News Round Up, August 1, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Janet Finch-Saunders and Leanne Wood Speak Out

Janet Finch-Saunders, the Conservative AM for Aberconwy, has made some damning comments about the Welsh Gov’t, stating that since the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board was placed in special measures it’s performance has gone downhill drastically. She quotes some truly dreadful statistics relating to the waiting times for treatments for certain conditions to demonstrate her point and suggests that a committee of AMs should perhaps oversee the performance of the Welsh Gov’t. For his part, Vaughan Gething the Health Minister has stated that the Welsh NHS is improving unlike NHS England. Vaughan is telling porkies. Anyone keeping an eye on the Welsh media or indeed reading this blog could only conclude that the NHS in Wales is in tatters. The NHS in England (and Scotland) is as well, but at least the Westminster Gov’t have at last withdrawn their heads from the sand and admitted that they have serious problems. So do we Vaughan, just look at how many deaths I have recorded on this blog among mental health patients alone in north Wales since August. On THREE occasions I have recorded the deaths of more than one mental health patient in one day. And my blog is mainly concerned with mental health – I have however noticed the constant stream of media stories relating to patients with other conditions who are also being harmed or dying unnecessarily because of NHS failures. Vaughan’s complacency and dishonesty is appalling. However Janet Finch-Saunders has missed a crucial factor in her analysis of the rapidly declining performance of the Betsi – the Betsi hitting rock bottom has coincided with the arrival of Dr Peter Higson as Chair. Higson was previously CEO of Health Inspectorate Wales (HIW). He held that position for many years and was the only CEO HIW had ever had. At the time of his departure, HIW was stated to be ‘not fit for purpose’. Which presumably was something to do with him. The question that we should be asking is why Higson was ever appointed as CEO of HIW and who appointed him – his previous ‘career’ as a psychologist and manager at the North Wales Hospital was hardly a sound basis for roles in public life  – and having destroyed HIW, why was he ever appointed as Chair of the Betsi and again who appointed him? And who the bloody hell gave him an OBE?

There is one other thing that I’d like to note however. Although Janet has now appeared in the Daily Post ‘slamming’ the Betsi on a number of grounds, she has not mentioned the genocide of mental health patients. Not a whisper. But this doesn’t surprise me. A few years ago just before an Assembly election I went undercover to try to find out just who in north Wales was prepared to speak out about the lethal mental health services. I discovered that Unllais, the Gwynedd and Anglesey Advocacy service, MIND and the Bangor Samaritans all knew exactly how bad the ‘services’ were but none of them were prepared to raise concerns. I did however have a very interesting conversation with one person associated with a MIND branch in the north Wales region. This person seemed to be in a state of near terror even being asked to have a conversation about the mental health services. They admitted that they knew that patients were killing themselves, as well as being neglected and even assaulted by staff in the in-patient units in north Wales. They advised me not to make any complaints at all about anything that was happening to a friend who was at that time being abused in the Hergest Unit, because they maintained that if I complained my friend would end up receiving even worse treatment. I then told this person that I was going to approach the local politicians about the situation. They became nearly hysterical when I suggested this and told me that this would not be a good idea at all. When I asked them why they said that they’d been told by a politician in north Wales that the politicians really didn’t want to hear complaints about the mental health services, because if they received complaints at the present time (ie. just before the election) they’d have to respond. So this politician had asked MIND not to refer people raising concerns to them. I asked the person from MIND which politician had said this. They whispered ‘Janet Finch-Saunders’ and hung up.

Janet – you’ve been caught out…

Another of our esteemed AMs has spoken out today regarding the NHS in Wales. That was Leanne Wood who raised the matter of the NHS in Questions to the First Minister. Leanne later tweeted to the world ‘9% of NHS patients not getting enough water says Leanne Wood’ and also tweeted a photo of herself in action at the Senedd labelled ‘Plaid Backing Welsh NHS’. I don’t know where Leanne has acquired her figures from regarding patients thirstiness, perhaps she has done a survey herself – however she seems to have missed the fact that an awful lot more mental health patients are being found dead than patients that have died of thirst. I’m touched by her claim of ‘Plaid Backing Welsh NHS’ as well. If Leanne wants to take a look at my blog post ‘And Now – It’s The Gallery’ she will find that I’ve posted up photos of a number of people whom I know to have been involved in, concealed or ignored neglect and abuse in the mental health services in north Wales. A number of them are Plaid politicians, one of them is a former Plaid County Councillor and one of them, Dr Dafydd Alun Jones, is a former Plaid candidate. I haven’t even bothered to put up photos of the many Plaid politicians and Councillors who are simply keeping silent on the matter, although if I had have done this, Leanne’s own photo would be there.

