an organised slander and discovered two attempts to set fire to your house, which is what happened to me after I complained about Dafydd and the Top Doctors. Of course most of the people who gave evidence against the paedophile ring that Dafydd et al concealed were found dead. That is what constitutes a relentless, vicious, vile campaign designed to hurt and intimidate, not a bit of criticism of some rather sub-standard research and ill-advised public comments.

Simon Wessely is a member of the Gov’ts Mental Health Taskforce, that one Chaired by Paul Farmer – who’s known all about the wrongdoing of Dafydd et al for at least ten years. Ever since I wrote to him about it.

Wessely was instrumental in setting up the Committee on Acute Psychiatric Care investigating out of area psychiatric placements which was Chaired by Lord Crisp, the man whom Blair put in charge of the NHS at one point. Crisp resigned from his position running the NHS when he realised that he (Crisp) didn’t actually know what was going on. Acute psychiatric care is now so bad that some NHS organisations have placed patients in France because they were unable to find placements anywhere in the UK.

When Wessely ascended the throne at the Royal College he stated that his priorities would include improving the image of psychiatry and psychiatrists, improving recruitment to the speciality and ensuring excellence in education and training. He’s done brilliantly there hadn’t he, no doubt he’ll be elevated to the peerage soon and Lady Clare can purchase a new outfit for the occasion.

Health Services Journal named Simon as one of the ‘Top 100 Clinicians’ in 2014. But then HSJ named Katrina Percy as CEO of the year. Katrina Percy was CEO of Southern Health which oversaw the deaths of hundreds of patients with mental health problems and learning difficulties, one of those deaths being of Connor Sparrowhawk. The Top Doctor responsible for Connor’s ‘care’ at Southern Health is currently facing a GMC tribunal. Yesterday she admitted 28 ‘failings’ in relation to Connor’s care.

In Feb 2017 BBC News online reported that had been a 50% increase in unexpected mental health deaths – including those due to suicide, neglect and misadventure – in three years. The Dept of Health maintained that the increase was due to ‘changes in recording and investigating deaths’. Perhaps that meant that the DoH had stopped lying about the situation. Simon announced that the ‘services are about to get worse’. The services were so bad by then that they couldn’t get much worse – perhaps Simon meant that the horrible truth could not be concealed any longer. Marjorie Wallace (see post ‘One Dangerous Fucker’) was gobsmacked that the DoH had started admitting the dire state of affairs as well – she  claimed to be ‘shocked’ by the figures.

 

Another guest on the ‘Today’ programme this morning was the barrister who is acting for the 17 year old girl who was the subject of Sir James Munby’s comments that society will have blood on it’s hands if a place in a suitable mental health unit cannot be found for her. The barrister described the girl’s current living conditions – alone in a cell, with only a mattress. As I have explained previously these are exactly the conditions to which some patients in mental health units are subjected – there is no guarantee that the treatment of that young woman is going to change in any way with a move from custody to ‘psychiatric care’. Her barrister also explained that at present, the way in which that young woman is restrained is by people ‘sitting on her’. The journalist conducting the interview was horrified. I’m sorry to burst her bubble, but ‘sitting on people’ in order to ‘restrain’ them happens in mental health care settings as well – and it is the Angels who do it. There was for many years a notorious dreadful building in Bangor called Neuadd Deiniol that was laughingly described as a home for people with mental health problems. The care was dreadful, one man choked to death in there and his body wasn’t discovered for a few hours – although he was being ‘observed’ every twenty minutes of course – and the only people who worked there for any length of time were people who couldn’t get a job anywhere else. At one point virtually all the patients there were Dafydd’s but after a while Neuadd Deiniol extended it’s welcome to patients of other Top Doctors as well. I got it straight from the horses mouth – I encountered a rather weird woman who was employed there as a nurse in charge and she cheerily recounted how they had to ‘sit on’ patients. A care assistant – who was no paragon of good practice herself – witnessed the conversation and challenged the Angel, saying that there were never any circumstances in which one should sit on a patient. The Angel was baffled and reiterated ooh no, you’ve got to.

 

As mentioned in previous posts I have suspected that once more the BMA are on a course of action in which they are going to scream and scream until they’re sick. It’s been confirmed by an article in Mail online today. The BMA have organised a ballot of ‘senior GPs’ across England regarding the possible suspension of new patient registrations. In other words, if the GPs vote yes, surgeries will refuse to take on any new patients. Which means that no-one will be able to change doctors, or register with a new practice when they move house or find a new doctor if their doctor retires or dies. Richard Vautrey of the BMA suggested a ban on new registrations as a form of industrial action in protest at ‘the lack of funding for surgeries’. It is reported that the Top Doctors are ‘angry’ at, among other things, the prospect of weekend opening. There is of course still quite a lot of funding for surgeries and for the salaries of Top Doctors. In fact GPs are still benefiting from the notorious out of hours contract that the BMA negotiated in 2004 which means that they can opt out of evening and weekend responsibilities but still earn in excess of £100k pa.

But did Top Doctors who worked as GPs offer a better service before they became as ‘angry’ as they are at present? This blog has posted much about a number of GPs who have conducted themselves appallingly, such as Dr D.G.E. Wood and Dr K. Shah who assisted Dafydd et al in their criminal activities. But even GPs in positions further removed from Dafydd and his mates were capable of some pretty dreadful things. My post ‘A Trade In People – Between London And North Wales’ described how a group of Top Doctors, assisted by some crooked lawyers, swindled a vulnerable brother and sister from London out of their inheritance and relocated them to north Wales after their mother had died in suspicious circumstances in Warlingham Park Hospital, although they had never even visited Wales previously. The financial swindle was perpetuated by Top Doctors in London, as was the most serious abuse and neglect to which these this family had been subjected, but the full details of their history was known to the GPs at Bethesda surgery. Those GPs also witnessed the serious poverty that they were living in and the dreadful neglect towards them by the Arfon Community Mental Health Team. They were not the only patients who were neglected by that surgery, the village was alive with anecdotes of very poor practice and not only with respect to vulnerable mental health patients. I attributed nearly all of this to the general level of poor care offered by that surgery, although there was one GP there who was noticeably better than the others.

There was one GP in that practice though who was quite competent when he wanted to be – when treating his friends for example – but who seemed to be incredibly negligent or ‘make mistakes’ in certain other circumstances. I witnessed him completely blank someone when they reported a case of sexual abuse to him for example – neither did he ever follow that report up. He also seemed to want to exert an astonishing level of control over the brother of the vulnerable family from London. He refused to refer this man for specialist care when he requested it, he told the man ‘not to bother’ when the man expressed an interest in voluntary work and intriguingly when this man had a short-lived sexual relationship with another woman who lived in the village, he virtually demanded full details of their sexual activity. His interest in the details of this man’s life were inexplicable – the GP wasn’t ever interested in providing him with a better level of care, or better living conditions and the sexual relationship that he was so interested in was consensual, between adults and non-exploitative. Neither was an unplanned pregnancy an issue because of the age of the woman involved. A couple of years after this, the same GP was involved in the death of a patient, a young man, S.

S had an older brother, J. J was notorious locally. He was in care as a child, developed drug and mental health problems by his mid-teens and ended up in the notorious Risley Remand Centre for burglary. I was friends with one of his foster parents who not only told me about the violence and abuse to which J had been subjected when he was young but also told me of the beatings and abuse that he and other young men suffered whilst in Risley Remand Centre. My friend did try and challenge the authorities regarding what was happening but she realised that the prison service was a law unto itself and she got nowhere. When J was released from Risley Remand Centre, he resumed his lifestyle of hard drug use, petty crime and dossing down in other peoples houses when they allowed him to. My friend continued to keep in contact with him. However S, his younger brother, was much more stable. He never became involved in crime or drug use and at the time that he died he was actually performing very well at a local FE college. Despite the differences between them S and J were on good terms and communicated regularly.

Then something happened to J that really concerned my friend. He was referred to Dr Dafydd Alun Jones. J began telling my friend some very bizarre things about his encounters with Dafydd. Dafydd told J that he loved him. (A number of other patients also reported that Dafydd had told them that he loved them.) J then appeared on a TV programme telling a few porkies in support of Dafydd when there was an attempt to force Dafydd into retirement in the mid 1990s. My friend asked J why he had gone on TV saying those things and he replied that he’d been paid to do so. Although J had a drug problem, Dafydd did what he was notorious for doing – he supplied J with any drugs that J requested. Whilst all this was happening J could be seen in Bangor openly selling hard drugs to school children. A number of people reported this to the police but no action was taken.

My friend then moved away from Bethesda and I didn’t hear any further details of J’s interactions with Dafydd although I was aware that J was still ‘Dafydd’s patient’. A few months after my friend left the village, there was a huge pubic scene in the GPs surgery. S and J’s mother was screaming abuse at one of the GPs and calling him a murderer. It transpired that S had died the night before – he was 18. He had been taken ill at home and the family were concerned that he had meningitis. They had rung Bethesda surgery and a GP had visited and stated that he ‘didn’t think’ that it was meningitis, it was just flu. S’s condition deteriorated and a few hours later they rang the surgery again. This time a different GP arrived – the GP who took such a close interest in the activities of the man from London. Again S’s parents expressed their concern that S might have meningitis. The GP told them quite categorically that S did not have meningitis, told them to give S paracetamol and not to call the GP again. Later that evening S started to lose his vision. His dad drove him to Ysbyty Gwynedd. By the time they had got out of the car S told his dad that he could no longer see. S died a few hours later. He had meningitis.

S’s death caused a huge amount of bad feeling in Bethesda, he was a popular young man. His mum made a complaint and attempted to have an investigation into her son’s case opened but got nowhere. The GP who had told her husband that S didn’t have meningitis, to give him paracetamol and not to call them out again told third parties that S’s mother’s distress was due to guilt ‘because the wrong son had died’. At the time I just put S’s death down to yet another monumental cock-up on the part of Bethesda surgery. But something was brought to my attention this morning. That is, that S was yet someone else who will have known what Dafydd was up to – because J will have told him – who would be a credible witness but who died as a result of a ‘mistake’ on the part of the NHS in north Wales. J is still alive. But J is like all those witnesses who gave evidence at the Waterhouse Inquiry – he has a history of drug abuse and mental health problems as well as a criminal record and people who didn’t know him would never believe a word that he said. The GP whose actions led to the death of his brother retired last year, although he’s only in his late 50s. He told some people that I know that he was fed up of working and could afford to retire so he would.

So was Dr Gareth Jones a truly incompetent GP who didn’t notice the terrible abuse and fleecing of a vulnerable family at the hands of a circle of crooked professional people and who just had an inexplicable desire to exercise control over this family – and a few years later made a disastrous mistake when someone who had been a witness to Dafydd’s wrongdoing developed the symptoms of meningitis? Or was something even more unpleasant happening?

 

The ‘Today’ programme doesn’t just provide Top Doctors with air-time, it does of course have a daily slot set aside for people with theological interests. So imagine my surprise when the person introduced as the presenter for Thought For The Day this morning was Rabbi Laura Janner-Krausner, Greville Janner’s daughter! This morning Laura was talking about ‘healthy holiness’, but of course the last time that I heard Laura on the ‘Today’ programme she was spitting blood in the direction of those people who claimed that her father had molested them when they were children in care in Leicestershire – Laura’s insistence that it is the easiest thing in the world to falsely convict an innocent peer for child sexual abuse prompted my post ‘It’s A Piece Of Cake’. Laura memorably said of Greville that ‘he was great and he was good’, which why she and the extended Janner clan were going to defend his name and silence those who had dared make allegations against him. (She didn’t manage to explain why the CPS admitted that there was enough evidence to prosecute Janner as long ago as the early 90s but for some reason they didn’t or that his own lawyer fully expected him to be charged with child abuse, which is why they had George Carman on speed dial.)

As well as being a lawyer and a politician, when he was younger Greville wrote a few books. I found one in a second hand bookshop some weeks ago. It looked a rather boring book called ‘Janner’s Complete Letterwriter’, but in the light of Laura’s insistence that the author was ‘Great and Good’ in the face of many other people maintaining that he was a lying child molester who used his mates in high places to keep himself out of trouble, I thought that I’d buy the book and read Greville’s advice re writing letters.

Greville’s book isn’t simply a guide to correct grammar and style. The stated aim of ‘Janner’s Complete Letterwriter’ is to show the reader how to achieve want they want. Greville seems to have made an in-depth study in Getting What You Want. He dispenses advice on how to write letters that will enable one to maximise profits, to fire staff without any comeback, to insult and upset people without using insulting or abusive words, to ingratiate oneself to people who are in a position to do one favours, to flatter, to praise and to appeal for money from very rich people.

‘Janner’s Complete Letterwriter’ commiserates with the reader that one of the drawbacks of hurting someone by letter is that one isn’t there to watch the ‘enemy’ read it, although he does explain that if one later hears that the recipient of one’s letter has been seen moaning and groaning in the bankruptcy courts, the letter has obviously hit home. He helpfully supplies some examples of ‘final, rude, rebuffs’. He explains that if one is ‘attacked by a commercial loud mouth look for his business groin: take aim and fire hard’, that through ‘calculated coolness you can make the other man feel like a worm’, that ‘some lies are forgivable’, that ‘the letterwriter needs to know how best to disguise the truth’, that ‘sometimes the truth is just too horrible to tell’, that ‘courts of law are not courts of morals and justice is sometimes cruel’, that ‘if lies must be told at least tell them well’, that ‘the lying letter is as much a fact of business life as the lying witness is a regular occupant of the witness-box’, that ‘when the lie is a large one, you have two alternatives: you may either build up to it by a series of minor fibs, or you can shout the big fib from the start’ and that ‘the fact of course is fiction’. Greville chooses some interesting sub-headings for his chapters – ‘irony and sarcasm’, ‘at the expense of others’, ‘the sting in the tail’ are just a few examples.

‘Janner’s Complete Letterwriter’ is a masterclass into how to deceive, intimidate and manipulate without anyone being able to describe exactly how one is doing so. When branching off briefly into advice regarding how to conduct oneself in person, Janner explains that it’s most important to always smile, even if you are knowingly inflicting damage upon someone. One of the children who alleged that Janner had abused him made a reference to ‘the smiling man’.

In the introduction to his book Greville thanks his son ‘Daniel Janner, BA (Cantab), barrister’ for his help in preparing the book. That’s Laura’s brother, who since his father’s death has threatened to sue the arse of those who made allegations against his dad if they dare repeat them.

 

 

More Summer Reading!

I’ve been digging around in book shops recently and I managed to pick up a second hand book which might be of interest to readers of this blog.

‘NHS plc’ was published in 2004 and was written by Allyson Pollock. I read quite a lot of Pollock’s work some years ago and what always struck me was that although Pollock undoubtedly knows exactly what goes on in the NHS, she was rather mealy mouthed when it came to admitting the full horror of it all. I always attributed this to Pollock being a policy advisor and therefore maintaining a discreet silence regarding patients’ being maimed and killed – I also was under the impression that Pollock had a background in social policy and such researchers very often do have trouble admitting just how much blood there is on the carpet. But I discovered yesterday that Pollock is actually a Top Doctor – she’s a Consultant in Public Health Medicine and has been since 1986. Since Jan 2017, Pollock has been Director of the Institute of Health and Society at Newcastle University. Prior to that she was Head of the Public Health Policy Unit at UCL and Director of Research and Development at UCL Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Pollock set up and directed the Centre for International Public Health Policy at Edinburgh University (2005-11). Before then she was Professor of Public Health Research and Policy at Barts and London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary, University of London. Her earlier career is not mentioned on her wiki entry – but guess what can be discovered if one reads ‘NHS plc’? That Allyson previously worked at Sin City – St George’s Hospital Medical School! She mentions that she worked there ‘before’ New Labour’s 1997 election victory. As she has been a consultant since 1986, presumably she was a consultant at St George’s. So she was there at some point in the 90s then – when the madness and malpractice that I have detailed on this blog prevailed there (see post ‘St George’s Hospital Medical School, 1989/1990’), under the ‘leadership’ of the dreadful Sir William Asscher…

Allyson Pollock is best known for her work on the gradual privatisation of the NHS with the associated imposition of a ‘business culture’ and the introduction of ‘new public management’ techniques. Her work on this is very, very good. I have never been able to fault her analysis of what this process has resulted in or her historical detail of the steps by which it has taken place. But reading ‘NHS plc’, it is clear why Pollock’s work never details the chaos and tragedy that is happening in the NHS, although she obviously loathes the privatisation agenda and could add considerable weight to her argument if she was prepared to go public on the excesses of the NHS. It is because Pollock is only telling half the story. The bit that Allyson Pollock just won’t mention is the contribution of the Top Doctors themselves to the mess.

Throughout ‘NHS plc’, Pollock paints a picture of a medical establishment that always does and has always done the best for NHS patients and which has been forced off course by the privatisation agenda – an agenda which Pollock suggests that nearly all Top Doctors have fought against for noble reasons. She does name the occasional sinner, the odd Top Doctor who has encouraged and personally benefited from privatisation, such as the odious Dr Chai Patel. Pollock describes Patel as a ‘millionaire doctor’. He is far from the only one Allyson as you well know. Patel of course notoriously ran a huge chain of private ‘care homes’ which were eventually exposed as being riddled with the most dreadful abuse and neglect of patients – it was this that forced him to step down from his role as a Dept of Health advisor on the care of the elderly. Among Patel’s business interests was his acquisition and expansion of the ‘Priory Group’. That is the Priory Group that currently employs two of Allyson’s former colleagues from St George’s and the associated psychiatric unit Springfield Hospital, Dr Robin Jacobson and Dr Adrienne Key! Likewise Allyson names a few of the biggest scandals that there have been in the NHS – scandals so big that she can’t avoid naming them, such as the Bristol Children’s Heart Surgery Scandal or Harold Shipman. There is not a mention of the fact that actually the NHS for a very long time has been dogged by scandals in which patients suffered greatly and were known to be suffering but no-one acted. According to ‘NHS plc’ the problems only began when Thatcher’s administration began privatising the NHS, a process which escalated under New Labour. It is New Labour into whom Allyson really puts the boot – she hates them.

Whilst Allyson highlights the idiocies that that Tories imposed upon the NHS in the name of the ‘internal market’, she makes no mention of why they were able to convince voters at the time that this might be a good idea. It was actually because there was a great deal of dissatisfaction with the NHS. I can remember the debates very well – the allegations made again and again were of Top Doctors who were so fucking arrogant that they would not listen to patients or respond to their needs. It wasn’t simply a case of affluent patients wanting a private room or special treatment, although that was indeed Margaret Thatcher’s personal interpretation. There had been for example massive dissatisfaction among women concerning the way in which many of them had been treated whilst giving birth, which led to practitioners like Michele Odent establishing private practices to which middle class women swarmed. There was the emergence of ME and the Top Doctors’ complete refusal to accept that this might have a physical cause – seriously ill people were dismissed as suffering from ‘Yuppie Flu’. People with an interest in alternative medicine also fumed at the way in which they were mocked and belittled by Top Doctors. I’m of the opinion that much ‘alternative medicine’ is indeed ineffective, but if one is a Top Doctor faced with anxious patients enquiring about such matters, taking the piss out of them to their faces is not the best way to proceed. The London surgeon Michael Baum was interviewed on TV regarding alternative medicine and he explained that patients enquiring about this were usually middle aged women wearing ethnic weave clothes who read the ‘Guardian’. That’s the sort of observation that is best made to one’s friends in private, not made on prime time TV – it caused massive offence and actually did him a lot of damage (which was unfortunate, because some of Baum’s opinions are worth listening to). I remember an episode of ‘Any Questions’ in which the biggest cheer from the audience was given to a Tory MP who when talking about the Tories reforms of the NHS, had robustly said of hospital consultants ‘they’re not God, they’re just guys doing a job’. People had really had a bellyful of the Top Doctors by the mid to late 1980s and that feeling was exactly what the Tories utilised to sell the voters their agenda for the NHS. Allyson mentions that ‘some’ hospital consultants were ‘downright arrogant’, that they were not ‘directly accountable to anyone’ and that team working was ‘often poor’, but she does not get anywhere near to admitting the extend of the greed, the bullying, the autocracy, the abuse of their positions and the overall preservation of their own vested interests that did – and still does – go on.

The attitude of the Top Doctors to patients was exemplified by the ‘reviews’ that the Top Doctors who fancied themselves as thespians used to put on themselves in medical schools at Christmas. Those stage shows were essentially a series of sketches in which the Top Doctors patted themselves on the back and sneered at patients for all being a bit ignorant or neurotic. I attended two such Christmas Reviews whilst I worked at St Georges – they were virtually identical and basically served to consolidate what someone the other day termed the ‘professional superglue’ that causes NHS staff to close ranks in the face of malpractice or patient harm.

Allyson mentions the concession to accept ‘pay beds’ that Bevan made when establishing the NHS. Bevan of course admitted that he was forced into doing this in order to get the Top Doctors to accept the idea of the NHS. (The Top Doctors REALLY objected to the idea of the NHS.) Pollock I note doesn’t quote Bevan’s most famous words – that in order to overcome the Top Doctors’ objections to the NHS he would ‘stuff their mouths with gold’. Allyson tactfully states that Bevan had accepted the existence of pay beds ‘in order to secure consultants’ participation in the new free health care system’. Pollock mentions that in 1975 Barbara Castle abolished pay beds – and my God wasn’t that one of her biggest battles – but her decision was later reversed and ‘by the 1980s pay beds were justified as an income earner for hospitals’. I don’t remember the Top Doctors objecting to their re-introduction Allyson – in fact when you and I were working at St George’s there was plenty of private practice going on. To be fair, some of the Top Doctors doing it were re-investing their earnings into their research programmes and of course there was a limit placed on the amount that medical academics were allowed to earn through private practice. Which was why so many Top Doctors didn’t want academic posts… Some of Allyson’s non-academic colleagues at St George’s were known to be very rich indeed as a result of their private practices.

Again and again Allyson portrays these very wealthy people with interests in private practice who ignored the wrongdoing of their colleagues as selfless barefoot doctors. She maintains that when ‘concerned NHS staff’ critiqued public-private partnerships they were dismissed by Gov’t as ‘self-interested’. However did anyone come to that conclusion? So who were the concerned NHS staff that Allyson was talking about? The cleaners? The canteen staff or the porters? The Angels perhaps? No, it was the BMA and the NHS Consultants’ Association.

There are plenty of clues in Allyson’s book as to what the beef of the Top Doctors really was. It was not that the Top Doctors were taking a principled stand against privatisation. It was a power battle. The Tories wanted to flatten the BMA in the way that they had flattened the NUM because the BMA were causing havoc behind the scenes and that’s what much of the obsession with imposing a business culture and managerialist practices on the NHS was all about. Unfortunately the Tories tried to fight the Top Doctors by giving huge power to an equally toxic group of people – NHS senior managers. The Tories were well aware of the damage that the likes of Dr Dafydd Alun Jones and Gwynne the lobotomist were inflicting upon the NHS and it’s patients, but their solution was to give as much power to the likes of Alun Davies and Martin Jones. It was not a good idea and for years now a full-on battle has raged between these two groups who are substantially made up of shites. Top Doctors who do have integrity are not going to be told what to do by Martin which is why so many of them are now leaving the NHS and good managers aren’t attracted to working in the NHS because most of the other managers there are like Martin. A few years ago I was friends with a newly qualified law graduate who landed himself a job in the management offices of Ysbyty Gwynedd. He memorably described Martin and co as ‘corrupt as fuck and thick as shit’. Of course, when the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board was first established, they had an excellent CEO, Mary Burrows, who was very bright and genuinely committed to improving the dire state of the NHS in north Wales. Mary was effectively hounded out by the Top Doctors and Martin et al. The last thing that a bunch of unscrupulous, abusive Top Doctors lining their own pockets want is a high calibre senior manager. Which is why you don’t tend to find such creatures in the NHS.

Allyson writes of the battle that the BMA had with Ken Clarke regarding GP fundholding and describes how the BMA were ‘defeated’ and ‘would never again challenge the Gov’t on matters of principle’. Allyson is being somewhat economical with the truth here. The BMA continued to fight Gov’ts tooth and nail, but they adopted a new tactic. Instead of presenting themselves as Top Doctors Who Knew Best overtly confronting the Gov’t, they constructed themselves as People Who Cared About The Disadvantaged – which is exactly the way in which Allyson presents herself! ‘NHS plc’ is full of warm words for the BMA – except towards the end of the book, in which Allyson accuses them of selling out, upon the appointment of a particular Chief Exec. Allyson wrote that book in 2004. In 2007 the BMA famously screwed the Gov’t over regarding the negotiation of the GP out of hours contract which was so favourable to the Top Doctors that one of the BMA negotiators described it as ‘a bit of a laugh’. It was this that led to enormous problems concerning GP out of hours provision. But Allyson’s heart must have melted at some point because in 2014 she was appointed as a Member of the BMA’s Council! She is still there.

Pollock’s own attempts to categorise herself as a barefoot doctor are interesting. She mentions going to dinner with a merchant banker before the election of New Labour to discuss PFIs (I wonder why Allyson was doing that?) and describes how the dinner was held in the ‘bank’s private dining room’ with ‘black coated waiters’ who ‘served lunch that lasted almost three hours’. Allyson compares that dining room with the ‘hospital canteen’ at St Georges and how she ‘could not help thinking of the rows of terraced houses in the impoverished community of Tooting from which St George’s mainly female, mainly black ancillary workforce was drawn’.

I remember those rows of terraces in Tooting as well – I lived in one of them. As indeed did many of the female, black workers of St Georges. So what did the Top Doctors of St Georges think about those workers and the other people who lived in those terraces? Well, one Top Doctor described the midwives as being ‘really thick especially the black ones’. Another Top Doctor told one of the researchers about a ‘really scummy family who live in Garrett Lane’ (Garrett Lane was one of the most deprived parts of Tooting.) A medical student was ostracised because he lived in a shared house in Garrett Lane. It wasn’t only living in Garrett Lane that made one persona non-grata – I attended a departmental meal in a restaurant in Wimbledon during which the wife of a senior registrar refused to speak to a junior doctor after she was told that the junior doctor lived in Brixton. Many of the Top Doctors at St Georges lived in Wimbledon or Clapham or further afield in affluent areas. I only knew of one Top Doctor who lived in Tooting who, as a result of having a number of young children from a series of broken relationships, didn’t have the sort of disposable income that his colleagues had and could only afford to buy in Tooting. He resented living there – although his house was a good deal better than everyone else’s – and he complained at length about the lifestyle enjoyed by another Top Doctor from Kings, who was sufficiently loaded that she was having a house built to her own specifications with a matching bathroom for each bedroom. That was Professor Linda Cardosa – I didn’t ever see her house which caused so much envy, but if any readers did do e mail me and tell me all about it. Should anyone ever see Prof Cardosa on a BMA protest supporting a pay claim I suggest that they ignore her.

As for merchant bankers – the brother of one of the researchers in the dept in which I worked at St Georges was a merchant banker. One of his bonuses was bigger than the annual salary of his sister’s boss. This caused much gnashing of teeth, but no-one used it as evidence that merchant bankers should be paid less – they used it as evidence that they should be paid as much as merchant bankers. As for the merchant banker’s sister – she grumbled at length about her own salary although it later emerged that some sort of ‘special arrangement’ had been made for her so she was earning much more than all the other researchers anyway. Not that she needed a higher salary than everyone else – she drove a Mercedes, but ‘only an old one’ which her father had given her and when she had enough of living in the inner city her parents allowed her to live rent free in the cottage on their estate in Surrey which had previously been inhabited by the gardener. I’m only surprised that mum and dad didn’t supply her with a butler as well.

Not all of my former colleagues at St Georges were as spoiled, as fuckwitted, as snobbish and as shallow as this, but one didn’t have to work too hard to find people who were. There were a lot of them cluttering up the place. The source of their discontent was the fact that so many of them did come privileged backgrounds and they had friends and family who were earning even more than Top Doctors did. So many Top Doctors, despite being among the most highly paid people in the UK, managed to convince themselves that they were very hard done by indeed. It is this phenomenon that propels the BMA and it’s campaigns. The notion of ‘public service’ does not enter into the equation.

