A Secret And Forbidding Place To Work?

I wrote my earlier post ‘Their Trade Is Fuckwittery’ after reading Greg Dyke’s book ‘Inside Story’. I mentioned in that post that Greg’s book was so full of gems and leads that I’d never have time to blog about it all, so I was just going to write about a few of the highlights. In ‘Their Trade Is Fuckwittery’ I concentrated on the shambles that was TV-am and the questionable conduct of those who were running that company, as well as providing a few details about ITV and Yorkshire Television, two very big players in independent TV. People tend to believe that Gov’ts always have the BBC over a barrel because of the existence of the licence fee and the Charter, which are of course completely in the hands of the Westminster Gov’t, but as I made clear in ‘Their Trade Is Fuckwittery’, other media folk not involved with the BBC didn’t dare fall out with the Gov’t – during the 80s, the Thatcher administrations – because the Gov’t was busy drawing up the legislation relating to broadcasting. There is a very close symbiotic relationship between all broadcasters and Gov’t – Dyke’s book makes the extent of this very obvious.

This blog has previously named towering figures in broadcasting – such as Huw Wheldon of the BBC – who had direct links to those who were overseeing the abuse of kids in care and mental health patients, which might explain why investigative documentaries about such matters rarely got to see the light of day. It wasn’t just the fault of a few individuals like Huw Wheldon though. Senior figures from right across the political spectrum have been identified as being involved with such abuses, so it’s not just a matter of waiting for a change of Gov’t before receiving the all-clear for a documentary – the next Gov’t coming along will be just as compromised. Virtually every other page of Dyke’s book names a senior political figure who is best mates with an influential figure in broadcasting, there are hundreds of close connections between the two sectors. The media world is also small and incestuous, nearly as bad as the world of health and social care – it is just one big game of musical chairs, with people jumping between organisations in ever more senior roles, where they become ever more closer to but at the same time more beholden to politicians. Remember the case of James Purnell, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport until he resigned in 2009 – he managed to leave a job in Gordon Brown’s Gov’t, spend four years as Chair of the IPPR and then walked into a job as Director of Strategy at the BBC on a salary of £295k pa.

Since Jimmy Savile’s death it has become clear that an awful lot of people at the BBC and elsewhere knew that he was sexually assaulting children and young people, despite the official silence. What really struck me as I was reading Dyke’s book though is how many very senior people in TV will definitely have known about organised child sexual abuse and its ramifications. I tend to just perceive people on TV as being obsessed with issues that don’t really matter, people who appear on prime time and talk asinine nonsense. I forget that a great many of these people started their careers as journalists or researchers, either on newspapers or on regional TV or radio. Local journalists do know what goes on – they will freely admit this, but then explain that they couldn’t publish because the editor wouldn’t allow it. That will be true – but their editors will be the local journalists of yesteryear, who are now dining with politicians and don’t want to upset the Gov’t…. This is how a complete silence surrounding certain subjects is maintained.

Dyke names powerful figure after powerful figure in the media whom he worked with years ago when they were local journos or researchers on news programmes or investigative projects who undoubtedly came across the matters discussed on this blog but who never broadcast them, even when they were in a position to do so. A glaring example is Janet Street-Porter, whom Dyke worked with back in the dark ages in the current affairs dept of LWT on a local London programme. Janet was one of the journos going out and about. Street-Porter has latterly reached the dizzying heights of ‘Loose Women’, where matters Jimmy Savile and sexual exploitation by media figures have recently been discussed, as they have on other TV programmes. I watched a clip of someone angrily interrogating Janet and asking her why she had never said a word previously. Janet squawked away in a very vexed manner, maintained that she ‘couldn’t’, because she was a ‘woman’ and women get ‘harassed’. The interrogation continued and Janet then stated that when she was ten she was molested and when she told her mum her mum slapped her. Janet Street-Porter as traumatised victim. An interesting notion – yet Street-Porter went through a phase not so long ago of writing articles denouncing her mother as the most vile old cow and even maintained that she loathed everything Welsh because her mother was Welsh. She may well have been quite right about her mother but EVERYTHING about Street-Porter’s life and career from her teens onwards suggests that she is pretty tough – it is far more likely that she didn’t publish or broadcast because she wanted promotion. By the time that Street-Porter was being interrogated by an angry viewer she wasn’t ten, she was a wealthy senior media executive in late middle-age who scared the knickers off many of her colleagues.

If Street-Porter had really wanted to expose Savile or others like him, she could have – but she knew that the dinner invitations and commissions would dry up if she did. Street-Porter did most admirably have a go at the NHS when her sister died in truly appalling conditions – Street-Porter was editor of the Indie on Sunday at the time and published some very damning articles despite the squealing of the NHS and I was most grateful that she did this. Yet the Indie on Sunday was one of the papers that Gordon Anglesea sued for libel in 1994 after they and others named him as abusing kids in care in north Wales. Last year Anglesea was jailed – for abusing kids in care in north Wales. Did the Indie on Sunday – or anyone else – put the boot in? No. Anglesea had been demonstrated to be a child molester, a liar, a perjurer and someone who trousered nearly £400,000 in libel damages as a result of his criminal activities. Anglesea had also enjoyed the full support of the Police Federation throughout. One of his accusers was found dead shortly after Anglesea won his libel case. Er – fancy a follow up investigation or even an article then Janet? No? Never mind – it’s why I started this blog…

There is only one reason why I am not even ruder about Janet and the others regarding their extended silence – and that is that some very unfortunate things tend to happen to people who merely bump into and spill the pints of those involved with the North Wales Child Abuse Scandal. Like the young man who dared appear on TV and name Gordon Anglesea as one of his abusers whilst he was a kid in care in north Wales, they tend to be found dead. Janet and her mates are far safer than the former residents of children’s homes or the mental health patients of north Wales, but Greg’s book does mention something similarly very worrying. That Richard Dunn, the head of Thames TV who were responsible for making and broadcasting ‘Death On The Rock’ the documentary about the shooting of the three members of the IRA by the SAS in Gibraltor in 1988 – that so enraged Thatcher and her Gov’t – was in Aug 1998 found dead at the bottom of his swimming pool. The reason given for the cause of his death doesn’t quite add up and anyway don’t bodies float?

Dyke’s book teams with evidence of the favours that people in the media do for politicians whilst they are all on their way up. The earlier part of Dyke’s career as a media big-hitter took place under Tory Govt’s – first Thatcher’s administrations, then Major’s – but the latter half was under New Labour. It was Dyke’s almighty ding dong with Blair’s Gov’t that saw him resign as Director-General of the BBC. Greg caused havoc, but he also got rid of Alistair Campbell as Blair’s Rottweiler in Chief, so we have that to be grateful for.

Dyke’s account nicely illustrates how favours and feuds going back decades and indeed generations influence present day decisions. Greg himself goes back a long way in terms of his friendships with people who later became very powerful. Although as a manager Greg took a very Thatcheresque view of the trade unions in TV and delighted in thwarting them, he admits that a few years previously when he was of them, he too screwed the management over and fleeced them – it’s how he knew the techniques that the unions would employ when he joined management.

Greg’s early power base was at LWT, which certainly seemed to serve him well. At LWT he worked with a John Birt, a Peter Mandelson and a Michael Grade. When Dyke was applying for what seems to be his first go at a worthwhile job at LWT, he was told by a colleague at LWT that John Birt was the most important person on the Board – Birt was then head of features and current affairs at LWT and had been described to Greg as ‘all powerful’. Greg did his best to toady to John Birt in the interview but unfortunately he didn’t actually manage to identify who John Birt was and ingratiated himself to the wrong person. Greg didn’t get the job, but he did get another job with LWT soon afterwards. Greg observed that as Birt became very powerful within LWT, Mandelson – who was a producer – became his best friend.

Birt left LWT in 1987 to become Deputy DG of the BBC – Birt was valued for his expertise in current affairs and was responsible for news and current affairs as Deputy DG. Birt will have certainly have been party to a lot of information by this stage in his career. He had worked at Granada between 1966-71 where he’d been part of the World In Action team, becoming joint editor in 1969. He joined LWT in 1971 and was founding editor and executive producer of Weekend World. Birt then became head of current affairs, then controller of features and current affairs. He worked on Weekend World with Peter Jay.

Peter Jay was the son of two Labour politicians who then married Margaret, the daughter of Jim Callaghan, who later became PM. When Callaghan became PM in 1977 Peter Jay was appointed Ambassador to the US by his friend, Foreign Secretary Dr David Owen. Jay had never held public office and was not a diplomat. Jay did well out of his friends though – he landed a job as Economics Editor of the BBC courtesy of his mate John Birt. At one point Jay was Chief of Staff to Robert Maxwell. Jay was founding Chairman of TV-am (see post ‘Their Trade Is Fuckwittery). Between 2003-09 he was a non-executive director of the Bank of England.

Birt took a break from LWT in the mid-70s to work with David Frost producing The Nixon Interviews, in which they famously managed to get Tricky Dicky to fess up to serious wrongdoing. Birt returned to LWT in 1982 as Director of Programmes. It was in this capacity that he revived the career of a singer with whom he had been friends many years ago when they were young – this is the lady whom I have mentioned in previous posts and comments who was a patient of and a friend of the Professor in the Dept at St Georges Hospital Medical School in which I worked between 1989-91. The Dept which was chaotic, riddled with workplace bullying and which sometime after I left became embroiled in a research fraud scandal, then another scandal in which a fertility consultant was accused of pressurising NHS patients into donating eggs to private patients, then yet another scandal before the Dept was closed down (see post ‘St George’s Hospital Medical School, 1989/1990’). This was also the Dept which employed an MSF rep, David Hole, who as far as I could see was corrupt. Only a few years previously, the Professor of Paediatrics at St Georges, Oliver Brooke, had been jailed for the possession of child porn. At the same time, the Dept of Psychiatry, along with the associated psychiatric unit Springfield Hospital, were as corrupt as fuck and were colluding with the criminal activities of NHS staff and social workers in north Wales, including the concealing of abuse of children in care and of mental health patients (see post ‘Some Very Eminent Psychiatrists From London…’). The occupational health physician at St Georges, Dr Nicky Mitchell-Heggs, was also on board with all this.

I am sure that John Birt’s showbiz friend knew nothing about the shenanigans behind the scenes at St George’s at all, all she saw were Top Doctors grovelling to her as their highest profile private patient, but I have been told that it was substantially as a result of this lady’s very good relationship with St George’s that the lid was kept on the wrongdoing there. She thought that they were great and used to occasionally mention them when interviewed. By the time that I worked at St George’s this lady was LWT’s biggest star – the two light entertainment shows that she hosted were the root of LWT’s success and profits in the 1980s/90s and she was the highest paid female presenter on UK TV. Her fame was used to conceal some real horrors at St George’s.

Birt’s friend won’t have known what St George’s were concealing, but it’s very likely that Birt with his background in current affairs and extensive network did. Not only was Birt big mates with Mandelson – who was Director of Communications for the Labour Party – but Birt was also a member of the Labour Party at the time of his appointment to the BBC, although this was only revealed later. Which was certainly ironic because Birt had been recruited by Thatcher’s old mate Duke Hussey, who had been appointed as Chairman of the BBC Governors because Thatcher and Tebbit et al were fuming at what they believed were the pinkos working on the Today programme and the broadcasting of a few other things that had upset them, such as ‘Maggie’s Militant Tendency’ (see post ‘Wheels Within Wheels Or Flies Drawn To The Same Incestuously Corrupt Shithouse?’).

Birt was appointed as DG in 1992 and remained in post until 2000. His tenure was certainly controversial. He – along with Hussey – was loathed by many and numerous people became very alienated. Birt was perceived to be Thatcher’s lap dog and he also really liked Management. So much so that as well as all the highly paid managers already in the BBC, Birt spent huge quantities of money on management consultants McKinseys and Co – who had also been sent into the NHS by Gov’t in a vain attempt to address the entrenched corruption and bad practice. Although Hussey and Birt were both hated by much of the media world, they didn’t like each other very much either. Dyke maintains that months used to pass without them even speaking to each other and the final straw came in 1995 when Panorama broadcast the infamous Tell All interview with Diana, Princess of Wales. Hussey was mates with members of the Royal Family and was horrified that he hadn’t been told about the programme until he wasn’t in a position to stop it.

When Birt became DG of the BBC, he fell out with another person with whom he’d been big mates with in LWT as long ago as the 1970s – Michael Grade. Grade got so pissed off with Birt that Grade left his senior post at the BBC and went to Channel 4. Grade later described Birt’s BBC as a ‘secret and forbidding place to work’ in the McTaggart lecture in Edinburgh. The following year the McTaggart lecture was given by Dennis Potter, who put the boot into Birt’s groin even harder and described him and Hussey as ‘croak-voiced daleks’.

It was Birt who was behind the expansion of the BBC into online services, which enraged many people because it squeezed out virtually all other competitors – Birt created a whole New Media Division.

Despite the high levels of dissatisfaction all around at the BBC with Birt’s activities when he was DG, when he left the BBC he picked up a peerage and was appointed as strategy advisor to Blair. Of course Birt already knew Blair – they had known each other since the 1980s. It was Birt who in his capacity as DG at the BBC in 1998 had ordered a blackout on any references to Mandelson being gay, after Matthew Parris let it slip on Newsnight. Mandy had also been a Councillor in Lambeth Borough Council in the late 1990s – Lambeth children’s homes had been choc full of paedophiles for years, but whether Birt was censoring that piece of info as well I do not know. Blair also knew Greg Dyke and Greg’s mate Barry Cox from LWT. Greg first met Blair in 1980 at Barry Cox’s – Greg was a producer with LWT and Blair was working as a barrister, presumably as George Carman’s junior, but told Dyke that he wanted to be a Labour MP. Barry Cox and his wife Fiona Hillary (who was Dyke’s PA for many years) were neighbours and friends of Blair and according to Dyke, when Cox was Director of Corporate Affairs at LWT in the early 1990s (by which time Dyke was Chair of LWT), Cox warned Blair of Murdoch’s dominance and ambitions to achieve further dominance of British TV. Blair knew about the danger that Murdoch posed, but maintained that Labour could do a deal with Murdoch. So that’s how Murdoch ended up taking over the world and telling UK PMs what to do, blackmailing a twelve year old Charlotte Church into singing at a private event of his by threatening to publish stories about her mum who had mental health problems if she didn’t – although Murdoch published the stories anyway a few years later – whilst his staff hacked into the mobile phones of murdered teenagers and purchased stories from police officers, prison officers and NHS staff.

Birt had already begun advising Blair before he was appointed his strategic advisor – Birt had previously dispensed pearls of wisdom regarding criminal justice. Birt – the man who had been DG at the BBC whilst everyone kept schtum about Savile.  Once he became strategy advisor, Birt also advised Blair on drugs, health and crime reduction, as well as other matters. Since then Birt has picked up numerous other advisory roles and directorships, including a consultancy at McKinsey and Co.

In 2005 Birt began a relationship with Eithne Wallis, the former head of the National Probation Service, whom he later married. The wedding was attended by, among others, Mandelson and Trevor Phillips, Chair of the Commission for Equalities and Human Rights. Phillips had worked at LWT along with Birt and Mandy.

Although most people are very rude about Birt’s legacy at the BBC – producer Tony Garnett stated that Birt’s regime of ‘totalitarian micromanagement’ remained even after Birt himself had departed – James Purnell believes that Birt’s ‘boldness’ saved the BBC. It certainly ensured that a lot of things were never broadcast, including a lot of things about Mandelson et al.

The Chair of the Governors who appointed Birt, Duke Hussey, later said that he should not have done so. I mentioned previously that Hussey was a political appointment, made by Thatcher et al. No matter how keen Thatcher was to give the Guardianistas at the BBC a kicking, Hussey didn’t seem to be a good choice for Chairman, although he was there for ten years, 1986-96. Hussey had previously worked for Fleet Street, but not as a journalist – all his experience had been as a manager, but he hadn’t had a great deal of success. He had nearly succeeded in destroying the Daily Mail when he had management responsibility for Associated Newspapers. Hussey then became Chief Exec and MD of the Times Newspapers in 1971. He entered into a disastrous war with the unions in the late 1970s during which he decided to lock them out – the lock-out lasted so long that the papers went out of production for the best part of a year, without the unions conceding anything. The proprietors sold out to Murdoch after sustaining substantial losses. The world was astonished that Hussey remained in place after Murdoch took over, but it was speculated that Murdoch only wanted Hussey in place for the shin dig that he was soon to be holding to celebrate the bicentenary of the Times at Hampton Court. Hussey was able to rope Prince Charles in as a guest which afforded Murdoch some good PR.

Hussey was able to secure a high profile Royal because he had close links to the Royal Family. Hussey’s wife Susan had when young been appointed as Woman to the Bedchamber of Elizabeth II, a position that she retained for the rest of her life. Susan was also godmother to the Duke of Cambridge and the Queen occasionally dined at the Husseys’ home. Hussey’s wife also provided close links to the Tory Cabinet – Susan was the elder sister of William Waldegrave, who held a number of Cabinet posts, including that of Secretary of State for Health, 1990-92. Yes, Waldegrave was in office whilst the paedophile ring which involved Thatcher’s aide Sir Peter Morrison raged in north Wales and the mental health services resorted to criminal activities in order to conceal it, whilst they busied themselves with perjury and perverting the course of justice in an attempt to imprison me, whilst five witnesses were killed in an arson attack and whilst the associated corruption at St George’s was in full swing. Waldegrave had also worked in the Conservative Research Dept in 1971 – Matthew Parris worked in that Dept in the 70s and alleged that not only were there many gay men employed there, but at least one senior member of staff was very predatory and was known to go out seeking younger men. Staff in that Dept also holidayed in a destination in Italy at a place known as the Villa of Shame where ‘boys’ were supplied.

Hussey was Chairman of the Royal Marsden Hospital, 1985-98.