 

And Now – It’s The Gallery…

Readers of a similar vintage to me might remember the 70s BBC children’s programme ‘Vision On’, presented by the slightly weird Tony Hart. At the end of each episode there was a few minutes in which art-work that the young viewers had sent in was displayed – this was always preceded by a voice-over saying ‘And now – it’s the gallery’. A reader of this blog has suggested that I should construct a gallery featuring mugshots of some of those that have featured on this blog, in order that readers can identify them should they be unfortunate enough to have an unpleasant encounter. So here is the gallery featuring some of those that I hope have been immortalised on this blog – although it is by no means exhaustive. I’m not going to have space here to give an extended description of the activities of those who feature in the gallery, readers are invited to use the search facility on the blog to access further details…

Dr Dafydd Alun Jones (below). Described me as ‘attractive and seductive’. Just use the search facility….

Lucille Hughes (below). Dafydd’s former flibbertigibbet. Former Director of Gwynedd Social Services – named in the Waterhouse Report as knowing that a paedophile ring was operating in the children’s services but was failing to respond.

Dafydd Iwan (below). Former leader of Gwynedd County Council and folk-singer who penned and recorded a ‘tribute’ to Dr Dafydd Alun Jones.

Hywel Williams (below). Plaid MP for Arfon. Supporter of Dr Dafydd Alun Jones. Former psychiatric social worker in north Wales. Held one of his post-election victory parties at home of nurse employed at very troubled Hergest Unit. Walked away from constituents who tried to discuss problems in mental health services.

Betty Williams (below). Former Labour MP for Conwy. One of Blair’s Babes. Ignored complaints from constituents about mental health services in north Wales.

Elfyn Llwyd (below). Former Plaid MP for Dwyfor Meirionydd – another big supporter of Dr Dafydd Alun Jones. Also worked as a barrister at the same time as representing Dwyfor Merionydd.

Llyr Huws Gruffydd (below). Plaid AM for north Wales. Described mediocre boarding house run as ‘nursing home’ by Dr Dafydd Alun Jones as ‘beacon of excellence’.

Gordon Anglesea (below). Former senior officer in North Wales Police, convicted of sexually abusing boys in care last year, died in prison shortly afterwards. Prior to his conviction, Anglesea won substantial damages in a libel trial against Private Eye – because they accused him of sexually abusing children.

Arfon Jones (below). North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner. Chauffered Gordon Anglesea to the building where Anglesea abused youngsters but never returned to pick up him. Was also responsible for an ‘oversight’ that resulted in Anglesea’s widow receiving 50% of his police pension after his death as a convicted sex offender.

Theodore Huckle QC (below). Barrister at Doughty Street Chambers specialising in medical negligence. Former Counsel General for Wales. Whilst Counsel General had access to twenty five years worth of medical records relating to one patient from north Wales compiled by professionals who documented their own law-breaking and wrongdoing throughout. Theo kept schtum. Tawel Fan scandal happed whilst Theo was Counsel General.

Paul Farmer CBE (below). CEO of MIND. Has known about the serious abuses of the mental health services for many years – has kept completely silent about it.

Alastair Campbell (below). MIND Ambassador. Former advisor to Tony Blair – resigned after the unfortunate death of Dr David Kelly.

Dr Peter Higson OBE (below). Former manager of the North Wales Hospital Denbigh; former CEO of Health Inspectorate Wales; present Chairman of Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board. Member of Council at Bangor University. Ignored an awful lot of complaints concerning abuses in the mental health services during his long and illustrious career.

Dr Ruth Hussey OBE (below). Sister of Dr Peter Higson. Former Chief Medical Officer for Wales. Honorary Fellow of Bangor University. Recipient of honorary degree from Swansea University.

Dr David Healy (below). Consultant psychiatrist at the Hergest Unit. Has built up an international reputation for bravely taking on Big Pharma whilst ignoring the carnage in his own Unit.

Dr Richard Tranter (below). Former consultant psychiatrist at Hergest Unit. Protégé of Dr David Healy, author of misery memoir ‘Richard’s Story’, as featured on Healy’s blog. Emigrated to New Zealand in a hurry some three or four years ago.

Professor Rob Poole (below) of the Centre For Mental Health and Society, Bangor University. First man to describe rare mental illness in patients, main symptom being ‘complaining about Rob Poole’. Outed on David Healy’s blog as an academic mediocrity.