In ‘NHS plc’ Pollock is also very critical of NHS organisations selling off buildings and land – the ‘NHS estate’ – to raise money. Such sales are often a very bad deal for the NHS and are effectively fleecing the tax-payer, but the example which Pollock provides is yet another reflection of Pollock’s sleight of hand. She refers to the proposed sale of Springfield Hospital and the accompanying proposed deal with a private care company. Springfield Hospital was an appalling place, in a dreadful state of repair with completely inadequate facilities. It was in no way suitable to be housing mental health patients in the late 20th century. The care was dreadful, abuses of patients were rampant (see post ‘Some Very Eminent Psychiatrists From London…’) and eventually there was a public inquiry after a series of murders there. I do not know what the facilities and care standards at the establishment where it was proposed to transfer the patents to were like, but no-one could defend Springfield Hospital. This example reminded me of the articles that ‘New Statesman’ ran back in the 80s concerning the closure of institutions like the North Wales Hospital Denbigh. Those articles accused Thatcher of selling off the ‘homes’ of patients – I really don’t think that the readers of the ‘New Statesman’ would have wanted a home like Denbigh. Of course, the first Health Minister to propose closing the asylums was Enoch Powell – after visiting Denbigh, which appalled him. Pollock compliments Powell for his ‘political inspiration’ behind the 1962 Hospital Building Plan, but she doesn’t mention a word about him wanting to close institutions like Denbigh and Springfield.

Again and again Pollock lays the blame for notorious NHS shortcomings on privatisation. She rightly mocks the deals that were done with celebrities like Lloyd Grossman which resulted in private companies being contracted to provide hospital food that turned out to be awful. But hospital food was known to be awful before privatisation – it was, like British Rail sandwiches, a byword for dreadful food. Whilst I was imprisoned in the North Wales Hospital Denbigh by Dafydd Alun Jones Brown worried about my diet – because he knew how bad the food was in institutions like that. In Denbigh most patients lived on chips – the fare was so grim that chips were usually the most edible thing on the ‘menu’. One patient at Denbigh who was actually receiving regular visitors – unlike most people who had simply been illegally imprisoned and abandoned in there – got her daughter to bring her meals in. Things were no better in Springfield in 1991 where Pollock’s fellow Top Doctors worked. One inpatient was a young South Asian woman who, for religious reasons, was being given meals that differed from everyone else’s (they certainly couldn’t have managed that at Denbigh). So Springfield could therefore tick the ‘catering for a multicultural community’ box – but this young woman was delivered a meal each day which no choice offered or no say in what it was. On one occasion a meal was delivered which for dietary reasons she could not eat (one of the ingredients upset her stomach). She explained this to the vile abusive ward manager – an Australian called Stephanie whose standard method of communication was to shout and swear at patients – and was simply told ‘you’ve got to have it, these meals are costing us a fortune’. The young Asian woman went without dinner that day. This was before there had been any implementation of the idea of privatising NHS catering.

Pollock writes some scathing passages about the dreadful neglect of the elderly in the private sector – again this is endemic and she is quite right to draw attention to what is going on. But this was happening before NHS privatisation was on the agenda. As far back as the 1970s I knew of a notorious nursing home in the Somerset town in which I went to school. It was owned and run by a nurse who had been sacked from Taunton hospital and it employed schoolgirls as ‘nurses’ (my friend worked there – at 15 years of age she was passed off as a ‘nurse’). Every Top Doctor in Bridgwater knew about that home – they’d have never allowed their own relatives to end up there but no-one put a stop to it. When I went to university in Bangor in 1981 I found out about a very similar establishment in Menai Bridge. The man who owned the nursing home was a drunk and the ‘matron’ in charge was a nurse who had been sacked by the C&A Hospital in Bangor – after she was found having sex with a male patient in his bed on the ward. This was common knowledge, as was the neglect to which the residents were subjected – Dr D.G.E. Wood had some patients there and visited regularly. No-one had the place closed down. Furthermore Chai Patel is not to the only Top Doctor who owned care homes with questionable standards. Brig-y-Nant in Bethesda was owned by Top Doctor Dr K. Shah, a mate of Dafydd’s (see post ‘Hippocratic Oath or Hypocritic Oaf?’ for details of my encounter with Shah). Shah’s wife ‘managed’ Brig y Nant and I heard allegations from one former care assistant that not only were ‘difficult’ elderly residents dumped in baths of cold water, but when injuries were sustained, one doctor would always be called to deal with the problem – a Dr K. Shah.

Something else that Allyson attributes to NHS privatisation is the silencing of whistleblowers and the appearance of dodgy publications in the BMJ. I can kill two birds with one stone here. Back in the 1980s I remember reading an article that a particularly courageous doctor had penned for the BMJ. He was a GP from Devon and he wrote an account of how he had been called out to visit a patient in a nursing home and had arrived to find residents tied to their chairs with pairs of nylon tights and what he described as a ‘sloppy’ young woman on duty. He attended to his patient and as he prepared to leave he was stopped by an old lady who asked him if he was a doctor. When he said yes, the old lady pulled her skirt up and showed him severe, extensive scalding over her thighs. The old lady told him that someone had poured a kettle of hot water over her legs. This nursing home was owned by a local Top Doctor. A few days later the GP heard that the old lady who had been scalded had died. He was so worried about standards at this home that he contacted the coroner regarding his concerns. The coroner told him that there were no concerns at all regarding the home. The GP discovered that the coroner was a business partner of the Top Doctor who owned the home. The GP contacted the GMC and was told to take a running jump. So he penned an article for the BMJ to let the world now exactly what was possible on Planet Care Home. Was this caring and diligent GP supported in his efforts to expose this scandal? Not at all. In the next issue of the BMJ there were a number of letters published from other Top Doctors, all pompously declaring that the BMJ was not the place to air allegations about one’s colleagues. But that was not the worst thing that appeared in the BMJ in the 80s. On one occasion they debated Homosexuality. One old bigot wrote in and stated quite categorically that homosexuality does not exist ‘in the animal kingdom’ and that it is most definitely a perversion of Man. I’ve got news for that particular high-flier – homosexuality DOES exist in the animal kingdom as any zoologist will confirm. Such was the shite that the BMJ felt able to publish in days gone by.

As for whistleblowing – Allyson’s off in fairyland regarding this: ‘formerly doctors could and did speak out in the interests of their patients’ and ‘in the past doctors were free to speak out – in fact they were under a moral obligation to do so – if they felt it was in the interests of their patients’. Of course Allyson – that is why, for many, many years pre-NHS privatisation, Dr Dafydd Alun Jones et al were able to break the law, sexually exploit patients, sell drugs to addicts, lie on oath, illegally imprison people in Denbigh, conceal a paedophile ring and threaten and bribe people with many, many people knowing and no-one blew the whistle on any of it. In fact your own colleagues at St Georges and Springfield knew of at least some of what was going on and documented it – but told each other that I was ‘extremely dangerous’ and should be referred to the forensic services ‘for containment’ after I spoke to them about it. Other people who knew what Dafydd and co were up to included Dr James Earp from Leicester (see post ‘An Expert From England’), Professor Robert Bluglass (see post ‘Enter Professor Robert Bluglass CBE…’), The Medical Ombudsman for Wales Professor Robert Owen, Dr Chris Mawson (see post ‘Doctors Who Disappeared From The Medical Register’) and Dr Chris Hunter (see post ‘The Night of the (Dr Chris) Hunter’). Dr Mawson and Dr Earp did not, unlike the others, suggest that I should be banged up without trial in a secure hospital, but not one of them raised the alarm regarding what was going on.

‘NHS plc’ also takes aim at the various inspection regimes that have been introduced in recent years, such as the CHI (Commission for Health Improvement). Pollock describes such inspectorates as ‘ineffectual’ and mentions that the review teams are ‘inevitably less qualified and less experienced than the hospital staff they were inspecting’. Which is true and it is insulting to good hospital staff. But those inspectorates have been a Godsend to Top Doctors who aren’t doing what they should be doing – such as in Mid-Staffs. Or indeed in north Wales. Dangerous troubled services have passed inspections with flying colours. But it has always been thus – the Mental Health Act Commission were actively colluding with Dafydd and Dr Tony Francis (Dr X) in north Wales to conceal their criminal activity before privatisation was underway.

There is a glaring contradiction in Pollock’s writing, in that among her attempts to portray Top Doctors as helpless pawns in the face of power-crazed Gov’ts there are actually plenty of indications that she knows just how powerful swathes of the medical establishment are, including her own colleagues and the institutions in which she herself has spent her career as a senior member of staff. She clearly explains how the London teaching hospitals and medical schools are invested with prestige and status enabling them to attract high calibre staff, which in turn gives them huge influence even over Gov’t policy – just like Allyson and her Public Policy Units based in those medical schools have sometimes enjoyed.

Allyson mentions the idea to close Guys and St Tommy’s that was put forward some years ago – but she admits that the notion pretty soon died a death because of course Tommy’s is the hospital that serves Parliament. No, no-one’s going to shut down the most elite joint in town with plenty of friends in the Palace of Westminster. Allyson also mentions the enormous power and influence that Great Ormond Street Hospital has, due it’s legacy from J.M. Barrie and it’s very successful fundraising arm. She explains that in 2000, Camden and Islington Health Authority along with the Medical Director at UCL Hospitals Trust, planned to integrate all paediatric services across the area, but that GOSH disagreed with this plan, ‘was in a powerful position to put it’s own priorities before patients needs or planning’ and was successful in ‘silencing debate’.

Yet elsewhere in her book, Pollock holds up GOSH and it’s satellite hospital Queen Elizabeth Hospital for Children as being all that is best about the NHS. Queen Elizabeth Hospital was linked to GOSH and a number of consultants at GOSH had shared appointments with Queen Elizabeth. Allyson explains how Queen Elizabeth served the severely disadvantaged area of Hackney where some of the poorest children in the UK lived. She states that Queen Elizabeth was a ‘model of how a hospital in a severely deprived inner city area should be run’, that it was ‘accessible, open and caring with exceptional expertise’ providing a ‘superb service to needy children’. My post ‘Ian Brockington’s Mischief’ mentions that Dr Robin Skynner, who had links with Top Doctors who were concealing child sexual abuse, was the Physician in Charge of the Dept of Psychiatry at Queen Elizabeth between 1965-70.

As for GOSH – that was the hospital that employed the negligent doctor who contributed to the death of Peter Connelly in the ‘Baby P’ case a few years. GOSH has also just been at the centre of the Charlie Gard storm. And I doubt that either of those cases had much to do with privatisation.

Another inconsistency in Pollock’s book concerns Richard Smith, the former editor of the BMJ. He’s mentioned in Pollock’s acknowledgements section as one of the people who have ‘inspired’ her. Yet Smith is named elsewhere in the book as a baddie who jumped ship in 2004 and joined United Healthcare as CEO.

There are clues in the text as to what irks Pollock so much about New Labour as well as the root of some of her inconsistencies. Pollock seems to get to meet some very grand people. Not only did she dine with a merchant banker whilst her heart remained with the St Georges canteen in downtown Tooting, but she had an audience with Geoffrey Robinson in his capacity as Blair’s Paymaster General who afterwards invited her for a drink on the terrace of the House of Commons – although obviously she really wished that she was having a cup of char at a cleaner’s house in Garrett Lane – and she even met Gordon Brown when he was Chancellor. She described them as being on a ‘charm offensive’ and wanted to be ‘seen to be listening’. Pollock also thought very highly of Blair’s first Secretary of State for Health (1997-99) Frank Dobson – ‘a well-liked and competent Minister’. Not many other people shared that opinion – Dobson was widely perceived to be well-meaning but a bit gullible and dim (‘Private Eye’ named him ‘Dobbo’). The NHS continued to go pear-shaped and Dobbo’s scalp was demanded. There was another perceived problem with Dobbo as well – he rolled over for the Top Doctors…

Now although the Top Doctors are a very conservative bunch, they really didn’t like Thatcher and she didn’t like them. Thatcher loathed the professions (as well as academics) and very much saw them as being conspiracies against the layman. So the Top Doctors were most glad to see the back of Thatcher – I remember loud cheering breaking out in St George’s when she resigned. But the Top Doctors are not a bunch of lefties no matter what the Daily Mail says about them. However I suspect that when Blair was elected, Allyson and her fellow Public Policy/Public Health specialists may well have thought that their boat had come in. A Labour Gov’t that wasn’t socialist, with an authoritarian streak, wedded to the notion that Policy Experts should tell the plebs how to live. Which is probably why Allyson broke a leg in her efforts to meet Blair’s Ministers. A similar phenomenon occurred among HE specialists committed to widening participation – Blair maintained that he was going to pursue this policy and educational sociologists all got very excited, but of course he didn’t listen to any of them and a lot of them ended up very miffed. I suspect that Allyson fell into the same trap. Indeed, she makes it clear in her book that she feels that New Labour discredited and intimidated it’s critics, including her. Which they probably did – but then the Top Doctors discredited and intimidated those of us who discovered that their colleagues in north Wales were concealing a paedophile ring. At least Blair didn’t try to frame Allyson for serious crimes or state that she would end up in an institution for the ‘criminally insane’ as dear old Dafydd and Bluglass did with respect to me.

For all her griping though, Allyson knows that the Top Doctors can pack a punch if they are able to successfully construct themselves as the defenders of the NHS in the face of Bastards In Government. She reminds us of the lesson that no politician has ever forgotten – the election of Top Doctor Dr Richard Taylor in Kidderminster, who unseated the Labour MP David Locke. Taylor of course did this by running on a ticket of opposing hospital closures. Pollock mentions another similar event as well – the election of retired Top Doctor Dr Jean Turner in Glasgow in the wake of plans to close Stobhill Hospital. Pollock states that the Gov’ts announcement in 2003 that there would be no closures of smaller local hospitals after the election of Taylor and Turner was ‘a notable acknowledgement of the power of popular mobilisation’.

No Allyson, it was an acknowledgement of how bloody-minded the BMA are – they were fighting ALL hospital closures, including hospitals which were unsafe and harming or killing patients. They didn’t admit that any hospitals were doing this and they didn’t even work behind the scenes to raise standards – they did what they have always done and told the Gov’t ‘touch us and we’ll brain you’. Which indeed they did.

As all good Top Doctors do when they wish to ram home their arguments, Allyson makes references to popular media images of Top Doctors. We are told that the ‘frantic atmosphere in ‘Holby City’ is quite typical of the acute hospital today’. Which is rather like saying that the ‘Carry On’ films with Hattie Jacques giving terrified weedy men bed-baths and Barbara Windsor wearing an Anne Summers style nurse’s uniform whilst her bra flies off were an accurate depiction of life in an NHS hospital in the 60s. There is one big difference between Holby City and ‘an acute hospital today’ – in Holby City the staff never make mistakes and the complex cutting edge surgery is always successful, unless it’s an utterly hopeless case and the patient’s chance of life was unfathomably slim anyway. And from the episodes that I’ve seen, a lot of the surgeons are proud of their upwardly mobile journey from their disadvantaged childhoods – in one episode a female surgeon called Jac even revealed that she’d grown up in care and had been sexually abused. Er, no, as we know from the fate of the kids who grew up in care in north Wales, Jac would not be a heart surgeon, she’d be banged up in Denbigh with everyone calling her a dangerous liar. That is if she hadn’t actually been found dead in suspicious circumstances after having given evidence against the paedophiles that were employed in her children’s home.

Pollock also makes reference to a film called ‘As Good As It Gets’, which she appreciates because it makes some barbed points about US privatised healthcare. It stars Jack Nicholson. As of course did ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest’. Which was a film that one of Pollock’s colleagues at St George’s, the occupational health physician Nicky Mitchell-Heggs, had a real problem with. Mitchell-Heggs had previously been a psychiatrist and maintained that ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest’ set out to deceive because it was modelled on an asylum from the 50s but pretended that such places were still in existence. Which of course they weren’t. Indeed not Nicky – at Denbigh the patients didn’t wear uniforms and there was no piped music. But all the other ingredients were there – a lobotomist, Nurse Rached aka Janice Davies, sane people imprisoned and drugged up because they had dared challenge corrupt Top Doctors and staff terrorising and blackmailing vulnerable people by threatening to release confidential info about them. Except that Denbigh also had a psychopathic psychiatrist sexually abusing the patients who was also concealing the paedophile ring that his mistress facilitated. And those were the two people from whom Mitchell-Heggs and her colleagues were taking evidence regarding my ‘dangerousness’ so she must have known that they were there…. Mitchell-Heggs’s online profile describes her interests as theatre, opera and ski-ing! It’s those self-sacrificing Top Doctors again who fight tooth and nail for the NHS. I also seem to remember reading that both Mitchell-Heggs and her husband now run private practices.

In the initial pages of ‘NHS plc’ Pollock explains that she isn’t able to cover everything in a volume of that length, so there are some areas that she hasn’t commented upon. Such as mental health and learning disability services. Which is just as well considering how bloody shameful these ‘services’ are and were when she wrote that book. She also mentions that she doesn’t cover groups of staff such as cleaners, canteen workers, security officers and porters. In other words those staff who are treated and paid appallingly, whose presence is generally ignored by the Top Doctors and who are actually the very staff who have suffered most as a result of NHS privatisation.

At the beginning of her book, Pollock gives a long list of acknowledgments and names the people who have ‘inspired’ her. They include Dr Richard Taylor, ‘all members of the NHS Consultants Association’, ‘members of the Medical Practitioners Union’, ‘Brian Potter formerly of the Scottish BMA’, ‘Sir Sandy Macara at the BMA’ and Richard Horton of the ‘Lancet’. She mentions ‘many others’ to have come ‘to the aid’ of the Public Policy Unit which she was directing when she wrote ‘NHS plc’. Pollock pays tribute to the ‘special stalwarts of the NHS including Charles Webster, the former official historian of the NHS’. I mention on the front page of this blog that a number of people have written ‘histories’ of psychiatry in north Wales. These histories are at their best highly sanitised and at their worst have about as much historical accuracy as a Barbara Cartland novel. One of those ‘histories’ was written by a Bangor University lecturer called David Hirst and I’m fairly sure that it was his book that was co-authored or assisted in some way by an ‘NHS historian’ called Charles someone. I’m fairly sure that it was Charles Webster. I’ve been googling to try and clarify this but all traces of that book have vanished from the internet. I wonder why – after all it was proudly on display in Bangor University for years, so it definitely exists….However I note that David has co-authored with a number of the Top Doctors from the Hergest Unit! He arrived in Bangor to begin his work in ‘social policy’ in 1973 – Christ almighty, Gwynne and Dafydd were in full swing then, they will have been lobotomising and subjecting people to ‘aversion therapy’ if they dared to be gay til the cows came home. And of course Bryn Estyn was still under the direct management of the Home Office and the systematic sexual abuse of the boys there will have been well-embedded by then. Fancy publishing anything about that lot then David?

Pollock makes several mentions in her book of a man who has acquired superhero status in the eyes of any Top Doctor who wants to pledge their commitment to the NHS – Julian Tudor Hart. Tudor Hart is very elderly now, but he is one of the few Top Doctors still practising who was practising before the establishment of the NHS. He has written about just how grim things were in those days – Tudor Hart worked in south Wales among people experiencing very great poverty and hardship. I am interested in Tudor Hart, because although I do completely accept his account of how dreadful it was to fall ill or have an accident before the establishment of the NHS, he does seem somewhat blind to some of what goes on in the NHS. He is an intelligent man and a keen scholar, so like Allyson Pollock he will know. And being a man of his age from Wales, he will know what Gwynne the lobotomist and Dafydd got up to as well. Tudor Hart has been very rude about Ivan Illich and sees Illich as someone who simply plays to an audience of privileged middle class rebels, which is pretty much what the psychiatric establishment used to say about Thomas Szasz. There is truth in that argument – one had to be affluent to afford sessions with Thomas Szasz – but it ignores why the work of people like Illich and Szasz caught the imagination of so many. It was because of what folk like Gwynne the lobotomist and Dafydd were actually doing to them – people didn’t find it very helpful. There is also another factor about Tudor Hart that I cannot forget. He worked in the same practice as Dr Brian Gibbons, the former Health Minister for Wales. Who when I told him that I had evidence of the Top Doctors and managers in the Hergest Unit participating in criminal activities wrote me a letter saying ‘this correspondence is closed’. At the time the Hergest Unit had the second highest suicide rate for women in England and Wales.

I can only conclude that Allyson Pollock is one of the most articulate, useful PR mouthpieces that the Top Doctors possess and that she, along with the rest of the Top Doctors, are not very happy that Gov’ts are no longer commissioning their ‘research’ and seeking their ‘opinion’ on which to base policy.

As Corporal Jones of ‘Dad’s Army’ fame might have said – ‘It’s the Top Doctors. They don’t like it up ’em’.

 

There is one Top Doctor in particular who certainly doesn’t like it up ‘im – David Healy. I’ve been interested to note that since I reviewed his appearance on ‘Panorama’ the other day and observed that the voices of patients were noticeably absent from that programme and that whilst the Top Doctors scrap amongst themselves global capitalism continues to screw up healthcare, Healy has retweeted a couple of things. One was from a patient claiming to have ‘lived experience’ – the use of that phrase alone suggests that he falls into the category of a ‘professional service user’ (my neighbours don’t talk about ‘lived experience’ when they discuss their the local health services). Another retweet was from someone whom I have corresponded with, Finola Moss. Finola is a blogger who is doing some brilliant work exposing just how much money the Top Doctors who are involved with private psychiatric provision are now making. One company very much in Finola’s sight is Cygnet Healthcare and it was info relating to the billions that Cygnet is now raking in that Healy retweeted. The Medical Director of Cygnet is Robert Kehoe. Kehoe was the ‘expert witness’ who lied in a report about me, Brown, my PhD supervisor and even my lawyer after we had all made representation regarding the criminal activities and negligence of the Hergest Unit. David Healy was one of those named on the documents submitted to Kehoe in evidence. I later discovered that Kehoe’s business partner had a personal connection to Healy’s colleague at the Hergest, Dr Tony Roberts.

A Few More Who Might Be Able To Answer Questions

I mentioned in a post a couple of days ago that I was about to begin reading Jack Straw’s autobiography, ‘Last Man Standing’. I finished it this morning and it was very much a case of the Ghost of Private Eyes Past – Straw talks about all the things that provided Eye readers with so much entertainment throughout the Blair and Brown years. Lord Levy, the Millennium Dome, Prezza assaulting a member of the public, Hans Blix searching for Saddam’s WMD down the back of the sofa, Lord Derry Irvine of the very expensive wallpaper, Charlie Falconer, the Hutton Report, it’s all there. Jack talks a lot about his friend Condi Rice and mentions many things that will remind everyone of why so many people cancelled their Labour Party membership during the Blair years. Jack seems to think that he’s dealing with these matters in a way that constructs them as positive, but he doesn’t manage that very successfully.

Jack’s interpretation of history is rather different than that of many other people. ASBOs ‘were a success’ – no Jack, ASBOs criminalised thousands of vulnerable people including children with mental health problems, autism and Tourettes, they were a disaster which is why they were abandoned. The return of Mandelson to Gov’t was a ‘positive’ move – no, that was the final straw (so to speak) for many of us – and best of all, Alistair Campbell was a man of ‘integrity’. Er, OK Jack, whatever you say. So what does Jack have to say about that rather difficult business involving the death of Dr David Kelly? Well, Dr Kelly ‘tragically died in July 2003’ but Jack doesn’t mention the circumstances. I seem to remember it had something to do with a dodgy dossier, the most enormous row with the BBC and the hounding and scapegoating of Dr Kelly – the root of all this being Alistair Campbell.

Jack is very scathing in his book about someone who stood for election against him on one occasion, even more scathing than he is about the BNP. Who was this candidate who pissed Jack off so much? It was Craig Murray, the former Ambassador for Uzbekistan. I went to listen to Craig Murray speak when he came to Bangor a few years ago and it was fascinating. Craig was of course famously withdrawn from his post in Uzbekistan and was subjected to much Gov’t criticism because he drank, partied and had some relationships with local women. But Craig did something else which was probably what really bothered the Foreign Office – he refused to shut up about the appalling human rights abuses happening in Uzbekistan, which included people being boiled alive. Craig was told that he was ‘over-focussed on human rights’ and was transported back to England where he ended up in a psychiatric hospital. During his lecture, Craig described how he was interrogated and subjected to extreme pressure by British officials and at one point he was told that all this was being done on the personal orders of Jack Straw, who was at the time Foreign Secretary….

There are plenty of pointers in Jack’s book to his slipperiness – for example whenever a scandal broke, whether it was on his watch as Home Secretary or later as Foreign Secretary, he always seemed to be conveniently due to leave the UK that very night and thus was at the airport or on the plane, so it was inevitably a case of ‘I know nuzzing…’ At the very beginning of his book, Jack revels in the fact that even as a young man who had done little more than work for the NUS he had already gained a reputation as a duplicitous git – he boasts that Barbara Castle gave him a job as her political advisor because of his ‘low down cunning’. People who read the comments section of my blog might have noticed that one of my correspondents has been mentioning that Barbara Castle, Jack Straw and Norman Warner were covering up terrible things happening to disabled people in the mid-70s – Jack speaks admiringly of Norman Warner in his book and obviously really rated him. Jack mentions that Norman became Lord Warner – it’s becoming a familiar scenario isn’t it…

Jack did of course cause a bit of a stir at one point by going public on his habit of asking fully veiled women visiting his surgery in Blackburn to remove their veils before they spoke to him. At the time that Straw did this, The Veil was becoming an issue, seemingly because people believed that the country was teaming with Muslim women concealing bombs beneath their burkas. Straw represents Blackburn, a constituency with a high proportion of Muslims and I suspect that he has sufficient knowledge to know that Daily Mail columnists’ prejudices rarely reflect reality. He’d represented Blackburn for decades, had a home there and no-one had ever tried to blow him up with weaponry concealed in Islamic dress. He also will have known that for some fully veiled women at least, asking them to remove their veil is like someone asking him to remove his trousers. Jack spoke out about another sensitive subject in his part of the world as well – the sexual grooming of young white girls by some Pakistani men. Fearless Jack asks ‘what’s the point of being in politics and not saying what you think about the difficult issues…’

So was Jack always frank about difficult issues?

One massively difficult issue that landed on Jack’s desk when he was Home Secretary was that of Thatcher’s friend General Pinochet. Pinochet had arrived in England, had tea with Thatcher and a few other old mates and then found himself under arrest because the Spanish Gov’t wanted him extradited to face trial for torture. Jack stressed that he really did think long and hard about this, it took him months and he wasn’t going to be swayed by anyone else’s opinion – indeed he refused to discuss the matter of the murdering old bastard with anyone else at all. Readers may remember that Pinochet wasn’t extradited because some Top Doctors came to his rescue and presented ‘expert’ evidence that Pinochet was incredibly frail and far too ill to stand trial. Pinochet flew home and was famously filmed landing in Chile, immediately getting up out of his wheelchair, happily walking towards his supporters and greeting them enthusiastically.  Jack was horrified! Pinochet had tricked the ‘system’! He was another Ernest Saunders, just when Jack had assured everyone that no way would he allow another scam like that! So whose advice had Jack relied upon – whilst he was refusing to discuss Pinochet’s case with anyone of course? For a start, that of the Chief Medical Officer, Liam Donaldson.