Hussey was offered the position of Chairman of the BBC over the telephone by Douglas Hurd, the then Home Secretary. Hussey cheerily admitted that he knew nothing about the BBC – he didn’t even know where it was. When Hurd offered him the Chairmanship Hussey had to look up the location of the building where he would be working. Alisdair Milne was the DG in place when Hussey was appointed but was forced out by Hussey and the Governors within months. Sir Michael Checkland, an accountant, was appointed DG by the Governors as the ‘compromise candidate’, with Birt as Deputy DG. Checkland remained as DG until 1992 and did the bidding of Thatcher’s Gov’t. After his retirement, Checkland was involved in NCH (the National Children’s Home) – which had links to the North Wales Child Abuse Scandal. Checkland also sits on the Board of the Wales Millennium Centre. Checkland was Vice-President of the Royal Television Society between 1985-94. So he was in post when my friend who worked at the Royal Television Society and who wanted to make a documentary about what had happened to me in north Wales was bullied out of her job and later won a case against them for unfair dismissal. I think that it’s about time that I named the foot soldiers who did the dirty deed where my friend was concerned – they were Tony Pilgrim and Claire Price. Price still works at the RTS. Hey Claire, did you know about that employee of yours who was convicted of indecently assaulting a ten year old boy? And did you know that one of your colleagues told my friend – whom you unlawfully hounded out of her job – that it was ‘a pity’ about him being caught?

Hussey’s Vice-Chair at the BBC was Lord Joel Barnett, the Labour MP who had been Chief Secretary to the Treasury when Denis Healey had been Chancellor of the Exchequer under Jim Callaghan. Barnett was Vice-Chair between 1986-93 – he had succeeded William Rees-Mogg.

Hussey was given a peerage in 1996. His obituaries mention that it was uncertain why he was ever offered the position of Chairman of the BBC above other people with links to the Conservative Party – there was speculation that it could have been as a result of his Royal connections or that perhaps William Rees-Mogg suggested his name, Rees-Mogg having been the editor of the Times and supportive of Hussey whilst he was Chief Exec and MD of the Times Newspapers. Greg Dyke suggests that it was Murdoch who recommended that Thatcher appoint him.

Dyke maintains that Hussey assisted Murdoch’s business interests by carrying out negotiations involving the Premier League and thus licence payers money was used to help Murdoch.

Hussey stood down as Chair of the BBC in 1996 – Sir Christopher Bland was then appointed and remained Chair until 2001. Bland had been Deputy Chair of the ITA – which then became the IBA – in 1972 and Chair of LWT in 1984. Bland had been involved with the Conservative Party – he had been a member of the GLC for Lewisham, 1976-70. Lewisham was yet another Council which had a problem with the abuse of children in care – a reader of this blog sent me a link recently concerning a number of cases of abuse that were of course concealed by Lewisham Council when they were brought to their attention. Bland had been Chair of the Tory think tank the Bow Group, 1969-70.

Bland was a Director of ITN, sat on the GMTV Board and was also Chair of LWT. He joined the Board of LWT (Holdings) in 1984 and after the 1993 franchise renewal when LWT was taken over by Granada, Bland was one of the people – along with Dyke – who made a great deal of money. Dyke states that he made £7 million and Bland made much more. According to Dyke this bonanza was engineered by Neil Canetty-Clarke, a merchant banker on placement with LWT, who later became financial director. The huge profits resulted from a clause that had been added to the relevant Parliamentary Bill by David Mellor, who was at the time a junior Home Office Minister.

Christopher Bland was Chair of Hammersmith and Queen Charlotte’s Hospitals NHS Special Health Authority, 1982-94 and Chaired Hammersmith Hospitals NHS Trust including Charing Cross Hospital, 1994-97. So Bland presided over the research fraud and bad behaviour that was occurring in Hammersmith Hospital in the mid-late 1980s, as detailed in my post ‘A Cause Close To Our Hearts’. He will also have been Chair when Lord Robert Winston employed a gynaecologist who was a serial sexual harasser, but passed him onto St George’s Hospital Medical School rather than ensure that he was removed from circulation. Bland was a member of the PM’s advisory panel on the Citizens Charter and co-owned Leith’s School of Food and Wine, with Caroline Waldegrave, wife of Tory Cabinet Minister and Secretary of State for Health 1990-92, William Waldegrave.

Christopher has a son, Archie. The ability to land plum jobs in the media is obviously a genetically inheritable trait – in 2004 Archie was named ‘Guardian Student Columnist of the Year’. In 2012 he became Deputy Editor of the Independent – the youngest Deputy Editor in the paper’s history and possibly the youngest ever on Fleet Street! In 2013 Archie was appointed a senior writer at the Indie and Indie on Sunday and he is at present Deputy National Editor at the Guardian. Perhaps we can expect Archie soon to be given responsibility for some major London teaching hospitals pervaded with corruption carrying out some questionable animal experiments.

Greg Dyke was appointed DG of the BBC shortly before Bland stepped down. Greg’s book describes considerable opposition to his appointment. He believes that the Editor of the Times Peter Stothard led the fight against his appointment. Pauline Neville-Jones, a BBC Governor and a Tory, opposed Dyke’s appointment. William Hague, then the leader of the opposition, wrote to the Chair of the BBC stating that Dyke was unsuitable on the grounds of his Labour Party membership and donations to the Party – Dyke had donated to Blair’s leadership campaign in 1994. Alan Yentob – who later achieved infamy through his involvement with Kids Company – also wanted the job as DG.

Like Bland, Dyke was a media executive who had been asked for his remedy for the NHS. In the summer of 1997, Dyke met Margaret Jay – Minister of State for Health, daughter of former PM James Callaghan and wife of Dyke’s media colleague Peter Jay – at David Frost’s garden party (Greg was a regular at Frost’s garden parties, he bumped into Alistair Campbell at one of them a few years after the huge scrap between the BBC and Campbell). Margaret Jay, Minister of Health under Frank Dobson, subsequently asked Dyke for new ideas regarding the Patients Charter – Dyke was helped in this by Alison Nield, an Angel who became an NHS manager. Dyke’s report was published in Nov 1998, whilst Margaret Jay was leader of the Labour Party in the Lords.

At the time that Margaret Jay was tapping Greg for his wisdom, havoc had broken out in the mental health services in north Wales – this was before devolution, so the NHS in Wales was still run from Westminster. The Hergest Unit had really hit the buffers. The corrupt manager Alun Davies was in the process of closing down the day centre – which was the only part of the Hergest that functioned properly and was overwhelmingly popular with the patients – on the orders of the dreadful Dr Terry Maxwell, the Medical Director of Ysbyty Gwynedd. Maxwell had been given a merit award in return for cutting the mental health services and I suspect that Davies will also have received a ‘performance related bonus’ for his role in the dirty deed. At this time the better staff at the Hergest Unit were very obviously voting with their feet and leaving and the unit was unable to recruit replacements. Patient care began to suffer greatly and a number of patients killed themselves – others became destitute. One consultant, Dr Tony Francis (Dr X), went into meltdown – he was having huge rows with his colleagues in public, patients were told by Angels that Francis was ‘mentally ill’ (which was true, but the information should not have been communicated and certainly not in that manner) and Francis took (very) early retirement soon after. What was happening in north Wales at this time? The Waterhouse Inquiry. By 1998, the witnesses had given evidence and the most appalling catalogue of abuse in the children’s homes in north Wales had been revealed – abuse that had been concealed by the education system, the NHS and many others. Sir Ronnie Waterhouse famously did his best to discredit the witnesses, but it was crystal clear that something very, very grim had gone on over many years and Ronnie did have to fess up to that. Tony Francis killed himself a few years ago – just as Operation Pallial re-opened the investigation into the North Wales Child Abuse Scandal. I was told recently that he was under investigation himself, but I do not have documentary evidence of this.

So what were Greg’s suggestions for turning around an institutionally corrupt sclerotic NHS which for years has colluded with the abuse of vulnerable people? I haven’t read the report that he compiled for Margaret Jay, but Greg outlines his views in his book. He bangs on about leadership – the NHS has a surfeit of leadership, they’re all fucking leaders in the NHS, I think that they’ve got quite enough leadership – and states that the senior managers in the NHS should be doctors. That is the opinion of many people and one can see the logic, but there are problems with that idea. Good doctors very rarely want to be managers – they want to be doctors. Traditionally in the NHS, there were doctors who became managers (they were called administrators in those days) – it was usually what was done with doctors who were so bad that letting them loose on patients was not a good idea. The documents that my lawyers obtained pertaining to my own case contain numerous references to these doctor-managers that worked in north Wales in the 80s and 90s – for example, Dr Cedric Davies and Dr David Jones. It is quite clear from my documents that these two people had only one function – their status as clinicians was used to further conceal the criminal activities of their colleagues. The lethal lobotomist Dr T. Gwynne Williams had also been given a managerial role – unsurprisingly it compounded the problems. What the NHS desperately needs is high calibre, honest managers who are able to genuinely facilitate the work of the practitioners in the NHS. The NHS has such a rotten culture that managers like that really don’t want to work in the NHS. If they are tempted in, they leave again very quickly.

Greg does of course mention the necessity of ‘culture change’. Everyone who is asked to give their opinion on the NHS mentions this. It is obviously the polite response from people who can barely believe what they have discovered going on in the NHS. But because it’s the NHS no-one dares state what has been uncovered, so it’s all breached in terms of the need for a ‘culture change’. We need HSE prosecutions and indeed even corporate manslaughter charges in certain cases before the ‘culture change’ can begin to happen. Not that the general public have any idea of the state that the NHS is in – because the media won’t report it will they Greg…

Greg mentions in ‘Inside Story’ that Mal Young, who was responsible for drama series at the BBC, was concerned that Holby City and Casualty didn’t reflect real hospitals. Was Mal referring to the fact that in these dramas there are very rarely staff portrayed who are vindictive and abusive to patients or who regularly make mistakes so serious that patients are harmed? Or that these dramas never show staff lying at inquests or in Court, or altering medical records to conceal cock-ups? No, Mal was concerned because he believed that the ‘BBC hospitals’ didn’t show the same racial mix as NHS hospitals – Mal wanted more ethnic minority actors in these dramas, so he sent the producers into some real hospitals to see what they were like. In which case, the producers will have actually noticed that ethnic minority staff in NHS hospitals are disproportionately represented in cleaning, cooking and portering jobs and that if they are practitioners they overwhelmingly tend to be working in the more junior roles or in the less prestigious specialities where recruitment is difficult.

Now I don’t see that on the dramas that Mal was responsible for. Holby City has a consultant neurosurgeon who is Afro-Caribbean and hailed from the ghetto. That would be a very rare thing alone, but Holby City has also managed to find a consultant cardiac surgeon who I think has now been given a Chair as well – one who leads the unit furthermore and is a world expert on experimental cutting edge procedures – who grew up in a children’s home and was sexually abused whilst she was there. The same cardiac unit has yet another surgeon who is Afro-Caribbean and the first in her family to go to university. That’s one hell of a hospital and it’s certainly nothing like any UK NHS hospital that I’ve ever come across – it is a hub of upward social mobility that simply does not exist in UK medicine. Casualty did its bit by having a romance – and then a wedding, albeit one that went badly wrong – between an Asian female doctor and a white male porter. There is a great deal of social snobbery in hospitals and the nearest to the Casualty scenario that I ever came across was a porter at Ysbyty Gwynedd who was caught serially having sex with people on hospital premises. Was he sacked? No – because he actually had a place to read medicine at Guys and Tommy’s and he was working at Ysbyty Gwynedd for a few months before taking up his place. There were similar incidents whilst he was a medical student. He qualified – and returned to work at the Hergest Unit as a psychiatrist. There were a number of concerns raised about him – including by me. I wrote to the GMC, only to find that Keith Thomson, the CEO of the North West Wales NHS Trust, also wrote to the GMC stating that I had made ‘outrageous allegations’. There was no investigation. Some four years later I heard that this man had attacked his wife so violently that she was sectioned such was her distress and that his two children had been taken into care as a result of severe neglect. It was only then that he was stopped from working as a doctor. How did I know all this? Because he was one of my neighbours and I knew him well for about ten years. As did the rest of the village. We saw him attack his dog so ferociously that the dog nearly died and the vet threatened to prosecute him, we saw him kick a neighbour’s cat across the garden because he ‘didn’t like cats’ and we saw a previous partner of his leave with her child and refuse this man access because she was so frightened of his violence. The Rev Wynne Roberts, the hospital chaplain at Ysbyty Gwynedd, was friends with this doctor, knew about his violence and said nothing. Wynne Roberts sat on the Bangor University School of Healthcare Sciences Ethics Committee and was also a member of the Mental Health Act Commission. Wynne had previously worked as a priest in the Church in Wales but had been obliged to leave after he had a sexual relationship with a parishioner – whilst Wynne was married to somebody else as I think was the parishioner concerned – whereupon the North West Wales NHS Trust employed him as their hospital chaplain and later gave him a management role (see post ‘Music Therapy Anyone?’).

Beat that Mal.

Greg states in his book that Foundation Hospitals are the way forward because they ‘give power to local managers’. The local managers in the NHS are like Martin Jones and Keith Thomson – they are mini versions of the corrupt ferocious bullies that are the regional managers and the most senior directors. It is the NHS model of management. Mid-Staffs occurred because a bunch of lying callous dickwits wanted to achieve foundation status – if the managers are both thick and corrupt, no model of management is going to be successful. The mortality rates at Mid-Staffs were known throughout the NHS hierarchy, right up to the level of Secretary of State. The problems had begun under the Tory administrations of the 80s and 90s and became worse and worse and worse, because the response of everyone was to conceal the serious problems. Mid-Staffs was in crisis at the time that Margaret Jay was bollocking on to Greg about the Patients Charter. Whilst patients drank water out of vases, were told to crap in their beds by Angels who couldn’t be bothered to walk across the ward with a bed-pan and were ‘assessed’ by receptionists – and died unnecessarily in great numbers.

Dyke’s observations on the culture and management at the BBC include that there is much inbreeding at the BBC – that is, people working in the BBC being married to each other or being in relationships with each other (just like the prevailing situation in the NHS). What Greg doesn’t mention is that this sort of inbreeding at the BBC is also often the basis for securing jobs or promotion – as is sexual relationships between staff. Neither does Dyke mention the number of BBC staff who are the children of media executives/professionals, often specifically those who have worked for the BBC.

Dyke mentions that in the 80s the BBC was ‘very white, very male’, but with initiatives pushed through by John Birt ‘who felt passionately’ about gender equality this has all now changed – the glass ceiling has been well and truly broken. Dyke also mentions the efforts that the BBC have made towards better representation of ethnic minorities in the workforce. Greg wrote his book some ten years ago. A few weeks ago, a huge rumpus followed the revelations that women at the BBC earned far, far less than their male colleagues – even when sitting in the same studio, presenting the same programme – and that very few people from ethnic minorities were in senior positions or on higher salaries. Because the debate pivoted around gender inequality, the many other injustices barely received a mention. Although women were paid less than men at the BBC, women doing jobs needing a high level of education, knowledge and competence were paid a pittance compared to the airheads presenting light entertainment programmes. Claudia and Tess from Strictly Come Dancing were earning twice as much as Laura Kuenssberg or the women journalists on the Today programme. And everyone was grossly overpaid anyway.

The BBC does now have many senior female executives. They behave pretty much as the senior male executives always have – they are ruthless and obsessed with their status and money. Many of them achieved their positions via relationships with their male senior colleagues and have evolved into cougars continuing this fine tradition with their more junior colleagues. Greg observes that in the BBC, the upper echelons consist of ‘competing individuals in a climate of fear’. Yes – and the women carry on just like the men. Greg doesn’t mention social class – the BBC still draws it’s staff – particularly the senior staff – from the middle classes who have been educated at Oxbridge or Russell group universities. Of course there will be plenty of excellent graduates coming out of those institutions but this phenomenon definitely squeezes out everybody else – it is also closely linked with the nepotism that is so obvious at the BBC. My mum/dad went to Oxbridge/Durham/St Andrews/Bristol, read humanities and spent their careers in the BBC and now I’m doing exactly the same…It’s because we’re all so talented! Unless my mum is Eve Pollard who has edited most of the nation’s biggest circulation newspapers, in which case I’ve evolved into Claudia Winkleman which is why I get paid nearly £500k for wearing too much eyeliner and wiggling my bum once a week on Strictly Come Dancing.

Dyke’s book mentions a few of these women who have broken the glass ceiling at the BBC. One is Jenny Abramsky – now Dame Jenny – who when Dyke was DG was Director of BBC Radio. Abramsky was responsible for digital radio – she ‘persuaded, threatened, cajoled’ everyone at the BBC to push this through; the BBC spent £18 million/yr on new digital services and then had to spend many more millions on the transmission system. There is still a proportion of the population who cannot receive digital radio. When Abramsky strong-armed the BBC into the switch- over to digital radio, it was actually the TV audience which was expanding at the time – radio listeners were dwindling. According to Dyke however, everyone was ‘too scared of incurring Jenny’s wrath’ to oppose the idea. It was commercial radio which really benefited – they wanted the switch to digital because they wanted the new radio stations which would result and they knew that only the BBC was big enough to push the switch-over through.

Jenny Abramsky was married to Alasdair Liddell. Liddell went to Fettes College – the same school that Blair attended and the school at which Blair’s father taught. Liddell was an NHS manager! In the 80s he was involved in the creation of the University College Hospitals Trust – so Alasdair will have known about the dodgy research practices there then. He then went on to manage the East Anglian Regional Health Authority between 1988-94, where he experimented with many of the structures that were later introduced into the NHS – structures which failed. So it was hardly surprising that in 1994 Liddell was appointed Director of Planning for the NHS in the Dept of Health. Liddell went on from success to success – he was the brains behind NHS Direct, another disaster and also worked on various IT projects for the NHS. The ones which cost millions but never got off the ground. In 2000 Liddell left the NHS and joined the PR firm Bell Pottinger – which has just imploded as a result of some very foolish decisions that they made in South Africa. Liddell also joined a company called Healthcare Locums. Now I wonder how they make their money?? Liddell was of course a Senior Associate of the Kings Fund. Liddell is now dead.

Another woman who broke the glass ceiling at the BBC was Carolyn Fairbairn, who when Greg was there was Director of Strategy. Fairbairn had previously worked for the World Bank, as a journo on the Economist, as a consultant at McKinsey and Co and in John Major’s Policy Unit in 10 Downing Street, developing policy on health and social care no less. It was Fairbairn who led the BBC team to secure the DTT licence. According to Greg, Andy Duncan – who later became CEO of Channel 4 – and Emma Scott ‘sold’ the idea of Freeview. The beauty of which was that because the customers have to buy the box, if the box doesn’t work or goes wrong, it’s the customer’s problem not the BBC’s.