Professor Mark Williams (below). Former colleague of Dr David Healy. Mindfulness guru – and it all started at Bangor in the 1980s…

Professor Jo Rycroft-Malone (below). Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research at Bangor University, Member of Betsi Board. A deeply compromised woman.

 

Dr Laurence Chesterman (below). Forensic psychiatrist, ‘expert witness’ with ‘expertise’ in ‘factitious illness’. Formerly of this parish, now living in England. Maintained that he ‘assessed’ me in Caernarfon Police Station (after his own colleagues had me arrested) – although I have never met him.

His Honour Judge Huw Morgan Gruffydd Daniel, formerly Lord Lieutenant of Gwynedd (below left). Presided over my eventual trial after the Hergest Unit attempted to have me imprisoned for ‘threatening to kill’ Alun Davies, when I had told his secretary, over the phone, that he was a ‘fat idiot’. I was convicted of ‘behaviour likely to cause alarm, distress and harassment’ but I have recently discovered that a certificate of indictment was forged and the PNC was altered to show a conviction for ‘violent disorder’.

Dr Brian Gibbons (below). Former Health Minister in Welsh Govt and GP. Wrote me a letter stating that ‘this correspondence is over’ when I told him that I had evidence of criminal activity in the north Wales mental health services.

Alun Ffred (below). Brother of Dafydd Iwan and former AM for Arfon. Praised Elfed Roberts (see below) for his sterling work as Chairman of the disasterous North West Wales NHS Trust.

Elfed Roberts (below on the left) and Mark Drakeford (below on the right). Elfed: former senior officer with the North Wales Police, left under a cloud, then became Chair of North West Wales NHS Trust. Ignored serious staff misconduct, used his mates who were still serving in the force to assist him in harassing patients who dared complain. Member of Bangor University Council, sits on ‘fair practice’ committee. Mark Drakeford: former Health Minister in Welsh Govt. Tawel Fan scandal exploded on his watch. Drakeford knew how serious the problems were in the Betsi – a former professor of sociology who knows exactly what a dysfunctional organisation and dodgy research looks like. Recipient of my e mail regarding my fears concerning clinical trials of ‘mindfulness based cognitive therapy’. I never received a reply. Some weeks later Mark appeared in the media promoting mindfulness.  Former social worker whose appointment as Health Minister was ‘welcomed’ by the BMA.

Yesterday’s Betsi Board Meeting – March 17 2017

As promised (please see blog post ‘A Truly Splendid Letter From The CEO And The Chairman Of The Betsi’) I attended yesterday’s meeting of the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, despite Gary the CEO and Peter the Chair’s silly letter objecting to the way in which I report these meetings on my blog. So here’s the latest review of at least part of the meeting – as usual I couldn’t bear any more than about two hours worth of these wallies, so I left just before noon. I understand that the meeting continued for sometime after this, so apologies to the Betsi Board if they suddenly geared up immediately after I left and presented detailed plans as to how they were going to extract themselves from the millions pounds worth of debt that they are currently in and prevent the ongoing slaughter of vulnerable people.

I was interested to see that Martin Jones (Director of Workforce and Operational Development) was present at the meeting, I have been missing Martin because he hasn’t appeared in public for a while. I’m glad that he’s back though, presumably someone suggested that he ought to be at least pretending to be making an effort in return for his protected salary of approx. £130,000 pa. Jo Rycroft-Malone (the Board’s Bangor University Rep) has also reappeared after last month’s absence and was having a cosy girly chat with Lyn Meadows (Independent Board Member). These two are prone to this, at a previous meeting Jo was standing protectively behind the dreadful Lyn, stroking her arms. I hate to think what is being cooked up between the two of them – Meadows was previously employed as HR Director at Bangor University and was memorably described to me by one person who had been on the receiving end of her as an ‘evil bitch’. Which was certainly interesting because exactly the same phrase was used to describe her by a member of staff at the Welsh Ambulance Service when Meadows was employed as a manager there. The phrase ‘evil bitch’ is obviously one that springs to mind after meeting Lyn. Rycroft-Malone is the former Head of the School of Healthcare Sciences at Bangor University and is now Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research there – Jo has in the past of course found herself in receipt of research funds from the Betsi as detailed previously on this blog. I’ve never heard anyone describe her as an ‘evil bitch’ per se, but I did hear allegations of serious bullying of students, racism and plagiarism levelled against her. I also had sight of a document that indicated that Jo had done some very interesting things with a research budget after a researcher walked out of a project before it had ended. Presumably by the time of the next Board meeting, Jo and Lyn will have progressed on to a ‘group hug’ in the carefully stage-managed manner of Leanne Wood, Nicola Sturgeon and Natalie Bennet during the last general election campaign. Women do things differently!