Liam Donaldson wasn’t quite as successful as other Chief Medical Officers had been at pulling the wool over everybody’s eyes – although he did keep bollocking on about successfully achieving ‘patient empowerment’ – and he ended up resigning as a result of the ‘modernising medical careers’ disaster, which screwed up the job application process for thousands of junior doctors. Liam was of course no rebel – indeed when Liam was CMO Mid-Staffs was quietly brewing away and he didn’t put a stop to it, Harold Shipman was brewing away and he didn’t manage to catch that in time either and of course the Top Doctors in north Wales were doing the most appalling things (I note that Donaldson studied at Bristol Medical School at the same time as Dr D.G.E. Wood…). However Top Doctors do get very angry if their paths are crossed in even a minor way and the BMA turned on their own and went after Liam’s blood. One Dr Richard Marks, Head of Policy at the BMA, very obviously wanted Donaldson’s head on a plate and was greatly pleased when he got it. I am wondering if Richard Marks is a member of the high profile Marks medical family, which includes the former Chair of the BMA Dr John Marks and Professor Vincent Marks, whom I worked for at the University of Surrey – both of whom kept quiet about the wrongdoing of the Top Doctors in north Wales (see post ‘The BMA At The Root Of Another Mystery’). I bet he is, being a Top Doctor who reaches the highest echelons of the medical establishment does run in families. Obviously the superior genes…

Liam ‘oversaw’ the medical assessment of Pinochet. I have long wondered who actually provided the dishonest expert report which enabled a vicious dictator to return home and die peacefully of old age in luxury when the bodies of many of his victims had not yet been recovered. It is very difficult to access such info, because a lot of secrecy surrounds Top Doctors’ expert reports to Courts. Of course, Court cases are (usually) public and the expert reports can decide whether someone is imprisoned, banged up for life in a special hospital or allowed to go free immediately, but not any old Tom, Dick or Harry can read those reports or even find out the identity of the Top Doctors giving evidence. I had always intended to publish the packs of lies that Dr Dafydd Alun Jones, Dr James Earp and Dr Robert Kehoe wrote about me in their capacity as ‘expert witnesses’ to demonstrate what the Top Doctors are actually capable of, but before I began this blog I took legal advice and was told ‘sorry, you are not allowed to ‘reproduce’ their reports in any way’. But they can lie about me… So I have just provided as many details about them as I am legally allowed on the blog. My friends have of course all read the reports and were suitably wowed by the lack of integrity of the Top Doctors who put their names to those documents.

However Jack’s book reveals the name of the Top Doctor who was so helpful to Pinochet! It was Sir John Grimley Evans, who is now Emeritus Professor at Oxford University. After Pinochet made his spectacular recovery as soon as he touched Chilean soil and the shit hit the fan, John Grimley Evans tried to shoulder the blame onto Straw, quibbling over the use of one word in his report. The uproar didn’t harm the long term prospects of dear old Sir John though – in 2005 Parliament still thought highly enough of him to receive written evidence from him for the Select Committee On Science and Technology regarding quality of life in old age. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and between 1999-2014 was listed as a Director of St Luke’s Hospital Oxford, which seems to be a care home. But there’s also a passing reference in Straw’s book to the ‘team’ of medical officers working for the Home Office who were employed on the Pinochet case! So there was Jack, John Grimley Evans and a team of Top Doctors – how did they all manage to get it so wrong?

I remember the case of Pinochet like it was yesterday, because by that time I had discovered how dishonest Dr Dafydd Alun Jones regularly was in his Court reports and I had shared this information with another Hergest patient who had also been stung by Dafydd. This patient entertained himself by ringing Dafydd whilst pretending to be calling from the Spanish embassy to ask Dafydd if he’d certify Pinochet fit for trial. Little did I know that that they might as well have asked Dafydd, his opinion would have been worth about as much as that of Straw, Evans and the Home Office medical officers.

The thing about poor old Jack and his claimed ignorance regarding the wrongdoing of the Top Doctors is that it doesn’t quite add up, whether it’s his Gov’ts lack of nous concerning the growing shit-storm at Mid-Staffs – or Top Docs concealing paedophile rings – or Pinochet’s health assessment. For a start Jack’s daughter Charlotte was a medical student and is now a Top Doctor herself. (Charlotte raised money for Cancer Research UK recently and requested donations to enable the noble scientists and Top Doctors at Cancer Research UK to find a ‘cure’. For  snapshot of what goes on at Cancer Research UK, see post ‘A Cause Close To Our Hearts’.) But Jack was very close indeed to someone who really will have known all about the Top Doctors and could have also found him a reliable expert witness to give an opinion on Pinochet – his wife Alice. Alice was a mandarin in the Dept of Health! Furthermore, Jack reveals that in 1997-8 Alice was a senior civil servant in the Treasury working for Gordon Brown, but shortly afterwards was appointed Director General in the DoH! Pinochet was flown back home in in 2000. Come on Alice – why didn’t you tell Jack? Ooh and why didn’t you explain to Jack that where grooming young people in care is concerned it really is not only Pakistani men up to no good – it wasn’t Pakistani men ‘grooming’ (ie. raping and trafficking) the kids in north Wales, it was the social services who were being assisted by the Top Doctors! And once those kids had been beaten into submission and were agreeing to have sex with anyone who asked, they were taken off down to London to have sex with folk in Westminster! Jack claimed to be clamping down on people trafficking in 2000…

Alice is not the only person who might have been able to enlighten Jack re child abuse/the use of psychiatry to conceal such abuse – that is if he didn’t already know something about it from his time working with Barbara Castle and Norman Warner in the DHSS between 1974-76. Jack’s early forays into politics were as a Councillor in Islington – which had a serious problem with a paedophile ring in it’s children’s homes. Jack was also a member of the notorious ILEA between 1971-74 and was Deputy Leader of ILEA 1973-74. Jack is not afraid to level criticism at ILEA in his book – he tells us that he knew that standards in inner London schools were often unacceptably low. There were close links between ILEA, the GLC and the London Councils – those Councils whose children’s services had been infiltrated by paedophiles.

Jack’s work on London Councils and with ILEA resulted in him rubbing noses with an awful lot of people who will have known about the paedophiles running riot in the children’s homes – because those buddies of Jack’s were running those Councils. Jack makes reference in his book to someone whom he admires greatly, the ‘inestimable’ Valerie Amos. Valerie is now Baroness Amos, but long ago at the dawn of time Valerie worked for Lambeth Borough Council – which had a child abuse problem among it’s children in care as big as that in Islington or in north Wales. Indeed, children from Lambeth were also sent up to homes in north Wales where they were molested. The Shirley Oaks Survivors Association from Lambeth are publishing their own accounts of the abuse to which they were subjected, so fed up are they of Gov’t investigations going nowhere. Lambeth Council has paid out millions in compensation to children who were abused in it’s care and it accepts that it will be paying out much more. As in Islington and north Wales, the Council was told what was happening to those kids but the Council let it continue. Amos describes her work with Lambeth as one of her ‘career achievements’ – others include her work with Camden Council and Hackney. Camden – she’ll know this blog’s old friends Tessa Jowell (see posts ‘The London Connection’ and ‘Tower Hamlets, Paul Boateng and Tessa Jowell’) and John Mills (see post ‘One Dangerous Fucker’) then! Like so many people who worked for or ran those London Councils in the 70s and 80s whilst paedophiles ran riot in the children’s services, Valerie used her ‘work’ on ‘equality and diversity’ with those councils as a springboard into a career in ‘equalities and diversity’ boosted by New Labour.

Between 1989-94 Valerie was Chief Exec of the Equal Opportunities Commission. In 1995 she formed Amos Fraser Bernard and was an advisor to the South African Gov’t on public service reform, human rights and employment equity. In August 1997 she was made a life peer and became the Secretary for International Development in Blair’s Cabinet. Amos acquired this position after Clare Short resigned. (Straw is incredibly rude about Clare Short in his book – did she have a few too many principles for you then Jack? Clare Short was not one for turning a blind eye as the shit that gathered under Blair mounted up.) In 2003 Amos took over as Leader of the Lords when the previous Leader, Lord Williams Of Mostyn, died. Jack liked him. Lord Williams of Mostyn featured in my post ‘Y Gwir Yn Erbyn Y Byd’ – he defended Gordon Anglesea after Gordon Anglesea sued Private Eye after the Eye accused him of molesting boys in children’s homes in north Wales. Anglesea won the case and shortly after the trial Mark Humphreys, the young man whom had given evidence that Anglesea had abused him, was found dead. Last year Gordon Anglesea was convicted of abusing boys in north Wales children’s homes and imprisoned. Valerie – standing on the shoulders of greats! Indeed, it was onwards and upwards.

Although Valerie left the Cabinet when Gordon Brown became PM, her stellar career didn’t stop. In 2007 she became a Director of Travant Capital Partners, a Nigerian private equity firm. Poor old Valerie ended up mired in allegations of corruption when it was revealed that Travant Capital had received £15 million from DFID, the Gov’t Dept that she used to lead.  In his book ‘Catholic Orangemen of Tongo’, Straw’s nemesis Craig Murray claims that he was told by a Director of Travant that the company ‘had access to DFID funds because Baroness Amos was a Director’.

In 2007 Amos also became the EU’s representative to the African Union. In 2010 she was appointed Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Co-Ordination.

In addition to these plum appointments, Valerie has had numerous others – she was the British High Commissioner to Australia and in 2015 she was appointed Director of SOAS (University of London). She was the Deputy Chair of the Runnymede Trust 1990-98, a Trustee of the IPPR, was involved with project Hope (an NGO promoting healthcare), was a Trustee of VSO and was a Director of Hampstead Theatre. Guess what else? In Sept 2008 Amos Chaired the GMC’s Equality and Diversity Forum! She has also been a non-executive director of University College London Hospitals Trust and between 1994-98 she was Chair of the Board of Governors at the Royal College of Nursing Institute.

So like so many who have been closely associated with organisations in which children were sexually abused and exploited, Valerie Amos is a good friend of the Top Doctors and Angels. A number of people have noticed that throughout her career in the higher echelons of public life, Valerie Amos has not been democratically elected to one position, they were all ‘appointments’. Well considering that Lambeth Borough Council oversaw the worst excesses of child abuse and ended up in such a financial mess that many of it’s Councillors were banned from office, I very much doubt that anybody would vote for anyone who had played a key role in that Council.

 

Jack’s book mentions a close colleague of his who also knew all about the shortcomings of Lambeth Borough Council who has starred on this blog recently – Paul Boateng (see post ‘Tower Hamlets, Paul Boateng And Tessa Jowell’). I have mentioned before that Paul’s wife Janet is a former Lambeth social worker. I have now read a bit more about the Tyra Henry case and Janet was involved up to her eye-balls. Tyra was a 22 month old girl who was murdered by her father Andrew in 1984. The case gained massive publicity because of the severe cruelty involved and the gross failings of Lambeth Borough Council. Tyra died two days after she had been left at a London hospital under a false name. She had suffered extreme physical abuse and there were 52 bite marks on her body. It transpired that her injuries had been inflicted by her father – Tyra had been allowed to live with him after he was released from prison, although there had previously been a decision not to allow this to happen. Before Tyra’s birth, her father had already assaulted her six month old brother, who was left blind and permanently brain damaged as a result of the attack – he was in care.  The Inquiry into Tyra’s death was led by Stephen Sedley QC – a colleague of Michael Mansfield and one of that generation of radical lawyers who did take on cases against the British state but who never seemed to be as outspoken as one would have expected about cases of abuse of children in care or the abuse of people in the mental health system.

In 1984 the Chair of Lambeth’s Social Services Committee was Janet Boateng. The Vice-Chair was Stephen Bubb. The aftermath of Tyra’s murder caused a massive rift between the Lambeth Councillors and the social workers employed by the Council (Janet of course had been in both positions.)  The Councillors and social workers both blamed each other for the dreadful state of the children’s services in Lambeth. It is reflective of the concerns of Lambeth Council at the time that the blame game wasn’t played out in terms of allegations of incompetence – it involved allegations of racism. Black Councillors maintained that white social workers were unable to work appropriately with black families and the white social workers made counter-allegations of not receiving ‘training’ and ‘support’ to work with black families. Where this left Janet Boateng who was black, a Councillor, Chairman of the Social Services Committee but had also worked as a social worker in the same Borough I do not know. I do know that it is ironic that the chaos and tragedy that presided in this Borough launched the careers of a group of people like Boateng and Amos, who were then lauded and honoured for their ‘services’ to equality and diversity. Amos’s biography is littered with references to her ‘firsts’ – the first black woman Cabinet Minister, the first black woman to become head of a UK university, one of the most influential black people in the UK etc. Whilst Amos and co played identity politics a little black girl was murdered – Tyra is not mentioned anywhere in the extensive guff about Lady Boateng or Lady Amos that is so readily available.

What was the fate of Boateng’s Vice-Chair, Stephen Bubb – a white man? Like the Ladies of Lambeth, Bubb has thrived. He is now Sir Stephen Bubb, Director of ‘Charity Futures’. His knighthood was awarded in 2011 for ‘services to the voluntary sector’.

Bubb describes himself as ‘influential in both the Labour and Conservative Parties’ with his ‘longstanding advocacy of charities replacing public services chiming with both parties’ policy of promoting competition and choice in areas such as healthcare’. Bubb has a website, ‘Bubb’s Blog’, and a recent post sees Bubb fuming angrily that the present Gov’t is ignoring the charity sector. I think that’s because of the embarrassment that was ‘Kid’s Company’ Stephen, it was a rather disillusioning process for those who promoted the idea of the ‘Big Society’. Bubb’s determined to ram his message home though, he’s very busy indeed working hard lobbying for the Third Sector. ‘Bubb’s Blog’ is currently hosting a ‘guest post’ by Henry Brook who is on ‘work experience’ with Bubb. Henry waxes lyrical about the global possibilities for the Third Sector and mentions that there’s a lot of wealthy people in China although Africa is still a bit too poor to participate in the jamboree.

Bubb is certainly a man who’s been on a political journey and who’ll work with anyone. In 1976 he was a research officer for the TGWU’s Jack Jones. In 1980 he was a negotiations officer for the NUT. Then there were his glorious achievements at Lambeth – Labour Party Member for Lambeth Borough Council from 1982 and Chief Whip to the Labour Group. In 1987 he was Lead Advisor concerning pay negotiations to the Association of Metropolitan Authorities (both Tessa Jowell and John Mills had positions on this body as well). In 1995 Stephen was Director of Personnel for the National Lottery Charity Board. Between 2000-06 he was Chief Exec for  ACEVO, the Association of Chief Execs of Voluntary Organisations. Since 2006 Stephen has been Chairman of the Adventure Capital Fund, a ‘social enterprise’ now administering ‘Communitybuilders’. He was Chairman of ‘Futurebuilders England’ in 2008. He founded ‘Charity Futures’ to ‘investigate the challenges to and provide support for the Third Sector for the next generation’ (does that translate as ‘my kids need a job now as well?’). In 2011 he was seconded to the Dept of Health as part of Andrew Lansley’s NHS ‘listening exercise’.

I haven’t actually researched all these different Third Sector organisations that Bubb has created – I know that’s remiss of me, but I suspect that I know what I will find. A very big gravy train, the passengers upon which will be other folk like Bubb, former Councillors from disastrous 80s Councils who did really well for themselves once Blair became PM and are still prospering as no-one dares mention the phrase ‘The King’s New Clothes’ now that they have been given gongs and been put in charge of so many things. Bubb became notorious for defending big salaries in the charity sector – he was paid in excess of £100k pa at ACEVO. ‘Bubb’s Blog’ tells us that he is ‘globally recognised’ and provides ‘strategic advice to Governments and businesses usually at Prime Minister, Minister, Mayor and Chairman level’. Bubb is Secretary General of the ‘European Third Sector Leaders Network’, which was ‘founded through his passion and drive’.

So what brought this globally-recognised-advisor-to-Prime Ministers’ career in local government to an end back in the 80s then? Lambeth Borough Council was one of the councils that refused to set a rate during the rate capping row with Margaret Thatcher’s Gov’t. Therefore the Councillors were surcharged for causing the Council financial loss through wilful misconduct. They were sacked and disqualified from office in 1986. Not that it held Stephen back from sitting in judgement on others – between 1980 and 2000 he served as a Youth Court Magistrate in Inner London.

Bubb has also dabbled with the Top Doctors – he was a member of the Local Health Boards of Guy’s Hospital and St Tommy’s Hospital.

Bubb found himself in the spotlight in 2013 when he held his 60th birthday party. I wouldn’t have thought that a birthday party could cause a diplomatic incident, but Bubb held a bash at the House of Lords with a number of cabinet ministers, Baronesses, media folk and charity leaders. They all had a great time and went back to Stephen’s place afterwards for champagne and fireworks. Stephen was particularly chuffed to receive a birthday card from Tony and Cherie. It was subsequently revealed that Stephen’s party had cost a great deal of money and that the bill had been footed not entirely by Stephen – although he is a very well-paid man – but partly by ACEVO. When questioned, ACEVO maintained that it was money well-spent because the party was ‘part of it’s [ACEVO’s] on-going work in building stakeholder relationships’.

The guest who made the welcoming speech at Stephen’s party – that was partly funded by people who were duped into believing that they were supporting charitable work – was Baroness Hayter. Dianne Hayter is the Deputy Leader of the Lords and is described as a ‘powerful advocate’ for the Third Sector. She is an old friend of Stephen’s from their Young Fabians days and was a founder member of ACEVO herself, whilst she was Director of ‘Alcohol Concern’. Bet she’s a mate of Tony and Cherie’s as well. Dianne is married to Professor David Caplin who works at Imperial College. David Caplin is a physicist – perhaps they have a bit more integrity than the Top Doctors at Imperial.

Whilst trumpeting the wonders of the Third Sector, Stephen tells us on his blog that ‘state provision often neglects the consumer or beneficiary’. That Stephen is because it was so often run by people like you and Janet Boateng – you neglected the beneficiary to such an extent that a little girl was murdered and even then you tried to tart it up as a race relations problem. The charity sector is now blighted with exactly the same problems as the state sector – because you lot have now moved in and colonised that. Stephen mentions on his blog that ‘more than a third of mental health services are provided by charities’. Yes and the leading story on all the news programmes today has been the scandalous state of the nation’s mental health services. This morning it was revealed that thousands of mental health patients are spending YEARS in hospital after they have been deemed to be fit for discharge because there is no accommodation for them and at lunchtime it was reported that Sir James Munby, the head of the Family Court, has been unable to find suitable psychiatric care for a suicidal teenaged girl. Munby has sated that if care for her cannot be found ‘society will have blood on it’s hands’. You obviously haven’t noticed Sir James – society has been awash with the blood of the mentally ill for decades. And you’ve only just woken up to it. No doubt Paul Farmer and Marjorie Wallace will pop up on the ‘Today’ programme tomorrow to give us all a lecture about the horrors of people remaining in hospital for years because of a lack of accommodation. Well why haven’t they mentioned it before? The rest of us knew that it was happening – in fact I e mailed a number of politicians about this some three years ago….

 

Many years ago a book was published called something like ‘The Court of The Blairs’ which was an account of some of the rather shallow, dysfunctional people lining their own nests who surrounded Tony and Cherie. Valerie Amos, Janet Boateng and Stephen Bubb are pretty good examples of the outer circle. (Blair’s inner circle was comprised of the likes of Silvio of course…)

 

Somebody else who might be able to enlighten us all regarding what was going on in Lambeth at the time of Tyra’s murder is a man whose name crops up in reports of the case from that time – the Chair of the British Association of Social Workers Southwark, John Wheeler. John Wheeler is now based in the north east of England – I suspect like some others who were previously associated with Lambeth, he’s air-brushed that bit out of his CV – and doubles up as ‘John Wheeler Solutions Ltd’. He has a website that bangs on about him having experience in ‘solution focussed’ practice and expertise in ‘training and development’. The site mentions his ‘thirty years experience as a social worker/family therapist’ and tells us that he has ‘co-developed a model for complex child protection issues’. Wheeler is a visiting lecturer in solution focussed practice, systemic practice and narrative therapy at the following Universities: Northumbria, Newcastle, Durham, Sunderland, Teeside. He teaches on the following courses: social work, psychology nursing, systemic practice and child protection.

John has published too – in ‘Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry’, on brief solution focussed therapy. The Hergest Unit used to offer that – Brown observed that it will certainly be brief but there won’t be many solutions. There weren’t many solutions for the therapist either. He was a nurse with a PhD who had been told by the North West Wales NHS Trust to pass himself off as a clinical psychologist. One of the many patients whom the Hergest Unit tried to frame for a crime that she didn’t commit found out about this and complained. The therapist was subsequently sacked – not for false representation, because the Trust had forced him into that, but for allegedly having a relationship with a patient. The therapist knew a friend of mine and his story was that he had actually only begun a relationship with the patient a year after she had been discharged after meeting her again at a party. But Ysbyty Gwynedd were smarting with embarrassment that they’d been caught misrepresenting the status and qualifications of their staff, so he was the scapegoat.

Like the esteemed Professors Poole and Robinson of Bangor University, John Wheeler has been paying visits to India to dispense his pearls of wisdom. He’s also been popping over to Poland to show them how it’s done. John’s website is advertising an ‘online certificate of competence’. He has helpfully provided diagrams and instructions concerning how to fold and read your certificate of competence if you’re too incompetent to work out how to do it.

I really do recommend a visit to John’s website. It can be summed up by one phrase – ‘Clare In The Community’.

John’s website doesn’t only detail his expertise regarding focussing on solutions. He plays in a ceilidh band and also recommends singing as a way to deal with stress and to bond with other people.

One has to be careful if one’s a service user and one does a bit of singing though. Some years ago there was a young man who was a patient at the Hergest Unit – he suffered from bouts of severe depression – who had two young children. His first baby was a girl and he was delighted – a couple of years later his wife became pregnant again and this time he thought that it would be really great if they could have a boy, one of each. His wife gave birth to a little boy and the day after the birth, this young man took his little girl for a walk in Snowdonia. He was so happy about the birth of his second child that he was singing. He was stopped by a policeman and interrogated regarding who the little girl with him was – on the grounds that he might not be suitable to be responsible for a little girl, what with him being a singing service user. The incident caused quite a furore, because his fuming wife contacted the local media. Both she and her husband gave interviews regarding the idiocy of a young father being stopped by the police because he was singing in the woods. About ten years after this incident, the young man sadly became ill with depression again and killed himself. I knew his wife – she told me that it was heartbreaking, both she and he knew that he was becoming very depressed again but they didn’t know why. There was no help forthcoming from the Hergest Unit – by this time the day centre had been closed and Alun Davies et al had just about destroyed ‘the service’ completely. But at least north Wales was crawling with those experts in suicide prevention that I have previously blogged about and dear old David Healy was making regular media appearances.

Someone else whom Jack Straw will know who has knowledge of the insanity at Lambeth is Lord Herman Ouseley, the former Chair and Chief Exec of the Commission for Racial Equality 1993-2000.  Before he made his career in ‘equality and diversity’, Herman was Chief Exec of ILEA and Chief Exec of Lambeth! (Herman has removed all references to Lambeth from his wiki entry, but he was very much there.) Herman has been at the ‘forefront of challenging institutional racism in organisations’. Like so many of his contemporaries who were involved in running the car crash at Lambeth, Herman is now a management consultant advising on equality and diversity issues. It was Herman who introduced Paul Boateng, husband of Janet, to the Lords when Boateng was given a peerage.

Following hot on the heels of Herman as the Chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality was Gurbux Singh. Sing hadn’t worked for Lambeth but he had been just about everywhere else that managed to disgrace itself in the 1980s – the GLC, Hackney, Brent and Haringey. Gurbux ended up as Chief Exec of Haringey Council and he was there at the time that Dr Dafydd Alun Jones rang them up to have a word with them about me when Dafydd discovered that I would be living there after I left the North Wales Hospital Denbigh! Gurbux – how did you know a crazed old bugger in north Wales who was concealing a paedophile ring? Gurbux was a member of Jack Straw’s Race Relations Forum when Straw was Home Secretary and was also an advisor to the Association of London Government and a member of our old friend the Association of Metropolitan Authorities. No doubt Gurbux would have been elevated to the Lords by Blair as well if only he hadn’t come unstuck at a cricket match in 2002 by getting pissed, threatening a policeman and getting himself arrested. The incident caused him to resign from the CRE. This wasn’t because of the drunkenness or the arrest, it was because Singh told the policeman that he (Singh) knew Ian Blair the Deputy Commissioner of the Met – now Lord Blair, a big mate of another man called Blair – and would have the policeman sacked.

Yet another old lag who made a career out of her ‘expertise’ in equality and diversity was Judith Hunt. Judith used to edit the GLC magazine ‘Equalities’. Judith is now Judith Hunt OBE and runs an outfit called ‘Judith Hunt Associates Ltd’. She is of course an ‘executive coach’ and ‘consultant’ ‘working across the sectors’ dispensing advice on ‘diversity and equalities’. She is a Board Member for Transport for London and a Member of the Audit Committee there.

Judith’s previous positions include: National Officer and Assistant General Secretary of ‘a national trade union’ (she doesn’t say which one, so presumably there’s been a bit of trouble there); Director of Personnel at the GLC; Chief Exec at London Borough of Ealing for 7 years; Chief Exec of Local Gov’t Management Board 1993-99; Chair of Camden and Islington Health Authority 2000-02; Chair, London Health Observatory 2002-06.

Come on Judith, with a CV like that you’ll have known something about the abuse of children and the associated cover-up by the Top Doctors.

Judith was a Board Member of the CPS, 2002-05. The CPS that could not explain why it did not prosecute Greville Janner and numerous other high profile child abusers – including the dozens in north Wales against whom there was substantial evidence. Judith is now a non-executive director of the CPS and the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal. She has contributed to the delivery of the CPS Diversities strategy.

Judith has also contributed to the Civil Service Commission and the ESRC Research Priorities Board – so that’s why the ESRC does what it’s told by the Gov’t, even when the agenda is obviously so lame!

People actually pay Judith for her advice – including the NHS and Dept of Health.

The website of ‘Judith Hunt Associates Ltd’ is well worth a visit as they used to say on ‘Blue Peter’, because one can click on the various people who assist in her consultancy. They are all as equally vacuous as Judith and use very similar phrases to describe their work, phrases which are actually meaningless. Judith curiously claims to carry out ‘health checks’. Which is seriously weird, because I don’t think that she’s a Top Doctor, even if the NHS and DoH are wasting good money on her ‘advice’.

Another former leader of Lambeth (1986-88) who could answer a few questions is Linda Bellos – she too is now a management consultant, ‘Linda Bellos Associates’ – in equalities and diversity, although Linda specialises in LGBT issues. Linda was one of the Lambeth Councillors who resigned over the rate capping saga – and I think that she was the leader when the Council finally imploded. Linda has advised the British Army, the Met, the CPS and the Association of Chief Police Officers!

 

So there we have it, a bunch of people who ran the most dangerous, chaotic Councils in England – whose children’s services were pervaded by paedophiles – many of whom ended up being disqualified from office and who effectively bankrupted their authorities. Who better for Blair to elevate to the Lords and appoint to lead Gov’t Commissions, advise the NHS, the police, the CPS etc on ‘equality’? It was after all only the most disadvantaged children in the country who suffered and died in the ‘services’ that they ran.

There are two other people who might be able to answer questions as well, although they are not friends of Tony and Cherie. One is Ted Knight, who was leader of Lambeth Borough Council from 1978. Ted was disqualified from office but for many years remained active in Unite. However, when Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader of the Labour Party, Ted announced his re-entry into politics and he’s now busy in Lambeth once more. The other is a man called John McDonnell, who was involved in the GLC and hung around a lot with Ted and co. This John McDonnell will know something. I wonder where he is now…

 

NB. I heard on the news earlier that Rogue Top Doctor Ian Paterson has had his prison sentence increased. The judge who increased it made a speech about a shocking breach of trust, how could any Top Doctor ever behave in such a way etc etc. I’ve got news for Lady Justice Hallett – plenty of them are capable of doing so. After all I’ve got 10,000 documents showing that scores of them concealed a paedophile ring and tried to have me imprisoned by perjuring themselves. No doubt when Paterson is eventually released, the GMC will put him back on the register and double his pension pot to compensate for his lost earnings whilst he was inside. There has also been a GP in east London arrested for numerous sexual assaults on patients. Is that the sound of loud snoring that I can still hear coming from the direction of north Wales?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

News Round Up, August 1, 2017

I am no longer attending Betsi Board meetings having moved elsewhere, but I do still hear about them. I have recently received an e mail from someone who attended the last Board meeting who told me that the Betsi Board are still utterly deluded regarding the ‘services’ that they are providing and their abilities to run their own organisation. Bad news Betsi stories continue to hit the local media on a weekly basis and the Board remains in special measures. Vaughan Gething the Health Minister recently refused to establish a medical school in north Wales, no doubt because he knows that the problems in the NHS in north Wales are such that any medical school sited there would be a disaster – and a spectacular waste of money. The Board is currently awaiting the results of two independent investigations into the ‘institutional abuse’ of mental health patients.