Dyke maintains that the BBC wanted people to go digital – the Gov’t planned to switch the analogue signal off because if it wasn’t switched off the BBC couldn’t defend the range of digital services. Freeview also sustains the licence fee – the more Freeview boxes there are, the harder it is for the BBC to switch to subscription services and most boxes can’t be adapted for pay TV. In 1998 the BBC agreed to pay £5 million to BSkyB to put TV services on the BSkyB digital platform – although BSkyB wanted the BBC to do this anyway.

Since her involvement in this scam, Fairbairn has been a Director the FSA, a Director of Capita, a non-executive director of the Competition and Marketing Authority, Lloyds Banking Group and the UK Statistics Authority. In 2015 Fairbairn was appointed Director General of the CBI – the first woman to hold the post! Woman’s Hour had better add her to their Power List. Fairbairn’s husband is described as a ‘multi-millionaire property developer’. So she can afford to be ripped off over her Freeview box – however at least she doesn’t have to run the risk of Crapita screwing up their assessment for her disability benefits, as they have done for thousands of other people.

Dyke was well-known for claiming that he would dispense with the managerialist insanity that John Birt imposed upon the BBC and for subsequently coining the slogan ‘cut the crap’. Cutting the crap sounds an excellent idea, but Greg did seem to introduce quite a lot of crap of his own. He lists numerous initiatives that he introduced – ‘Just Imagine’, ‘Leading The Way’, ‘The Big Conversation’. Why the staff of the BBC just can’t go into work and do their jobs he doesn’t explain, but Greg did all sorts of bizarre things to demonstrate to the staff that a new style of management had arrived, such as ‘allowing the staff to busk in the foyer of Bush House in London at lunchtime’. Presumably Claudia’s 500 grand a year isn’t enough for her to make ends meet, she’s got to play the penny whistle and pass the hat around as well. For ‘The Big Conversation’, Greg boasts of having 17,000 staff in a ‘huge live discussion’ – this meant that £250k had to be spent on extending part of the BBC building to cram in an additional 8000 staff in order that they could ‘watch and participate’. Greg maintains that a ‘party atmosphere’ prevailed and in all 400 events were held, including in Delhi, Moscow, Cairo, Nairobi, as well as across the UK. At TV Centre in White City, Cerys Matthews entertained everyone and food and booze was supplied.

Anyone still up for paying their licence fee?

Greg observes that the only people who didn’t take part in all this idiocy were the Governors – they probably thought that they had better things to do with their time. Like go to Glyndebourne, on BBC expenses obviously. There was one exception – Gavyn Davies, the Chair of Governors who was appointed after Bland, did participate in the crap that hadn’t been cut. But then Gavyn Davies had previously been a partner at Goldman Sachs. Gavyn had also worked in Harold Wilson’s Policy Unit, 1974-76; had been economic advisor to James Callaghan 1976-79 and was one of the ‘wise men’ to the Chancellor of the Exchequer during the 1992-97 Parliament. Gavyn was recommended for the post of Chair of the BBC by Tessa Jowell.

An ‘inspirational leader’, Susan Spindler, was Director of the crap known as ‘Making It Happen’ in 2002. I presume that this is the same Susan Spindler who was involved with making the documentary series ‘Doctors To Be’ which followed the careers of a group of medical students at St Mary’s Hospital Medical School some ten years before ‘Making It Happen’ – which left out a great many things…

More money was wasted on leadership. The BBC used Ashridge Business School for their ‘leadership training programme’. Ashridge Business School was originally a trust established by Bonar Law, the former PM. In 1929 it became a ‘College of Citizenship’ which was established to help the Conservative Party develop it’s intellectual forces in the struggle with left-wing organisations such as the Fabian Society – it was a cross between a think tank and a training centre. It was then re-launched in 1959 as a College providing ‘management training’.

Greg himself was sent to Harvard Business School at a cost of $30,000 which Christopher Bland was happy to sign off. Not only does Greg make it clear that anyone who paid the fee would pass the course – which sounds very familiar – but for some reason it was Greg’s course at Harvard that prompted him to rejoin the Labour Party. Perhaps because Miliband, Yvette et al had all done a stint at Harvard – what with them being so very radical and Yvette being a Woman who’s first job was driving a tractor in Yorkshire, or so she claimed when she thought that she was a dead cert to become Labour leader.

Dyke discusses devolution of broadcasting and tells us that in 2003 he suggested to the Governors that some of the BBC services should be relocated to Manchester, in the wake of much feeling that the BBC was far too centred upon the south east of England and that Scotland and the north of England had become alienated from the BBC. Abramsky threatened to resign if Radio 5 Live moved to Manchester, Jana Bennett the Director of TV – another Strong Woman Who’s Broken The Glass Ceiling – wanted BBC 3 to stay in London and the children’s dept also refused to move. BBC did of course end up building a big centre at Salford – and there has been endless trouble because the staff refused to move out of London.

Even Gavyn Davies was savaged for suggesting that too much BBC money was spent on the southern middle classes, but Greg mentioned that whilst he was DG he sent ‘a signal’ by appointing Pat Loughrey from N Ireland as Director of Nations and Regions.

It wasn’t a signal that anyone noticed. In 2005 I was a member of the public at a ‘meet the BBC’ event in Cardiff. This was when Michael Grade had taken over as Chair and Mark Thompson was DG. Grade and the other Governors were there, as was Thompson and Mark Byford (Mark Byford’s dad played a role in concealing the North Wales Child Abuse Scandal – please see post ‘Top Of The Cops’). The audience were all from Wales – obviously – and Rhun ap Iorwerth, now Plaid AM for Ynys Mon, who used to work for the BBC, was the man with the microphone who went among the audience. Grade gave the best display of rude, anti-Welsh bigotry that I have ever witnessed. The big idiot sat there pompousing away bellowing at Rhun ‘you’re tall aren’t you’. It took me a few minutes to work out what it was all about – it was Grade’s idea of a joke, because as we all know, Welshmen are small, so that they can fit down the mines. Rhun’s height is within the normal parameters for an adult UK male. It didn’t stop there – the rudeness regarding everything Welsh and the lame stereotypes continued all evening. The only person who didn’t lapse into this was the Governor for Wales who had to share a platform with this bunch of twats. He did make a few comments that suggested that they were revealing themselves to be a bunch of racist bastards, but it was water off Grade’s back, the insults continued. When a member of the audience raised the question of Ann Robinson recently insulting the Welsh on TV, we were told that the Welsh had to know when to take a joke. Well I look forward to Ann Robinson blacking up and joining in a song and dance routine a la the Black and White Minstrels and we’ll see what happens. Further details of Grade and his colleagues’ appalling crassness at that event can be read in my post ‘News Round Up, May 18 2017’. Greg Dyke mentions in his book that in 2000 he gave a lecture to the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE). I presume that Grade, Ruth Deech and Richard Tait were not in the audience.

Greg observes that Michael Grade was ‘a good and brave Chief Exec of Channel 4, willing to stand up against bullying from politicians’. Well that’s interesting Greg, because the reason that I take an interest in Grade is that back in the 1980s when Grade was a nobody on the make most famous for simply being a relative of Lew Grade, one of my friends worked as the box officer manager for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival one summer. My friend received a very rude demanding letter from a Samuel Brittan, journo on the FT and brother of Leon – later the centre of child sexual abuse allegations. The letter demanded that my friend send Samuel a ticket for the Fringe and arrange hotel accommodation for him – it ended by saying that Samuel worked at the FT ‘and anyone at the Financial Times can vouch for me’. The letter arrived shortly before the Fringe was due to open, so of course the tickets had sold out and accommodation in Edinburgh is booked up months in advance for the duration of the Festival anyway. My friend wrote back to Samuel explaining that she wasn’t able to send him a ticket or arrange accommodation because both had sold out.

Shortly after, a diplomatic incident occurred. My friend was summoned by High Authorities at the Fringe and given copies of the rude letter that Samuel had written her – as well as a copy of a letter that Brittan had then written to Grade FUMING that my mate hadn’t pulled strings for him and a reply from Grade to Brittan, telling Brittan that he was ‘appalled’ at my friend’s ‘rudeness’ and that Grade would ensure that Brittan got a ticket for the Festival ‘even I have to give you mine’. Someone had demanded that my friend should be dismissed over all this – only that wasn’t really possible, because it was just a summer job. I wanted to send the correspondence to Private Eye – but my friend was then told by a well-wisher that Grade was about to become head of Channel 4 and her planned career in media would be wrecked if any of us publicised the letters.

Grade was given a peerage in 2011. He sits as a Conservative – his wiki entry states that Grade didn’t announce that he was a Tory until 2010. He didn’t need to, some of us had known for years…

A couple years after the BBC event in Cardiff I was chatting to some BBC folk from Cardiff who were all telling me how much ‘charisma’ Michael Grade had and how it was this that had taken him to the top. At the same time there were articles appearing in the UK liberal broadsheets about Grade’s winning ways and yes his ‘charisma’ and how he wears red braces and matching socks. Not a word about doing favours for people who’s brothers are Cabinet Ministers running a corrupt Home Office and who are widely believed to have been tangled up in a child sexual abuse scandal that was covered up by a corrupt Home Office whilst he was Home Secretary. If matching red braces and socks are the essential ingredient to being Chairman of the BBC, there are a great many other people who would be capable of doing that job without grovelling to the relatives of some very unsavoury politicians.

Dyke mentions in his book that Tessa Jowell was very keen for Blair to appoint Grade as Chair of the BBC. Tessa herself earlier in her career knew about the abuse of children in care and psychiatric patients, she worked for some of the organisations that were actually perpetuating and concealing this (see post ‘Tower Hamlets, Paul Boateng and Tessa Jowell’). However Dyke also observes that Tessa just went along with whatever Blair ordered her to do which is why she was such a pushover when she was at Secretary of State for Media, Culture and Sport. Dear old Tessa did once say that she’d jump under a bus for Blair – so one can’t tell if the driving force behind Grade’s appointment as Chair was Blair, Tessa or someone else. What is clear is that it is very likely that Grade knew something about the chaos and wrongdoing of the inner London boroughs where children were being abused in the 70s, 80s and 90s – run by Councillors like Tessa – and the wrongdoing at the Home Office, run at one point by his mate Samuel’s brother. Grade had spent donkeys years at LWT – he’ll have learnt something from all those current affairs and politics programmes about London that he was involved with making and he’d been toadying around enough politicians for a sufficiently long time to have heard a few things about them as well. Someone who was very much opposed to Grade’s appointment as Chair of the BBC though was John Birt. He tried to influence Tessa and then wrote to Blair telling him that Grade was the worst public appointment he’d made as PM.

It’s not just the Chairs of the BBC Governors who have chums in Gov’t, their relatives do as well. Gavyn Davies’s wife Sue was one of Gordon Brown’s inner circle. As for a few of the other Governors – at one point the Vice-Chair of the BBC was Richard Ryder. Ryder was a former Tory Whip and responsible for organising the revamp that Thatcher underwent in the late 70s. Ryder knew about Sir Peter Morrison’s activities (see post ‘I Want Serious Money Now Please’). Sarah Hogg, wife of Tory Cabinet Minister Douglas Hogg was a Governor – Hogg had previously been head of John Major’s Policy Unit at the time of Black Wednesday in 1992 (see post ‘Running The Country – And All That Jazz’). Although Sarah claims to be one of the UK’s leading economists and was head of the Policy Unit, Black Wednesday wasn’t her fault. So that’s why Sarah was given a life peerage in 1995, just three years after someone else crashed the economy. Sarah then became Baroness Hogg, although she was already Viscountess Hailsham. Hogg was the first women to Chair a FTSE 100 company. Sarah’s daughter Charlotte has inherited her mother’s talent for highly paid jobs – Charlotte Hogg was at one point the Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, but the Deputy Hogg had to resign when an unfortunate undeclared conflict of interest was discovered – Charlotte’s brother had his snout in the same trough but the Hoggs forgot to mention it. Another Governor was Heather Rabbatts, the former Chief Exec of Lambeth Borough Council between 1995-2000. So she was running Lambeth Council when Mandelson was a member. Heather was the youngest Council Chief Exec in the UK. She is a black female barrister who advertises her disadvantaged background. I wonder whose Chambers that she might have passed through? Would you happen to know anything about all those kids who were abused whilst in the care of Lambeth Heather? The kids to whom huge amounts of compensation was later paid, not just because they were molested but because Lambeth knew that it was happened but did nothing? Some of those kids were sent by Lambeth to children’s homes in north Wales…

Heather was a BBC Governor between 1999-01. Heather was on FIFA’s anti-discriminatory task force until she resigned in 2015 after Sepp Blatter was re-elected as President. So she was busy not discriminating there whilst he was President for his first innings at FIFA then – didn’t she notice what he was like? Heather was named in the Woman’s Hour Power List!

 

Greg’s time as DG ended notoriously as sparks flew between the BBC and Blair’s Gov’t – most obviously in the form of Alistair Campbell – which eventually resulted in the resignation of Dyke and Gavyn Davies and a number of other Governors. The row was precipitated by a report regarding Saddam Hussein’s WMD by Andrew Gilligan that was broadcast on the Today programme that Blair et al took umbrage over. The Gov’t tried to pressurise the BBC into saying that Gilligan’s story wasn’t true and when the BBC refused to do this, Mandelson rang his old friend Caroline Thomas who was Director of Policy at the BBC and told her that the BBC would get the full force of the Gov’t PR machine. Mandy was as good as his threat and Campbell et al mobilised against the BBC. In the cross-fire Dr David Kelly’s name was made public by the MoD and Downing Street’s Press Office. Dr Kelly was later found dead, supposedly as a result of suicide, although the injuries that were stated to have been found on Dr Kelly’s body and the quantity of drugs that were said to have been found in his blood would never have been enough to kill him. A group of medics did make this point in a letter to the press sometime afterwards, but nobody took any notice of them. If only they’d alleged that they were being attacked by dangerous mental health patients – their concerns would have been headline news then.

The uproar was such that it led to the Hutton Inquiry, which was about as honest and transparent as the Waterhouse Inquiry. Before Hutton published his exoneration of Blair, Dyke alleges that Philip Gould, a member of Blair’s clique, was asked if the Report could prove difficult for the Gov’t. Gould is alleged to have replied ‘don’t worry, we appointed the right judge’. When Rebekah Brooks ended up in deep shit after the serious wrongdoing of News International became public, it is alleged that she went to Blair for advice and was told ‘tough up and arrange an inquiry that will clear you’. Which is exactly what Brooks did – as well as ‘leaving to start a family’ (I think Rebekah had to resort to fertility treatment to do this, she was no spring chicken, so presumably starting a family had not been a priority previously), receiving at least one million from Murdoch – to pay for the pram and nappies obviously – only to return at a very senior level in Murdoch’s empire a few years later! A lot of people were of the opinion that Brooks should have gone to prison along with her staff. But she had advice from Blair and shared horses with David Cameron…

Grade himself departed from the BBC in a puff of smoke to move into the most senior position at ITV. The next Chair of the BBC was Chris Patten who angrily refused to shoulder any responsibility at all when Jimmy Savile and the Newsnight allegations regarding the abuse of children in north Wales exploded in his face. This is the Patten who was Chair of the Conservative Party when Sir Peter Morrison was busy with kids in care in north Wales, the Chris Patten who’s wife Lavender was the Patron of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre that was established and run by Professor Mark Williams. Not only was Patten himself Chancellor of Oxford University at the time, but Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy was based on a research fraud that Williams had carried out whilst he was working as a clinical psychologist in Bangor in the late 80s/early 90s (see post ‘The Biggest Expert Of The Lot’). Whilst patients killed themselves and were left destitute. Williams’s ‘fieldwork’ was carried out by the notoriously abusive Arfon Community Mental Health Team, whose colleagues were some of the social workers responsible for the abuse of children in care in north Wales. An early publication of Williams’s had an acknowledgement to Keith Fearns. Keith Fearns was the Gwynedd social worker who perjured himself in court on the orders of Lucille Hughes in order for Gwynedd County Council to obtain a High Court injunction against me to prevent me pursuing my complaints against Gwynedd Social Services. Fearns had never met me when he swore his affidavit. Lucille Hughes was named in the Waterhouse Report as knowing that a paedophile ring was operating in Gwynedd Social Services when she was Director, but she failed to act.

Like the NHS, the BBC seems to be a complete recidivist. One of my friends worked there in the late 80s and he spent the best part of a year watching the entrenched corruption, with commissions given out to friends of people at the BBC and the fuckwit children of bigwigs at the BBC turning up in plum jobs. He also noticed that a lot of the senior managers at the BBC were older gay men who had a rather worrying sexual interest in much younger boys. The BBC seems to have got away with a great deal in its time. Just before my friend worked there, Private Eye used to provide updates on the activities of a manager there whom they named ‘spanker’. I can’t remember Spanker’s name, but I do remember the Eye’s regular reports on him. Spanker was interested in women rather than men, but he made a habit of asking young women who had applied for jobs at the BBC whom he was allegedly interviewing if they’d let him spank them. Spanker continued to do this even after the Eye began publishing articles about him – he did eventually resign but it took a while. Neither do I remember hearing about Spanker from any other media outlet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

News Round Up, 6 October 2017

The Betsi has been in the news again this week and of course it has not been for any positive reasons. Both BBC News Wales and Daily Post Online have reported on the case of ‘Mr D’, who died at Ysbyty Gwynedd after receiving ‘substandard care’.

Mr D was admitted to Ysbyty Gwynedd in Dec 2014 with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and was diagnosed with pneumonia and respiratory failure. The day following his admission, his daughter Ms C was told that he was improving and that discharge plans were being discussed. Yet Mr D’s condition worsened and on Christmas Day, four days after he had been admitted, he suffered a cardiac arrest and died.

In Feb 2015, Ms C – ironically a member of staff in the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board’s Complaints Dept – made a formal complaint to the Betsi. She waited almost a year for a response but having still heard nothing from the Betsi about her complaint, she enlisted the help of a Community Health Council advocate. Nineteen months after her complaint was lodged the Board finally replied and although they admitted that there was a failure to carry out observations on Mr D, they stated that this did not affect the ‘sad outcome’.