So my correspondent was somewhat surprised to hear Peter Higson, the Chair of the Board, use the phrase ‘IF there is to be another appraisal’ when speaking about the Board’s possible release from special measures. As my correspondent noted – ‘IF’??? Does Higson really think that he is going to get away with no more appraisals after the scale of the disaster? Perhaps Higson does think this – after all he was the manager of the North Wales Hospital Denbigh whilst the most appalling things went on and was never required to answer to anyone, he then played a leading role in the scandal ridden quango Elwa and was rewarded with an appointment as Chief Exec of Health Inspectorate Wales, during which time he steadfastly failed to investigate serious complaints. By the time that Higson left HIW it was described as ‘not fit for purpose’ – he was then appointed Chair of the Betsi. Yes, maybe Higson is a little surprised that for the first time in his long and glorious career of shafting the citizens of Wales he is now finally under scrutiny. The Welsh Office’s concealing of the shite at the North Wales Hospital Denbigh because it in turn was concealing the North Wales Paedophile Ring provided a big umbrella for Higson for many years and he won’t have suffered by having a sister who was Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Ruth Hussey – although I note that Ruth’s exorbitant salary was made public in the Welsh media last week and invoked fury in some quarters….

It’s entertaining to compare what is appearing in the media concerning the Betsi with the ‘press releases’ on their website. What appears in the local media is a relentless catalogue of scandal, complaint, crisis, suicides, avoidable deaths of patients and damning reports from the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales. But when one clicks on the Betsi’s website one enters another universe. I’ll detail just a few of the stories that have appeared on there over the last couple of weeks.

On July 25 it was reported that at Llandudno Hospital, some ‘dementia champions’ were encouraging staff and visitors to back a scheme established by the Alzheimers Society to train ‘dementia friends’ to ‘support local people living with dementia’. Dementia support worker Rachel Richards, who has worked at Llandudno Hospital as a dementia champion for four years, won the UNISON Wales 2016 ‘Outstanding Person of the Year’ award for her work concerning dementia. Now Rachel might be a really nice person who has moved heaven and earth to try and improve the lives of people with dementia. If she has done this, it will be in spite of her employers, not because of them. The Betsi is currently in special measures and the subject of two investigations as a result of the scandalous abuse of patients with dementia on Tawel Fan ward. After the closure of that ward, there was another scandal involving dementia patients at Bryn Hesketh, although the Betsi refused to ever come clean regarding the details of that.

UNISON is the union that a lot of Betsi staff belong to – including some of the staff who over the past years have been involved in the abuse of patients. UNISON has provided those staff with unlimited free legal advice even in the face of very serious complaint from patients. Some years ago a former manager of the Hergest Unit, Robin Holden, told someone known to me that the problems at the Hergest were very serious but that he was completely unable to resolve them whilst he was employed as a manager there because ‘the unions’ obstructed him constantly. And I bet that one of those unions was UNISON. UNISON doesn’t support whistleblowers but it does support staff who are the subject of very serious complaint, including assault or sexual assault on patients. I accept that everybody is entitled to a fair hearing no matter how serious the allegations against them are, but in the case of patients alleging abuse on the part of NHS staff it is not a level playing field. The staff accused will receive free legal advice from their union and the support of the NHS – because the NHS NEVER admits failure until there is a damning external report from somewhere – whereas the patients/relatives will only be entitled to a very limited number of hours of legal aid, even in the case of a death. Furthermore, if you are Martin Jones (the former Chief Exec of the North West Wales NHS Trust and currently the Director of Workforce at the Betsi) you will deliberately fail to answer questions from patients’ lawyers no matter how many times they are put to you in order to prolong correspondence between yourself and patients’ lawyers as much as possible, knowing damn well that if you manage to string this out for a few months the patient’s legal aid will run out. Martin will then write the patient a letter refusing to correspond with them any further. Which is what you did to me when CCTV filmed your staff threatening me, refusing to treat me and making false allegations against me in an attempt to have me arrested wasn’t it Martin?

On July 21 the Betsi website published an article about a lady of whom they are most proud, Dr Alys Cole-King, an ‘expert’ in suicide prevention. This expert in suicide prevention is a former psychiatrist at the Hergest Unit which had one of the highest suicide rates in the UK among it’s patients. Alys now works at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd as a psychiatrist – the hospital which was the site of the institutional abuse of mental health patients. My post ‘Experts In Suicide Prevention??’ provides a full account of the bullshit and hypocrisy that emanates from Alys as well as details of the con that is her organisation ‘Connecting With People’. Alys was congratulated by Higson after she won a ‘top international award’ for her ‘pioneering work’ supporting people at risk of suicide and self-harm. So that’ll be why so many people are still killing themselves in north Wales then and why self-harming patients are still reporting that they are unable to access effective treatment from the Betsi. Alys went to Malaysia no less, to the ‘glittering awards ceremony’. Well that beats staying at home in north Wales treating your patients doesn’t it.

But Alys isn’t the only expert on suicide and self-harm from the Betsi gaining international recognition! Professor Rob Poole – a psychiatrist who mistreated one patient of his so badly that he was the subject of a speech in the Senedd – and his colleague Professor Catherine Robinson have been awarded dosh to continue their trips to south Asia to teach Johnny Foreigner all about self harm and suicide prevention (see posts ‘It’s Those Experts From The Betsi Again!’ and ‘He’s Not The Messiah – He’s A Very Naughty Boy’ for more info on Poole and Robinson). I received a phone call from someone telling me ‘but they don’t know anything about suicide prevention’. I know that they don’t, but they don’t tell anyone that. They tell everybody that they are experts in these matters and everybody around them goes along with the fantasy in the hope that the Betsi or Bangor University can then tweet nonsense about the experts in their employ. And no-one in south Asia knows the grim reality of what passes for ‘care’ of the suicidal or self-harmers in north Wales. This technique worked so well for Mark Williams and Mindfulness (see post ‘The Biggest Expert of the Lot’) that others have taken a leaf out of his book.

The Betsi published another story on it’s website on July 21 as well – it announced that a ‘UK top clinical leader’ had attended an event at Bryn y Neuadd Hospital, supporting the Betsi’s strategic plan involving ‘senior mental health nurses’. These will be the senior mental health nurses that have been responsible for the neglect and abuse of patients to date then – they won’t be new senior mental health nurses because nobody will actually work for the Betsi so bad is it’s reputation. Jen French, the Director of Nursing for Mental Health and Learning Disability, admitted this – she commented that she hoped that the new strategy would boost recruitment when word got around about the ‘supportive environment that we provide’. That environment is so supportive that the nurse who blew the whistle on the Tawel Fan scandal was sacked. None of the staff involved in abusing the patients were disciplined. The whistleblower was also wrongfully arrested, subjected to malicious smears and received death threats. That’s Jen’s ‘supportive environment’ for you.

So who was the ‘top clinical leader’ who gave the Betsi his support? He was Emeritus Professor Tony Butterworth. The Betsi stressed that Tony was listed as one of the top 100 clinical leaders by the ‘respected’ Healthcare Services Journal. The HSJ was the offender who at one point named Katrina Percy as ‘NHS CEO of the Year’. Percy presided over the scandal at Southern Health, where hundreds of patients with learning disabilities and/or mental health problems died. The scandal only ever became public as a result of the campaigning of Dr Sara Ryan, an Oxford sociologist, whose son died whilst in the care of Southern Health. As happens to so many people who dare expose NHS failure, Sara has received abuse and threats, her abilities as a parent were questioned by Southern Health, she was described by the psychiatrist who was responsible for the care of her son when he died as ‘toxic’ and the teenaged son of a colleague of Katrina Percy sent out a tweet describing Sara as a ‘fucking pest’. Yesterday the inquest returned the verdict on the death of Connor, Sara’s son – death by neglect. The associated report was utterly damning of Southern Health. So I don’t think that anyone is going to be too impressed by anyone who comes highly recommended by the HSJ.

Tony Butterworth wasn’t the only person invited along to the event at Bryn y Neuadd – CANIAD were there too! That’s the CANIAD that has been established by Dafydd Alun Jones et al at CAIS to represent ‘service users’. For details of the con that is CANIAD and the corrupt process which resulted in it landing the contract for ‘service user involvement’ for north Wales, please see posts ‘Introducing Caniad’ and ‘The Story Behind £1.5 Million’. I have already received correspondence from someone who was duped into working for CANIAD and has discovered that it does not represent service users at all. But then Dafydd et al don’t have much of a track record where patient representation is concerned.

On 19 July, the Betsi website featured a ‘therapy dog’ called Max. Max is currently paying visits to the Hergest Unit where he is alleged to be working wonders. It was observed that when Max arrives the patients come out of their rooms. I bet they do – the reason why patients stay in their rooms in the Hergest Unit is that the staff ignore them or are nakedly aggressive towards them. Max will be a very welcome change (unless he becomes inducted into the culture of the Hergest Unit and starts snapping and snarling at the patients). There is a photo of Max on the website and I note that he is wearing an ID badge. Which is considerably more than the Hergest staff used to – they were notorious for refusing to identify themselves to patients, for refusing to wear ID badges and even uniforms. There was one principal reason for this – it was to ensure that if patients wanted to make a complaint about their appalling behaviour, the patients wouldn’t be able to identify them. All the patients were ever told was the first name of the member of staff and all staff referred to themselves as ‘nurses’. They weren’t – they were nearly all nursing assistants and a lot of them were agency or bank staff. In fact so few of them were qualified nurses that sometimes there was no qualified nurse on duty.

When I made a serious complaint about four Hergest staff, it took me MONTHS to actually find out who they were, although the complaint involved an assault. Nobody would say anymore than ‘Bethan, Michelle, Dave and Sian, nurses’. It was bloody obvious that most of them weren’t nurses, they were barely literate and ‘Dave’ was a caveman with a broken nose, nearly shaved head and prison tattoos. After many months of detective work, I discovered that they were actually Gwen Bethan Roberts, Michelle Shaw, David Wood (nursing assistants) and Sian Ruth Lloyd (newly qualified nurse). I also discovered that there had been numerous other complaints about them involving their abuse and aggression towards patients and that in a previous job with young people ‘nurse Dave’ was alleged to have flushed a client’s head down the bog. Max the dog is going to be a very big improvement on that bunch of thugs.

The article about Max boasts of the other activities that are available to Hergest patients. Art therapy is mentioned. There is an art therapist at Hergest and a lot of patients speak very highly of her. One patient who desperately wanted to do art therapy was prevented from doing so – because she had been to the same school as the art therapist and the dear old Hergest were worried about ‘boundaries’. I suspect that what they were really worried about was that the patient might have told her former school friend what had happened to her in Taliesin Ward – she had been so badly treated in there that one of her neighbours pretended to be a lawyer when she visited her, because the neighbour thought that if the Hergest staff thought that they were being observed by a lawyer the extent of their neglect and brutality might be curbed. The website claims that Tai Chi and walking groups are available for patients. I know a Hergest patient who attended those Tai Chi and walking groups. The ‘groups’ consisted of him – a keen mountaineer in his late 50s – and four or five elderly ladies with the early stages of dementia. No, there was not much Tai Chi or walking done. It is mentioned that a group of Bangor University student volunteers also attend the Hergest Unit to assist with activities. That student group was set up by the Hergest Whistleblower a few years ago – the students were lovely and were very keen. The Hergest Unit management did all they could to stop that group – because they did not want those students witnessing what was going on in the Hergest Unit. At least one of the students was refused permission to continue with the work on the grounds of a minor criminal conviction that he had incurred some years previously – so he was left feeling really bad about himself after being labelled a ‘danger’ to staff and patients. It was bollocks – he wasn’t a danger to anyone, the Hergest management knew that they were employing people like Caveman Dave and they did not want people knowing how patients were being treated.

Interestingly enough, for years animals were banned from the Hergest Unit as well. Patients like me who had dogs had to get our friends to bring our dogs to the hospital and we had to go out into the car park to meet our dogs. And if the ‘nurses’ decided not to let you out of the ward, you couldn’t see your dogs because there was a total ban on animals. Many years ago there was a very friendly Irish junior doctor who worked at the Hergest who was actually a human being and he used to bring his dog in at nights to greet the patients when the other Top Doctors had all gone home. He told us that if anyone found out that he was doing this he would be sacked. It wasn’t just mammals that were banned at Hergest – pigeons were unacceptable as well. The day centre at Hergest – which was eventually closed down entirely – used to have a little courtyard attached to it and pigeons would land in the courtyard. Patients really loved the pigeons and fed them biscuits. A notice appeared on the wall asking everyone not to feed the pigeons. Everyone ignored it and carried on feeding the pigeons so another notice appeared ORDERING everyone not to feed the pigeons. Everyone ignored that notice as well, so then another notice appeared saying that the door into the courtyard would be locked because people were continuing to feed the pigeons.

On July 13 the Betsi website reported that the family of a man with learning disabilities who died whilst in the ‘care’ of Morriston Hospital in Swansea had appeared at the launch of yet another Betsi ‘initiative’ to improve the care of learning disabled people. It was mentioned that the failures in care at the Morriston had been described by the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales as ‘abject’ and ‘dire’. The Ombudsman has made very similar comments about the failures of care provided by the Betsi recently. The Morriston Hospital isn’t in special measures either.

 

My recent post ‘A Prescription For Murder’ reviewed a ‘Panorama’ programme which featured that well-known Top Doctor from the Hergest, Dodgy Geezer Dr David Healy. There’s been quite a bit of fall-out from the programme with the Top Doctors taking to twitter – Rob Poole even wrote a blog post about it (Rob touchingly uses the phrase ‘we experts’ in his post). The voices noticeably absent are those of the patients – I’m glad to say however that someone who has been on the receiving end of Healy has left comments on ‘Service Shenanigans’….

NHS England also caused a twitter storm and prompted much media comment earlier this week when it was announced that there was to be a huge increase in the number of mental health posts. So Jeremy Hunt is going to train and employ thousands more people to carry on doing what has failed to help people with mental health problems so spectacularly so far then. The Top Doctors and their associates have been scrapping over those plans as much as they have been scrapping over Healy’s appearance on ‘Panorama’. I am reminded of that scene in ‘Time Bandits’ when the dwarves all start fighting each other and Napolean looks on delighted and applauds saying ‘That’s what I like – little things hitting each other’. As the Top Doctors and the RCN and the Dodgy Geezers all argue amongst each other, falsify their research and declare themselves the true experts, global capitalism continues to screw healthcare completely. Jeremy Hunt himself has also hit a new enlightenment – he stated that there are ‘problems’ in the NHS that can’t be solved no matter how much is invested in it and that other Gov’ts found the same problem despite spending huge amounts of money on the NHS. I suspect that the ‘problems’ Jeremy might be thinking of are called the BMA and GMC. That’s right Jeremy, they’re institutionally corrupt, you’ve all known it for years and the monsters are now so big and so greedy and so demanding that you can’t possibly give them what they want and now they going to scream and scream until they’re sick.

A fascinating medical scandal has begun to emerge, one that the ‘Independent’ is maintaining could be as big as thalidomide – the vaginal mesh scandal. Since the 1990s, thousands of women experiencing even just mild occasional stress incontinence have been encouraged to have vaginal meshes inserted. The meshes are kept in place by hooks attached to one’s soft tissues. Surprise, surprise, it’s now been revealed that inserting a mesh with hooks on into one’s fanny is not a particularly good idea, the meshes have been slicing through tissue causing bleeding and other awful consequences. Various gynaecologists have been crawling out of the woodwork and some have given comments to the press interpreting this as a consequence of sexism and a cavalier attitude to female health. No, this is an example of the cavalier attitude that Top Doctors routinely adopt towards their patients’ health in general. Gynaecologists both male and female knew what those meshes were doing to people but they have kept quiet for the last twenty years. Furthermore, although a few female gynaecologists self-identifying as the defenders of women’s health are now speaking up, they could have done so a very long time ago – but they didn’t. There is also a complete absence of information regarding who developed vaginal meshes and where the early clinical trials took place. Anyone happen to know? Because someone put those things on the market and robustly promoted them, including to some women who did not actually need such interventions….

It brought back a few more memories of the Everyday Story of St George’s Folk for me. I have mentioned in previous posts how dysfunctional relationships were between Top Doctors at St George’s and how the main pastime was knifing each other or gossiping about who was shagging who. There was one Top Doctor there who was particularly loathed by everyone – a gynaecologist called Stuart Stanton who specialised in treating urinary incontinence. He seemed very secretive about his practices and people spent much time and effort trying to find out what he was up to – including where in the world he actually was at any one time, because he wasn’t always in London. Stanton was robustly recommended to well-heeled private patients as being the man to consult should they suffer from pelvic floor problems. Yet people who worked with him used to constantly make comments along the lines of ‘Christ I wouldn’t let him near me’. I never ever found out what it was that he was doing that repulsed everybody so much and why there were so many efforts made by so many people to try and find out about his business practices. As ever with the Top Doctors, there was clearly a slurry pit somewhere involving Stanton but they weren’t going to let on, especially not to patients. Stanton is still practicing – in Harley Street of course. I keep wondering how many people he might have recommended a vaginal mesh to…

Whilst reading all about the vaginal meshes in the ‘Indie’, I noticed another story on their website. That of a case of a learning disabled couple in Oregon, who have had their new born baby removed from them on the grounds that they had learning disabilities. There were no allegations of them presenting a danger to the baby, the decision was made simply because both the baby’s parents had ‘low IQs’. This is not a first and this sort of thing happens rather closer to home than Oregon. You’ve guessed it – I witnessed the very same thing happen to a learning disabled couple whose baby was born at St Georges. The decision to remove the baby from their care as soon as it was born was not one taken by the midwives or obstetricians and a lot of them were very uncomfortable with what was happening and felt that it was very sad. The decision had been taken by the social services – as were other decisions regarding the removal of babies from their mothers, again in circumstances that left a lot of the staff on the labour ward very uncomfortable. I felt that this was bad enough at the time, but after receiving the documents regarding my own case a few months ago, I am now very concerned at what might have been going on. Because the social workers making the decisions to remove those babies from their parents at birth were the very same social workers who my documents now demonstrate were without my knowledge – and after never having even met me – in communication with Lucille Hughes, Dafydd Alun Jones and Dr Tony Francis (Dr X) regarding my ‘dangerousness’. The Lucille, Dafydd and Tony who were facilitating a paedophile ring in north Wales. Many of the decisions to remove babies from mothers giving birth at St Georges were made in consultation with psychiatrists from St Georges – the psychiatrists who knew about the serious criminal activities of Dafydd Alun Jones et al in north Wales but who colluded with them and said nothing about their wrongdoing….

The ‘Guardian’ is reporting on a major industrial dispute in NHS England that is getting remarkably little attention – but then it doesn’t involve Top Doctors or Angels. This dispute involves some genuinely very badly paid NHS workers – the cleaners of Barts NHS Trust. They are not actually employees of Barts or indeed of the NHS because of course the cleaning contract has been outsourced, in order to pay the cleaners even less. The cleaners are working for Serco, some shifts start at 4am in the morning and some of the cleaners are in their 60s with health problems. The workforce involved is mostly female and substantially made up of ethnic minorities. So among all these media allegations of ‘nurses going to food banks because their pay is so low’ – no, nurses’ pay is not that low, it is not high but it is above the UK average – here is a group of workers who really are being exploited and paid dreadfully. So where’s the outcry then? I’m glad to note that Jeremy Corbyn is supporting them, but there’s a conspicuous absence of other high profile names who have tripped over themselves to spout off about junior doctors not being able to live on their salaries and of course all those nurses down at the food banks. There is one glaring inaccuracy in the ‘Indie’ report though. It states that Florence Nightingale knew the value of hygiene. She didn’t – Florence had quite a casual attitude to hygiene, it was all a bit Mid-Staffs. When Florence was told of the existence of ‘germs’, she refused to believe that they existed on the grounds that something that small wasn’t possible. So she continued to walk through the wards giving everyone a dose of the deathly lamp.

 

BBC News Wales online has had much coverage of the commemorations of the Battle of Passchendaele over the last few days. There has been much remembering of the fallen. As the Betsi continues to exterminate people with mental health problems whilst boasting about it’s experts, I think that it’s about time that we remembered the now hundreds of people who have died in the face of all this expertise. I suggest a Tomb of the Unknown Service User with an eternal flame to counteract the constant stream of propaganda from Higson et al.

 

Professor Prestigious And His Associates

Professor Sir Michael Marmot was all over the media yesterday talking about inequality after some shock horror research has been published demonstrating that health inequalities in the UK are not decreasing. I cannot understand why anyone is even surprised. Michael Marmot is considered by the Top Doctors to be the ultimate guru where health inequalities are concerned, although sociologists are not as impressed by him as Top Doctors, politicians and policymakers are. However, by the standards of Top Doctors, Marmot is nuanced and relatively radical. It was Marmot who first bust the myth of poor people drinking excessively by demonstrating that people on higher incomes did a lot more boozing and in his famous study of Whitehall civil servants in the 1980s Marmot also showed that it is not people in senior jobs who experience ‘stress’, it is people at the bottom of the pecking order. Marmot uses concepts such as social and cultural capital which makes him relatively unusual among Top Doctors. As a result of all this Michael Marmot has gained a reputation as someone who is outspoken on health inequalities and who is not afraid to conduct rigorous research and to subsequently expose the root of such inequalities. He has famously said that ‘medicine was a failed prevention’. Governments love Marmot. He was knighted in 2000 for his work on ‘understanding health inequalities’ and he Chaired the Commission On Social Determinants of Health, which was set up by WHO (World Health Organisation) in 2005. He conducted the famous Marmot Review of UK Health Inequalities which was commissioned by Gordon Brown in 2008 and reported to the Coalition Gov’t in 2010. Marmot Chaired the Scientific Reference Group on tacking health inequalities. He is the MRC Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health at UCL and Director of UCL’s Institute of Health Equity. So one would have thought that what with Marmot having been at the helm for so many years that health inequalities in the UK would have disappeared. What can be going wrong? From what I heard on the ‘Today’ programme yesterday, Marmot didn’t explain why the UK is still a deeply unequal nation in terms of health outcomes, but he did know what the solution is – it is to give the NHS more money. It does seem to come down to that these days – if only the Top Doctors were given more money all would be well. Marmot would probably also argue that if he was given another massive research grant that would help too.

Whenever I hear Michael Marmot speaking about health inequalities, I am always reminded of the phrase ‘the dog that didn’t bark’. Because although I agree with much of what Marmot says and he makes many valid points, there is one topic on which I never hear Marmot say anything – that of health inequalities KNOWINGLY perpetuated by the NHS itself. He will discuss in detail health inequalities that arise as a result of the NHS serving well-educated people or people on higher incomes better than others, but he discusses this as though it’s an accident on the part of the NHS and that the dear old NHS is doing it’s best to treat everybody to the same high standard, but for multiple complex reasons some people just don’t benefit as much from the treatment/care. Marmot is not actually telling lies in that there are numerous reasons why some people benefit from the NHS more than others. But there are also some groups of people – notoriously those with learning disabilities and severe long-term mental illness – who die decades earlier than everyone else, because the NHS does not bother to treat them. I discussed this in my post ‘Why So Many Die So Early’ and gave a few examples that I have witnessed. This phenomenon is well-documented and Marmot will know all about it. He will know that people with learning disabilities have ‘DNR’ (do not resuscitate) notes pinned t0 their medical records without anyone being informed, he will know that they are not given treatment for certain conditions or under certain circumstances because their quality of life is assessed on a different basis from everybody else, he will know that there is a fatalism pervading the NHS which dictates that ‘they usually die before they’re 50 anyway’ and he will know that frequently NHS staff find learning disabled people difficult to communicate with or difficult to keep calm, so they simply avoid trying to do this. Marmot will also know that people with mental health problems who have a diagnosis of ‘personality disorder’ are deemed by many to be untreatable and will be left without treatment for eg. depression, when other patients will receive that treatment. He will know that the ‘medication’ given to patients deemed psychotic can have very severe ‘side effects’ which shorten patients’ lives – and he will know that there is a lot of very bad prescribing about which increases the possibility of this happening. Michael Marmot will also know all about the dreadful, brutal practices that exist in mental health and the very sorry state of the mental health services. He will know about all this not just because he is much more switched on than most Top Doctors where health inequalities are concerned, but because Michael Marmot is a psychiatrist.

I did not realise that Marmot was a psychiatrist until a few weeks ago. He describes himself as an ‘epidemiologist’ or sometimes as a ‘social scientist’. But I heard him on a Radio 4 programme, a Libby Purves or an Andrew Marr thing, a chat show with ‘interesting’ guests and Marmot was one of the guests. Another guest was a woman psychiatrist who, after training and practicing in the UK, had spent many years overseas dispensing wisdom to Johnny Foreigner and who had written a book about her adventures. As Libby (or Andrew) and the guests marvelled at her ‘compassion’ and her desire to ‘help’ in her capacity as a Top Doctor, Michael Marmot joined in the admiration and revealed that he was particularly interested in this woman’s work, because he too was a psychiatrist. Now this woman actually mentioned that people with serious mental illnesses die many years earlier than other people. I was delighted to hear this admission and looked forward to, for once, an honest discussion about the way in which people with severe mental illness are wiped out by the NHS itself. It didn’t happen. Marmot and the female psychiatrist tutted about the premature deaths and both agreed that it was shocking that this was so and that it was very sad and dreadfully unfair. But there was not one word about the reasons why people with serious mental illness die so prematurely. Yet Marmot had already been given a lot of air-time to discuss his theories regarding health inequalities – but as soon as severe mental illness was mentioned the conversation was moved onto another topic. The institutionalised discrimination from the NHS faced by people with mental health problems and learning disabilities is the most striking example of health inequality in the UK today. In interviews and articles Marmot constantly makes statements such as ‘I showed them the evidence’ and ‘I always look at the evidence’. When he appeared on ‘Desert Island Discs’ in 2014 he stated that ‘I don’t do the skulduggery of politics’. Presumably Marmot doesn’t ever mention the very damning evidence regarding the way in which some groups of people are (mis)treated by the NHS for other reasons then.

When I hear Marmot speak I am reminded of a Top Doctors lecture that I attended in Ysbyty Gwynedd a few years ago. I felt myself to be in Injun Country because I noticed a few people in the lecture theatre whom I had done battle with myself – indeed the man introducing the speaker was Dr Richard Tranter, a Top Doctor lately of the Hergest Unit, who has featured on this blog. I went to the lecture because it was advertised as being about health inequalities and the speaker was a health economist from Bangor University. I didn’t think much of the lecture because the speaker was a great believer in Nudge Theory which is one of the biggest cons that behavioural psychologists have inflicted upon the western world, but I’ll return to Nudge later in this post. However at the end of the lecture a Top Doctor raised his hand to ask a question. This lecture took place at the height of the BMA’s battles with the then Health Minister Edwina Hart and the attempts of the Top Doctors to depose Mary Burrows, the first CEO of the Betsi. The Top Doctor then spoke. He asked the health economist if she agreed with privatising the NHS ‘because why should doctors be told what to do by this Welsh Government’. I felt like shouting out ‘because they pay you a hundred fucking thousand a year you arrogant bastard’, but I restrained myself. Imagine my surprise when the health economist replied that she did not believe in privatising the NHS because the NHS was there for poor people who benefit much more from it than anyone else. ‘No they don’t’ whispered my colleague who’d attended the lecture with me. I know that they don’t. So not only was there a greedy arrogant bastard of a Top Doctor in the lecture, but Bangor University employs a health economist who doesn’t know her arse from her elbow.