This complaint has ended up in the hands of the Public Service Ombudsman for Wales, Nick Bennett, who has absolutely slammed the Betsi. Mr Bennett has highlighted ‘serious failings’ and ‘missed opportunities’ – such as the failure to move Mr D to a high dependency unit – which led to Mr D’s death. Mr Bennett also mentioned that an inaccurate record was made of the cause of Mr D’s death and that there was a failure to carry out a serious incident investigation. Mr Bennett stated that the Betsi had been ‘disingenuous’ and had refused to admit that their failings led to Mr D’s death. Mr Bennett’s report also revealed that the cause of Mr D’s death had actually been acute kidney injury secondary to sepsis, which was never treated. Furthermore the staff involved in Mr D’s ‘care’ made inappropriate comments about the complaint to a member of Mr D’s family – the Board failed to follow up this matter properly.

So the Betsi failed to diagnose a serious illness, they failed to provide the appropriate care, a completely avoidable death occurred, they then failed to respond to a complaint about that death for more than a year and six months, when they did respond they lied, they also failed to follow their own complaints procedure, a member of their staff then spoke ‘inappropriately’ and breached confidentiality and the Betsi failed to deal with that matter properly as well.

This is pretty much par for the course where the north Wales NHS is concerned and it has been for decades.

Gill Harris, Director of Nursing at the Betsi, has spouted the usual load of meaningless tripe about how sorry they are, how they are seeking to improve and how they are improving their ‘concerns procedures’ (it is a standing joke in north Wales that the Betsi never refers to a ‘complaint’, it is always a ‘concern’).

The Betsi have been told repeatedly to improve their ‘clinical standards’ and to improve their response to complaints. The north Wales NHS was told this repeatedly in its previous incarnation in the form of the NHS Trusts that preceded the Betsi. They were supposedly ‘prioritising sepsis’ nearly ten years ago – yet someone else has now died of it after the Betsi failed to treat it and in this instance the Betsi simply pretended that the patient had died of something else.

Is anybody really surprised that this has happened AGAIN? There are members of the Betsi Board such as the Chair Peter Higson and Director of Workforce Martin Jones who have been employed in the NHS in north Wales for decades and they have ALWAYS concealed gross negligence and misconduct on the part of clinical staff, lied about doing so and then failed to investigate complaints properly – it is their business model. Did anyone expect them to conduct themselves any differently just because the organisation was given a new name?

Much as I sympathise with Ms C after what she has been through, I would like to ask her why, as a member of the complaints team at the Betsi, that she hasn’t previously blown the whistle when she witnessed this happening to other people – because she will have. Perhaps Ms C could also tell me when the very serious complaint that I made about the Betsi last year will be investigated because to date it has not been. I was lied to – and about – as well and when I pointed this out it was ignored. My complaint remains unresolved – but I will not be alone, there’ll be hundreds of us in that position.

 

The Daily Post has reported on the inquest in Ruthin of Susan England, a 63 year old teacher who died in Ysbyty Glan Clwyd of an accidental overdose of dihydrocodeine. Ms England took the accidental overdose after trying to ease the pain from her hip whilst she waited for an operation. The Coroner Nicola Jones stated that this death illustrates the ‘perils of self-medicating’. It also illustrates the perils of having to rely upon the north Wales NHS – you are left in agony and I bet that there was no advice or help given to Ms England concerning pain management. She’ll have been left to deal with it herself. Nicola Jones told Susan England’s family that she realised that they’d been through ’48 hours of absolute hell’. Ms England herself had probably been through many months of hell, firstly trying to get an appointment regarding her hip problems, then being left to deal with the agony alone on a very long waiting list. I have two friends who both recently had orthopaedic problems and who live in north Wales. They were both told that they could skip a very long waiting list if they agreed to pay for private treatment – from exactly the same consultant who would perform the operation if they had it on the NHS. One friend is ideologically against private care and stated that as a matter of principal he’d wait for NHS treatment. Within two months of being offered the chance to skip the waiting list, he was in agony – which his greedy, grasping ‘NHS consultant’ knew that he’d be. There was no advice offered regarding pain control – just another offer to skip the waiting list if my friend stumped up for private treatment. The consultant treating him – or more accurately doing all he can not to treat him unless it is on a private basis – will be earning almost £100k pa for his NHS work. NHS work that involves leaving people in agony on a very long waiting list whilst you wait for them to crumble and agree to book in for private care at Spire Wrexham or some such similar establishment.

Nicola Jones observed that Ms England was ‘a healthy woman apart from her hip pain’ and returned a verdict of ‘accidental death’.

 

Nicola Jones also recently carried out the inquest on Mathew Gareth Jones, a 34 year old man with an alcohol problem. Nicola Jones stated at the inquest that Mathew’s death was ‘alcohol related’ and that ‘a lot of work was done by health professionals to try to help him’. Mathew’s parents disagreed with this statement so strongly that they spoke to the Daily Post. They maintained that Mathew should have had more help for his alcohol problem and that both Denbighshire County Council’s housing dept and the Ablett Unit at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd let him down badly. They explained that Mathew had been in and out of the Ablett Unit for two years, that he was homeless during this time and that when he was housed, it was in a B&B above a pub in Rhyl.

People unacquainted with the ‘help’ on offer to mental health patients in north Wales may believe that Mathew’s parents are unfairly blaming other agencies for their son’s problems. I doubt that they are. For years when I lived in north Wales I watched the most ludicrous – indeed dangerous – decisions taken about vulnerable people. I knew one alcoholic who was housed immediately next door to one pub in Bethesda and just a few doors away from two other pubs. I knew another alcoholic who was housed in substandard accommodation next door to an off licence. Both these men drank themselves to death within months of being ‘housed’. I knew a vulnerable man with mental health problems who was housed in the same block of flats as big time drug dealers – they intimidated him out of his flat (he fled in terror) and he was then refused further accommodation after the Arfon Community Mental Health Team declared that he had ‘made himself homeless’. Another vulnerable mental health patient was housed in the ‘hard to let’ part of the toughest council estate in Gwynedd. She had a brick thrown through her window within three weeks of moving in. I could cite many more examples, it was constant. Furthermore even these people had only been housed after spending years begging for help to find accommodation – most mental health patients requesting such help were just told to take a running jump. The degree of neglect was scandalous. Three years ago I discovered that there was a team of five or six social workers employed by Gwynedd County Council whose remit it was to find homeless people accommodation – and two of those social workers were supposedly dedicated to housing disabled people. I did not know such a team even existed and no-one else that I knew had ever heard of them either – yet I knew numerous disabled homeless people in Gwynedd who had begged for help with housing and were all simply told ‘we don’t have any housing’.

 

So I was not really that surprised to discover that Nick Bennett the Public Services Ombudsman was reported in the Daily Post as saying that the number of health complaints has doubled in a decade and that he is seeing a rise in the number of complaints against the Betsi. Last year Mr Bennett published six public interest reports – three of them concerned the Betsi, all of them involved Ysbyty Glan Clwyd. This should not surprise anyone either. Ysbyty Glan Clwyd has been in a dreadful state for many years and its serious problems were simply denied and concealed by the previous Chief Exec of the Conwy and Denbighshire NHS Trust, Gren Kershaw (see post ‘How Much Do Staff Surveys Really Tell Us?’). The director of Ysbyty Glan Clwyd at present is Craig Barton. Barton was formerly a senior manager of the North West Wales NHS Trust and at one point he was appointed to ‘modernise’ the Hergest Unit. When he was asked by two people known to me how he was going to do this – two people who knew all about the catalogue of deaths and abuse at the Hergest Unit – Barton told them that he wasn’t even going to try, because the then manager of the Hergest Unit Alun Davies was alright if he liked you, but if he took a dislike to you ‘your feet won’t touch the floor’. Davies and Barton remained as ‘managers’ of the Hergest Unit and patients continued to die. I was told that Craig Barton was the rather daft son of someone senior in the North Wales Probation Service – a ‘service’ which was corrupt as fuck and a great friend to the North Wales Paedophile Ring. Craig did rather badly in his degree at Bangor and of course ended up in the north Wales NHS. A career path that has been followed by a great many fuckwits local to north Wales, including Martin Jones.

Nick Bennett has stated that the Betsi needs a ‘culture change’ but this will not be easy. That Nick is because it is run by the likes of Higson, Barton and Martin Jones and no-one is ever sacked no matter how badly they conduct themselves or how many people die. Nick himself is from Anglesey and is now based in Cardiff. So Nick’s pretty much part of the same crowd then – Nick’s pedigree was discussed recently on the Welsh political blog Jac O The North. Nick Bennett told the Daily Post that his ‘most experienced and senior investigators’ were now working with the Betsi. Which will be a complete waste of time, because they will be the very same people who have spent their whole careers in the Welsh NHS or Welsh civil service and it is they who have failed to deal with the problems previously and they certainly won’t now. Most of them probably know Higson by name and may have even worked for him/with him when he was Chief Exec of Health Inspectorate Wales – which consistently failed to investigate serious complaints against the north Wales NHS… Higson’s sister is Dr Ruth Hussey, the former Chief Medical Officer for Wales… I could go on for ever in this vein, but the corrupt incestuous circle involves so many people that readers will just have to use the search facility on this blog for further details.

 

BBC News Wales reported a crisis in home care on Anglesey. Gwawr Rowlands who has Rett syndrome – a genetic condition which affects brain development and can result in severe mental and physical disabilities – has been receiving a care package funded by the Betsi but organised by Anglesey County Council’s social services. The package includes help with washing and changing. On 25 Sept Gwawr’s mother received a phone call telling her that Gwawr’s carers would no longer be providing care after 29 Sept – so Gwawr and her family received a grand total of five days notice that her care was going to stop.

The company contracted to provide care for Gwawr was Abacare. Abacare maintain that they made Gwawr’s social worker aware that they were struggling to provide the care package ten days previously and that they suggested that Anglesey County Council find another agency to provide care. It transpires that Abacare has had problems fulfilling other care packages for clients on Anglesey and the company has stated that it has been using care workers from Bangor and Caernarfon which is not sustainable. Abacare maintains that they have offered to work with the Council’s in-house dept or other agencies in order to find care for Gwawr ‘although this is against the company policy’. They have had no response from Anglesey County Council. Gwawr’s mother maintains that she has had no explanation from Abacare regarding their decision to suddenly withdraw her daughter’s care.

I suspect that there are many other cases like Gwawr’s, but Gwawr’s has come to light because Gwawr’s mother rang a radio programme about her case. The care system in north Wales has been doing things like this for years. There are scores of ‘care agencies’ that have now been contracted to provide a few hours of ‘care’ daily to clients in their own homes (Gwawr’s care package consisted of two hours daily). I have friends who have worked for these agencies and as long ago as 2005 it was a shambles. North Wales is a rural area and carers – being paid the minimum wage and no travelling expenses – were being despatched many miles to provide one hours ‘care’. I knew someone who lived in Cricieth who was given clients in Rhyl – she was expected to drive to Rhyl and back for one or two hours work. The agency my friend worked for was Medicare – it was scandalous. The carers were casual workers – no-one was offered any training and many of the staff were young people who weren’t able to shoulder the responsibilities given to them. Untrained unqualified carers were told to administer prescribed, essential medication. My friend discovered that the only source of ‘support’ or ‘advice’ was telephone contact with a ‘manager’ – who didn’t even have a nursing qualification. On a number of occasions my friend arrived at clients’ homes to find that the carer responsible for the previous ‘shift’ hadn’t bothered to turn up and hadn’t bothered to tell the ‘manager’ that they were going to make their call. My friend called on one bedbound elderly man at 6pm to find that his morning carer hadn’t turned up, neither had his lunch-time carer. He had not been out of bed, taken to the loo, given any food or drink or his medication since the evening before. My friend left Medicare after this, stating that people’s lives were being put at risk and that she wasn’t prepared to be part of it.

I know one person who was offered a carers job last year with an agency responsible for home care in Wrexham – commissioned by Wrexham County  Borough Council – without references being taken up or a DBS check being carried out. The job involved handling the money and medication of housebound elderly people. The agency involved was a company based in Nottingham who’s ‘office’ in Wrexham was a portacabin on an industrial estate. During the ‘interview’, confidential clients’ files were scattered around the room with clients’ names and details visible.

Most of these ‘care agencies’ are so shambolic and pay staff so badly and treat them so unreasonably that no-one wants to work for them – that is why they are constantly short of ‘carers’, even in a region like north Wales which has a high rate of unemployment. The Councils contracting them are equally as sloppy – they know damn well how these agencies conduct themselves. Both Anglesey and Wrexham Social Services have a long and glorious history of serious abuse in their children’s services. I suspect that Gwawr’s ‘care’ was the responsibility of Anglesey’s Communities section – the head was (and may still be) the hopeless Gwenan Carrington, previously Director of Gwynedd Social Services. After her position there became untenable following a series of well-publicised disasters, dear old Gwenan made a sideways move into Anglesey County Council… Gwenan’s colleagues in Anglesey Social Services are no better – they have failed to deliver any ‘services’ for years, the residents of Anglesey with relatives in need of services are tearing their hair out. There has also been a long-standing problem of the bullying of social work students who have dared raise concerns at the bad practice that they witnessed on placement.

Gwawr has Rett syndrome. I think that everyone involved in providing the ‘care packages’ that she and other disabled people depend upon must have Rhett syndrome, named after Rhett Butler, the famous character in Gone With The Wind – definitely a case of ‘frankly my dear I don’t give a damn’…

 

Wrexham Maelor psychiatrist Thomas Jenkins who was caught using the gay dating app Grindr to request a 13 year old boy to have sex with him without a condom by an undercover police officer has been ordered to attend a sex offenders programme for three years and has been placed on the sex offenders register for five years. Jenkins qualified at Cardiff University two years ago and was in the second year of the foundation course in psychiatry at Wrexham Maelor when he was arrested. That’ll be the course that Peter Higson, Martin Jones and the rest of the Betsi Board are so proud of. I wonder if Higson will be mentioning this particular triumph at the next Board meeting? Incredibly the GMC have actually struck Jenkins off. Can they possibly be clamping down on criminal medical practitioners? Jenkins was told by the GMC that he’d brought the profession into disrepute (unlike dear old Dafydd, who is of course a fine upstanding member of that profession) and that his ‘fellow doctors would fins his actions deplorable’. Even if they did, experience demonstrates that they would still lie on his behalf, refuse to investigate complaints against him and continue to refer patients to him. And the GMC would not be above forging documents in order to protect him either.

 

The Welsh Gov’t have been boasting about providing midwives in Wales with special training to care for premature babies who are born before 24 weeks and will not survive. A young mother from Cardiff was so distressed at the treatment of her own premature baby – who was born at 22 weeks and died just after an hour later after midwives had refused to touch or handle the baby at all – that she lobbied Health Boards and Welsh Gov’t Ministers for dignified treatment of premature babies who will not survive. Sadly what this young mother and the Welsh Gov’t will not be taking into account is, once more, the bad behaviour of Angels and Top Doctors in the face of ‘training’. In the early 1990s St George’s Hospital Medical School was considered to have had an excellent special care baby unit, so a lot of mothers in the region who were considered to be at risk of delivering premature babies opted to give birth at St George’s. I have mentioned previously on this blog that a lot of the midwives there were very good. Even in 1990, it was routine at St George’s for the very premature babies who died to be dressed up in baby clothes and put in a Moses basket and to be given back to their mother for a few hours. Most of the midwives did treat the bodies of the babies who died with respect. But there was one midwife there who used to entertain herself by playing with the dead babies, putting their limbs in grotesque positions and having a good laugh whilst she was doing it. As ever, she was not challenged although everybody knew what she was doing. And no, her conduct would not have improved if she’d been paid more…

 

Mark Drakeford, the Finance Minister (formerly the Health Minister, formerly Rhodri Morgan’s special advisor on Health Policy, formerly a social worker in Dyfed where a paedophile ring existed), has announced that he can only give the Welsh NHS £450 million because of austerity imposed by Westminster. I have no time for the Westminster Gov’t and they undoubtedly do great damage to Wales, but Drakeford is not helping matters by giving millions of pounds to people whom he knows are institutionally corrupt and telling them how sorry he is that he cannot give them more. Wales needs that money very badly Drakeford and you are giving it to crooks – and you have known for years that they are crooks, but you ignored the people (like me) who sent you the evidence. Tawel Fan blew up in your face whilst you were Health Minister and it has not yet been resolved – the worst mental healthcare scandal that there had ever been in the UK happened at the Ablett Unit in the Betsi and not one abusive member of staff was disciplined. Instead the nurse who blew the whistle on it all was sacked.

 

I despair of Drakeford et al, I don’t think they that have any idea of the public anger that there is in north Wales regarding the shite public services which are gobbling up millions whilst they exterminate vulnerable people – and every time there’s another scandal the dickwit Drakeford tells everyone that it’s because the paedophiles’ friends have not been given enough money. The troughing bastards are the most highly paid people in north Wales, the Martins and the Craigs with their third class degrees from Bangor, Aber and Cardiff are all pulling in well over £100k pa. (Martin is trousering about £150k now.)

 

NHS England continues to experience traumas, as reported by the Mail Online.

The Warrington and Halton Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in Cheshire has stopped spinal surgery after four serious incidents, two of them involving patient deaths.

Brioney Woolfe, a former midwifery assistant, has appeared in Colchester Magistrates Court after accessing the data of 29 patients – not just midwifery patients either – between Dec 2014 and May 2016. Woolfe’s activities only came to light after one patient discovered that details of an illness that he wanted kept private had become public knowledge. I am staggered that Woolfe has even been disciplined for this, yet alone has ended up in Court. This conduct is de rigueur, both in the NHS and social services. Confidentiality is flouted constantly, patients and clients are the subject of casual gossip and patients’ records and data are freely passed around to just about anyone, including non-clinical members of staff. It is endemic. There is no confidentiality in the UK NHS or social services – I have given numerous examples on this blog and some of my readers have left comments on the blog about serious breaches of confidentiality involving them.