But to return to Professor Prestigious. I have been googling Michael Marmot and I can find no references to him being a psychiatrist. I was wondering if perhaps he’d worked with those we know and love, wondering if perhaps he’d passed through the Maudsley or St George’s Hospital Medical School as so many have, but there are no references to any psychiatric training at all. There is however a lack of detail regarding how he spent the early years of his working life. He qualified as a doctor from the University of Sydney in 1968 and he was awarded his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1975. His online biography tells us that in 1980 he became an honorary consultant in Public Health Medicine and from 1985 onwards he worked at UCL, with a stint at Harvard. So when did he work as a psychiatrist? Before doing his PhD? Or immediately afterwards? Why does he not detail this part of his career – he has been happy to provide extensive details of everything he’s done since arriving at UCL. Marmot’s work as a psychiatrist remains a mystery.

Despite his claim that he doesn’t do the skulduggery of politics, I suspect that Marmot is very shrewd indeed politically. His 1980 honorary consultant post in Public Health Medicine is listed as being with the GMC. That will be the same GMC who in 1980 were receiving complaints about Dr Dafydd Alun Jones – who in that year found himself on the receiving end of the beginning of the litigation for unlawfully imprisoning Mary Wynch. The GMC took no action against him either for that or for the other numerous instances of misconduct involving Jones at that time, at least one incident resulting in the death of a patient. He was of course concealing a paedophile ring as well, but I don’t know if anyone actually made formal representation about that.

In 2008 when Gordon Brown commissioned Professor Prestigious to Chair the Marmot Review, it was Secretary of State for Health Alan Johnson who asked Marmot to do it. The Alan Johnson who, along with Andy Burnham, refused more than 80 requests to hold a Public Inquiry into events at Mid-Staffs because of the horrifying death rates there. Marmot is a health inequalities expert. He will be able to spot inordinately high death rates. It is now admitted that the deaths and poor outcomes at Mid-Staffs were a result of dreadful care. Nothing to do with social or cultural capital. It is highly likely that Marmot had had access to UK mortality stats for years before the Mid-Staffs scandal broke. So what did he think was going on in Mid-Staffs?

Marmot has occupied another position as well which is not given out to people who do not do the skulduggery of politics – he was President of the BMA, 2010-11. Which was when the BMA Cymru were still running a co-ordinated campaign against the CEO of the Betsi and against the Welsh Gov’ts Health Minister. It was at about that time that BMA Cymru were sending aggressive rude e mails to me as well – and those e mails were from their PR man no less.

Marmot mentions something else interesting in his interview for ‘Desert Island Discs’. He talks about his research some years ago that showed the high levels of well-being among Japanese woman. This surprised everyone, particularly when Marmot’s theories concerning the causes of well-being were taken into account. Marmot had famously written about people experiencing poor health outcomes if they had little control over their lives or were considered to be of low social status. Japanese woman – especially back in the 70s and 80s – were considered to have been a very oppressed group indeed. The society in which they lived was perceived to be highly patriarchal, there were very, very few employment opportunities for woman – especially married women – a high degree of social control was exercised over women and men famously spent much of their time away from their wives and families, either at work or socialising with other men. Five years ago I was reading of the experiences of a young European professional woman who had married and gone to live in Japan and she observed that she found life there very difficult because being a woman ‘my opinion counts for nothing’. This was a woman with postgraduate qualifications who had learnt Japanese. So even in recent years, women in Japan did not equate to Marmot’s empowered respected beings in control of their lives.

Marmot however came up with an explanation for his seemingly anomalous results. He maintained that the Japanese husbands spent nearly all of their time away from their wives, which resulted in the wives building up their own social capital and networks. It’s an interesting theory, but I’ve got an interesting theory too. Marmot was, at some point a psychiatrist. He is also politically sharp and by the 80s was becoming a very influential figure in the medical establishment. Now I’m not sure when Marmot carried out his research on Japanese women but I presume that it was after his PhD – maybe late 70s or 80s? There was sometime around the late 80s a major diplomatic incident between Japan and the World Psychiatric Association. It had been revealed that conditions in Japanese mental hospitals were dreadful, with patients being viewed as convicts. Their heads were shaved, they were made to wear uniforms and there was evidence that they were being beaten with iron rods. British psychiatrists compared their treatment with that of inmates in asylums before the 19th century. Then the World Psychiatric Association stated that Japan would be expelled from their organisation. I followed this at the time because by then I’d experienced Dafydd Alun Jones and the North Wales Hospital and frankly I didn’t think that British psychiatry was in any position to point the finger at anyone else. And I remember Japan getting very angry and saying pretty much the same thing. It is not improbable that if at this time Professor Prestigious had published research suggesting that Japanese women’s position in society was adversely affecting their health outcomes that a very big political row could have blown up. Research is suppressed for political purposes. I have mentioned previously that there are hardly any studies published investigating violence towards mental health patients by staff. Researchers in Bradford knew that forced marriage and honour violence/killings were a problem but did not publicise it for a long time because there were fears that the BNP would misuse it. It is also only relatively recently that people have spoken openly about the problem in Bradford of genetically inherited conditions among babies born to parents who are first cousins. Yet all these things have been known about for a very long time. I really do wonder if Marmot’s research on Japanese women was affected by political considerations. If it was it didn’t do him any harm. He was President of the World Medical Association 2015-16.

Professor Prestigious’s Institute of Health Equity at UCL was launched in 2011, the year that he stood down as President of the BMA and is supported by the Department of Health – and the dear old BMA! I notice that details of the Institute of Health Equity appear on the part of the UCL website entitled ‘UCL Public Policy’. Details of the ‘UCL Centre For Behaviour Change’ appear on the same page. ‘Behaviour Change’ being a concept that neoliberal governments really love because it can be used to locate social problems with complex causes within the individual – it’s been causing havoc for a long while in mental health (‘they think that they have no responsibility to get better’ as a social work team manager once told me), but the dear old Nudge Theory has now found it’s way into everywhere, including into the UK benefits system. It’s why letters to people claiming disability benefits now have slogans on them saying ‘it has been proved that having a job is better for your health’. Better than what? A poke in the eye with a sharp stick? I’m sure that having a fulfilling job that you enjoy is good for your health but working for ‘Sports Direct’ isn’t. Isn’t it puzzling that health inequalities are still with us and Michael Marmot is surprised at this. No wonder the Top Doctors need more money, it’s the only solution. One glimpse at the UCL Public Policy webpage suggested to me that there’s enough there to provide material for a whole series of blog posts but sadly I don’t have time. I will just mention that on May 17 the Centre for Behaviour Change co-hosted an event entitled ‘exploring behaviour change in the setting of large organisations’ – with BUPA. Good to know that the Top Doctors remain committed to the NHS and continue to avoid the skulduggery of politics.

As I frequently theorise on this blog, people who make it big in medicine only do so if they keep quiet about the things that the Top Doctors really do not want anyone to find out about. The fact that Marmot was offered a position by the GMC and ended up as President of the BMA – and of course landing commissions from Westminster Gov’ts – suggests that he will have been party to an awful lot. That is why I was interested to find out where he’d worked when he was a psychiatrist and whom he worked with. He’s obviously keeping that info under his hat, but another name whom he has admitted to working with jumped out at me – Sir Donald Acheson.

Marmot’s biography states that he served on the Scientific Advisory Group of the Independent Inquiry into Inequalities in Health Chaired by Acheson, whilst Acheson was UK Chief Medical Officer. Donald Acheson could be described as the Top Doctor’s Top Doctor. Acheson really did not have to Chair an Inquiry to find out why health inequalities existed. They existed because Acheson existed.

Acheson died in 2010. He was the Gov’ts Chief Medical Officer between 1983-91. Before devolution. So Acheson’s reign spanned the full horrors of Dafydd and the paedophile ring and all that I have described in previous posts. The lies, the perjury, the corruption, the unlawful imprisonment of anyone crossing the paths of those we know and love, the hounding of whistleblowers out of jobs, the appointment of Jimmy Savile and his mates to the management ‘task force’ of Broadmoor Hospital, Acheson was there throughout it all. Acheson is described as ‘serving’ the Gov’t in the DHSS, the Department of Education and Science and at the Home Office. In the thick of all of it then. After leaving office, Acheson held positions at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine – the establishment that unlawfully withdrew my place on an MSc (see post ‘A Top Doctor In The News’) and UCL, where he will have worked with Professor Prestigious. Acheson was President of the BMA 1996-97. Just as the Waterhouse Inquiry began. Acheson received a number of honours from toadying universities, including an honorary doctorate from the University of Birmingham in 1991.

That was the University of Birmingham that employed Professor Robert Bluglass who concealed Dafydd’s wrongdoing as Dafydd concealed the paedophile ring and that also employed Dr Tony Francis’s (Dr X’s) former boss, Professor Ian Brockington – Tony Francis’s wrongdoing wasn’t even investigated By Bluglass, although it formed part of my complaint (see posts ‘Enter Professor Robert Bluglass CBE’ and ‘Ian Brockington’s Mischief’). 1991 note – the year that it is alleged that a cover-up of a major paedophile ring with connections to Westminster took place, the year that I was hounded out of my job at St George’s Hospital Medical School, the year that Dr Tony Francis and the MDU hired the services of Sir Robert Francis QC in an attempt to imprison me because I had written numerous letters alleging that there was serious criminal activity taking place in the north Wales mental health services, including on the part of Tony Francis (see post ‘The Sordid Role Of Sir Robert Francis QC’). It was also the year that a close friend of mine who knew what had happened to me in north Wales and was interested in making a documentary about it was unfairly dismissed from her job at the Royal Television Society (see post ‘Did Glenda Occupy A Key Role In Keeping It all Out Of The Media?’).

As if that wasn’t enough, I have also discovered that Acheson was born in 1926, so just a few years younger than Gwynne the lobotomist – and he trained at the Middlesex Hospital, just like Gwynne! Acheson’s first wife was a nurse from the Middlesex and Acheson is described as having ‘held various clinical posts at the Middlesex Hospital’. Such institutions have thriving Alumni organisations – medical schools in particular really love them – people keep in touch throughout their careers and a super-strength professional glue binds them all together. One thing that the Alumni organisations and professional glue are useful for is extracting each other from slurry pits. Now imagine if you and your mates were concealing a paedophile ring who were supplying boys to Westminster figures – many of those figures members of the Party that was in Government at the time – and you knew the Chief Medical Officer working for that Gov’t. Or indeed imagine if you were the Gov’ts Chief Medical Officer and what the consequences would be if it ever got out that one of your associates had concealed such a paedophile ring and had been banging people up unlawfully or heaven forbid lobotomising them if they had started to talk about what was happening. Documents in my possession show that Dr D.G.E. Wood, the GP who ordered me to drop my complaints against Gwynne the lobotomist or suffer career damage, was writing and phoning everyone and anyone he could behind the scenes in his efforts to extract Gwynne, Dafydd, Tony Francis et al from the shit. I will provide further evidence of why I think that a distress call may have been sent out to Acheson in a minute.

In 2000 long after he’d retired, Acheson appeared on the BBC News, as a ‘whistleblower’. This news item concerned the BSE scandal that occurred in the late 80s on Acheson’s watch. Things had got a little difficult for Acheson because there had been a Public Inquiry into the BSE crisis and it had been revealed that he ‘might’ have misled the public over BSE in 1990 by publicly announcing that ‘there is no risk associated with eating British beef’ – of course there was a risk and a number of people did develop CJD as a result, although there are claims that the Gov’t never came clean about the number of people who did. At the BSE Inquiry, Acheson stated that his comment about there being ‘no risk’ from British beef ‘must have been a slip of the tongue’ (as opposed to a bloody great lie). He also told the Inquiry that he’d never heard of BSE until March 1988. Acheson however knew where the blame did lie  – he had been deceived by MAFF (the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food) because they had not told him about BSE. MAFF had been ‘unnecessarily secretive’ (you’d never get a Top Doctor being secretive unnecessarily would you) and furthermore Acheson had no idea at all that abattoirs had not been heeding the rules regarding the butchering of animals and the treatment of the carcasses.

This is all very odd. By March 1988 BSE had been an identifiable disease for over 17 months. Furthermore, when I was doing the MSc in Experimental Pathology at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School, Hammersmith Hospital, in 1986-87, when we ‘did’ CJD, it was mentioned that a variant in cattle had recently appeared. So a bunch of postgrads were being taught things that the Chief Medical Officer didn’t know. The Chief Medical Officer who had access to all of the UK datasets and who had a whole department – which included a staff of nearly 100 Top Doctors – reporting directly to him. As for his naivety regarding the practices at abattoirs, everyone knew that abattoirs were frequently staffed by the local psychopaths who broke all the rules. When I was a teenager, a neighbouring farmer took my sister to the abattoir with him when he was taking his pigs there. This man told my sister that he always stayed when his pigs were being slaughtered because he didn’t trust the abattoir men. He was right not to – on the occasion that my sister went with him, she saw a pig running around on three legs, because the slaughterhouse men had cut a leg off for a laugh.

So we’ve established that Donald Acheson was a lying git who risked the health of UK citizens, probably because of the damage that the Gov’t at that time feared would be done to the British beef industry if anyone was told the truth about BSE.

So this was obviously why after he stood down as Chief Medical Officer he was given a Chair at the International Centre for Health and Society at UCL. Just the man for Tony Blair to ask in 1998 to Chair an investigation into health inequalities. The Acheson Report subsequently concluded that health inequalities were the result of poor people themselves – they got pissed and smoked and couldn’t afford the sort of food and services that resulted in good health. Marmot was part of that team – but then made a name for himself a few years later by debunking it all.

Acheson had to spin a yarn about MAFF, because he may well not have had his mind on BSE. Because whilst Acheson was Chief Medical Officer, something far more worrying for Thatcher’s Government than BSE occurred. HIV AIDS. Initially AIDS was thought to be only something that affected gay men, but then perceptions changed to it being something that predominantly affected the gay community. Acheson advised on the AIDS panic and his peers from that time have talked about how worried he was, how much of his time and effort went into planning the response to AIDS ie. he ‘ate and slept AIDS from 1985 onwards’. Acheson set up an informal group of senior medics and public health officials and invited people from the Terence Higgins Trust, an organisation with it’s roots in the gay community. From this evolved an expert advisory group which Acheson chaired. Acheson seems to have been a good deal more careful in his handling of the AIDS crisis than he was with BSE. He is on record as saying that the key was for society to become less promiscuous. Yet like Edwina Currie who famously advised the women of the UK not to ‘screw around’ if they wanted to avoid cervical cancer whilst she was doing a great deal of screwing around herself as were many of her colleagues, it seems that Acheson actually based his response to the AIDS crisis on a different message.

The ‘Guardian’s’ obituary of Acheson praised him for persuading Ministers to abandon their proposals for the compulsory testing of AIDS and making it a notifiable disease – Acheson was said to have persuaded Ministers that their proposals would deter people from seeking help. (The Conservative Gov’t did do one thing without telling the public though – they established a blood screening programme of all ante-natal patients in one major London hospital without informing the patients, in order to ascertain how widespread HIV was in the general population. The hospital where this was done with no-ones knowledge was St George’s. Of course.) Acheson argued for ‘reduction not prohibition’, for safe sex rather than no sex. The ‘Guardian’ also noted with surprise that Acheson effectively condoned illegal drug use by needle exchange schemes. In 1985 whilst talking about his reputation and credibility Acheson said ‘I must personally satisfy myself on the evidence on every issue’. He very obviously didn’t do that with BSE but I bet that he did it with AIDS. Because I think that Acheson knew that the repressed homophobic Gov’t of Thatcher’s ironically had more than a few members and associates who were not simply gay but who were wildly promiscuous and using the services of kids in care who had been trafficked into prostitution – by Acheson’s old mates Gwynne and co. Acheson had to ensure that the whole bloody lot of them didn’t become infected. This was a real threat – for example, Thomas Tyrell-Kenyon, the son of Conservative peer Lord Lloyd Tyrell-Kenyon, was known to be abusing boys in care in north Wales and died of AIDS in 1993 (see post ‘Y Gwir Yn Erbyn Y Byd’). When I lived in Bethesda in the late 1980s I knew a very promiscuous gay man who was using prostitutes in the Chester area who died of AIDS. So there were people infected with AIDS in north Wales in the 80s and as north Wales was a key supplier of rent boys for the Westminster Paedophile Ring – the homes trafficking children for this purpose being Ty’r Felin in Bangor and the Bryn Alyn Community near Wrexham – the paedophiles of Westminster were certainly at risk.

In 1998 Acheson said that a shake-up in the Department of Health in 1996 eroded the power and independence of the Chief Medical Officer by reducing the number of directly accountable staff to the CMO down to none – Acheson had a team of about 100 medical staff. Historically the Department of Health had two parallel hierarchies, the admin staff reporting to the Permanent Secretary and the medical staff reporting to the CMO. Acheson argued that had he not had that team of 100 medics, he would not have been successful in his AIDS campaign. He is on record as having said that ‘you cannot be independent if what you have access to is controlled by admin staff who may have a different agenda’. If you are a CMO who’s mates are facilitating a paedophile ring involving the Gov’t – and indeed the other parties in opposition – and you’ve got 100 Top Doctors working for you, that gives you an awful lot of power over your alleged political masters. You certainly won’t want a team of admin staff responsible not to you but to a senior civil servant, that would really throw a spanner in the works. So the DoH eradicated the Top Doctors reporting to the CMO in 1996 – just as the Waterhouse Inquiry began…

Acheson’s obituaries mention another achievement of his as well – he is described as having had a long association with the University of Southampton (since 1968) and was the prime mover and shaker in the establishment of the Medical School there, indeed he was appointed Foundation Dean. This was a real revelation to me, because it might explain something that happened to me in about 1989, just before I took the job at St George’s. This was of course, a time when I was still in touch with D.G.E. Wood and as I mentioned in previous posts, was being pumped by him for information regarding my and indeed Brown’s career plans, as is clear from the documents that I now have got hold of. I applied for a job in the then fairly newly established IVF Unit at Southampton Medical School. This was at a time when Top Doctors had realised that there was money to be made and status to be acquired from an IVF Unit and everybody wanted one (please see post ‘The BMA And It’s Ethics’). I was shortlisted for the post and at the interview I met the one other shortlisted candidate. We were both early, so we went for a coffee and she turned out to be great for a chat. She was not only the same age as me, but she’d also done her first degree in Wales – she had gone to Aberystwyth – but incredibly enough she had grown up in Somerset like me. She had been to school in Taunton, whereas I went to school in Bridgwater, so we had not ever actually met, but we marvelled a bit at how similar our paths had been. Unlike me however, she had worked in IVF since graduating, had worked with the pioneers and was already an experienced embryologist. It was very clear that she was the stronger candidate. We returned to the Unit to supposedly meet people and be shown around. But neither of us were shown around and the only person we met apart from the scientist in charge of the lab was a doctor called Elaine, whose main topic of conversation was how outraged she had been when a candidate for a job a few weeks previously had mistaken her for a nurse. It was very obvious that the man who was supposed to be running the lab was scared stiff of Elaine and was literally jumpy. The other candidate commented on this and said that this didn’t seem anything like the clinics that she had worked in. I was first in for the interview and the person leading the panel was an obstetrician called Gordon Masson. He was very friendly and extroverted but within about 10 mins he asked me who my boyfriend was and what he did for a living. Which even in those days was a very unacceptable question to ask a female candidate for a job, but I just presumed that this Top Doctor wasn’t too hot on etiquette where interviewing was concerned and held a lame stereotype that I might disappear on maternity leave within a few months, leaving them short of an embryologist. At the end of the interview they said they’d ring to let me know the outcome.

I went home but didn’t hear anything. So I rang the jumpy scientist to find out what was going on. His wife answered the phone and said ‘ooh I think Mr Masson isn’t appointing anyone who was interviewed he’s going to readvertise but don’t tell him I’ve told you’. About an hour later I then received a call from the other candidate – we’d exchanged numbers – and she greeted me with ‘I suppose you’ve got the job, because they’ve told me that I haven’t’. I related to her what I had been told and commented that I thought it was bizarre that she hadn’t been given the job, as she was one of the most experienced embryologists in the UK at that time. She then told me that her interview had been really weird. She said that Masson had spent most of the interview demanding that she admit to him that she and I knew each other. He banged on about us both coming from Somerset and then both going to university in Wales and absolutely insisted that we knew each other. I was mystified and she said that she had concluded that there was probably something going on in the Unit that they wanted to conceal and that they seemed to believe that we had applied for the job to somehow catch them out. I didn’t ever meet this embryologist again but I never forgot that strange interview. So when I acquainted myself with Acheson’s biography and realised that there was almost certainly a Gwynne the lobotomist connection and also a Chief Medical Officer who was suppressing a scandal connection, I thought about that interview. I don’t think that Masson was worried about me getting pregnant whilst working for him, I think that D.G.E. Wood had been busy – Wood was very wary of Brown because Brown had already started publishing before he began his PhD and Wood was very worried that Brown might publish something about what had gone on in north Wales. I think that’s why Masson was in a spin and also why he was sufficiently paranoid to think that I and the other candidate were up to something. This morning I googled Gordon Masson.

In 2005 Gordon Masson, described as the Director of the Wessex Fertility Clinic at Southampton, hit the media. A patient of the Wessex Fertility Centre had spent over £8,000 on fertility treatment and had been on their waiting list for their egg donation scheme when she received a letter from the Clinic telling her that they were no longer treating women over the age of 42 – although they had previously told her that she could remain on the waiting list until she was 45 – and she had therefore been removed from the waiting list. Gordon Masson issued a statement saying that they had been forced to alter their criteria because they had such a long waiting list that they had to prioritise younger women who had a better chance of becoming pregnant. Masson was roundly condemned by a number of people including a Sam Abdalla of the Lister Clinic, Professor Ian Craft Director of the London Fertility Centre – who offered to ‘help’ the patient involved himself – and the HFEA (Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority). My post ‘The BMA And It’s Ethics’ described just how dodgy some of the practices of IVF/infertility clinics were (and still are). Ian Craft was virtually a pariah on account of his practice of selective foetal reduction, ie. implanting up to ten embryos and aborting the ‘surplus’ ones as the pregnancy progressed. Craft’s ‘help’ would have come at a very high price financially and emotionally.

IVF clinics have continued with their questionable practices despite much hot air about the wonders of the regulator, the HFEA. The HFEA is a joke, many of it’s Chairs have been utter dipsticks who know bugger all about IVF but are simply sharp elbowed well-connected people who fancy another public appointment – the obvious name coming to mind being the dreadful Ruth Deech (see post ‘News Round Up, May 18 2017’), who was appointed a Dame on the basis of her ‘work’ with the HFEA between 1994-2002. So who was the Chair of the HFEA who condemned Gordon Masson – who, no matter what he got up to when he was interviewing me, was correct when he stated that women with fetility problems were very unlikely to become pregnant after the age of 42 and it was therefore better practice to prioritise younger women? It was Dame Suzi Leather, who was Chair of the HFEA between 2002-2006. Suzi Leather’s tenure at the HFEA was characterised by a considerable relaxation of the rules concerning who was eligible for IVF treatment. A lot of people considered that Leather relaxed those rules far too much – IVF is a ruthless business and many of those clinics will treat anyone who hands over the dosh, no matter how unlikely they are to ever conceive or how unsuitable their personal circumstances are for a child. When Leather stepped down from the HFEA, the ‘Guardian’ stated that she had ‘turned the HFEA around’ and the Chief Executive of an organisation called Infertility Network UK stated that Leather had ‘put patients at the heart of the HFEA’. So if the HFEA needed turning around why was old Dame Deech made a Dame as a result of her sterling work with the HFEA, immediately before Leather arrived? As for putting patients at the heart of the HFEA, Leather actually ensured a greater supply of desperate people ripe for exploitation – she unleashed a cut-throat market in a notoriously unscrupulous business. So who are Infertility Network UK?

For a start they are now called Fertility Network UK – which sounds more hopeful doesn’t it. As I suspected, Fertility Network UK advertises infertility treatments, has contact details of clinics and ‘recommends’ Top Doctors working in the field. It is essentially a market place. I went on their website this morning and noticed a huge logo on the front page – a logo for the Lister Clinic no less. Clicking on the Lister Clinic reveals that the Clinical Director of the Lister is a Hossam Abdalla – presumably the Sam Abdalla who was so rude about Gordon Masson when Masson stopped treating someone who was very unlikely to become pregnant anyway. So the Chief Exec of Infertility UK who was so complimentary about Suzi Leather would seem to have had a vested interest in dear old Suzi ‘putting patients at the heart of the HFEA’. What’s the betting that the ever-helpful Ian Craft was also hiding among the skirts of Fertility Network UK somewhere?

Suzi Leather would seem to be even more of a dipstick who has been given appointments for which she is obviously unqualified than Ruth Deech. Leather graduated from the University of Exeter in 1977, then did a BPhil in Social Work and between 1984-86 was a trainee probation officer. Regular readers will have read my comments concerning the huge problems in the quality of social work/probation service training (see post ‘Social Work Theory’). Leather didn’t hang about being a social worker or probation officer though – in 1988 she became a ‘freelance consumer consultant’ and did this until 1997. Whereupon she was appointed as Chair of Exeter and District NHS Trust. How on earth did that happen? A woman with a bachelors degree in social work and then after two years as a trainee probation officer farts around as a ‘freelance consumer consultant’ for ten years and is then given an NHS Trust to run. That’s quite something even by the standards of the NHS. Could this perhaps be the reason why there have been such serious problems in the NHS in the Exeter region? The Trust down there is competing with the Betsi in terms of the scale of the disaster and recently the Chief Exec Paula Vasco-Knight narrowly escaped prison as a result of her swindling (see post ‘NHS Chief Executive Collapses In Court After Being Spared Jail’). The region’s NHS won’t have got itself in that mess quickly, as in north Wales there will have been chaos and malpractice for many years.

No matter what state she left Exeter’s NHS in, Suzy was now in the fast lane. Upon departing the NHS she was appointed Deputy Chair of the Food Standards Agency. Then it was the HFEA – obviously a logical step from Food Standards – then, between 2005-06 it was back to food again, this time as Chair of the School Food Trust, which overlapped with her stint at the HFEA. In 2006 as a result of that roaring success that she enjoyed at the HFEA, Suzi was appointed to the Board of Accreditation Service. I have no idea what that is, but it was a political appointment from Blair’s office at Number 10. Between 2006-2012 Suzi was Chair of the Charity Commission and received £104,999 for three days/week there.

Leather has been called ‘the quango Queen’ and questions have been asked about her public appointments because none of them have been elected posts. She was named in Quentin Letts’ book as one of the ’50 People Who Buggered Up Britain’. (I suspect that there are rather more than 50 people in that category although no doubt Suzi is one of them.)

I can find no clue as to how Suzi became Chair of the Exeter and District NHS Trust, which seems to have been not only an inexplicable appointment and probably one that did much damage, but was obviously the one that launched her career of doing fuck all on pointless bodies for a great deal of money and appearing on ‘Any Questions’ with nothing very original to say. Suzi is married to Iain Hampsher-Monk, a professor of political theory at Exeter. Perhaps he could enlighten us.

 

As well as featuring an appearance by Professor Prestigious, the ‘Today’ programme yesterday also featured Nanette Newman. In a previous post I mentioned how the Top Doctors really enjoy a Royal Ball. Whilst I was still being bullied and hounded at St George’s I shared a house with a junior doctor who worked at St George’s – who is now a Top Doctor at another hospital in England – and his wife. And they were really chuffed to receive a personal invitation to a Royal Ball organised by St George’s. The Royal Personage who graced the event was Prince Edward and one of the featured celebs was Nanette Newman no less. The junior doctor from our house even managed to dance with Nanette Newman. I never quite worked out what Nanette Newman was doing at a Top Doctors Royal Charity Ball but she was there nonetheless. I’m not going to name my former housemate here because unlike many whom I have named on this blog, he definitely wasn’t concealing a paedophile ring and I very much doubt that he is now (he is now a Consultant Surgeon). This man though was a perfect example of what one must do to survive if one is to become a Top Doctor. One must ignore a lot of very Nasty Things and Keep Quiet about them. He trained at St George’s and worked there as a junior doctor and he was very frank with me regarding the state of the psychiatry dept at St George’s and the associated psychiatric hospital, Springfield. He told me that the medical students hated doing their psyche placements, that the psychiatrists were mad and neglectful and that it was a bum deal all round. When I wound up in Springfield myself the following year and told him how bloody awful they were there – despite the medical establishment perpetuating the myth that the academic dept of psychiatry at St George’s was a centre of excellence (it was a centre of corruption) – he told me to get out of their clutches fast and to have no more to do with them. But he won’t have told a soul that he knew all that about them – if he had he’d have been destroyed. So I’m doing him and all the other medical students who had to look on in silence as that bunch of bastards destroyed lives a favour – I’m naming them all myself here.

Whilst remembering Nanette Newman and the Royal Ball, I remembered something else that happened at St George’s at that time that now really worries me, in view of the fact that the world-leading ‘experts’ in the psyche dept were a bunch of lying crooks concealing the wrongdoing of Dafydd et al in north Wales as Dafydd et al facilitated a paedophile ring. At one point a notice was sent around to every member of staff in every dept – a notice concerning a Girl Who Must Be Helped. Everybody was told that there was ‘a girl’ who was known to be approaching medical students in the hospital and telling them that she had diabetes and asking them if they could help her. There were no allegations that she was stealing or using violence or accessing records or drugs or equipment improperly, she was just telling medical students that she had diabetes and needed help. But this was obviously tantamount to murder – everyone was given instructions to immediately report it if they saw her because she had to sectioned and taken to Springfield Immediately. Now had Springfield actually been a compassionate institution offering appropriate care to distressed people I could see the logic in offering to help a distressed young woman. But it wasn’t. Springfield was appallingly callous and neglectful, the Top Doctors there were knowingly colluding with Dafydd and the paedophiles, one of their patients had been banged up in there by an abusive husband who regularly threatened to kill her and was using her ‘mental illness’ to ensure that she lost custody of her kids, another patient had been raped by a senior policeman at Scotland Yard and Springfield were sitting on that barrel of shit as well and few years after that, there were a number of scandals with patients murdering each other and the staff. Springfield was not a place which will have wanted to help a young woman with delusions that she had diabetes. So who was that young woman, what did she know, what had happened to her and indeed what the fuck was going on?

As for Nanette Newman’s appearance at the Royal Ball, I note that Nanette Newman’s wiki page tells us that she comes from a ‘theatrical family’. Her daughter Emma Forbes is a TV and radio celeb. Emma is a Patron of Great Ormond Street Hospital. The GOSH that is currently the centre of the storm concerning the care and future treatment of the baby Charlie Gard. A journalist on a radio news report a couple of days ago discussing the dispute between the parents of Charlie Gard and the Top Doctors and the claims and counter-claims stated that ‘surely a world leading hospital in London wouldn’t lie?’ Yes they would, they do it regularly. And they fabricate research, lie about harm to patients even when it results in death and a lot of them concealed a paedophile ring over many years.

When my lawyer forwarded me the documents that she’d finally extracted from the North West Wales NHS Trust with a Court Order, among all the documents upon which Tony Francis had lied, perjured himself and encouraged others to so the same in an attempt to have me imprisoned, there was a letter within which he’d stated that I was mad and dangerous and that ‘this case can only end in tragedy’. ‘It has’ remarked Brown, ‘for them’.

Any members of the Southampton contingent or other former colleagues of Donald Acheson feel like a trip to the police station to tell them what you know?

 

‘One Of The Safest Pairs Of Hands At The Criminal Bar’

The title of this post is a quote that can be found on the online profile of Timothy Cray. Who he? Timothy Cray is the barrister who acted for Henry Hendron – a barrister himself – who ended up receiving much media coverage in 2016 as a result of the ‘chemsex trial’. Hendron is a barrister in his mid-thirties who was arrested and charged after his 18 year old Columbian boyfriend was found dead at their flat after Hendron had supplied him with chemsex drugs. I will return to this case later. But first I want to discuss a friend of Hendron’s, whom Hendron himself had previously provided with legal advice – Nigel Evans.

Nigel Evans is the Tory MP for Ribble Valley who in 2014 stood trial for a series of assaults on seven men. Evans was acquitted of all charges – one rape, five sexual assaults, one attempted sexual assault and two indecent assaults. So Nigel Evans was somehow either accused quite wrongly by a series of people independently of each other of very serious offences – or he had a very good barrister, obviously yet another safe pair of hands at the Criminal Bar. The circumstances of the alleged offences were all rather similar – they were committed by Evans, a senior Tory in his mid-50s, against much younger men who were working in Westminster or aspiring to do so, after sessions of very heavy drinking by Evans. Following Evans’s acquittal there was an enormous outpouring of support and sympathy for Evans from his fellow politicians and not just from Tories. Evans waxed lyrical about his ordeal and described in detail his distress at being charged and his colleagues rallied round stressing what a lovely bloke he was. Stephen Crabb, the Conservative MP for Preseli in Pembrokeshire, tweeted that his ‘friend’ Evans was ‘a good man’ and Ann Widdecombe – not known for her sympathy towards promiscuous gay sex when blind drunk – described Evans as a ‘truthful, considerate and kind individual’.

Now when Evans was arrested he was known as an MP representing a constituency in the north of England. But I knew of Evans as a rather unusual man, a Thatcherite Tory who actually came from Wales. Evans grew up in Swansea where his family ran a small business, went to Swansea University and only became the MP for Ribble Valley in 1992 after unsuccessfully contesting seats in south Wales. Before he was an MP Evans was a County Councillor in West Glamorgan (elected in 1985) and in 1990 became deputy Tory leader of that Council. He stood down as a Councillor in 1991.

In 1993 Evans became PPS to David Hunt, the Secretary of State for Employment and he remained Hunt’s PPS when Hunt was appointed Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in 1994. Readers will remember that David Hunt was Secretary of State for Wales on two occasions, between 1990-93 and again for just one month in the summer of 1995. Hunt was in that post when there was a total failure by the Welsh Office to respond to the serious abuse that was rife in children’s homes in north Wales or to the abuses that were happening in the north Wales mental health services. The Welsh Office knew about these matters and actively concealed everything. In 1995 Evans became PPS to Tony Baldry, Minister of State at the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. Then in 1996 Evans was appointed PPS to William Hague when he was appointed Secretary of State for Wales by John Major. William Hague’s biggest task in that post was of course arranging the public inquiry into child abuse in north Wales. Previous posts have detailed the many reasons why I think someone worked very hard at selecting those who were involved with the Waterhouse Inquiry. As Hague’s PPS, Evans will have been deeply involved in the leg work relating to that Inquiry – and Evans knew Wales very well indeed, even if Hague didn’t. Hague is a very able man and would soon have been able to research everything that is officially on record about Wales, but Evans will have known what it is really important to know and what you only find out by living and working in Wales – the gossip and the lowdown.

So Evans was involved in the most enormous cover-up of organised child abuse in Wales – child abuse that involved under-aged boys ‘in care’ being sexually molested by older men, including it would seem at least one senior Tory, Sir Peter Morrison, Thatcher’s PPS and deputy Chairman of the Party. Some of the boys giving evidence to Waterhouse maintained that they were taken to other locations where they had sex with multiple older men unknown to them. John Allen, who owned and managed the Bryn Alyn Community, a collection of children’s homes where some of the worst abuse took place, is currently serving a life sentence for abusing boys in his care. Waterhouse described John Allen as ‘kind’ and ‘generous’ as a result of John Allen buying presents and giving money to boys whom he was having sex with. Allen owned what Waterhouse called ‘unsuitable accommodation’ in London and Brighton in which some boys lived after they left children’s homes in north Wales. The boys themselves claimed that Allen owned brothels in London and Brighton and some of them worked in those brothels after they left ‘care’.

Evans could well have heard about some of this before he worked for Hague as a result of coming from Wales and being involved in local politics there, although he never mentioned it. But Evans didn’t mention something else either and he didn’t mention it until 2010. That he was gay. Not only did Evans not mention that he was gay, but he actively concealed it and states himself that he pretended to be a ‘red blooded’ heterosexual lest being openly gay damaged his political prospects in a party that was perceived as being highly homophobic in the wake of passing Section 28 in the late 1980s. Evans even voted against reducing the age of consent for gay men in 1994 and again on two following occasions. (I also seem to remember Evans appearing on a TV show arguing against reducing the age of consent for gays in 1994.) Evans also ensured that he was absent from the Commons vote on civil partnerships, he missed three votes on gay adoption and in one vote he opposed the move. In 1993 a piece appeared in ‘Private Eye’ claiming that Evans had been seen ‘canoodling’ with a young man. Evans personally phoned Ian Hislop to deny the story, although the Eye never published a retraction or an apology.

Evans came out as gay to the press in 2010 claiming that he was sick of living a lie. But he only did so after a Labour MP threatened to out him. After he came out as gay Evans constructed himself as some sort of gay rights champ for Westminster and stressed how many gay politicians there were, many of whom had not yet publicly admitted it. He also said that when he first entered Parliament he had known of loads of gay politicians who were concealing it. Evans formed an LGBT networking group in Westminster, Parliout. In the light of what was revealed during and after Evans’s trial, I would have thought that it was fairly obvious that there wasn’t any need for Parliout, Evans and others seemed to have already established a gay network at Westminster.

Young male parliamentary workers who gave evidence at Evans’s trial described how they were groped or kissed by Evans after getting completely bladdered with him in bars at the House of Commons or in Soho. Allegations then emerged in the press of a heavy drinking culture at Westminster – I had heard that from a friend years ago. But the revelations in the media became increasingly more sordid. It wasn’t just excessive drinking that was commonplace – it was alleged that there was a big problem with senior politicians expecting sexual favours from wannabes and if wannabes were unhappy with this there was no effective redress. Supplying sexual favours would ensure that your career advanced but complaining would bring it to a rapid halt. After Evans was acquitted, much was made of some of the witnesses saying in court that they had not wanted the case against Evans to go ahead, that they didn’t feel like victims and one of them claimed that after getting pissed with Evans and finding Evans’s hand down his trousers it was just a case of ‘crazy crazy Westminster’. (Why don’t women want to be politicians? Ooh it’s because they all have low self esteem and need role models like Harriet! It cannot possibly be because they do not regularly get bladdered and participate in mutual groping sessions with tosspots. Except to be fair, some of them do, a Lib Dem who believes that she’s broken the glass ceiling in Wales comes to mind.) Evans’s defence was considered to have been given a considerable boost when the judge, Justice Timothy King, instructed the jury to find Evans not guilty on one alleged offence. There was a major attempt to construct Nigel Evans’s activities as the high drunken jinks of a harmless gregarious man who had been hung out to dry by the police and the CPS. His excessive drinking was explained as the result of him having difficulty ‘coming to terms with his sexuality’ and of course the death of his dear old mum who had no idea that he was gay. Evans continued the misery memoir by explaining that the one sadness in his life was that he had never had a regular boyfriend. One suspects that Nigel Evans’s lifestyle would mitigate against a regular relationship.

There was however one witness at the trial who did not claim that he had no problem with Evans’s harmless drunken groping. That was the 22 year old man who claimed that Evans had raped him. Evans’s account was that he and this young man had participated in consensual sex ‘in a number of different positions’. The young man – who gave evidence from behind a screen and was described as ‘nervous’ and ‘whispering’ – had been a university student at the time of the incident, had stayed at Evans’s house and had maintained that he woke up to find Evans on top of him. Media accounts stressed how this young man ‘wasn’t believed’. He’s not going to have a career in politics now is he – but those spoke fondly of Evans in court and who never wanted the case against him to go ahead will still be in with a chance.

The way in which the police came to hear about the allegations against Evans is significant. One young man, a politics student, had been befriended by Evans in 2008 on Facebook. This student was later described as ‘ruthlessly ambitious’. (Just like Evans had been when he was a young man.) This man alleged that he had stayed at Evans’s house overnight in 2009 and that Evans had ‘groped his penis’. The young man told of his encounter with Evans to Adam Price (Plaid), Michael Fabricant (Conservative) and Iain Corby (a Tory policy boss). A few days later he recounted the story to the then Tory Chief Whip Patrick McLoughlin and his deputy John Randall. The student had wanted Evans to resign, which was described by McLoughlin as a ‘big ask’. Patrick McLoughlin is now Sir Patrick and in July 2016 was appointed Chairman of the Conservative Party. Randall is an MP for Derbyshire – he was elected to Matthew Parris’s seat when Parris stood down in 1986. The Matthew Parris who wrote about having sex with boys who ‘were always willing’ along with his political friends when on holiday. McLoughlin is also Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. John Randall has also been knighted but stood down from Parliament in 2015. He is now a Trustee and Vice-Chair of the Human Trafficking Foundation – a man who was unable to respond when he was told of an allegation of sexual assault perpetrated by someone who had previously been involved in a cover-up of the sexual abuse and trafficking into prostitution of children in care. The allegations against Evans went no further – until the student told Dr Sarah Woolaston, Tory MP for Totnes. A friend of this student then revealed to him that he too had been assaulted by Evans and so he contacted Sara Woolaston. Woolaston contacted John Bercow the Speaker, who said that it was for the two young men to go to the police. But then after receiving legal advice from the Speaker’s Counsel, Michael Carpenter, Bercow’s secretary told Sarah Woolaston that the Speaker ‘cannot handle this’. Sarah Woolaston is a Top Doctor who claims experience in dealing with matters of sexual abuse and readers will guess that under most circumstances I would roll about laughing at the notion that a Top Doctor might actually know how to conduct themselves in such a situation, but to Sarah’s credit, she seems to have been the only person who had engaged her brain. Frustrated by the response from the Speaker’s office, she told the two young men that they had a responsibility to report Evans to the police because there was no telling whom he was going to do this to next and gave them a police number. Sarah also in 2013 brought the allegations to the attention of the Palace of Westminster Police. So that’s how the ball started rolling.

Yesterday’s post ‘A Future Leader Of The Labour Party’ described how over decades the CPS have worked very hard at not prosecuting people involved with the sexual abuse of young people, particularly if there are connections to political figures. It was of course the CPS who bit the bullet in the case of Nigel Evans and prosecuted. They certainly had a lot of shit thrown at them for daring to do this after his acquittal. Evans’s case was categorised with the cases of two Coronation Street actors, Michael Le Vell and Ken Roache, who had also been acquitted of sex offences. Although the cases of Le Vell and Roache were very different from Evans, Evans and his supporters discussed the three cases as if they were all very similar, ie. people making claims for which there was no evidence against public figures. Vicky Entwhistle, an actor from Coronation Street, appeared in public at Evans’s trial to support him. Not that the actors in Coronation Street have proved themselves to be particularly good judges of character – John Stalker’s book boasts of how he hung out with the Coronation Street crowd and William Roache is a former Patron of St David’s Hospice Llandudno, which seems to act a repository for disgraced NHS staff from north Wales who either left their jobs under a cloud or concealed the paedophile ring (see posts ‘The CEOs Of St David’s Hospice’ and ‘Don’t Be Silly, He’s Nice’). In the wake of all this, the Attorney General Dominic Grieve demanded an explanation from DPP Alison Saunders why Evans’s prosecution had gone ahead, even though Saunders hadn’t been DPP when the decision to prosecute had been made. Saunders track record suggests that she never would have prosecuted Evans. I note that when Evans was prosecuted Saunders was actually working for the CPS as the regional case manager in London. Which explains an awful lot – sex offences against young people aren’t only committed in north Wales and a lot of high profile and powerful people live in London. Jack Straw also had a go at the CPS, suggesting that the DPP might be more cautious in bringing high profile sex offence cases in the future – the Jack who was years ago a Councillor in Islington Council when it’s children’s homes had been infiltrated by paedophiles, the Jack who was a leading light in New Labour which was so hopelessly compromised because of ignoring the institutionalised sexual abuse of children (see post ‘The London Connection’).

Evans angrily told the media that he had spent his life savings – £130,000 – on his legal fees and he demanded that the CPS repay him. Which was deeply ironic because the legislation that caused Evans to cough up in his particular circumstances was passed by the Coalition Gov’t of whom the Tories were the leading partners. Evans also had the support of an incredibly powerful man in the Commons, who constantly ends up in scandals himself – dear old Keith Vaz, then Chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee, who considered holding a separate inquiry into the prosecution of Evans. I have a friend who often expresses at length her amazement at what Keith Vaz has got away with – the expense scandals, the constant conflicts of interest or failure to declare interests, the failure to declare payments, the business of the passports and the Hinduja brothers, his narrow escape from being prosecuted by Leicestershire Police after making false allegations against a former police officer, his leading a march through Leicester demanding the banning of ‘The Satanic Verses’ after a fatwa had been issued against Salman Rushdie and much more. In Sept 2016 Vaz resigned as Chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee after he was caught in a tabloid gay prostitution and cocaine expose. One month later he was appointed to the Justice Select Committee. My mate keeps asking me how he does it particularly as no-one seems to like him or trust him.

So how did Keith Vaz, a senior solicitor to Islington Council in the mid 80s (when Islington Council’s children’s homes were rife with paedophiles whilst the Council was stuffed full of Councillors who would later become some of the biggest figures in the New Labour Gov’t), then a solicitor in a Leicester Council funded law centre between 1985-87 (when Frank Beck, a Leicester social worker was abusing kids in care in Leicester along with it seems Greville Janner, Labour MP for Leicester West until he was elevated to the Lords in 1990) ever get himself so well thought of in the Labour Party that he was selected as candidate for Leicester East? Could it have been the support from his mother, who was a Labour Councillor on Leicester City Council for 14 years, from the point at which Keith was selected as a candidate? Or could it have been that a lot of people were very grateful to him for something? He continued to impress once he was elected to the Commons. By 1997 Vaz was PPs to the Attorney General John Morris – the John Morris who was Secretary of State for Wales when children in children’s homes in north Wales were being abused and trafficked by paedophiles, the John Morris whose constituency is in West Glamorgan, Nigel Evans’s old stomping ground – and between May-Oct 1999 Vaz was PPS to the Lord Chancellor’s Dept, the Lord Chancellor being Blair’s mate Lord Goldsmith. Vaz just went onwards and upwards. Surely there’s a clue somewhere in that CV as to the root of his Teflon qualities…

As in the case of Vaz, I suspect that the overwhelming ‘popularity’ of Nigel Evans is Parliament speak for ‘a lot of us are very grateful to him for something’. He was welcomed back into the Commons after his acquittal – although it transpired that a lot of his constituents in the Ribble Valley had been expressing concerns for some time about Nigel’s activities.

Whilst Evans and Hague were helping everyone out of a tight spot by employing the talents of Ronnie Waterhouse and co, there was of course a change of Gov’t. In 1997, during the Waterhouse Inquiry, Blair won the election. Blair chose to axe the post of Welsh Secretary from the Cabinet, a decision that Evans opposed. This morning I found a photo of Nigel carrying a spoof ‘Tony Blair Estate Agents’ placard, emblazoned with the slogan ‘Wales Office For Sale’. Indeed the Welsh Office had been for sale for years – the whole lot of them sold themselves to a paedophile gang and a bunch of criminals who worked in the health and welfare services as documents in my possession demonstrate. Although the Tories didn’t have any seats in Wales after the 97 General Election, John Major put Evans on his shadow frontbench as spokesman for Welsh Affairs. Evans was obviously a man who could be relied upon. When Duncan Smith became Tory leader, Evans was a member of the shadow cabinet and between 2001-2003 was shadow Secretary of State for Wales. Evans returned to the backbenches on principle (is this a man who has any principles?) when Michael Howard became leader and took the role of shadow Secretary of State for Wales outside of the shadow cabinet. Evans remained a member of the Trade and Industry and the Welsh Affairs Select Committees in 2003. In Nov 2004 he became Vice-Chair of the Conservative Party, with specific responsibility for overseeing Conservatives Abroad. With Cameron’s election in 2005 Evans returned to the backbenches. He was one of the Speaker’s three deputies until he resigned after being arrested in 2013. Although Nigel was very cross when his own party’s changes to legal aid hit him in his own pocket, Nigel isn’t too keen on other people keeping afloat financially. He voted against the introduction of the National Minimum Wage in 1999 and voted against every increase afterwards. In 2009 he was one of 11 MPs to back the Employment Opportunities Bill, which aimed to make the minimum wage optional. Presumably Nigel’s idea of employment opportunities is to sell one’s body to predatory older politicians and indeed many young people who were kids in care in north Wales in the 70s, 80s and 90s were trained or forced to do this. But what are they supposed to do for a living when they’re too old for politicians to be interested in them?

Although Parliament opened it’s heart to Nigel throughout the trial and afterwards, I would have thought that as in the case of Ken Dodd and the allegations of tax evasion, the evidence against Nigel was quite substantial. So I did what I enjoy doing in such cases, I did a bit of reading regarding the barristers and judge involved. The judge was Timothy King, who in 2006 had defended the BNP leader Nick Griffin against a charge of inciting racial hatred.

So who acted for Evans? There seems to have been two barristers involved. Evans’s friend the aforementioned Henry Hendron and Peter Wright QC. I’m not sure whether Hendron acted for Evans in a paid capacity, but he did boast about advising him during the trial – I will return to Hendron later. Peter Wright was the name that appeared in the media as Counsel for Evans.

Well Evans certainly didn’t take any risks when he sought advice, Peter Wright knows how to extract people from very deep slurry pits indeed. Wright boasts of having acted in cases of organised crime – including people who have accused of committing organised crime – and people who have been prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive. Peter successfully defended a gang of armed robbers who shot a policewoman dead, a company that ran a care home that was prosecuted by the HSE when an elderly resident died as a result of scalding and a nurse who managed to kill a three week old baby boy whilst performing a circumcision for cultural reasons. He successfully defended a Detective Chief Inspector who was accused of misconduct in public office after leaking the identity of an IRA bomber to a journalist and a senior officer at HM Customs and Excise who was accused of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and misconduct in public office which involved his links to organised crime. One case that must have really made Peter feel good about himself was his defence of someone who petrol bombed a family’s home leading to the death of eight members of the family. But Peter doesn’t just act for your everyday murderous scumbag. No, Peter was Counsel in the LIBOR scandal (now you know why bankers never go to prison even when they cause the global economy to collapse!) and in Operation Elveden (the police investigation into corrupt payments between journalists and public officials, which resulted in the prosecution of Cameron’s mates Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson as well as a few others).

In 2006 Wright was appointed as Senior Treasury Counsel by the Attorney General Lord Goldsmith. Wright boasts of being the first person to be directly appointed to this post – so presumably Goldsmith noticed his talents in defending petrol bombers, crooked bankers and Murdoch’s employees and decided that the Gov’t could utilise those talents. In 2010 Wright stood down again as Senior Treasury Counsel – well he had all those bent bankers and press barons to get out of trouble – but he continues to advise the CPS, the Attorney General and the Treasury Solicitor. Which sounds rather like multiple conflicts of interest to me.

So Evans hired the man who had worked for the Gov’t that Evans was part of. But what of Evans’s ‘friend and barrister’ Henry Hendron? We know that everyone loves Evans, even Ann Widdecombe and that poor old Evans only gets rat arsed and gropes people because he misses his mum and didn’t come out as gay when he should have. Evans’s mate Henry has fought personal demons too. Particularly after he was arrested for supplying the drugs that killed his teenaged boyfriend. The Torygraph online published a real tear jerker of an interview with Henry’s brother Richard who was also a barrister (and before that an Inspector with the Metropolitan Police) just before Henry’s trial in 2016. As well as being represented by Timothy Cray, Henry was also being advised by Richard. Richard gave the Torygraph full details of Henry’s downward spiral after his boyfriend had been found dead in his flat. How did Richard know that Henry was grieving? Because Henry ‘binged on drugs’ to mask his grief and attended chemsex parties on a non-stop basis. He collapsed at one such party after overdoing the drugs and was rushed to hospital – this was one week after his boyfriend Miguel’s death. The nation’s widows really don’t know how to grieve properly do they, all they do is rely on the cat for company.

At Henry’s trial he pleaded guilty to two counts of possession with intent to supply. The circumstances were that he purchased £1000 of goodies from a BBC producer called Andrew Parkin with the intention of flogging them to other people at chemsex parties. He gave some to his boyfriend and it killed him and when the police searched his house afterwards they found methodrone and GBL. Parkin was given 200 hours of community service and Hendron 140 hours. (That’s what I got when I was prosecuted for calling a corrupt NHS manager who was assisting in concealing a paedophile ring a fat idiot.) It was revealed at the trial that Hendron had three previous convictions – for drink driving.

Something else came to light among all the publicity around Hendron after his trial. That he had previously been fined £2000 by the Bar Council for professional misconduct. The particulars of the misconduct being that on the eve of the starting date of Nigel Evans’s trial Hendron had described the witnesses due to give evidence against Evans as ‘manipulative and duplicitous’ online. I cannot help wondering what other pressure may have been applied to those witnesses. The media hype concerning Hendron mentioned that his clients included Nadine Dorries and the Earl of Cardigan. A bit of history was dredged up as well – that as a teenager Hendron had appeared at the Tory Party Conference arguing for the reintroduction of corporal punishment. This appearance had resulted in him being tipped as a future leader. He’d be able to add S&M (or in his case probably just S) to his chemsex-drink driving-killing of teenaged boyfriends repertoire.

Prior to his trial Henry worked as a barrister at Strand Chambers and before that at 2 Kings Bench Walk. Between 2006-2008 he worked for the CPS ‘advising senior civil servants and ministerial teams’. Including the Department of Work and Pensions and the Department of Health.

After the trial the NHS and BMA made public statements regarding the major problem that is chemsex. Well if they’re not careful all the other lawyers that they use will be struck off by the Law Society as well after they’ve woken up next to a corpse resulting from the binge the previous night.

Henry himself commented after the trial that he did accept that perhaps he might not be able to work as a barrister again, although one day he hoped to. Meanwhile, he is comforting himself with regular trips to the family of his boyfriend who died – who live in Columbia. I cannot help but wonder whether with Henry’s track record Columbia might hold attractions other than the relatives of his boyfriend. Indeed I was surprised that there were no media comments at the time of Miguel’s death regarding the unlikely domestic set-up of Henry – a barrister with a passion for chemsex whose friends include a senior middle aged Tory who has faced multiple charges of sexual assault on young men, living with a teenager from Columbia who worked as a café assistant.

So how ever did this self-indulgent binging twat with so little regard for the safety of other people end up with community service after he’d managed to kill someone? Could it have been the skills of Timothy Cray, his barrister, one of the safest hands at the Criminal Bar? Cray’s online profile tells us that he has ‘unique knowledge of international organised crime’ and ‘extensive experience of defending in allegations of sexual misconduct with emphasis on sensitive and high profile cases’. Cray acts for the Serious Fraud Office – of course – and in Jan 2014 he was appointed by the Attorney General Dominic Grieve as Senior Treasury Counsel. Because he is of course used to defending criminals who work in the professions with links to Gov’t.

As for the judge who felt that a few boring but not too dreadful hours working in a charity shop or clearing footpaths was going to ensure that Henry mended his ways, that was Richard Marks QC who was appointed a circuit judge at the Old Bailey in 2012 by the Lord Chancellor Ken Clarke. Before this, one of Marks’s responsibilities was as a legal member of the restricted patients panel. Who will have been banged up for a lot less than overdosing their teenaged partners and in many cases won’t have committed any crime at all. In 2015 Marks precipitated a lot of media coverage after he was removed from a trial involving ‘Sun’ journalists who were alleged to have bribed public officials for information. The ‘Sun’ was very angry and maintained that Marks had been replaced with judge Charles Wide ‘in secret and against his will’ because Wide was perceived as being more likely to secure a conviction. This rationale was angrily denied by Sir Nigel Sweeney, the judge who was alleged to have had something to do with the decision. Sweeney had a fairly shameful history (see post ‘A Future Leader Of The Labour Party’) and I do wonder if he might have been worried what those ‘Sun’ journalists might dig up if they continued to bribe public officials for information.