 

A major scandal involving IVF Hammersmith, the fertility clinic that Blair’s mate Lord Robert Winston (who has featured on this blog previously) established, has hit the media today. A man who cannot be named for legal reasons sued Hammersmith after his former partner forged his signature on a consent form and gave birth to a daughter after becoming pregnant using an embryo frozen several years previously. The couple had been patients at IVF Hammersmith, had one son as a result of their treatment there but then had a very acrimonious relationship break-up. Hammersmith were not told about this and several years later the female partner approached Hammersmith for further treatment and was implanted with an embryo fertilised by her previous partner after forging his signature of a consent form – he knew nothing about this until she texted him when she was three months pregnant. He had made it known that he did not want any more children. The man concerned has given a media interview explaining his distress at now being the father of a little girl whom he cares for but did not actually want – the confusion that has resulted from it is evident in his comments.

The father of the little girl sued Hammersmith for negligence and the anticipated cost of bringing up the child. The details of his claim are somewhat laughable to those of us who are not rich enough to be patients of IVF Hammersmith – it included the cost of her private schooling, ski-ing trips, gap year, wedding and the cost of an expensive car to drive her to school. However, it is people who consider such things to be necessities whom IVF Hammersmith targets as patients. He has lost his claim, but the case is going to the Court of Appeal.

IVF Hammersmith is trying to wash its hands of the whole matter, maintaining that they take patients on trust and cannot know if they are criminals. Yet IVF Hammersmith would seem to have been very lax indeed here – there has always been much emphasis in fertility treatment on seeing both partners if a couple are requesting treatment, on ensuring that no-one is being coerced into fertility treatment, on ensuring that the relationship is stable etc. How did Hammersmith manage to treat a woman when she reappeared several years after a previous course of treatment with nothing more than her partner’s (alleged) signature on a consent form? My post ‘Every Sperm Is Sacred – Particularly In Scotland’) details some of what I knew to be going on in fertility clinics in London in the 80s and 90s. Robert Winston at Hammersmith was always considered above and beyond such unscrupulous practices, but he did know what was happening in his colleagues’ clinics. I have also described how Winston employed a gynaecologist at Hammersmith who was a serious sexual harasser but simply passed him on to another hospital.

The man who tried to sue Hammersmith commented upon the ‘unacceptable conduct of fertility clinics which have grown into multimillion pound businesses on the back of sharp practices’. He is quite right, its been happening for years and is well known in the field of obstetrics and gynaecology. As with all branches of medicine, no-one has been prepared to speak out about the way business is being conducted. Despite all the talk of ensuring that patients are in a position to give a child a stable, caring home, the reality is that for many of those clinics if you come up with the dosh you will be treated. Furthermore you will be encouraged to part with large quantities of dosh even if there is very little chance of you becoming pregnant and some highly questionable procedures will be flogged to you.

The man in the Hammersmith case lost in court because although it was accepted that his former partner had forged his signature and Hammersmith were condemned for being so sloppy in their procedures, it is policy that damages for negligence cannot be awarded in the event of the birth of a healthy child.

So once more the Top Doctors are off scot free leaving a big mess in their wake.

So who is responsible for regulating the Top Doctors in question? It is the ‘independent regulator’, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), as featured on this blog previously – whose failings have now been described as ‘catastrophic’. The thing that has always struck me about the leading lights at the HFEA is that none of them are doctors or scientists, so they are not even in a position to understand the science behind the business that they are supposed to be regulating. The folk involved with the HFEA are essentially elitist public figures who are professional busybodies – they jump from being Chair of one quango to another and then lead an Oxbridge College or two until they arrive at their final destination in the Lords.

Baroness Mary Warnock was the pioneer, she Chaired the Inquiry back in the early 80s which led to the establishment of the HFEA. Mary Warnock was originally a girls’ schoolteacher along the lines of the Malory Towers model and then became an Oxford academic – her field is philosophy. Mary Warnock was regularly wheeled out in the media to offer her opinion on the Big Questions, although things went a little pear shaped some years ago when she pronounced herself to be so in favour of euthanasia for the elderly that she was about to volunteer for it. There was quite a fuss with her family going public on the fact that they really didn’t want to wave her off to Dignitas and since then Mary Warnock has kept a low profile. But it was fairly obvious back in the 80s that Warnock was quite out of her depth at being given the responsibility to grapple with a very new, little understood, fast developing and highly experimental branch of the biomedical sciences. Basically she knew bugger all about it.

Successive Chairs of the HFEA have been variations on Mary Warnock. They have included Lord Richard Harries (an Army Officer and a bishop);  Lisa Jardine (daughter of Jacob Bronowski, historian and Radio 4 regular); the awful Baroness Ruth Deech (lawyer, formerly of the BBC Governors, Oxford academic); Dame Suzi Leather (who has Chaired every quango going as detailed on this blog some months ago); Shirley Harrison (Sunday Times journo, NUJ member, Chair of the South Yorkshire Probation Board, member of Sheffield Council, Labour Party member, also involved with Cancer Research UK); Walter Merricks (lawyer, inaugural director of Camden Community Law Centre, founding Chair of the Office of Health Professions Adjudicator, Chair of the Trustees of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges); Sir Colin Campbell (lawyer, former VC of the University of Nottingham 1988-2008 who just prior to his retirement accepted a 90% pay rise making him the highest paid VC in the UK, he proposed the privatisation of universities and accepted a £3.8 million endowment from British American Tobacco to fund an International Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility at Nottingham University Business School which caused resignations, the exodus of a research team and the withdrawal of research funding from Cancer Research UK). The current Chair is Sally Cheshire, a corporate accountant lately of Deloitte.

With this lot at the helm are we surprised that there have been ‘catastrophic failings’ at the HFEA? Readers will have realised from the details provided that a few of the above will know what Top Doctors get up to – but they are certainly never going to admit it. Lisa Jardine almost got around to admitting how questionable the whole fertility business is after she stepped down from her role as Chair of the HFEA. She stated in an interview with the Indie that ‘as a communicator’ she regretted that she had not been able to publicise how traumatised many patients were by fertility treatment or for how many people it was unsuccessful. In the same interview Jardine also admitted that a mixed race baby had been born to a black couple. So how was it that ‘as a communicator’ Jardine didn’t manage to spit all this out whilst she was still Chair? She had her own slot of Radio 4 in which she mouthed off every weekend, so who or what was keeping her quiet? The Coalition Gov’t wanted to abolish the HFEA in their ‘bonfire of the quangos’. Jardine somehow stopped them – so she managed to communicate something then.

The lawyer acting for Hammersmith was James Lawford Davies, a partner at Hempsons. The Hempsons who act for the MDU, who so helpfully supplied Dr Tony Francis (Dr X) with lawyers and barristers who attempted to imprison me – although I now have copies of documents demonstrating that Hempsons knew that I had not done what I was accused of and that Francis was perjuring himself.

So what of the people of IVF Hammersmith itself? The person wheeled out to make the ‘I Know Nuzzing’ comments to the press was Jude Fleming, their Chief Operating Officer. Now I think that someone at Hammersmith really should have taken a closer look at Jude’s CV before they gave her that job. My suspicion was aroused after reading Jude’s Linked In profile – it would not have looked amiss on the university application of a rather weak A level student who couldn’t think of anything original to say about themselves. Jude explains that she is an active person who is interested in what she does and has worked very hard in educational and sporting activities since she was 11. Incredibly enough, until just over ten years ago, Jude’s employment was as a bookings clerk and a waitress and then as a ski-instructor at Glasgow Ski and Snowboard Centre. Many people of course have worked as waitresses and ski-instructors, but somehow Jude went directly from that to managing a fertility clinic – namely GCRM Fertility Clinic in Glasgow. Yet googling GCRM Fertility Clinic doesn’t reveal what one normally thinks of as a fertility clinic. GCRM is situated on the business park, just next to the M8, around the corner from the Volvo Truck and Bus Centre. It is certainly a most unusual setting for a fertility clinic and the online info is a bit odd as well. There are no details of the doctors working at this ‘clinic’, just a notice explaining that if you’re a patient who needs advice out of hours you’ve got to ring the emergency services because doctors are only available during clinic hours. It doesn’t sound anything like any fertility clinic that I’ve ever come across and I suspect that it might simply be a referral centre to doctors who are actually based elsewhere. Jude worked around the corner from the Volvo Truck Centre for eight years and then landed a job as manager of the Oxford Fertility Unit in 2015. I presume that she is a recent arrival at IVF Hammersmith.

What about the Clinic Directors at IVF Hammersmith? Well now that dear old Robert Winston has joined the ranks of those who slumber on the benches in the Lords in return for £300/day, the Directors at Hammersmith are Stuart Lavary and Geoffrey Trew.

Stuart Lavary is a Consultant at Hammersmith and Queen Charlotte Hospitals and also runs a private practice at Hammersmith Hospital, Harley Street and Marylebone. Nice little earner, NHS consultancy and plenty of private work as well. Stuart is the HFEA ‘person responsible’ for IVF Hammersmith – so the business of the forged signature was his domain then. Lavary is an honorary senior lecturer at the den of bad practice/research fraud that is Imperial College (see post ‘A Cause Close To Our Hearts’) and trained at the John Radcliffe, Oxford.

Geoffrey Trew is also a Consultant at Hammersmith and Queen Charlotte’s – he qualified at St George’s in 1984! He’ll have witnessed much the same madness that I did then. And he’ll have been there when Professor Oliver Brooke who was later jailed for the possession of huge amounts of child porn worked at St George’s as a paediatrician. Trew has ‘an international referral base and has appeared for the last three years in the Tatler’s list of Best Private Doctors’. Which just about sums it up – never mind The Lancet or Nature, IVF Hammersmith comes highly recommended by fucking Tatler.

 

Finally a conundrum from NHS England. A few days ago I heard Dr Sarah Wollaston, GP and Tory MP, interviewed on Radio 4 about Boris’s dreadful behaviour. Something clicked – why hasn’t Theresa May appointed Sarah Wollaston as Health Minister? She is very well thought of even by people who are not Conservatives, she is very popular in her constituency in Devon, she is indeed a Top Doctor but doesn’t seem to be a pompous demanding greedy one – she seems to be the real article – and she actually KNOWS about medicine and healthcare. I have never heard anyone say a bad word about Sarah Wollaston – she is capable, respectful, well-informed and doesn’t spout rubbish. Furthermore unlike other women in politics Sarah Wollaston doesn’t feel the need to bollock on about being a strong woman or obsess over her clothes. What on earth is Jeremy Hunt still doing in his job? In fact if I were the Tory Party I’d be asking Dr Wollaston if she’d like to be the next leader – they are going to be looking for one soon but all they can do is scream ‘ooh it has to be Boris’. But on second thoughts – a pleasant, intelligent, capable woman who knows what she is doing or an offensive dangerously irresponsible idiot with a track record of abusing and exploiting people? Of course they’ll choose Boris. Frankly I’m surprised that anyone listens to Dr Wollaston at all – she hasn’t been highly recommended by The Tatler.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Case Of The King’s Sperm

I have been researching the background of the Top Doctor at St George’s Hospital who treated Norman Scott and who undoubtedly knew what Jeremy Thorpe was up to (see post ‘My How Things Haven’t Changed’) and even I am gobsmacked by some of what I have discovered. The Top Doctor concerned was Dr Brian O’Connell and he certainly had some interesting practices and even more interesting colleagues.

Brian O’Connell was Irish but after graduating took up a post as a psychiatrist in Scotland. He then worked for two years at St George’s under Professor Desmond Curran.

Desmond Curran became the first Professor of Psychiatry at St George’s in 1961 and was the person who built up the academic dept of psychiatry there, in which he ‘served’ for three decades. So we have him to thank for that nest of vipers who colluded with Dafydd and the paedophile gang in the early 1990s and who oversaw a number of murders on their own glorious patch at Springfield Hospital during the following years.

Curran was born in Devon and trained at St George’s. He joined the Royal Navy in 1939 as a medic. Which is really interesting because Curran was of a similar vintage to Gwynne the lobotomist – who also served as a medic in the Royal Navy after qualifying in medicine in London. Bear with me – there are more reasons why they could have known each other…

One of Curran’s interests was ‘sexual deviation’, so I can imagine the fun that Curran and his colleagues would have had with patients like Norman Scott who had been sexually exploited by well-connected older men in politics who were denying it and declaring their victims mad. Curran was a member of the Wolfenden Commission on homosexuality – as were a number of Jeremy’s mates such as Lord Boothby. Curran was also an advisor in psychiatry to the Foreign Office and the Home Office – the Home Office that ran the approved schools like Bryn Estyn which were rife with the sexual abuse of boys.

Curran was President of the Royal Medico-Psychological Association (the forerunner to the Royal College of Psychiatrists) 1963-64.

Curran’s biography can be found online in the ‘Lives of the Fellows’ section of the Royal College of Physicians website. It is of course a glowing tribute to him and the hotbed of corruption that he established at St George’s:

‘St George’s became pre-eminent…for it’s department of psychiatry. It’s national and international renown increased steadily during the three decades in which Desmond served it’

Er, OK…

I have found some very interesting letters that Desmond Curran wrote stored in the Wellcome Library in the Eugenics Society Archive. There is a collection of letters there written by Curran from his Wimpole Street address. One letter dated 8 May 1939 concerns a patient who is engaged – she wishes her fiance to undergo sterilisation as she does not consider him suitable to breed as a result of some of his relatives having conditions such as epilepsy or ‘psychosis’. She is requesting Curran’s help – whether her fiancé actually knows that she has approached Curran regarding this matter is unclear, it is simply mentioned that the young man is currently in South Africa. It is not impossible that the young man himself knows nothing of this plan, because Curran is involved in some almost unbelievable plans with certain patients.

One letter from Curran is dated 11 March 1938 and is addressed to a Dr C.P. Blacker at 28 Weymouth Street. It concerns a patient whom Curran describes as ‘a Jewess’ who is caring for ‘an elderly whining Jewish mother’. The patient is married to a man who is unfaithful and who contracted gonorrhoea. Curran writes that the gonorrhoea has been treated but ‘his seed is not active’. Curran explains to Dr Blacker that Elliot Slater had suggested ‘artificial impregnation’. Curran writes ‘if the King was not willing to provide active seed, she could possibly get some from a distinguished scientist or author or whatever quality she wanted’.

Yes, Curran seems to believe that there is a possibility that the FUCKING KING might be willing to donate sperm to a well-to-do patient of Curran’s whom he seems to be helping acquire elite sperm. Before I receive e mails demanding that I be thrown into the Tower for making this up, go online to the Wellcome Library, go to the archives of the Eugenics Society and see those letters for yourselves – there are photographs of them. It is there in black and white, there is no doubt about what is written, it is crystal clear – Curran was going to approach the King to see if he would be willing to donate sperm. That would have been George VI, the present Queen’s father. This really puts Charles, Diana and Camilla into perspective…

Did the King offer this sort of service regularly? It couldn’t have been completely unthinkable or Eliot Slater would never have suggested it. Hadn’t anyone thought about the ramifications? For a start the Royal Family are obsessed with breeding, blood line, hereditary principles etc – the King as sperm donor, it would cause havoc. Any potential baby might be in a position to claim to be the heir to the throne. Are we sure that HM the Queen is the right one sitting on the throne with this sort of thing going on?

So who were the other Top Doctors involved in Curran’s plan, Dr Blacker and Eliot Slater?

Blacker was Carlos Panton Blacker – war hero, psychiatrist and eugenicist. Blacker qualified in 1925, worked at Guy’s psychiatry dept for three years, then worked at the Maudsley. Between 1931-52 Blacker was the Secretary of the Eugenics Society. Blacker was pushing for the Society to promote contraception to ‘reduce the fecundity of the lower, less-able classes’. The flip side of this presumably was helping the better classes gain access to the sperm of the King or if the barrel has to be scraped, donations from distinguished scientists or authors.

Eliot Slater was a pioneer in the field of the ‘genetics of mental disorders’. He held senior posts at the National Hospital for Nervous Diseases and the Institute of Psychiatry which was then at the Maudsley. Slater co-edited ‘Clinical Psychiatry’, a leading textbook for psychiatry trainees.

Slater read Natural Sciences at Cambridge and got a third class degree. He then trained as a doctor at St George’s, qualifying in 1928. In 1931 he became a medical officer at the Maudsley. In 1934 he received a travelling fellowship from the Rockerfeller Foundation, which he used to study psychiatric genetics under Bruno Schulz at Forschungsanstalf fur Psychiatrie in Munich. He visited that institution again in 1937.

Bruno Schulz supported the Nazi regime’s early racial hygiene measures and forced sterilisation. In 1934 he published in a journal edited by senior Nazis such as Heinrich Himmler. The Director of the Genetics Dept was Ernst Rudin, the architect of Hitler’s eugenic sterilization policies which were implicated in Action T4.

Whilst he was at the Munich institution, Slater met Lydia Pasternak, sister of the poet Boris, who returned with him to the Maudsley – they later married.

Although Slater later distanced himself from and denounced the Nazi’s ‘unspeakable men’ and their ‘detestable ideology’, after doing this he gained Rudin’s support for two lengthy articles in a German journal and contributed to an academic celebration in Munich in 1939 for Rudin’s 65th birthday, contributing to the festschrift that was published in his honour. Slater also frequently quoted the work of the Munich contingent.

In 1939 the Maudsley was evacuated and Slater became Clinical Director of Sutton Emergency Hospital, where he was responsible for 20,000 psychiatric casualties.

In 1944 Slater co-authored ‘An Introduction To Physical Methods Of Treatment In Psychiatry’ with the appalling William Sargant, Dr David Owen’s old mentor (see post ‘Dr Death’ for details of Sargant, his butchery and the lives that he ruined).

In 1959 Slater helped establish the MRC Psychiatric Genetics Unit at the Maudsley Medical School/Institute of Psychiatry – he directed this until 1969.

Slater was famous for advocating the monogenetic theory of schizophrenia, ie. the notion that schizophrenia is caused by a single partially dominant gene.

Slater edited the British Journal of Psychiatry 1961-72.

He was an enthusiastic proponent of lobotomy even into the 70s – I told you there were Gwynne links. Slater will still have been involved with the Maudsley when Dafydd ‘trained’ there. Slater remained a close associate of William Sargant and like Sargant clung onto discredited dangerous treatments such as insulin shock therapy long after most rational people had left them behind.

After his retirement Slater was a campaigner for euthanasia and a member of the Euthanasia Society.

Slater died in 1983 – one of his four children became a psychiatrist.

Kings College London now has the Institute of Psychiatry under it’s umbrella and it continues to honour the memory of Eliot Slater – it has offered an ‘Eliot Slater Prize In Psychiatry’ since 1983.

Lest readers dismiss the excesses of Curran (who died in 1985), Blacker and Slater as irrelevant bits of an unsavoury past, I will argue that they are not. These men – and men like them such as Sargant – trained psychiatrists who are the ‘towering figures’ in today’s profession, the people who are training present day psychiatrists. It is psychiatry’s desperate desire to keep their madnesses, their inhumanity and indeed their frank abuses under wraps that leads everyone to cover-up for Dafydd and his ilk. Because of the way that medicine works, these doctors are not ‘in the past’. Norman Scott is still alive – despite the best efforts of Jeremy Thorpe – and he will be living with the stupidities of Desmond Curran, the man who sought to procure the King’s sperm, because it was Curran who supervised and mentored the man who treated Norman. Of course as the psychiatric establishment will be quick to point out, Curran’s legacy is also the glorious dept of psychiatry of St Georges. A dept that has obviously been concealing serious wrongdoing in high places for decades – whose staff advise Gov’ts and give ‘expert’ evidence in murder trials…

Desmond Curran co-authored with a man called Martin Roth in the 70s. Martin Roth became Professor Sir Martin Roth, leading figure in psychiatry and President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists 1971-75.

And so it goes on, one crazed generation bequeathing their insanity and cruelty to patients to the following generation…

So what became of Brian O’Connell, Curran’s protégé, who treated Norman?

After his two years at St George’s under Curran, although O’Connell remained associated with St George’s for the next twenty years, he moved to work at the Maudsley. He was Consultant Psychiatrist at the Maudsley 1961-67 and whilst he was there he was seconded to Broadmoor. He got on so well with Jimmy Savile’s mate Pat McGrath, the Top Doctor at Broadmoor (please see additional comments in response to post ‘Wheels Within Wheels Or Flies Drawn To The Same Incestuously Corrupt Shithouse?’), that Pat’s son the novelist Patrick McGrath dedicated his novel ‘Asylum’ to O’Connell. O’Connell then landed a World Health Organisation Fellowship and went to the US, where he toured institutions for the criminally insane no less in 1960-61.

In 1968 O’Connell founded and became the Medical Director of the Northgate Clinic, Edgware, North London, an ‘unconventional holistic and extremely successful centre with teenagers mental health problems’ – now I wonder what that translates as… We will see shortly.

O’Connell didn’t make friends with other Top Doctors, he hung out with people from the literary scene, journos, artists and folk from the world of theatre. O’Connell married Finnuala O’Shannon, an actress and the sister of a broadcaster. After he was widowed in 1992, O’Connell got back together with a former girlfriend, a high profile US journo, Ann Geracimes.

So there’s a few reasons why the wider world never got to hear all about Jeremy Thorpe.

O’Connell was also keen on poker and getting pissed.

He was also a consultant to the Stamford House Remand Centre for Adolescents. This was a Council care institution. In Lords Hansard Feb 1961, there is a question and answer session concerning the very high rate of kids ‘absconding’ from Stamford House. There were many ‘absconders’ from the children’s homes in north Wales – the kids kept running away because they were being beaten and raped.

The National Archives record that in 1963 there was a ‘complaint about indecency by staff’ at Stamford House. I cannot access further details because the file is closed until 2057.

O’Connell sat on Mental Health Review Tribunals. Of course he did.

According to the BMJ’s obituary of him, O’Connell’s life and career was a roaring success from the day that he was born.

O’ Connell’s Guardian obituary stated that he ‘concentrated on boys in trouble with the law’ – just like Dafydd and the Paedophiles’ Friends did – although the Northgate Clinic soon opened it’s doors to girls as well. That always helps, you never know what Girls In Trouble might know about who.

The Guardian noted that O’Connell ‘could be caustic in his putdowns of the pretentious, the promiscuous and the wilful’. So he’s going to be just great with young people who’ve been sexually abused and passed around then isn’t he. It was also noticed that O’Connell could give a ‘flinty glare’. Yeh, that always helps when you want to make a suicidal teenager feel even worse about themselves.

Not that O’ Connell always conducted himself too well. It was remembered that ‘as a young man aerated by champagne….he shinned up the narrow pillar in the middle of a Soho fish restaurant to bombard his feasting friends with soft bread rolls’. A Bullingdon Boy! Furthermore when O’Connell was young, Soho had not yet been cleaned up – so O’Connell was probably hanging out with some very seedy company when he got pissed and conducted a food fight. If I know anything about Top Doctors’ anecdotes in obituaries, that story will have been highly sanitised. I imagine that O’Connell actually did something pretty gross whilst ‘aerated by champagne’. One wonders what he did when he was pissed as an older Top Doctor whom people would be afraid to challenge.

The Guardian also mentioned that although O’Connell was the most articulate cultured man on the planet he preferred to call things ‘shite’. As I do – particularly the practices of Top Doctors like O’Connell.

O’Connell died not long ago but as is the tendency with Top Doctors, his glorious work continues. In Oct 2009 the Guardian ran an article about the Northgate Clinic, now a residential therapeutic unit run by Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health Trust. Kids with ‘serious’ mental health problems who are ‘not safe’ to be cared for in the community live there during the week but return to ‘stable homes’ at the weekend – it is mentioned in passing that the ‘stable home’ at the weekend for many is a children’s home or foster care.

The Guardian explains that no-one is sectioned at the Northgate, everyone signs a contract. Yes that’s a very popular con these days, it was pioneered by St George’s and Springfield. What it involves is ordering the patient to sign a contract stating that if they display whichever problem has deemed them to be in need of care, they will be discharged with no further care. It’s really great – Springfield discharged clinically depressed people for trying to commit suicide and patients with anorexia for refusing to eat. The outcomes are grim but the deaths don’t happen on the hospital premises so it’s not a problem and the mental health facility concerned boasts an excellent recovery rate. It also means that the Northgate can pretend that they provide a liberal non-oppressive environment in interviews with Guardian journos.

The Guardian mentioned that a bed at the Northgate Clinic costs £598/day (that was at 2009 prices), so some NHS organisations are ‘hesitant’ to send patients there. I bet they are – particularly as the Northgate just ensures that anybody with real problems is kicked out for breaking their ‘contract’. The Northgate was probably finding itself rather short of customers which might have been why they were given a free plug in the Guardian by a tame journo. It’ll have been the fault of the Tory cuts. Those Tory cuts under the New Labour Gov’t in 2009. That and the Angels not being paid enough and thus having to root around in skips and food banks for their dinner.

 

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.

 

 

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?

 

Did Glenda Occupy A Key Role In Keeping It All Out Of The Media?

I resorted to purchasing a copy of the ‘Times’ this morning, although I loathe encouraging Murdoch by doing this. I splashed out however because in today’s ‘Times’ magazine, Theresa May’s former press office manager Katie Perrior has written a tell-all piece about the chaos reigning at Number 10 as a result of May’s reliance on her two notorious Chiefs of Staff, Fiona Hill and Nick Timothy. Perrior’s revelations confirm what I have long suspected about May – that she’s not that bright, not that confident and relies on vacuous twats to advise her, which is how she ended up doing things like wittering on about her kitten heels and posing in a pair of not very nice overly expensive trousers which allowed her opponents to comment on the gulf between her lifestyle and that experienced by the rest of the nation. I was interested to watch this phenomenon damage May so badly because it is of course what all female politicians have subjected themselves to ever since the manufacture of Margaret Thatcher. Idiots like Hazel Blears purchased handbags costing hundreds of pounds and described such bags as ‘aspirational’ rather than ‘over-priced’ and politicians like Nicola Sturgeon and Leanne Wood have very obviously spent a lot more time taking advice on their hairstyles, shoes, the precise length of their skirts and the style of those boring little Young Margaret Thatcher jackets that are de rigueur for female politicians than they ever have reading economic or political theory. That’s why none of them ever make any intelligent comments about gender, health policy, social inequality, economic policy etc. Compare what comes out of their mouths when they’re busy on their way to smash glass ceilings and show the boys how to do it with what comes out of someone like Yanis Varoufakis and our lot are laughable. It’s not as if there aren’t any good female economists around to advise them as well if they wanted a testicle free zone.

Perrior does indeed drop a few pearls of wisdom whilst giving a resume of her career. Perrior’s career as a spin doctor for the Tories started in 2000 when she was interviewed for a junior role by William Hague’s Press Secretary. Perrior was taken on and describes the asinine tasks that she and her colleagues were given to do. She mentions that they were ‘doing jobs way above our pay grades but there simply wasn’t anyone else to do it’. Interestingly she notes that ‘more than 20’ of these rather air-headed young gofers are now ‘either MPs or lords’. Perrior went onto work for Theresa when she was Transport Secretary and Party Chair, but Perrior then left to join the ITN news department because of the allegedly low pay. She subsequently worked for Channel 4 News and as Press Secretary for David Davis. After that she established ‘The Research Shop’ with Nick Timothy. A Jo Tanner who worked with her is now Head of Press at the British Chamber of Commerce. Following this Perrior worked on Boris’s mayoral campaign with the appalling Lynton Crosby in 2008 for ten months, then on the lame ‘Women2Win’. After the successful Brexit campaign she ‘offered her services’ to Theresa during the leadership race and ended up as Director of Communications at Number 10. She’s now dished the dirt on them.

It is entertaining to have my suspicions about Theresa’s reliance on dipsticks confirmed, but unlike a lot of people I’m not that interested in Fiona Hill or Nick Timothy. It is well-established that they are a pair of shites who have damaged the Tories, but it was fairly clear that they were a liability when Theresa was Home Secretary because they were causing problems them.

The person that I am interested in is the woman who gave Katie her big break, Hague’s Press Secretary when he became Tory leader in 2000. It was Amanda Platell – the right wing hate filled scribbler for the ‘Daily Mail’ who is the ultimate example of the sort of female journo satirised by the ‘Private Eye’ Glenda Slagg column, although Platell has a deeper interest in politics. The ‘Eye’ has described Platell as being ‘one of the killer Bimbos of Fleet Street’. I’m interested in Platell because Hague became Tory leader after he assisted a lot of people out of a very tight spot by organising the whitewash of the organised child abuse in north Wales that was the Waterhouse Inquiry when he was Secretary of State for Wales. I have mentioned many times how Sir Peter Morrison, Thatcher’s aide and MP for Chester, was known to be abusing under-aged boys and was visiting children’s homes in north Wales. It is only relatively recently however that I learned that the kids being abused in Ty’r Felin, the children’s home in Bangor, were being trafficked to London where they were being used to provide sexual services after being introduced to a Tory lobbyist and businessman who was also one of Thatcher’s speechwriters (see post ‘Are You Local?’). This man occupied space in the notorious Dolphin Square apartments in Pimlico and Edwina Currie and William Hague claim to be friends of his.

Platell only met Hague ‘a few months’ before her appointment as his Press Secretary ie. Head of News and Media at Conservative Central Office, but she was described as ‘very much Hague’s appointment’. At the time she was described as being ‘a friend’ of Hague’s new wife Ffion and Ffion was said to be a ‘strong supporter’ of Platell’s appointment. Ffion has featured on this blog before (see post ‘A Few Of The Relevant Politicians Re Mary Wynch’s Case’). She met Hague when she was a senior civil servant in the Welsh Office. The Welsh Office that had concealed the paedophile ring for decades, the Welsh Office that employed a crooked solicitor Andrew Park, who concealed the criminal activities of the two psychiatrists Dr Dafydd Alun Jones and Dr Tony Francis (Dr X), who were associates of Lucille Hughes the Director of Gwynedd Social Services, who colluded with that paedophile ring. So people involved with the cover-up of a vicious paedophile ring, many of whose victims had been found dead in suspicious circumstances, ensured that Amanda Platell was appointed as Press Secretary at Conservative Central Office. The Waterhouse Report was published in 2000. Amanda was Hague’s Press Secretary between 1999-2001. Did Hague think that he might be particularly in need of a good Press Secretary sometime in 2000? In 1999 no-one knew how much of a cover-up Sir Ronald Waterhouse would publish, but they did know that hundreds of former children in care in north Wales had told the Waterhouse Inquiry how they were beaten, flogged, kicked, punched, starved, forced to do unpaid labour, sexually abused by the ‘care’ staff and other visitors, taken to other places where they were sexually abused by people whom they did not know, transferred to other even more abusive institutions if they complained about being abused or ended up in the mental health system. Everybody did know that even if Ronnie turned out to be a star performer, the shit was going to hit the fan when that Report was published and a bit of nifty work with the media would be needed.

Let’s look at why Hague might have thought that Amanda was the right woman for the job.

Amanda is an Aussie, from Perth, who arrived in London in 1985. Her father was a journalist too, on ‘The West Australian’. In London she worked as a freelancer for the ‘Observer’ and the ‘Sunday Express’. She was a member of the start-up team when Eddy Shah launched ‘Today’ in 1986. Murdoch’s News International purchased it in 1987, and as well as hosting Amanda, ‘Today’ employed Alastair Campbell as political editor and his partner Fiona Millar as news editor. Platell left ‘Today’ for a short while to work for Robert Maxwell’s short-lived ‘London Daily News’ but returned to ‘Today’ in 1987 when David Montgomery was deputy editor. In 1993 she became managing editor of the Mirror Group, but moved to the Independent in the same year, first as marketing director and then as managing director.

The allegations concerning dreadful wide scale child abuse in north Wales and a paedophile ring that possibly involved public figures and politicians emerged in the London media in the early 1990s. Amanda could not have missed those stories.

In 1996 Platell was acting editor of the ‘Sunday Mirror’ and was the senior colleague of Alastair Campbell. In 1998 she became acting editor of the ‘Sunday Express’ but was sacked by Rosie Boycott after Amanda published a story about Mandelson’s gay relationship with his Brazilian partner. The publication of this story followed a spat between Platell and Mandelson at the Labour Party conference. So Platell discovered what could happen if one published a story that embarrassed a high profile politician. She’ll also have worked out the power and advantages that one would enjoy if one suppressed such stories.

Following Hague’s lacklustre performance as leader, Platell left her job at Conservative Central Office and in 2002 became a freelancer for the ‘Daily Mail’. Her bile filled column goes under the title of ‘Platell’s People’. Well now the readers of this blog know who ‘Platell’s People’ actually are, let’s look at a few more of these people and their contacts in greater detail.

David Montgomery. Platell seems to have thrived whilst working under Montgomery – she worked with him on ‘Today’ and when he moved to head the Mirror Group in 1994, she became group managing editor with a place on the Board. David Montgomery was originally from Northern Ireland. In 1973 he worked for the ‘Mirror’, then in 1979 the ‘Sun’. Between 1985-1987 he was editor of the ‘News of the Screws’ and Director of News(UK)Ltd, a subsidiary of News International owned by Murdoch’s News Corporation. Between 1987-91 he edited ‘Today’ whilst it was owned by Murdoch. Following the death of Robert Maxwell in 1991, between 1992-1999 Montgomery was Chief Exec of Mirror Group PLC. During his tenure at Mirror Group PLC Montgomery took a stake in the ‘Independent’ and the ‘Independent on Sunday’. It was the ‘Independent On Sunday’ that former senior police officer Gordon Anglesea sued for libel in 1994 after they published allegations that he’d sexually abused boys at Bryn Estyn. For details of some of the puzzling aspects of the trial and the conduct of the judge and the lawyers involved see posts ‘Y Gwir Yn Erbyn Y Byd’ and ‘Y Gwir Yn Erbyn Y Byd – A Few Additional Comments’. In 2016 Anglesea was imprisoned after he was convicted of abusing boys at Bryn Estyn.

In 2000 Montgomery founded the Mecom Group, a London-based investment company, specialising in the mergers and acquisitions of newspaper and media companies in Europe. In 2005 they purchased Berliner Verlag – the purchase was made in partnership with an American private equity firm. A number of journalists employed by titles owned by Berliner Verlag were most unhappy at the direction in which they felt that the new owners would take the company.

So Amanda had a Big Mate in Montgomery and both of them were undoubtedly in a position to have received much information relating to the North Wales Child Abuse Scandal.

But Montgomery is related to a few interesting folk as well. He married Sophie, the daughter of the 3rd Baron Birdwood. The second wife of Sophie’s grandfather, Lady Jane Birdwood, is politely referred to as a ‘politician’ on the family’s wiki entry. Lady Jane Birdwood was a one-off as a politician, she was famously bonkers in that she was so anti-Semitic and right-wing that she denounced a leader of the National Front as a ‘socialist’, although at one point she was a member of the National Front herself. Presumably she became disillusioned when they moved to the left. She ended up in hot water legally on a number of occasions because of her penchant for distributing race hate literature and maintained that the Jews died in the Holocaust as a result of typhoid. Jane Birdwood was not the only notable relative of Montgomery’s wife. Sophie was the ex-wife of Simon Marquis (Sophie married three times, each time to a peer!), the 3rd Earl of Woolton. Simon’s mother married again to Owen Lloyd George, another British peer and became Countess Lloyd George of Dwyfor (in north Wales). Owen Lloyd George succeeded to the Lords in 1968 and was the Deputy Lieutenant of Dyfed – although he was from a family with their origins in Llanystumdwy, north Wales (he was the grandson of David Lloyd George ie. THE Lloyd George), he did not have a home in Wales until the mid 80s, when he purchased a house in Pembrokeshire. The family were of course a massively influential north Welsh political family and Owen Lloyd George carried the sword at the Investiture of Prince Charles in 1969 at Caernarfon. Owen’s mother was from the McAlpine family.

People familiar with the North Wales Child Abuse Scandal will recognise the name McAlpine. In 2012 Lord Alistair McAlpine was named on ‘Newsnight’ by a former resident of Bryn Estyn, Steve Messham, as having been the man who had sexually abused him whilst Messham was in care at the home. McAlpine denied this and successfully sued a number of people who repeated Messham’s claims, including George Monbiot and Sally Bercow, the wife of John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons. Steve Messham later stated that he’d been mistaken. McAlpine died in 2014 at his house in Italy. I can only presume that like Matthew Parris, the former Tory MP and ‘Times’ journo, McAlpine liked Italy. Parris has a house in Catalonia, but in his autobiography he wrote about holidaying at a place in Italy with his political friends that they named ‘the villa of shame’ – he noted that there were some good parties at the villa with ‘boys’ who were ‘always willing’.