There seems to be a great many safe pairs of hands at the Criminal Bar, protecting a great many people. I don’t really mind if politicians get ripped to the tits and participate in gay or indeed heterosexual orgies, but I do mind when they employ their extensive networks to protect people who have forced ‘looked after children’ to take part in such things with them. Or indeed protect people who perjure themselves repeatedly in an attempt to imprison the likes of me because we unwittingly walked into the whole sordid mess when we discovered what the Top Doctors were colluding with.

It is indeed a Criminal Bar.

The Aftermath Of The Jillings Report – In Parliament

In the wake of a number of staff from children’s homes in Clwyd being convicted of offences against children and a lot of former residents of children’s homes in Clwyd being found dead, in 1994 Clwyd County Council ordered an independent external investigation into the county’s children’s homes. It was led by John Jillings, the retired Director of Derbyshire Social Services. My post ‘It’s A Piece Of Cake’ provides details of the Jillings Report. Of course the Jillings Report has never been published in full – it wasn’t available at all until 2013 and then only in a heavily redacted form. As I explained in ‘It’s A Piece Of Cake’, Michael Beloff QC advised the Council’s insurers, Municipal Mutual, not to make the report available at all – what had happened in the children’s homes was so indefensible that this was the only way that those advising Clwyd Council could see of dealing with it. Clwyd County Council itself was dissolved days after the report was submitted, in a very convenient local government reorganisation. When it was revealed that the long awaited Report would not be available to hardly anyone – not even to most Members of the Council itself – and that this was to protect the Council from legal claims, there was outrage in Wales. Some of the nation’s politicians were incredibly vocal about the fact that there had been large scale abuse of children in north Wales and possibly a paedophile ring at work but no-one was allowed to know the results of the investigation into this, yet alone the identities of those involved.

A look at Hansard is informative. One politician whom it seems was particularly vexed was the Labour MP for Cynon Valley, Ann Clwyd. Ann Clwyd came under a lot of fire for supporting Blair over the war with Iraq, but with regard to the abuse of children in care, her record seems to be impeccable. I was at a public lecture that she gave last year on the day that Gordon Anglesea was convicted and she made a point of expressing her great relief that perhaps this was now the beginning of a degree of honesty. Sadly I doubt that it was – on the same occasion Ann mentioned that George Thomas the former Speaker of the House, aka Lord Tonypandy, was also under investigation, but I read the other day that the police investigation into him had stopped. None of my documents relate to George Thomas but I am aware that in the wake of the Ely Hospital Scandal Thomas described the methods of the ‘nurses’ involved as being ‘old fashioned’. These were ‘nurses’ whose ‘old fashioned’ ways included punching and beating elderly people, dragging them around wards whilst they were naked and turning cold hoses on them. Then lying through their teeth about all of it.

At least four of the former residents of Bryn Estyn had lived in the Cynon Valley and had spoken to Ann about their experiences there. Hansard, June 1996, records that Ann made reference to Speaker Weatherill’s ruling of 17 Feb 1992 which was used to block Early Day Motions (EDMs) that Ann had attempted to table the night before regarding the North Wales Police and child abuse. Ann asked the Speaker – who was at that time Betty Boothroyd – to reconsider the position and observed that ‘it now seems that one cannot table a motion or a question for an oral or written answer; one cannot speak in a debate or probably even introduce a Bill drawing on the experience of Clwyd. One cannot raise the issue in a Select Committee or a Standing Committee either. A wall of silence will surround the passage of the Government Motion later tonight’. [I assume that the motion that Ann is referring to here is the Motion regarding the establishing of a public inquiry into the abuse of children whilst in the care of Gwynedd and Clwyd County Councils.]

Ann makes the point that some of her constituents were involved in the Clwyd abuse ‘and there are things that should be done before that Motion is passed. We should have had a debate in the House on child abuse and the Secretary of State for Health should have made a statement on the Utting Review. This morning a Welsh Office Minister tried to convince me that the Jillings Report was defamatory…I want to expose the fact that 25 years ago there was a Report on Bryn Estyn….it was never published because the Home Office suppressed it…’

Madam Speaker then responds with ‘I have looked at the two proposed Motions that she has attempted to table. I am satisfied that one of her Motions breaks the campaign rule…I am content that the other Motion be tabled…however that this Motion, along with the three other EDMs that she tabled on Monday, will be withdrawn automatically as a result of the application of the House’s sub-judice rule… if and when the Motion setting up the Tribunal of Inquiry is agreed to by the House. If she is seeking a statement by a Minister or a debate on the matters before that Motion is passed, she should ask questions of the leader of the House tomorrow. She should deal with her front bench team about having the subject placed on the Order Paper…She will be aware…that in raising her voice in objection to the Motion, which is now on the Order Paper, the setting up of the Tribunal will be delayed.’

The Madam Speaker concerned, Betty Boothroyd, was generally considered to be an all round good egg – yet it does look here as if there are machinations at work to prevent Ann Clwyd from raising questions and eliciting debate regarding the matter of the serious abuse of children in care in north Wales.

After this exchange between Ann Clwyd and the Speaker, Hansard records that Alice Mahon, the Labour MP for Halifax, said that ‘the Commons Select Committee on Health is undertaking an extensive inquiry into all aspects of children’s health and well-being. Will you clarify whether the ruling that you have made means that the Select Committee cannot take evidence on Clwyd?’ Following this, Nicholas Winterton, the Conservative MP for Macclesfield, said ‘Yesterday the Government announced that here would be a review of the care and abuse of children and children’s homes and residential accommodation throughout England and Wales. I am particularly concerned about problems that have been encountered in Cheshire…will you confirm that there are no restrictions on Members who want to take matters forward in respect of England and Wales, but especially in respect of Cheshire?’ Madam Speaker replies ‘There will be no restrictions’.

I’m not sure what to make of this – that Ann Clwyd was the only person on whom restrictions were placed? Or is the Speaker just wriggling here, reassuring people that of course there are no restrictions on anyone, when there were very obviously restrictions placed on Ann Clwyd?

Some months prior to this, in the wake of the suppression of the Jillings Report, three EDMs had been tabled concerning the North Wales Abuse Scandal.

On 27/3/96, Martyn Jones (Labour, Clwyd South) was the primary sponsor of an Early Day Motion: ‘That this House deplores the actions of the insurance company providing cover for Clwyd County Council which is attempting to suppress by process of law a report produced for that council, at some cost to the taxpayer called Child Abuse, An Independent Investigation commissioned by Clwyd County Council 1974 to 1995, the Jillings Report, simply because it may lay the council open to claims against itself and further considers that putting the interest of the finances of an insurance company above the rights of even one abused child is an outrage’.

http://www.parliament.uk/edm/1995-96/673

It was sponsored by Win Griffiths, David Hanson, John Marek, Rhodri Morgan and Don Touhig. It was signed by Diane Abbott, Janet Anderson, Tony Banks, Harry Barnes, D.N. Campbell Savours, Michael Clapham, Eric Clarke, Ann Clywd, Michael Connarty, Jeremy Corbyn, Jean Corston, John Cummings, Terry Davis, Bill Etherington, John Evans, Win Griffiths, John Gunnell, Mike Hall, David Hanson, Eric Illsley, Barry Jones, Martyn Jones, Ken Livingstone, Elfyn Llwyd, Alice Mahon, John Marek, Ian McCartney, Kevin McNamara, Alan Meale, Bill Michie, Rhodri Morgan, Paul Murphy, Paddy Tipping, Don Touhig, Robert N. Wareing, Dafydd Wigley.

The next day, 28/3/96, saw another EDM, whose primary sponsor was Rhodri Morgan: ‘That this House calls on the directors of Municipal Mutual Insurance Co., it’s affiliate Zurich Mutual Insurance Co and Municipal Mutual Insurance’s solicitors Browne Jacobson, to desist from all further anti-democratic actions in relation to Clwyd County Council and the report by John Jillings retired Director of Social Services of Derbyshire County Council into child sex abuse at children’s homes in Clwyd, and in particular to desist from their request to the county council to remove from office the Chair of the Social Services Committee, and further calls on the Secretary of State for Wales to consider whether it’s proper for an insurance company specialising in local government insurance to conduct itself in a manner which threatened the primacy of the duty of the local authority in child protection to put the welfare of children first, attempts to set the duty of looking after the councils finances and the insurance company’s own claims liabilities above child protection, and uses the threat of voiding the council’s insurance cover and the transfer of finance liability from the insurance company to individual councillors as a means of suppressing the truth, and to amend regulations governing local government insurance if necessary.’

http://www.parliament.uk/edm/1995-96/685

It was signed by Janet Anderson, Tony Banks, Harry Barnes, Clive Betts, D.N. Campbell Savours, Michael Clapham, Eric Clarke, Michael Connarty, Jean Corston, John Cummings, Denzil Davies, Terry Davis, John Evans, Paul Flynn, Norman A. Godman, Win Griffiths, John Gunnell, Mike Hall, David Hanson, Martyn Jones, Ken Livingstone, Elfyn Llwyd, John Marek, Ian McCartney, Kevin McNamara, Alan Meale, Bill Michie, Rhodri Morgan, Ken Purchase, Ernie Ross, Dennis Skinner, Don Touhig, Dafydd Wigley.

 

All those signing these EDMs were Labour MPs, apart from Dafydd Wigley (Plaid), Elfyn Llwyd (Plaid) and Ken Livingstone (not affiliated to any party).

I find it difficult to believe that many of those who signed these EDMs did not previously know that children were being abused in care in north Wales. Many of them were MPs from north Wales themselves – and the whistleblowing social worker Alison Taylor had gone public on the child abuse years previously. Furthermore, ‘children’s care workers’ had been appearing in the local Courts on trial for offences against children for a very long time. My posts ‘Further Information On Garth Angharad Hospital’ and ‘More On Those Who Signed That Early Day Motion’ describe how in 1992 a number of MPs signed an EDM in response to plans to close Garth Angharad, a facility for ‘mentally abnormal criminals’. People who had been abused whilst in care in north Wales tended to end up in there. The notoriously unscrupulous psychiatrists in north Wales who were involved with criminal activities as well as with discrediting and imprisoning people who had been abused whilst in care had connections with this ‘hospital’. Furthermore it was a very odd ‘hospital’. It was not an NHS facility, it was owned and managed by Paul Hett, who also owned a number of schools and children’s homes in north Wales that had been the subject of allegations of sexual and physical abuse. Later in his career Paul Hett became a solicitor but ended up being struck off for embezzling clients money. Paul Flynn, Dafydd Wigley, Elfyn Llwyd and Ken Livingstone were all among those expressing outrage that Garth Angharad might close it’s doors. Ken had previously been instrumental in running Lambeth Borough Council – who sent children in their care to Paul Hett’s establishments. Lambeth Borough Council is now the centre of a huge scandal regarding the sexual abuse of children in care between the late 1950s and 1980s – millions have been paid out in compensation and more is expected to be paid after it was admitted that the Council’s homes had been infiltrated by paedophiles, that this was known, yet nothing was done to protect children. Dafydd Wigley definitely knew about the criminal practices in the north Wales mental health services because I wrote to him about them. He initially sent me a very supportive letter but when I wrote again some two years later I did not receive a reply. Dafydd Wigley was MP for Caernarfon, where the HQ of Gwynedd County Council was. There was serious corruption in that Council among its legal advisors and social services dept. Gwynedd’s Director of Social Services, Lucille Hughes, was named in the Waterhouse Report as knowing that a paedophile ring was operating in the social services but failed to act. If I knew about the very serious problems in that Council, particularly in the Dept of Social Services, then I’m sure that Dafydd Wigley did. Previous posts have described how the children’s services and mental health services in Gwynedd were notorious. Dafydd Wigley must have been told of people’s concerns and he almost certainly received correspondence from people other than me. Elfyn Llwyd was also a Gwynedd MP, he will have heard. Furthermore, Elfyn Llwyd was President of Gwynedd Law Society in 1990-91, so he’ll have known all those dodgy lawyers who were concealing abuse in the children’s and mental health services and indeed trying to imprison people whom they knew were innocent. Paul Flynn had stood as the Labour candidate for Denbigh in 1974. Denbigh was a town in which nearly every resident worked at – or had a relative or friend who worked at – the North Wales Hospital Denbigh, where people who had been abused in care were imprisoned. Denbigh had a dreadful reputation but those who worked at that institution had votes, those imprisoned did not. Which is why Paul Flynn was never going to campaign on behalf of the people being abused in there. Martyn Jones was MP for Clwyd South between 1987-2010 and was Wrexham born and bred. He lived on the doorstep of the children’s homes with the worst reputations for abuse – but he too signed the EDM opposing the closure of Garth Angharad.

John Marek was a Wrexham MP between 1983-2001, albeit a rather strange one. He eventually defected from Labour and set up his own party consisting of himself and he is now a member of the Conservative Party. He too was right on the doorstep of Bryn Estyn, the home where serious abuse had gone on for decades. David Hanson has been the MP for Delyn in north east Wales since 1992. He had known the region before that, having been in pursuit of a seat in the Cheshire and north east Wales region. The paedophile ring that was active in north Wales was operating in Cheshire as well. Surely Hanson will have heard something about the problems in the region even if he didn’t know the full picture? I suspect that the same situation prevailed with Win Griffiths, Rhodri Morgan, Paul Murphy and Don Touhig, all MPs from south Wales. Don Touhig had worked as a journalist in Wales including as an editor – journalists tend to receive leaks from allsorts of people, including the police. Win Griffiths has for a long time been involved with what is now called the Third sector – people working in that sector knew that children were being abused.

 

On the same day, 28/3/96, Rhodri Morgan sponsored another EDM: ‘That this House calls on the Secretary of State for Wales to fulfil the promise made on 7th September 1992 to hold a public inquiry into child abuse in North Wales children’s homes by the honourable member for Cardiff North, the Parliamentary Under Secretary then responsible for health and social services in Wales and reported in Welsh Office press release W92359 of the same date, and which was reported by him as going to start as soon as the criminal proceedings were completed; believes that the Chief Constable of North Wales was also correct to call for such a public inquiry when criminal proceedings were over on 4th September 1992 and reaffirmed on 13th August 1993; and further believes that the need for the promised public inquiry is now more urgent with the imminent danger of the shredding of all copies of the independent but non-judicial inquiry into Clwyd County Council child care homes and policies carried out by John Jillings, the retired Director of Social Services of Derbyshire, which drew attention to the deaths of 12 young people who were victims of child sexual abuse who had been in the care of Clwyd and the failure of the Welsh Office Social Services Inspectorate and the North Wales Police to detect the failures in the child care system in North Wales and which also called for a public inquiry.’

http://www.parliament.uk/edm/1995-96/686

It was signed by Diane Abbott, Janet Anderson, Tony Banks, Harry Barnes, Roy Beggs, Michael Clapham, Eric Clarke, Ann Clwyd, Michael Connarty, Jeremy Corbyn, Jean Corston, John Cummings, Terry Davis, John Evans, Paul Flynn, Norman A. Godman, Win Griffiths, John Gunnell, Mike             Hall, David Hanson, Barry Jones, Lynne Jones, Martyn Jones, Ken Livingstone, Elfyn Llwyd, John Marek, Ian McCartney, Kevin McNamara, Alan Meale, Bill Michie, Rhodri Morgan, Ken Purchase, Ernie Ross, Dennis Skinner, Paddy Tipping, Don Touhig, Robert N. Wareing, Dafydd Wigley.

Again, all the signatories were from the Labour Party, except for Dafydd Wigley (Plaid), Elfyn Llwyd (Plaid), Ken Livingstone (not affiliated to any party) and Roy Beggs (Ulster Unionist). I am wondering whether Roy Beggs might have taken an interest in child abuse matters as a result of the Kincora Boys Home Scandal in Belfast. Some of the MPs outside of Wales who signed this EDM were representing constituencies and had even been councillors in areas where the children’s services had also been infiltrated by paedophiles.

Years later, in the wake of the North Wales Child Abuse Scandal rearing it’s head again, on 8/11/12, Ann Clwyd was the primary sponsor of an EDM: ‘That this House notes EDM 1003 tabled June 1996 stating ‘That this House notes that the honourable Member for Cynon Valley has been personally approached by a young man who has been abused while in care; regrets that at least four people from the Cynon Valley were in care in Bryn Estyn during the period covered by the Jillings Report; notes that the child abuse affair in Clwyd ranks as one of the worst and most shocking scandals to come to light in Britain, in that the Report exposes unimaginable horrors such as buggery, rape, bestiality, violent assaults and torture; in the light of disclosures, is appalled by the conduct and failure of public authorities with the responsibility to protect children; in this regard notes that Clwyd County Council has failed to publish the report; further notes moves to block the publication of this report by the insurance companies Zurich Municipal and Municipal Mutual, presumably simply to avoid their liabilities; further notes that in this regard the police have lost the confidence of the public by their apparent failure properly to investigate the full extent of the paedophile activity in North Wales; and similarly that the Crown Prosecution Service has inexplicably failed to prosecute on a number of occasions despite clear evidence and a large number of allegations, and in some cases statements of admission of guilt by paedophiles of sexual offences against children; and notes the failure to prosecute all concerned.’

It’s sponsors were Paul Flynn (Labour, Newport) and Linda Riordan (Labour, Halifax). I presume that the original EDM was one of the EDMs that Ann Clwyd referred to as I quoted earlier ie. one of the EDMs that the Speaker told her would be ‘withdrawn automatically’. So it was Ann mentioning this sort of thing that caused so much upset in Parliament…

So what became of those MPs in Wales who seemed to have kept quiet about the activities of a paedophile ring until they were forced into action by public concern accompanied by UK wide coverage? Most of them have done quite nicely for themselves. Dafydd Wigley, Don Touhig and Paul Murphy have ended up in the Lords. David Hanson was appointed PPS to Tony Blair in 2001 and ended up as Minister of State for Security, Counter-Terrorism, Crime and Policing at the Home Office until Labour lost the election in 2010. Win Griffiths became the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales in 1997, with responsibility for Health and Social Services. He has retired from politics now but was (and maybe still is) Chair of WCVA (Wales Council for Voluntary Action), a body that acts as an umbrella organisation for many charities that have concealed child abuse and  until 2012 was Chair of Abertawe Morgannwg University Health Board. In 2010 he was appointed as Chair of the Welsh NHS Confederation. Wales’s NHS is somewhat troubled and in north Wales has just about collapsed, mainly as a result of the legacy of the paedophile ring and the corruption that accompanied it. As for Rhodri – well he became First Minister of Wales after the National Assembly for Wales came into being. Whilst he was First Minister I wrote and wrote and wrote about the harassment and threats that I was receiving at the hands of the mental health services – the services which had concealed and colluded with the paedophile ring. Rhodri’s Health Minister Brian Gibbons responded by writing to me to tell me that ‘this correspondence is at an end’ when I told him that I had evidence of criminal activity in the NHS in north Wales. Rhodri is no longer with us but the mess that was left behind after no-one tackled the organised criminals that ran that paedophile ring is all over north Wales. Martyn Jones has retired from politics but he was very critical of the former Chief Constable of North Wales Richard Brunstrom, for being so zealous regarding traffic offences. As compared to the previous Chief Constable Michael Argent who refused to co-operate with an investigation into a paedophile ring.

I suspect that Ann Clwyd really did want to blow the lid off the cover-ups of the North Wales Child Abuse Scandal. I’m not convinced that the others did. Some of them must have had some indication of what was going on yet none of them raised their heads until the public outcry over the suppression of the Jillings Report, when they just couldn’t continue to ignore what was happening. I note that by 2012, only three people were sufficiently interested to sign the EDM. As for the situation at the present time – it is clear that there now are so many in politics, the civil service, the police, the law, medicine and the social services who have in some way been involved in concealing or colluding with abuses in the children’s care services or the mental health services across the UK, that I think there are far more of them who don’t want an expose than those who do. Previous posts have named scores of institutions including the Garrick Club, the Law Society, the BMA, the MDU and the GMC who hosted the people who concealed and colluded with child abuse in north Wales. People still trip over themselves to join the Garrick (I think it’s one of those clubs with a waiting list literally years long) and the Top Doctors believe that a position on a BMA committee is worth having. And being involved with the GMC or MDU does wonders for one’s career.

Unlike so many named on this blog, Ann Clwyd has not been elevated to the House of Lords. If anyone ever did give her a seat in there she’d probably have great difficulty finding anyone worth sitting next to.

 

News Round Up – And Another Top Doctor Goes To Prison

This morning the Daily Post online is telling us all that the Betsi has overspent it’s budget by £80 million in the last three years, according to a report from the Welsh Auditor General. Janet Finch-Saunders, the Conservative AM for Aberconwy, is quoted as someone ‘who has previously spoken out about the underfunding of the NHS by the Welsh Gov’t’. Today Janet is maintaining that she ‘welcomes’ the Welsh Gov’t covering the extra spend, but ‘given that they are monitoring the Betsi’s finances, they should have taken action to ensure it didn’t get into this position’. Janet gives some suggestions as to how this could be achieved – for example by the Welsh Gov’t allocating a more generous initial budget or by the Betsi ‘weaning themselves’ off wasteful practices such as the use of ‘highly expensive agency workers’. The Post mentions that for two years of the overspend, the Betsi was in special measures after being placed in there by former Health Minister Mark Drakeford and that the financial problems have been managed through the NHS escalation framework, which brings the Welsh Gov’t, the Auditor General and Health Inspectorate Wales together to manage the solution. The present Health Minister, Vaughan Gething, has stated that ‘cash support’ will continue to be provided when required to all Health Boards to enable them to meet normal cash commitments including payroll expenditure and that cash assistance is repayable in future financial years when appropriate. A Betsi spokeswoman has been quoted as saying that the Board need to improve their quality and performance whilst safely reducing operating costs and that their Action Plan for 2017/18 starts to address this.

There is much to comment upon here. First, one wonders why Janet Finch-Saunders, as a fully paid up member of the fiscal responsibility party, is urging the Welsh Gov’t to throw even more money in the direction of this Board of fools and fuckwits. It is a Board dominated by the likes of Dr Peter Higson, Martin Jones, Grace Lewis-Parry, Lyn Meadows et al who have for years stuffed up big time in every role to which they have been appointed. None of them should have been allowed near this Health Board and things are not going to improve until they are removed, it is as simple as that. The reason that the Betsi is spending so much on agency staff is principally because no-one will work for them so dire is their reputation, but also because the Top Doctors and Angels who staff the nation’s NHS are fully aware that they can earn more by working for an agency than by conventional employment and that is why a lot of them choose to do so. It is a well-established scam that has been growing and growing for years and no-one has sought to address it – indeed before it was quite such a popular scam elsewhere, it was known to be a substantial problem in the North West Wales NHS Trust when one Martin Jones was the CEO. Can anyone spot a theme here? Of course the reason why honest capable staff won’t work for the Betsi is that they don’t want to work for a dysfunctional organisation rife with bad or frankly dangerous practices. Had politicians like Janet been honest about these practices which have been in place for many years now, bad practice could have been stopped and the Betsi would not now be comatose on the floor. But Janet and nearly everybody else said nothing at all – indeed Janet herself was even telling mental health charities not to send dissatisfied patients to her because she didn’t want to deal with their cases. So as usual too many people stood with the Top Doctors and Angels and ignored the terrifying mortality rates. But Janet is not the only one mentioned above who has added to the problems of the NHS in north Wales by colluding with abusive, lethal practitioners. Mark Drakeford knew damn well how dreadful things were, both throughout the years when he was special advisor to Rhodri Morgan and until he was finally forced to put the Betsi in special measures when Tawel Fan blew up in his face. But then this former social worker had received a long training in turning a blind eye to abuse and malpractice and instead sat around a table talking to the unions who were protecting their own members rather than the people who some of those members were harming (see post ‘News Round Up, June 11 2017’). As for the NHS escalation framework that is ‘managing the situation’, the troika of the Welsh Gov’t, Auditor General and Health Inspectorate Wales – the Welsh Gov’t no longer knows what to do in the face of this disaster (my co-researcher has suggested that someone just appoints the Chuckle Brothers in the place of the Betsi Board) and HIW ignored the slaughter and mayhem in the north Wales NHS for years (of course it did, it’s CEO was Peter Higson, who’d previously overseen the horror story that was the North Wales Hospital – Higson is now of course Chair of the Betsi). What about the Auditor General, Huw Vaughan Thomas? Well he featured in my post ‘I Know Nuzzing…’. He was Chief Exec of Gwynedd County Council whilst their social services had been infiltrated by a paedophile gang and prior to that he had been Chief Exec of Denbighshire – whose social services had also been infiltrated by the paedophile gang! I’m sure that he’ll do a brilliant job of sorting it all out.

Vaughan mentioned that Health Boards will continue to receive extra cash, although he did make mention of the cash being repayable in certain circumstances. In other words, whoever finally takes over at the Betsi once Higson et al just HAVE to be removed will then be left to clear up the mess on a shoestring after Higson, Grace and Martin have broken the bank. Does Vaughan think that he’ll receive many applications for future ‘leadership roles’ at the Betsi? As for his generous offer to carry on bailing out Health Boards across Wales, let us look at how some of that tax-payers cash was spent by Cardiff and Vale University Health Board.

In 2009 Cardiff and Vale employed a gynaecologist called Dr Anthony Madu and paid him nearly £100k pa (the Betsi pay Martin Jones and Grace even more). Anthony Madu has just been sent to prison for two years, after failing to repay the NHS over £70k as ordered by a previous court – £70k that he defrauded them out of, by continuing to work as a locum whilst he was initially suspended and then on extended sick leave for ‘stress’. Whilst receiving sick pay from Cardiff and Vale, Madu worked at Middlesborough’s James Cook University Hospital, Sandwell General Hospital Birmingham, Scarborough General Hospital and the Royal Oldham General Hospital, Greater Manchester. I have a friend who lives in Scarborough who tells me that Scarborough Hospital has a similar reputation to the hospitals in north Wales and thus good doctors won’t work there. I suspect that the other hospitals that Madu moonlighted at will also have had similar problems. Madu had actually been found guilty of fraud in 2014 but had been spared jail on condition that he repaid the £70k. He appealed against the decision, lost but failed to repay the money anyway, hence the prison sentence. Although he was only ordered to repay £70k, the cost to the hospitals was calculated to have been £240k and he transferred £95k to a Nigerian bank account in an attempt to cover his tracks. So Madu was being treated pretty leniently. Yet there had been problems before he started fiddling – in 2009 he was suspended by Cardiff and Vale as a result of allegations relating to his conduct towards other staff and allegations that he’d falsified his post-graduate training record. And it seems that the GMC knew all about him! They had investigated him and placed restrictions on his practice – which he ignored. He also failed to co-operate with investigations. But no, they didn’t strike him off, so he just turned up at other hospitals in England. But Madu had been in trouble before he ever arrived at Cardiff and Vale. He had previously worked at the Royal Bolton Hospital and had mismanaged a labour so badly that the baby died. Weeks later Madu was employed by Cardiff and Vale. The inquest on the baby wasn’t held until 2012, but when it was held the coroner denounced Madu as an ‘unimpressive witness…largely unreliable’. No charges were brought against Madu, although the Royal Bolton did apologise to the baby’s parents.

At the conclusion of Madu’s previous trial, Judge David Wynn Morgan praised Cardiff and Vale for taking action against Madu when they caught him fiddling and stated that ‘it may be that tragedy was avoided by the timely actions of Cardiff and Vale University Health Board’. Tragedy wasn’t avoided – a baby had already died, but not at Cardiff and Vale. No doubt had Madu caused any tragedies at Cardiff and Vale no-one would have been told anyway. Had Cardiff and Vale been told about the dead baby at Bolton when they employed Madu? If so, why did they employ him? Did they know about his run-ins with the GMC? If they didn’t know about any of this, why didn’t they? Who supplied Madu with references, either for Cardiff and Vale or any of his other jobs? Is there going to be an investigation into any of this or indeed into the GMC failing to stop him? I very much doubt it. Madu was known to be a problem at the Royal Bolton and they did what is always done with problematic doctors – they passed him onto someone else.

I can only compare the case of Madu, who had killed a baby and then swindled again and again yet was given chance after chance, with that of Dr Sian Caiach. Sian was a surgeon working in Wales who in about 2000 discovered two of her colleagues perpetuating a fraud by using NHS facilities to treat private patients without declaring it. Sian reported them to the Wales Audit Office. The WAO investigated and found that the fraud reported by Sian had indeed been committed. Those doctors were not dismissed. Nonetheless, Sian was suspended, sacked and eventually prevented from practicing by the GMC. At one point the rationale for stopping her working was that she would damage the ‘mental health’ of her colleagues. Presumably they might feel a bit anxious lest she discover what they were up to. Years later Sian was permitted to practice again after being subjected to the most offensive comments from the GMC – but only under very restricted circumstances. Honest whistleblowing surgeon with a commitment to the NHS? Christ we hadn’t better let her loose. It seems that Sian is too honest for party politics as well – her name was on the Plaid candidate list but was removed. Yet numerous members, councillors and politicians of that party were involved in colluding with the abuses in the mental health services and children’s homes in north Wales.

I mentioned earlier that a Betsi spokeswoman had stated that they needed to improve their quality and their performance. So how are they doing? Well, according to the BBC News Wales site, it’s business as usual. A 75 year old lady was admitted to Ysbyty Glan Clwyd and died shortly after, having experienced the sort of dreadful care of the elderly that Ysbyty Glan Clwyd is well-known for. The old lady suffered from COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and was admitted to Ysbyty Glan Clywd in Nov 2015 after a fall at home causing her to break her femur. She was given surgery and transferred to the HDU (High Dependency Unit). The trouble occurred when she was then transferred to an orthopaedic ward. Her family raised concerns when they discovered her sitting in her own faeces and after they had to visit her out of hours to give her food and drink because this wasn’t being done by the staff. The old lady’s son was told by a nurse that she had been ‘spoiled’ on the HDU (where presumably the staff actually did what they were paid to do). The old lady then developed pneumonia and died. At the inquest the conclusion was recorded as accidental death with the fall as a contributing factor. Which would seem to be a complete lie. The old lady’s family took their complaint to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales who upheld their complaint, stating that there had been inappropriate communication, inadequate nursing care and that the elderly lady had been admitted to an inappropriate ward. To show how seriously that the Ombudsman took the matter of an old lady being left sitting in her own crap whilst being given no food or drink, subjected to non-existent ‘nursing care’ – whilst her family were insulted by the staff – and then dying, he awarded the old lady’s family the grand total of £250. Martin Jones spends about that on a pair of his infamous cufflinks. As always though, the learning has been embedded and the service users empowered. The Betsi has stated that it has tackled the problem by appointing doctors from a range of backgrounds to support geriatric patients on orthopaedic wards, with a consultant to lead the service. Which seems to be missing the point – in this case it was the Angels who had disgraced themselves rather than the Top Doctors. Furthermore, ‘staff have received training in dignity and respect for patients’. Should this have been needed? If I were looking after a bed-ridden friend or relative even I would not leave them sitting in turds. But then I’m not an Angel.

As with Huw Vaughan Thomas, Mark Drakeford, HIW et al, there is a legacy involved with the problem that this old lady encountered. Elderly care at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd has been absolutely dreadful for many, many years as detailed in my post ‘How Much Do Staff Surveys Really Tell Us?’. Staff ensured that their own families did not end up there and some ten years ago a retired Professor from Bangor University, Clare Wenger, was so appalled by what she witnessed as a patient there that she compiled a dossier and sent it to over 100 people. Clare Wenger’s specialism was in old age care and she had led a major 20 year study into this which was funded by the Department of Health. Notwithstanding all this, Clare Wenger was denounced as a stuck up old cow who expected special treatment. The elderly continued to be neglected and abused and throughout it all the former CEO of the Trust that ran Ysbyty Glan Clwyd before the Betsi was created, Gren Kershaw, was awarded the accolade of Best Chief Executive in the UK by ‘Nursing Times’. Kershaw has now retired and works as a ‘management consultant’. And the elderly are still neglected and abused by the staff who voted for him to be given an award by ‘Nursing Times’.

Now another story from the Daily Post online, combining two common themes of this blog, politics and the Betsi. It has been announced that Plaid and the Tories have gone into coalition to run Conwy Council. So the Counci leader is now Gareth Jones and his Deputy is Cheryl Carlisle. Gareth is a Plaid Councillor and is the former AM for Aberconwy. Many years before that Gareth was a member of a panel that conducted one of the numerous investigations that was held into the sexual abuse of children in care in Clwyd. So Gareth knew that there was a serious problem – but like so many people he’s remained silent for years. However he has announced that the new Cabinet is an ‘open administration based on inclusiveness and transparency’. If Gareth is now going all inclusive and transparent it’ll be a first for him. As for Cheryl – well she’s a Conservative and is a member of the Betsi Board! Cheryl now holds the Cabinet portfolio for ‘children, family and safeguarding’. We should just be thankful that it’s not Gareth overseeing those particular matters. The Plaid group in Conwy seem to have done something odd. There had been a previous agreement for Plaid, Labour and the Independent Group to work together, but this backfired when much of the Plaid Group voted for Gareth Jones in the leadership election. What can be going on? But then something else peculiar happened this week involving Plaid. Dr Eurfyl ap Gwilym, a policy advisor for Plaid, publicly announced that they would be willing to support the Tories on ‘some matters’. Now some people are saying that they have no problem with that if it benefits Wales, but Leanne Wood – Plaid’s leader – and many of her colleagues, loathe everything about the Tories and have made ‘no deals with Tories under any conditions ever’ a central theme within Plaid. How does Leanne feel about her colleagues snuggling up to the Tories? Plaid are really proud of Eurfyl ap Gwilym because he famously floored Paxman on ‘Newsnight’ a few years ago. However, he does sometimes take surprising stances. I was at a conference where he spoke some years ago and he provided a devastating critique of Blair’s H.E. policy. I much appreciated this, because Blair imposed an ill thought out policy on UK universities which was never going to work with the staffing and funding available and it did very great damage, resulting in, among other things, a vicious snobbery between different universities. But Eurfyl seemed to be firing his ammo at the wrong people. After stating that he was an ‘unashamed elitist’, he went on to put the boot into graduates from less prestigious universities who had found themselves working at Tesco, saying that they didn’t deserve anything other than a job in Tesco. Those graduates were very much the victim of the problem not the cause. Most of them did not know that a degree from Glyndwr University doesn’t have the same currency as a degree from a Russell Group institution – New Labour led them to think that once one had a degree, one would waltz into a well paid professional job immediately after graduation. They were conned and it was not their fault. Furthermore, going to university on large amounts of borrowed money was sold to them on the promise of high salaries after graduation – no-one mentioned widening their horizons or gaining a liberal education or critical thinking skills, it was the mythical ‘graduate premium’ that was used as the carrot. Meanwhile the kids of Cabinet Ministers carried on applying for places at Oxbridge because their parents knew that there was a difference in status between institutions. As for deserving to work in Tescos – I’m not sure that anyone deserves the fate of that particular regime, where it’s minimum wage on the tills and insults from harried customers as well as a supervisor of questionable quality breathing down your neck. Perhaps Eurfyl would like to give it a go himself. I did try to speak to Eurfyl after his presentation when everyone started on the wine and nibbles, but he blanked me and proceeded to work his way around the room only speaking to the most important people there. People nearly as important as him.

Plaid’s cosy relationship with the Tories has echoes of the historical arrangement that this blog has revealed with regard to the child abuse in the north Wales children’s homes in the 70s, 80s and 90s. That abuse – as well as the linked abuse in the mental health services – was facilitated by many members of Plaid and their representatives, whilst certain Tory Ministers sat at the top of the tree concealing the whole mess. Meanwhile the likes of Sir Peter Morrison, Thatcher’s aide and Conservative MP for Chester, and Thomas Tyrell-Kenyon, son of Lord Lloyd Tyrell-Kenyon, actually abused the children in care themselves. The state bureaucrats who grossly mismanaged the local authorities, as well as the health and care professionals, occupied various positions in the pecking order below them. Thus a whole structure was kept in place. The only people who didn’t benefit were the kids/patients – they were coerced into providing sexual services and either died, or spent a lifetime travelling in and out of places like Risley Remand Centre or the North Wales Hospital if they dared complain about what was happening to them.

Now I have arrived at one of my running themes on the blog – highly paid people who are pissing all over the rest of us whilst caring – I can report that my mates the BMA have been in the news again. Specifically the BMA GPs representatives. A Dr Sophie Quinney, representing a group called ‘Wales For GP Survival’, has been making claims that GPs are retiring early or cutting down their hours ‘to stay sane’. Which is odd, because I thought that they retired in their mid 50s because their pension pots were so big that they didn’t have to go on until they dropped. Furthermore, despite any stress that their job does involve – and if you’re a GOOD GP it is stressful – the GPs that I know who chose to work part-time were all honest enough to admit that they were so well-paid that they could just work three days a week and still live very comfortably. But members of the BMA representing GPs have been crawling out of the woodwork everywhere with their tales of woe and they all seem to be giving out the same message – that is, if the Gov’t doesn’t do what we say, we will all stop working and then what will you do? I presume that there has been a BMA conference somewhere and they all voted to take a leaf out of the book of Violet Elizabeth Bott i.e. that they would thcweam and thcweam until they were thick.

Indeed, one of those participating in the thcweaming is someone known to me, Dr Graham Thomas, who works in the Corwen Health Centre. Graham has appeared in the Daily Post online urging ‘politicians and patients to put pressure on the Betsi Board to help the practice out’. Graham is rattled because his surgery is in danger of losing it’s Rural Support Payment of £52k which it has received – presumably from the Betsi – for the last 15 years. The Post reports that this is a ‘cry from the heart’ and that Graham, as a GP, ‘speaks from experience’. Graham states that if the Betsi takes over the management of the practice – Graham is suggesting that if the Rural Support Payment is not forthcoming that is what will have to happen – patients will have longer waiting times. He makes reference to the time a few years ago when he assisted at the practice when it was managed by the Betsi and says that ‘I just knew that I was unable to give the time and attention that some of those patients required’. Now I happen to know that although he is a very capable doctor, Graham Thomas is also capable of very great deceit and like Councillor Gareth Jones mentioned earlier, Graham often keeps schtum about terrible things when he shouldn’t. I know this because I used to live in the same village as him, I was in the same hill walking club as him and I used to know him very, very well. He made quite big efforts to cultivate my company, just at the time when I had started making it known that I intended to publish my truly dreadful experiences with the mental health services. Graham knew exactly how bad those services were because he used to work at the Hergest Unit and he saw the neglect, the abuse and indeed the deaths himself. He did not raise any concerns with anyone. He still did not raise any concerns when he left the Hergest Unit and worked in the area as a GP. He still said not a word when he became a more senior GP. He knew that the Hergest was dreadful and he didn’t even bother to send his own patients there, but he did not raise a concern. Neither did he raise concerns when members of the staff at the Hergest Unit were perjuring themselves in an attempt to ensure that I ended up in prison. He knew about it, because I lived just down the lane from him at the time and he used to regularly ask me what I was going to do about the threats and harassment that I was receiving from his colleagues. Although Graham knew how bad many of the staff working in the mental health services were, he was still happy to ensure that they acquired yet another dodgy doctor. On one occasion I got into conversation with a psychiatrist in the hill walking group who had just taken a job at the medium secure unit in Llanfairfechan. I asked him why he had come to Wales and he told me that he hadn’t been able to gain employment after some unspecified hoo ha in his last job. But Dr Graham Thomas had very kindly helped him out and got him a job in north Wales! At one point some charming character threw dog turds at my house. Graham admitted that he knew who did it. I told him that I wanted to report this matter to the police – so Graham refused to reveal the identity of the culprit. He also knew that his colleagues were slandering me. I only discovered the extent of this when he asked me for advice. He had fallen out with a charity that he had been involved with – although I wasn’t ever sure of the details – but it seemed that he believed that they were accusing him of unlawful practices. He was worried that his reputation would be damaged and didn’t know what to do to challenge it. So he asked me for advice, as someone whom he knew to have been subjected to a smear campaign – by his own colleagues. The last time that Graham and his wife spoke to me was after I told them that I had finally had a bellyful of the mental health services and that I had instructed my lawyers to begin action and that I had every intention of one day publishing everything that I had witnessed. Graham and his wife Casi never spoke to me again.

I suspect that as in the case of Professor Catherine Robinson, someone else who was colluding with a great deal of wrongdoing, Graham only ever befriended me to find out what I knew about his colleagues and where or when I was going to publish and was very probably relaying everything that I told him straight back to those we know and love. Two other very odd things happened to me during the time when I was socialising with Graham and Casi. I was looking for a house to rent and I viewed one near where they lived. I told them that I had viewed it and they were very encouraging about it. So I handed over the deposit, rent etc and moved in. After a few weeks it was clear that not only did the landlady have quite serious problems herself but that there were a lot of structural problems with the house that were so bad that they constituted a health and safety risk. I mentioned them to Graham one day who, it transpired, knew all about them. He also knew that previous tenants had moved out of the house after discovering what I had discovered and had also had problems with the landlady. I didn’t remember him telling me about any of that when he encouraged me to move in. The other experience was even more weird. One day after my car broke down, Graham made a very generous offer. He had a car that he could sell me, at an incredibly low price. He said that he was more than happy to do a favour for a friend and I greatly appreciated being able to acquire the car. About a month later, I was driving the car when I was rammed from behind by a man who then became phenomenally aggressive when I asked him for his details. I persevered and eventually I extracted his name, insurance details etc from him. I discovered later that he was a retired officer from the North Wales Police – who I had begun to have quite a lot of problems with by then. In fact during the time that I lived a few doors down from Graham an awful lot of bizarre things happened to me, usually at the hands of people who I then discovered were friendly with Graham and Casi. After I left the village, I found out that Graham and Casi had over the past few years been asked to leave numerous chapels, community organisations and charities. Like me, a lot of people had some very odd experiences with them. I’m glad to hear that it’s onward and upward for them though – Casi is now aiming for ordination in the Church In Wales! And Graham obviously is going to thcweam and thweam until he’s sick. At the time that he was so keen to discover what action I was planning to take against his negligent, abusive, criminal colleagues, Graham was the BMA’s representative for the GPs group in north Wales.

Graham has already recruited one politician to his cause. Llyr Huws Grufydd has publicised Graham’s demand for £50k as a ‘cry for help from a busy rural GP practice’. But then Llyr described Dr Dafydd Alun Jones’s ‘nursing home’ Ty Gwyn as a ‘beacon of excellence’, as it imploded after the population gradually realised what a scam it was. Llyr is a Plaid AM for north Wales. Unless he’s joined the Tories by now.

The Chinese military strategist and philosopher Sun Tzu was alleged to have said that ‘if you wait by the river long enough, the bodies of your enemies will float by’. As far as I can see if you watch the north Wales media for long enough the names of the people involved in the most dreadful abuses of their positions will float by.

 

 

 

News Round Up, June 2 2017

The Top Doctors continue to apply the pressure for more dosh. Yesterday Mail online were reporting that the Kings Fund was warning that 4 out of 10 Trusts in England were planning to slash routine operations as managers are forced to make ‘tough decisions’. The Kings Fund surveyed the financial directors of 48 Clinical Commissioning Groups regarding their priorities for 2017/18. 63% of them were ‘concerned that they wouldn’t be able to increase spending on mental health’. Richard Murray, Director of Policy at the Kings Fund, commented that the ‘demand for services’ was ‘outstripping the NHS budget’. Dr Mark Porter of the BMA has also joined in, maintaining that more money is needed. To exemplify the crisis, it was stated that three CCGs in the West Midlands are restricting joint replacements operations until patients are in severe pain. This is the same West Midlands that hosted the illustrious Dr Ian Paterson who was recently imprisoned for 15 years after carrying out unnecessary operations on hundreds of patients. My post ‘A Top Doctor Goes To Prison’ explains how the machinations of the medical establishment, including the BMA, GMC and MDU, created a situation in which no-one felt able to stop Paterson although a lot of people knew what he was doing. The ‘independent’ Kings Fund has very close links with this establishment and is a former employer of both Niall Dickson, who was Chief Exec of the GMC for years and Ian Kennedy, who was also a member of the GMC for years, but who managed to carry out a ‘Review’ of Paterson’s activities which placed the blame very firmly on everyone but the Top Doctors themselves. Paterson’s crimes have cost the NHS £18 million in damages and costs so far – that would have paid for a few joint replacements.

The Top Doctors must be getting desperate because today they’ve enlisted the help of the big guns – the Royal College of Surgeons have Spoken Out. Guess what – they want more money. Their president, Clare Marx, has commented that large numbers of patients are waiting too long in pain and discomfort and that this is ‘the grim reality of the financial pressures facing the NHS’. The grim reality of the consequences of no-one stopping Ian Paterson – whom the Royal College of Surgeons almost certainly knew about – is also large numbers of patients in pain and discomfort as well as an unknown number of deaths (unknown because no-one’s dared do the research). To strengthen her position Marx refers to the recent bout of whinging from the Nuffield Trust. That’s the organisation that funds research on the basis of researchers personal medical histories rather than on the quality of the proposed research (please see post ‘News Updates, Additional Comments And Observations’). Jonathan Ashworth, the Shadow Health Secretary, has commented that the ‘Tories neglect and underfunding of the NHS has pushed services to the brink’. No Jonathan, what has pushed services to the brink has been decades of successive Gov’ts ignoring institutionalised corruption causing patient harm in the NHS and Labour is as guilty of this as the Tories are. Remember Andy Burnham and Alan Johnson who were told by 81 people that terrible things were happening in Mid-Staffs but still refused to hold an inquiry? So whilst patients in Mid-Staffs drank water from flower vases, lay in their own faeces and urine because nurses refused to walk across the ward with a bedpan, were assessed by unqualified receptionists and died unnecessarily, Burnham and Johnson troughed away in Westminster with the best like there was no tomorrow.

Just to remind us all exactly how committed to patient safety the dear old GMC is, they have now issued a ‘warning’ to a Dr Sunil Idicula Simon, after the death of one of his patients, 23 year old Charlotte Foster. Charlotte went to Simon complaining of back pain and breathlessness and he told her to go on a spa day. She subsequently suffered a cardiac arrest and brain damage as a result of a deep vein thrombosis and died. Charlotte had been taking Dianette, an oral contraceptive that carries a higher risk of thrombosis than other oral contraceptives and had also undergone tests that showed that she would be particularly at risk if she took Dianette. She was prescribed it nonetheless. Dr Simon failed to eliminate or confirm DVT as a possibility in Charlotte’s case, failed to put together a treatment plan for stopping the medication, failed to make a record of two consultations and on the second consultation with Charlotte failed to conduct an examination. The GMC commented on their website that Dr Simon’s practice ‘does not meet with the standards required of a doctor. He risks bringing the profession into disrepute…’ So that’s why they’ve allowed him to carry on practicing then. One can only wonder why the GMC didn’t simply forge another document to protect Simon as they did to protect the lethal Dr Tony Roberts (please see post ‘The General Medical Council And Yet Another Forged Document’). As for bringing the profession into disrepute – the GMC had done that themselves by 1990 by repeatedly refusing to take any action against Dr Dafydd Alun Jones as he and his mistress facilitated a paedophile ring and built the foundations of a drugs empire (please see post ‘The Evolution Of A Drugs Baron?’).

There’s been a few interesting bits of local news recently. Irfon Williams, the man with an aggressive form of bowel cancer who famously moved to England in order to obtain the drug Cetuximab and then campaigned for the same and similar drugs to be available in Wales, has died. Cetuximab didn’t save Irfon and it was very unlikely that it would have, that is why the Welsh Gov’t did not want to implement the Cancer Drugs Fund – the drugs recommended are vey expensive but more importantly do not work. Irfon had undergone 50 sessions of chemo, one round of radiotherapy and five operations – he was in a very bad way and Cetuximab was not going to make a difference. I can understand that a relatively young man facing death would want to grab hold of any chance that he could but there was a particular irony involved in Irfon’s campaign. Irfon was a mental health manager for the Betsi. Yes, Irfon was one of those who had presided over the carnage of mental health patients. Whilst Irfon achieved fame across the UK and appeared on breakfast TV, his former patients found it impossible to access treatment and a lot of them died – no-one pushed the boat out for them or reported on their ‘bravery’. They did not have a ‘TeamIrfon’ campaign to fight their corner and keep their plight in the public eye. And none of them were invited to meet Carwyn. They were left to kill themselves. TeamIrfon led a fundraising campaign to reduce the likelihood of people with cancer and their families suffering from mental health problems. So it wasn’t until Irfon himself developed cancer that he seemed to develop an awareness of the need for mental healthcare.

The ironies continue. A quick look at the Betsi website yesterday revealed that Gary Doherty, the CEO of the Betsi, has signed up to the shallow and hypocritical ‘Time To Change Wales’ campaign, to reduce the ‘stigma’ of mental illness. Yes, Gary who runs a Health Board in special measures because of institutional abuse in its mental health services that nonetheless is still positively exterminating mental health patients and who completely failed to deal with a very serious complaint from me regarding the mental health services, has signed up to an anti-stigma campaign. Part of Gary’s campaign is, unbelievably, to support staff with mental health problems. Well they could certainly never rely on the services that they provide themselves – or more accurately fail to provide – for the rest of us. To rub salt into the wound, the Betsi website has also recently provided a free plug for ‘CALL’, a ‘helpline’ offering ‘mental health support’. People I know gave up with that bloody helpline so hopeless was it – but there we are, the Betsi was reminding everyone that support for mental health problems is only a call away, 24 hours a day. Would you believe that this was the Betsi’s idea of marking ‘mental health awareness week’. Which just confirms my suspicion that bombarding the nation with this shite – and it is shite – regarding ‘fighting stigma’, ‘raising awareness’, ‘talking about it’ and ‘being mindful’ simply serves to provide a smokescreen lest anyone actually notices what is happening to people who suffer serious mental health problems, as opposed to the mildly worried and anxious. A similar smokescreen seems to be developing around serious poverty. There have been recent media allegations that ‘nurses’ and ‘social workers’ are going to food banks. Well if they are, they are doing it for rather different reasons than the rest of the people turning up there. No matter what the Royal College of Nursing or ‘Guardian Society’ tells us, being a nurse or a social worker on £30,000 pa is not exactly ‘I Daniel Blake’. Neither are nurses or social workers dying destitute, which is what is now happening to a number of people with mental health problems, learning disabilities or groups such as asylum seekers etc. Yet nurses and social workers are now being framed as the image of poverty.

Peter Read, a councillor from Pen Llyn, and Liz Saville Roberts, the Plaid MP for Dwyfor Meirionydd, have angrily condemned the shortcomings of the out of hours GP services. Whilst I am glad to see people showing concern for the plight of people living in rural Wales – who have been ignored for a very long time – this did serve to remind me that the likes of Liz and Peter have not had a word to say about the death toll among people with mental health problems in their region. In fact I happen to know that there is a young woman who is literally living in hiding on Pen Llyn after having had the most distressing experience whilst detained at the Hergest Unit – she was coerced into an abortion that she didn’t want and loaded up with ‘medication’, after being diagnosed with ‘paranoid schizophrenia’. She was also gang raped a few years ago and when the case against the rapists collapsed was prosecuted herself for wasting police time. But not to worry, we have the CALL helpline to assist people experiencing such difficulties!

North Wales hit the national media yesterday. A male nurse, described as a ‘sex pest’, employed in Penrhos Care Home in Pwhelli, was struck off by the NMC after being found guilty of seven allegations of misconduct which were described as being ‘racially and sexually motivated’. His activities included kissing elderly ladies, asking them to marry him, telling one of them that her mother was a whore and another one of them that ‘once you’ve had black you never go back’. Cathy Adams, the manager of the care home concerned, emphasised that there was no place for this ‘nurse’ in her establishment and described him as having ‘old fashioned views’. Just like the staff at children’s homes in north Wales whose ‘old methods’ involved punching the children, raping them, sodomising them and forcing them to have oral sex with the staff (see post ‘It’s A Piece Of Cake…’). All a little bit old-fashioned. (The account of the activities of the sex pest rather reminded me of Jimmy Savile, who was regularly filmed in hospitals in the 1970s asking four year olds if they would be his girlfriend and demanding kisses from them. No wonder Esther and the rest never guessed that he was a paedophile, he was so good at disguising it.) It is interesting to read that the NMC have actually taken action against someone though. They used to be every bit as bad as the GMC. Not only did they refuse to take action against Sian Ruth Lloyd, an abusive nurse at the Hergest Unit, after she had assaulted me and prevented me from reporting the assault to the police, but when I spoke to them on the phone I was met with an incredibly aggressive man who did not identify himself but told me that once Lloyd had been cleared they would be destroying the evidence that I sent them – before that I spoke to a Rashida Conroy who made it very clear that it was barely worth answering the phone to a patient and used phrases like ‘wha’ d ya want?’ and ‘yeh, right’. At about this time the NMC refused to take action against a psych nurse in charge of an adolescent ward who was discovered viewing child pornography whilst on duty.

A reader has e mailed wondering if the public servants of Wales are getting worried. Walter Glyn Davies, a retired teacher and lay preacher, was confronted by Gareth Winston Roberts during a meeting of Amlwch Town Council and accused of secretly recording the meeting. Roberts, the Chairman of the meeting, had mistakenly believed that Mr Davies’s insulin syringe – he is a diabetic – was a recording device. Roberts has admitted that the public are allowed to record meetings but they have to ‘obtain permission’ first. Gareth Winston Roberts entertained everyone by making reference to ‘proper procedures’ that must be followed. This is Anglesey we’re taking about – it is generally believed to be the most corrupt council in the UK, some of the councillors have gone to prison and it is a regular in the Private Eye ‘Rotten Boroughs’ column. Mr Davies is considering taking the matter up with the Anglesey Council Standards Committee. Somehow I doubt that he’ll get very far. However my reader has pointed out that there is quite a bit of blogging happening in Wales at the moment providing exposes – my own blog is leading the field where the NHS and welfare services are concerned, Jac O the North is dishing the dirt on councillors and politicians and there is a blogger whose revelations so angered Carmarthen Council that their Chief Exec took her to the High Court. Another blog was brought to my attention yesterday. As the mainstream media flatly refuse to publish any of this serious corruption themselves, it looks as though a few people have found another way of blowing the whistle. I would dearly love to believe that this might be the beginning of the end for those we know and love… I am often contacted by people who are in despair after encountering our glorious mental health services and who ask me how they can actually gain help. It is a very difficult question to answer – the only psychiatrist in north Wales who seems to be both normal and know what he is doing is Dr Alberto Salmoiraghi, but I imagine that Dr Alberto must now be buckling under the pressure of thousands of desperate patients beating a path to his door. I can really only advise everyone else to start doing what Jac, me and the other bloggers are doing – go public. What is happening is outrageous and everyone is made to feel that it is only happening to them because they are just bastards. It isn’t, this is now how the welfare services routinely treat people and it has bugger all to do with ‘funding’ and ‘pay restraint’.

Of course one organ that has never been afraid to upset unscrupulous people in power is Private Eye. The latest edition has published a piece about the collapse of Food Dudes Ltd, part of the late Professor Fergus Lowe’s empire. I reported this on the blog recently (please see post ‘Updates On Previous Posts, Including Inquest Verdict’).

STOP PRESS: I have just had a quick look at BBC News Wales online – the North Wales Hospital has been engulfed by a ‘huge blaze’, there are 40 firefighters out there and the roof has collapsed. Traffic is being diverted away from Denbigh. God it’s like something out of Jane Eyre isn’t it. It’s too late Dafydd, it doesn’t matter if a minion of yours has set light to the place in an attempt to destroy evidence – I’ve got 10,000 documents in my possession and no-one knows where I am…