Alistair McAlpine spent a lot of time in Perth, Western Australia during the 60s and 70s. That’s where Amanda Platell came from! He had business interests out there and in quite a big way as well. He was an advisor to Thatcher and raised millions for the Tory party. He raised money from Asil Nadir who featured in my post ‘A Stalker’s Network’. Nadir of course stole millions from his company Polly Peck and later was imprisoned, but not for very long and managed to escape even that for many years by fleeing to Cyprus. McAlpine was on record as saying that the funds that were received from Nadir should be given to Polly Peck’s creditors. McAlpine also cultivated the company of Mohamed Al-Fayed. McAlpine was Chairman of the Conservative Party between 1979-1983 but joined Goldsmith’s Referendum Party in 1996. It is recorded that McAlpine was ‘very critical of the Conservative Party under William Hague’. I don’t know why because I would have thought that everyone had a great deal to thank Hague for, after organising the cover-up by Ronnie Waterhouse. I suspect that some people were so grateful that they even felt like making him leader of the Party.

After McAlpine sued the various people who repeated the claims that he had abused a boy who was in care in north Wales, he kindly donated the damages that he was paid to the BBC charity Children In Need. One of the many who presented Children In Need was Esther Rantzen, who claimed that she did not know that Jimmy Savile was a child abuser and could not remember being contacted by someone who later appeared in the media saying that she had told Esther that Savile was a child abuser. I contacted Esther in the 1980s when she maintained that she was campaigning for better mental healthcare and detailed the abuses happening at the hands of psychiatrists in north Wales – who were also concealing the paedophile ring. Esther didn’t write back and I expect that she’s forgotten about my letter as well. A number of children who had been abused in care claimed to have contacted Esther’s charity Childline but did not receive help. Childline’s first CEO was Valerie Howarth, the former Director of Social Services for Brent – four year old Jasmine Beckford was abused and murdered on her watch. Esther had got to know Valerie because Valerie had trained Esther’s sister when they both worked as social workers for Lambeth Council. Whilst Lambeth Council’s children’s homes were infiltrated by paedophiles.

I’m glad to say that there was one person with a bit of sense associated with Children In Need though and that was Sir Roger Jones, who at one point was Chairman of the charity. Sir Roger had made a point of keeping Jimmy Savile well away from Children In Need whilst he was Chairman because he had heard rumours about Savile’s interest in young children, thought that Savile was deeply unsavoury and was on record as saying that ‘the biggest thing to guard against was paedophiles – they were just like flies around the honey pot’. Before Sir Roger became Chairman, Savile had been involved with Children In Need in 1984, 1987 and 1989. Sir Roger was on the BBC Board of Governors between 1996-2002, so one wonders how the lowdown on Savile had escaped others in the BBC. Such as Esther. Sir Roger was the Governor from Wales. As a good proportion of those kids being abused by organised paedophiles had been trafficked from north Wales, perhaps Sir Roger took a rather more dim view of the activities of Savile and his ilk than the media twats in London who think that they’re the centre of the universe and will do pretty much anything to get what they want, including ignoring the serious abuse of sheepshaggers’ children.

Another one of Platell’s People was Rolf Harris, a friend of Jimmy Savile. Amanda was horrified when Rolf was convicted of sexual assaults on children and got himself imprisoned and she penned an article about her inner turmoil for the ‘Daily Mail’ in July 2014, which ran under the headline ‘My Old Friend Rolf Groomed Me Too’. Amanda was deeply traumatised: ‘It was inconceivable to me that the man I’d come to love and trust as a true friend had been serially assaulting girls for decades’. Amanda explains that she was ‘in denial’, because her and Rolf went back a long way. She blames herself for having being duped by Rolf by having been exposed to him on the TV when she was young. In fact Rolf was so successful at grooming the youthful Amanda over the airwaves all those years ago that as a special treat, Rolf turned up to her 40th birthday party in 1998, whilst ‘this star’ was ‘at the height of his fame’. He drew some cartoons for her and she sat on his knee and this was the beginning of a friendship that lasted for the next 16 years, but ended when she realised that she had been ‘conned by a cunning and manipulative paedophile’.

This is a woman who had worked in a senior capacity for Robert Maxwell, Rupert Murdoch and had been Alastair Campbell’s boss. Furthermore, everyone in their 50s was exposed to a good dose of Rolf if they had watched TV when they were kids. I saw Rolf on his lame TV show when he used to appear with someone dressed up as a Koala calling themselves Coojee Bear – presumably Amanda continues to think that was a real Koala. I had a particularly lethal dose of Rolf because my gran used to buy me a comic called ‘Teddy Bear’ which had a cartoon story featuring Rolf and a Koala in every issue. My friend Brown used to read ‘Teddy Bear’ as well when he was little, so he too was dangerously exposed to Rolf. Now we did not consider ourselves groomed by Rolf and even if we were London media twats and in a position to invite Rolf to our 40th birthday parties I don’t think that we would have bothered. And I certainly wouldn’t have sat on his knee. Because I would have been 40 not 4 and he was a complete idiot anyway.

Amanda  shared further insights with the readers of the ‘Daily Mail’: ‘pathological  offenders…the really clever ones, spend…99% of their time grooming people around them…Was Rolf always truly evil, a psychopathic monster, like Jimmy Savile, who gleefully manipulated all those around him? Looking at the picture of him published this week, posing with Savile on a trip to Broadmoor, the similarities are chillingly apparent. Could Rolf have been as dark, as sick, as twisted as that monster beside him?’

I’ve got an answer for Platell and her People. Rolf and Savile were probably about as dark, as sick and as twisted as the monsters that run the UK media, who failed to report on the activities of very serious criminals with links to public figures, including some in the Houses of Parliament, who were molesting children and even found it worth their while chucking a petrol bomb into a building where some of their victims were holding a party when those victims had finally started to talk about what had happened to them and it looked as though there might be a few prosecutions on the horizon. The very worst of those monsters in the media were personally employed by the politicians who were covering all of this up.

In Nov 2011 the infant who was groomed by Rolf was accused at the Leveson Inquiry by the actor Hugh Grant of performing a ‘hatchet job’ on him in the ‘Daily Mail’. This was a reference to a particularly poisonous article that Platell had written after Hugh Grant’s partner had given birth to their baby. I have read the statement that Grant submitted to the Inquiry and it makes for sober reading. One evening whilst Grant was appearing on ‘Question Time’ discussing the closure of the ‘News Of The World’, Murdoch and press standards, Grant’s partner received an anonymous phone call from someone who said ‘tell Hugh Grant to shut the fuck up’. Grant goes on to explain in his statement how he did not accompany the mother of his baby to hospital when she gave birth because they were trying to avoid a media scrum and he had ‘too many experiences of hospital staff being paid to leak information to the press’.

Yes, the Top Doctors and Angels do that.

Hugh Grant then goes on to state that nonetheless  that there was a leak to the ‘Daily Mail’ regarding the details of his visit the following day to his partner and their baby and the ‘Mail’ had also discovered the assumed name of Grant’s partner which they had used for the hospital booking. The ‘Daily Mail’ repeatedly rang Grant’s PR people in New York for a comment – they had somehow managed to obtain a number that wasn’t publicly known as well. The ‘Mail’ threatened to print the story, but Grant suspects that the reason that they did not was because they had obtained their information unethically and illegally from a hospital source. The ‘Mail’ had also acquired the mobile number of Grant’s partner and rang her on that. A story about the birth then appeared in ‘Us’ magazine in America. The UK tabloids subsequently printed ‘garbled/twisted’ version of the story. Grant’s partner’s home was then besieged by press and photographers, as was his own house. The mother of Grant’s partner was harassed by the press. Neighbours were doorstopped. Grant gives details of the extreme harassment that they all faced from the press, which included one incident of a car being driven at one of them. Grant noted that the ‘reporting’ on behalf of the ‘Daily Mail’ was done by Keith Gladdis, who had previously worked for the ‘News of the Screws’, which was of course closed down after the methods that were being used to obtain personal information about people for stories – including phone hacking – were revealed. It was at this time that Platell’s character assassination of Hugh Grant was published in the ‘Daily Mail’.

All this about London hospitals leaking info, Hugh Grant and Amanda working as the Press Manager for a politician who organised the cover-up of the paedophile ring in Wales brought back a few memories for me. Previous posts have described the grossly unethical conduct that I witnessed whilst I worked in London medical schools and how I now have documentation demonstrating that the psychiatrists who were concealing the paedophile ring in north Wales were in contact with people whom I was working with in London medical schools. I have mentioned how I was bullied out of a job at St George’s Hospital Medical School just at the time that the victims of the paedophile ring in north Wales had started speaking to the media and that a close friend of mine – whose parents knew what had happened to me in north Wales and who worked in the media herself and who wanted to make a documentary about it all – was bullied out of her job at the Royal Television Society at exactly the same time. That was in the spring of 1991. I came across a reference the other day to there having been a big scandal brewing involving a paedophile ring with connections to Westminster but it had ‘all been covered up in 1991’.

One of my more obnoxious colleagues at St George’s who did all that she could to make my life unbearable was a particularly vile and aggressive researcher, who seemed to hold a lot of influence with our supervisor Dr Cathy Wilson. This researcher wasn’t ever one for sensitive behaviour – she shagged one junior doctor in the laboratory – but she certainly had a real downer on me. I never found out what this researcher’s problem with me was, but she slammed doors in my face as I walked into laboratories and offices, she refused to allow me access to laboratory equipment and then told Wilson that I wasn’t doing any work, she never communicated with me in anything other than an angry shout and I understand that she told various people that it was going to be ensured that I ‘went back to Wales’. This woman came from quite a privileged background and used to spend much time name dropping to let the rest of us know how many aristos that she hung out with, but she also spent a lot of time ingratiating herself to luvvies. There was one young male luvvie that she was in hot pursuit of at the time – in 1990 – who was beginning to become very famous but was still based in London. I am pretty sure that it was Hugh Grant. Just before he became – HUGH GRANT????!!!!! I don’t know who exactly encouraged the dreadful Mandy Leigh to treat another researcher in the way that she did but I have a message for her: I was bullied out of that job and subsequently nearly framed for a very serious crime that I did not commit because I had crossed the paths of some Top Doctors who were facilitating a paedophile ring you obnoxious over-privileged sharp elbowed bullying cow. There are now a number of police investigations going on into the activities of the people who were determined to ensure that I ended up outside of polite company and back in the clutches of those who were colluding with organised crime. Would you like to contact whichever police station that you are now in close proximity to and make a statement naming the people who told you to behave in the way that you did?

Amanda Platell ironically suffered at the hands of the Top Doctors herself. In 2012 she penned a column for the ‘Daily Mail’ about the evils of the NHS offering IVF. Amanda reveals that she too had IVF but she Paid For It Herself, which is obviously a rather more worthy thing to do than access it on the NHS. The joke was on Amanda though – Amanda didn’t get pregnant despite handing over many thousands and then found out that in women over 40, IVF and associated interventions have a very low success rate but no-one told her. No Amanda, they won’t have. Because a lot of Top Doctors running IVF clinics are very unscrupulous (see post ‘The BMA And It’s Ethics’) and they see people like you coming a mile off – you have a lot more money than you do scientific knowledge and they will lie to you and milk you dry, whilst conning you that ‘going private’ will buy you something better than the plebs who are treated under the NHS get. Furthermore they know that if they keep their expensive smiles frozen on their faces and carry on lying to you, you’ll even write articles in publications like the ‘Daily Mail’ encouraging other mugs to part with their money as well.

Lest anyone think that I’m being somewhat unsympathetic to Amanda’s fleecing at the hands of the Top Doctors, I’m experiencing compassion fatigue because in a way Amanda brought this upon herself. Because Platell and her People won’t publish anything about one of the worst scandals that a lot of Top Doctors have been involved with – the concealing of the North Wales Child Abuse Scandal. I know this because before Amanda published poison about Hugh Grant and before she published her tale of woe about ripped off by the Top Doctors, two people with media links told me that the evidence that I had regarding the Top Doctors and the North Wales Child Abuse Scandal was so damning that I ought to go to the London-based media, because the Welsh media would be far too frightened to publish it. They both gave me the contact details of ‘Daily Mail’ journalists. I was very iffy – I didn’t feel that comfortable at the idea of getting into bed with the ‘Daily Mail’ – but I was told that what the Top Doctors were getting up to was so serious that I really should get it out in the public domain in any way that I could. I sent the story to two different ‘Daily Mail’ journos – I didn’t ask for any money. I received an enthusiastic e mail back immediately upon receipt of each e mail. Then a long silence…. never heard another word. Not even when three years ago or so Tom Watson unleashed the hounds of Hades when he went public on allegations that children had been sexually abused by people with links to Westminster. You’re quite right Tom, they had been. But Platell and her People worked for the very politician that covered it all up.

Of course Hague’s successor Theresa has now organised the Independent Inquiry Into Child Sexual Abuse – which is falling apart at the seams. I notice in today’s ‘Times’ dear old Murdoch has let the world know that the Home Office have now been fined £366,000 by the Treasury for breaching Whitehall rules regarding the salary of the latest Chair for that Inquiry, Professor Alexis Jay. Jay was the ‘choice’ of the current Home Secretary Amber Rudd. Rudd implied that the previous Chair – who has walked out and returned to New Zealand – Judge Lowell Goddard, had been up to no good. However it transpires that Lowell Goddard withdrew because Rudd was trying to force a team of Home Office officials onto her to run the ‘Independent’ Inquiry. Which would have not made it an Independent Inquiry led by Lowell Goddard. The Shirley Oaks Survivors Association, a group of former residents of children’s homes in Lambeth who suffered abuse whilst they were there, walked out of the Inquiry for the same reason. They also stated that Alexis Jay, a former social worker, was turning the Inquiry into a ‘social workers talking shop’. Yes, that’s exactly what she’ll do. Because it is the social work profession that was infiltrated by paedophiles that caused havoc and social work as a profession still has not come to terms with it and will not admit it. And to remain in that profession at any senior level one will just have to have turned a blind eye to some fairly sordid things. So when they are confronted with what went on, social workers start talking about the need to fight stigma and to safeguard children and to make sure that no other child ever suffers and how everyone must feel safe but no-one must be blamed. What they will not do is name the paedophiles or their colleagues who allowed those paedophiles to commit offences against children in care. The Shirley Oaks Survivors Association however have done exactly that on their website. They are still in touch with Lowell Goddard.

The Waterhouse Inquiry whitewashed what went on in north Wales because Hague appointed Ronald Waterhouse, a man who had personal connections with many of the people who actually facilitated the paedophile ring in north Wales, along with a team of lawyers and officials from the Welsh Office who knew what was going on at the time and colluded with it, to run the Inquiry.

I think that it’s about time that I did a bit of research on Amber Rudd and her connections to see if I can work out why she not only had such faith in Alexis Jay, but was prepared to break Whitehall rules in order to appoint her.

 

 

 

News Round Up, May 2, 2017

A few weeks ago I blogged about the scams that I witnessed in fertility clinics  in the early 1990s (see post ‘Every Sperm Is Sacred – Especially In Scotland’). I suspected that practices won’t have changed much since then, because many of the people named in that post are still practising. So I was interested to read the Mail Online expose of fertility clinics this morning – the Mail sent undercover journalists in to a number of clinics and yes, they uncovered scams and profiteering, in some instances the very same scams that I saw years ago. They discovered NHS patients being pressurised to donate eggs for private clinics, an illegal trade in eggs, pointless extra ‘treatments’ being flogged, supposedly ‘natural’ treatments that are clinically ineffective and clinics charging astronomical prices for drugs that can be obtained much more cheaply on prescription from places like Boots. Lord Robert Winston has commented that some of his colleagues have no ethical or moral compass – which is true and I’m glad that he’s finally admitted it, but Robert Winston has known this for years. He probably didn’t participate in these practices himself – he had a very sound reputation – but everyone knew that this sort of thing was going on. And of course the serial sexual harassing gynaecologist who worked at St Georges Hospital Medical School mentioned in previous posts had previously worked with Robert Winston at Hammersmith. I rather suspect that Winston wasn’t going to tolerate this man’s conduct himself, so he passed him onto St George’s – who, as I explained in a previous post, passed him to Wales where he was now been for many years. What nobody did was flag up his behaviour and remove him from circulation.

A reader has drawn my attention to the fact that HMP Berwyn has won an award no less – for building design! What have we come to when a warehouse on an industrial estate built to house the dispossessed whom the mental health services refuse to care for wins an award? Is this really the best that Wales can produce?

BBC News Wales have reported on the difficulties that Gypsies and Travellers have ‘engaging’ with the NHS. The NHS is in such a sorry state that I’m not sure that the Gypsies and Travellers are missing out on much – and attitudes to them are appalling. A farming family whom I know in Snowdonia have a daughter who trained as a nurse at Oxford Brookes. This young woman is very diligent but isn’t much of a critical thinker – if she is taught that something is ‘right’, she accepts it without question, a characteristic that is prevalent among student nurses who are told that they are being taught by ‘experts’ in ‘nursing science’. She told her mum all about the ‘problems’ that she had when she had to visit Gypsy and Traveller families because they don’t vaccinate their children (which of course a lot of middle class families in north London wouldn’t after Andrew Wakefield told everyone that the MMR vaccine led to children developing autism). It’s OK if you’re dealing with Gypsies though – this young woman was told to tell the Gypsies that if they didn’t vaccinate their children they’d be taken into care. Problem solved! Is it surprising that they’re not ‘engaging’…

The Guardian is reporting on Hospeda, a private company operating in NHS hospitals – I think in England – who are charging patients astronomical amounts of money for telephone and TV packages. Tim Farron has taken up the cause as part of his election campaign.

Talking of politics, Blair has announced that he’s coming back! Yes, the man whom the sociologist Pierre Bourdieu called ‘the most dangerous man in the world’ is returning to politics because we need him, although we haven’t realised it. I wonder if he’ll be bringing back the rest of his dreadful coterie with him, eg. Mandelson, Alistair Campbell et al. Of course it was Blair who kick-started much of the insanity in the health and welfare services that this blog discusses – the jack boot of the state taking choice away from people under the guise of ‘social inclusion’ (such as those pesky Gypsies who won’t have their kids vaccinated), Blunkett dishing out whole life tariffs to people with learning disabilities who have probably been framed by the north Wales mental health services and their associates in a paedophile ring, Charlie Falconer and Vera Baird abolishing Legal Aid because too many people looked as though they were going to win cases against the British State, that business of 81 people telling various New Labour ministers that an awful lot of people seemed to be dying in the care of Mid-Staffs but whose requests for an enquiry were ignored, that ill-thought out GP contract that has led to the current problems with the out of hours service. And of course it was under Blair that ‘service user involvement’ really flourished – whilst people died. I won’t even get going on him advising various dictators with dreadful records on human rights and Cherie’s legal practice advising very similar people on their own ‘human rights’ after they have overthrown democratically elected Gov’ts. Has Blair not worked out that the present chaos in the Labour Party is a direct result of him parachuting in the likes of Tristram Hunt into safe seats whom the grassroots didn’t want and who had no interest in their constituents anyway? Tristram didn’t give a bugger about people in Stoke On Trent, he just wanted a position in Cabinet. It’s why the membership kept voting for Jeremy Corbyn Blair – they’d had a bellyful of you and your sickening unscrupulous vacuous careerist shites on the make….Who were of course ‘intensely relaxed’ about ‘people getting filthy rich’ – particularly when it was them. So please, not Blair all over again, or Chuka, or Yvette, or Caroline Flint – it’ll be nearly enough to make me vote Tory. Ooh nearly forgot though – who was one of Blair’s first visitors to Number 10 after his election? Thatcher! She was invited to tea. At which point a number of my friends returned their Labour Party membership cards.

News Round-Up, March 27 2017

Since I blogged about many of the dodgy practices involved in fertility treatment (please see ‘Every Sperm Is Sacred – Particularly In Scotland’) there have been a couple of features in the dear old Daily Mail regarding this subject. One feature was an investigation into the staggeringly low success rates of many of these treatments – low success rates that patients were not being informed of – and another report described how the Whittington Hospital in London is charging patients nearly three thousand pounds for a vial of sperm – for which the Whittington had paid the donor £30. The Whittington described their unit as ‘non-profitmaking’ – which is certainly an interesting way of explaining such a rate of inflation. So it looks as though very little has changed in the fertility business since I was observing it twenty-five years ago.

There have been two mental health stories in the past few days as well, both quite surprising. One story maintained that ‘role models’ who were known to have suffered from mental health problems were going to be held up to children in school lessons in order to ‘educate’ children about mental health. The children in question were expected to gain knowledge of which ‘role models’ had suffered from which mental health problems. Diana Princess of Wales and David Beckham were named as possible role models. I’m not sure that any of this is going to beneficial – not only is this whole hare-brained scheme inducting children into the notion of believing that some very questionable ‘diagnoses’ map onto conditions that actually exist and that such a diagnosis constitutes the defining feature of the person to whom it has been applied, but I don’t think that Diana and David Beckham are even very suitable ‘role models’. Beckham’s achievements consist of being paid a huge quantity of money for kicking a ball about, marrying a woman who almost certainly starves herself in a pathological manner and ruthlessly using his children to promote the family’s various business interests – he most recently hit the headlines for getting very angry at not being awarded a knighthood. As for Diana – there is every indication that Diana was a very unhappy person indeed who never actually overcame her various problems. How many present day schoolchildren should really take a leaf out of the book of someone who was married off when she was still a teenager to a much older man – who was in love with someone else anyway – in order to produce an heir and a spare, and who then embarked upon relationships with a series of rather unscrupulous men and employed a butler who attempted to steal some of her dresses after her death and who is still shamelessly flogging stories about her to the tabloids? The other mental health story involved a recommendation that teachers should have more training to deal with mental health problems. Although teachers should be competent and sensitive enough to respond appropriately to children in distress, teachers are already crumbling under more and more demands from Government. Psychiatrists earn very much more than teachers – if teachers are now expected to double-up as mental health specialists, is this not an admission that we might as well sack the mental health professionals and save on their salaries? The same news report also published some not very credible figures on adolescent distress, maintaining that nearly everyone surveyed between the ages of 12 and the late teenage years claimed that they felt anxious and stressed. This was taken to be an indication that ‘9 out of 10’ young people had mental health problems. This phenomenon used to be called ‘being a teenager’ and was fairly well-known. A piece of research was also quoted maintaining that most school pupils surveyed stated that they’d rather talk to their parents about mental health problems than a teacher. Which I think is evidence that a lot of parents are actually doing a really good job rather than a cause for concern at the lack of ‘awareness’ among teachers.

Regarding ‘Parabl’, an organisation that has featured previously on this blog, described by a reader as the love-child between CAIS and MIND – I have received yet another e mail from a reader who has been refused a service from Parabl on the grounds that his mental health problems are ‘too serious’ to be worthy of the ‘intervention’ offered by Parabl, after what he described as a ‘tick box exercise’ to ‘assess’ him. Readers are asking exactly who Parabl is ‘treating’, as well as what Parabl actually agreed to deliver in their funding arrangement and whether Parabl should be advising the many people to whom they are refusing a service as to where they can get support.

Lastly, news from NHS England. Jeremy Hunt has attended the funeral of a little boy from Cornwall who died of sepsis as a result of NHS failures, saying that he was obliged to attend to ‘apologise’. Vaughan Gething – you’d better get up to north Wales, there’s mental health patients dying on a weekly basis and you have an awful lot of funerals to attend.

Every Sperm Is Sacred – Particularly In Scotland

The Scottish Government have announced that it will agree to fund three cycles of IVF for couples having difficulty conceiving and Aileen Campbell, Scotland’s Public Health Minister, has been crowing about this and how much better and more generous the NHS in Scotland therefore is than the rest of the UK https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/mar/24/scottish-government-to-fund-three-cycles-of-ivf

In recent years there has been an open debate regarding the questionable claims made by some fertility clinics concerning the success rates of their various procedures and it is well-known that the owners of many of these clinics have become seriously rich – fertility treatment is one area of medicine in which literally millions can be raked in. There are a lot of people with fertility problems who will make very big sacrifices in order to fund fertility treatment privately or exert huge pressure on the NHS to fund such treatment and now that fertility clinics no longer refuse to treat single parents or gay couples the market is huge. This is why fertility clinics cover their walls with photos of the babies that have resulted from their ‘successes’ – and anyway they would never dare photograph their ‘failures’, it would simply be too gruesome.

The science behind fertility treatment is awesome and it’s interesting to see how fertility treatment, including IVF, has now been completely embraced by the medical establishment. Yet when Patrick Steptoe and Bob Edwards were carrying out the research that underpinned IVF in the 1970s they faced huge opposition with swathes of the scientific and medical establishment making it clear that they were not considered in the least bit acceptable. It took them a very long time to be recognised for their work – Patrick Steptoe died before the really big accolades were awarded, although Bob Edwards was eventually knighted and awarded a Nobel prize. Patrick Steptoe was known to have felt very sore about the way that he and Edwards had been cold-shouldered and he never forgave a lot of people. There is film-footage available of Steptoe getting very angry indeed with Robert Winston – now Lord Winston – because although Winston himself later became the UKs most well-known fertility specialist, he had actually been one of the people who had opposed Steptoe and Edwards’s early work. Edwards was actually a graduate of Bangor University (although when he studied there it was still known as University College of North Wales), but for decades the University didn’t mention him – instead it was always Roger Whittacker no less who was mentioned on the PR material as a famous old boy. In the past few years however, it does seem to have dawned on Bangor that they educated a man who made scientific history and these days they do own up to having had him there as an undergrad.

After the birth of the first ‘IVF baby’ Louise Brown in 1978 however, IVF was speedily embraced by the medical establishment. By the time that I was working in London medical schools in the late 1980s, absolutely everybody in every hospital across the country wanted an IVF unit. They were always very frank about the reason why – because it would bring in money. Private clinics were run as businesses and very profitable ones at that, but NHS hospitals were all tripping over themselves to establish a unit offering IVF to private patients as well, because it was perceived to be a way of raising funds for research or to subsidise IVF for NHS patients. There were undoubtedly some very genuine people whose plans for their IVF units were quite altruistic – the unfairness of a situation in which IVF was unavailable to people without money was a constant topic of conversation and Thatcher’s Government was extremely hostile to universities and had slashed research funding to such an extent that people were desperately trying to think up ways of compensating for the lost income. In addition, bog standard district general hospitals who had no research interests at all also wanted IVF units – to confer status upon themselves.

The enthusiasm for establishing fertility units in the late 80s/early 90s had consequences. District general hospitals like Ysbyty Gwynedd were flailing around in an area of medicine in which they had absolutely no expertise and very often just did not know what they were doing. The success rates were very, very low indeed. Furthermore, some business people with ‘a doctor in the family’ then hit upon the idea of establishing a fertility clinic. And because success rates were unimpressive even in the best clinics and the patients were desperate people made vulnerable by their longing for a baby and rarely had any knowledge of the science underpinning fertility treatment, those patients were ripe for exploitation by unscrupulous practitioners – and of course the medical establishment being what it was and still is, no-one reigned those practitioners in, although there was widespread concern about a lot of what was going on. As ever in medicine, there was just a very effective grapevine that warned people away from working with certain people and certain clinics, just as a grapevine is still in operation warning psychiatrists not to take a job in north Wales.

I soon discovered the grim underbelly of fertility treatment when I was working in London. I had a number of contacts and friends who were employed in the field and I heard some very odd accounts at first-hand. I knew someone who was a very good embryologist and who had been in on IVF from quite early on. She personally knew a lot of the people who owned and directed those clinics – she memorably observed that although she loved embryology she was concerned that so many of the people involved in running these clinics were ‘megalomaniacs’. At the time there were people like Professor Ian Craft whose practices were being openly questioned and treated with suspicion – Ian Craft was controversial because he practised selective foetal reduction ie. he would implant as many as nine or ten embryos in the uterus, knowing that if more than one or two survived he would have to abort the others. Although Ian Craft was openly treated with hostility by many people and regularly hit the headlines, there was an awful lot of bad behaviour going on behind the scenes that was less florid and never received publicity.

One clinic that was the centre of many extraordinary anecdotes was run by a Dr Bridget Mason. I was told by my embryologist contact that Mason’s family had actually made their money out of a laundry business, but because Bridget Mason was a gynaecologist, the family had then invested in a fertility clinic. The clinic run by Mason was not part of a hospital or research unit, it was simply a private clinic offering fertility treatment. It was a clinic that everybody was warned to stay away from if they were looking for a job. There seemed to be a number of staff who had worked there and left, having been paid appallingly. It was alleged that the clinic spared no expense in providing front of house facilities such as sumptuous waiting rooms with copies of Vogue strewn about to dupe the patients into believing that this was a quality establishment, but would not invest in scientific and technical staff to do the basics behind the scenes. This clinic was notorious because it was alleged that they were skimping on the staff to such an extent that there was no-one to carry the sperm samples between the lab where the sperm counts were being carried out and the rest of the clinic, which was housed in a building several stories high. I was told that the procedure was to actually throw the sperm samples out of one of the upstairs windows into the courtyard below, where the sample would then be picked up and taken inside. This clinic had become well-known across London for it’s flying sperm. I suppose it could be argued that as long as the sperm samples flew to the correct location and were duly collected, patients would not be harmed by sperm being thrown out of windows. There were further allegations about this clinic though. One was that their labs were in such chaos that staff feared that mix-ups in the samples were happening constantly and it was only a matter of time before this would be discovered by someone giving birth to a baby that they knew could not possibly be from the allotted sperm sample eg. a baby of a different race. Another allegation about the same clinic came from a middle-eastern gynaecologist that I knew who also maintained that questionable things were going on there. She had been told by a couple who had been treated there that the husband of the couple had been given – and had of course paid a handsome price for – a general anaesthetic, because ‘this increases the sperm count’. No-one had ever come across any evidence that this was indeed so, but as the middle-eastern doctor told me ‘they think that the patients are the stupidest dummies and tell them anything’. When I first heard tales of this sort of thing I presumed that there was a gulf between the practises of the clinics run by the likes of the Masons and those with sound scientific reputations. So imagine my surprise when I heard a while later that the Mason’s establishment was going into partnership with one of the most prestigious clinics in the UK – if I remember rightly it was Bourne Hall. I took the opportunity to google Bridget Mason the other day – the clinic, the Hallam Clinic looks as though it is still in operation, but there is no mention of Bridget. She probably took the money and ran long ago.

The flying sperm and administration of general anaesthetics to work their magic on spermatogenesis were not the most florid tales that I heard. I knew one person who had worked at a clinic in I think Birmingham, for a man called Dr Jack Glatt. This person had left Jack Glatt’s employment on the grounds that he really was deeply unpleasant. They had witnessed a scene in which Jack Glatt’s examination of a female patient had been so disrespectful and offensive that the patient’s husband had punched him. No charges were ever brought because Jack Glatt could not have afforded the scrutiny. Jack Glatt and Ian Craft both featured in an ITV expose by Roger Cook in 1991 in which it was alleged that a patient had died at the hands of Jack Glatt.

But what of the more prestigious institutions, the medical schools that offered fertility treatment? They were not above telling porkies to the patients either. When I worked at St George’s Hospital Medical School in the Obs and Gynae dept (please see blog posts ‘St George’s Hospital Medical School 1989/90’ and ‘Some Very Eminent Psychiatrists From London’ for full details of the insanity and malpractice that pervaded St George’s), the minor porkie that was being told to fertility patients regarded the qualifications and status of the nurse who carried out the sperm inseminations on the female patients. This woman was given the title ‘Sister’, although she was actually a retired SEN – she had never even achieved registered nurse status, let alone reached the dizzy heights of ‘Sister’. She was difficult and rude and was the centre of much discord and complaint. I wondered why the dept employed somebody this inappropriate in such a sensitive position until one day I heard it from the horse’s mouth – the registrar who was responsible for the fertility treatment let on that this ‘Sister’ was happy to perform the role free of charge because she wanted an active retirement. After I left St George’s, a major scandal happened in that dept which involved one of the consultants being struck off for research fraud – he had published a paper in which he had claimed to have successfully treated an ectopic pregnancy, by transferring the embryo from the Fallopian tube into the uterus. He hadn’t actually done this and the ensuing scandal was enormous, because he had put the name of the Professor of the Dept on the paper as well, who had to stand down from his position as President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and was widely rumoured to have missed out on an expected knighthood because of it. St George’s tried to ride the scandal out and kept the dept open although it was known to be highly dysfunctional. (St George’s were eventually forced to close the dept in the wake of more grief and bad publicity.) Then another scandal hit them, involving Rashmi Varma, the consultant who oversaw the fertility treatment. She received full coverage in the dear old Daily Mail, because she was up in front of the GMC having been reported to them in the wake of allegations from an angry patient that she had pressurised this NHS patient into donating eggs for private patients. Rashmi Varma was cleared by the GMC but many years later I met up with a member of staff from St George’s who was working there when it all happened who told me that everyone was actually convinced of her guilt and she had got off very lightly. Interestingly enough, my most abiding memory of Rashmi Varma was of her treating one very pleasant junior doctor who was also from India very badly – when I enquired of a colleague what was behind this I was told that it was because she was a Varma and was therefore from a much higher caste than him. Which was particularly ironic because there were some who thought that they were being treated by a woman from an ethnic minority who was breaching barriers…

There was however one doctor working at St George’s whose presence there was far more worrying than an horrific snob alleged to be pressurising NHS patients into doing favours for the paying customers. That was a man who achieved infamy within weeks of arriving at the dept by having sex with one of the researchers – in the lab. By the time that he did this it was clear that this man was a little odd and he was becoming widely disliked for numerous reasons. Because my research involved working with placental material and umbilical cords, I spent a lot of time on the labour ward and got to know the staff down there very well. I got to know something else as well – that the man who had sex with my colleague in the lab was a serious sexual harasser of midwives and cleaners. His favourite technique was accosting the cleaning staff in the sluice room when they were alone – a lot of the cleaners were young migrant workers from the far east who were very submissive and would never ever have felt able to challenge him. He truly seemed to be the Dafydd Alun Jones of St George’s. This man’s (mis)conduct was openly discussed and on one occasion I was told that he was such a liability that he was going to be frozen out of the London scene and they’d do what they always did with bad doctors – they’d ‘send him to Wales’. And they bloody well did too – he is now a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board and at one point was clinical director there. The dreadful Brian Gibbons, one of the many who ignored the slaughter in the NHS in north Wales in his capacity as Health Minister, managed to give this man an award some years ago. This man is also a Board Member of ‘Time For Medicine’, a medical technology company and has a private practice at the Spire Cardiff Hospital. He recently boasted of his achievements fundraising for ‘Mothers Of Africa’ – I note that this was a ‘sailing challenge’. It won’t have been much of a challenge for him, after all his hobby is sailing, he is a member of the Yacht Club at Cardiff Bay. He is also in hot pursuit of a pilot’s licence, so he is obviously enjoying a rather better lifestyle than the cleaners whom he spent so much time groping. I note that although this doctor is still working in obs and gynae, he does not work in fertility treatment – which is interesting because when he first turned up at St George’s he tried to pull rank on everyone by letting us all know that he had just come from Hammersmith Hospital, where he had been working with Robert Winston. What’s the betting that he left Hammersmith under a rather big cloud? But this is how medicine works. Problematic doctor? You don’t raise a concern, you pass them on. So Robert Winston gave him to St George’s – who gave him to Wales. Where he has now stayed.

So despite all the boasting by the SNP of their ‘funding of three IVF cycles’ they might be spending their money on a questionable service delivered by some even more questionable people. But then NHS Scotland is not as Nicola Sturgeon would have us believe – as I found out three years ago when I spent a summer in the hands of NHS Scotland at Parkhead Hospital in Glasgow. It was of course yet another attempt to intimidate me, but putting me in abusive hospitals is not a good idea – I have this tendency to publish what I witness….