The meeting was late starting because there seemed to be a certain amount of disarray in the room, but eventually Jo and Lyn managed to prise themselves away from each other, everyone took their seats and Peter Higson (Chairman) began with a Piece of Good News. The Betsi has won an award! (Of course the Betsi announced that it had won another award earlier this week, but that turned out not to be all it seemed – please see blog post ‘How Did These Two Events Ever Happen?’). Anyway, the Betsi has been named in the Stonewall Top 100 Organisations for the ‘inclusion of diverse people’. Now I’m not sure how the Betsi has managed to achieve this. I know for a fact that Dr Alberto Salmoiraghi, the one good psychiatrist that they have at the Betsi, has been subjected to racism from ‘colleagues’ because he dares to be Italian. I know of one student nurse from Rycroft-Malone’s School of Healthcare Sciences at Bangor University, whilst Rycroft-Malone was Head of School, who was subjected to vicious work-place bullying during his time on placement at the Hergest Unit because he was gay. And I also know of two overseas medical professionals who went to work on projects in Rycroft-Malone’s School, again whilst she was Head, who were both subjected to naked bigotry. One man was so unpopular among his ‘colleagues’ there – on the grounds that he ‘stank’ and ‘couldn’t speak English properly’ – that there was an arrangement to prevent him gaining access to the building by failing to give him the new code to the door-lock. I was told by a witness to all this that the person who dreamt up this particular solution to the problems that Johnny Foreigner was causing was one Jo Rycroft-Malone. I also heard at first-hand from a lady from Kazakhstan who had the misfortune to work there that every time she told someone where she was from, people would start laughing and say ‘ooh like Borat’. She asked me what they meant – I didn’t actually tell her that those particular ignoramuses being ‘managed’ by Jo were referring to an offensive racist parody of someone from Kazakhstan by a British comedian. I can reveal the experiences of these people now because they have waved good-bye to the School of Healthcare Sciences and were probably very glad to have done so.

So the Betsi is now a Diversity Champion. To celebrate this ‘award’, all the Board members were presented with ‘rainbow lanyards’ to hang around their necks. Some of them did so but not everyone entered into the spirit of things and a lot of the lanyards were simply dumped upon the desks in front of them. So someone – presumably at Stonewall – wasted time and money manufacturing those lanyards and distributing them to the Racist In Chief and her colleagues on the Board. Nevertheless, Higson was delighted with this achievement and led the Board in a round of applause for themselves. (Whilst Higson was doing this, the Daily Post was reporting on two more Betsi-related deaths – please see blog post ‘Two More Deaths, March 16 2017’.)

Higson then welcomed everyone to the meeting and by means of introduction to the first topic said ‘we go straight into special measures’. Which must have been some sort of Freudian slip, because within a few months of Higson ‘taking control’ at the Betsi, they did indeed go straight into special measures. So they started discussing various aspects of special measures, which weren’t explained to the uninitiated observing members of the public like me, but as far as I could work out Gary the CEO had started a conversation regarding ‘Phase 2 milestones’. I presume that this is a reference to the ‘achievements’ that the Welsh Govt wants to see. Margaret Hanson (Vice-Chair) explained that they were still waiting for ‘formal feedback’ and regarding the ‘journey’ of the Betsi Board to come out of special measures, ‘progress was still being made’, although Margaret stated that they were at a ‘little bit of a loss’ as to their ‘progress’. Margaret I think that rather than being at a little bit of a loss, you are all completely clueless – one only has to read the local media to get some idea of the stream of avoidable deaths, scandals and general cock-ups happening in your organisation on a near daily basis to realise that.

Bethan Russell Williams (Independent Board Member, although deeply compromised because she’s married to the Chair of Gwynedd Community Health Council and manages a Third Sector organisation that receives funding from the Betsi), mentioned that there was ‘evidence of great progress’ in the maternity services. (The maternity services at the Betsi were so dysfunctional that part of the mentoring to which they have been subjected was categorised as achieving ‘normality’.) But Margaret had a word of warning – that they must not ‘mark their own homework’. The NHS in north Wales have of course been marking their own homework for years, that is how they ended up in this mess. Complaints were concealed, both by the Trusts that preceded the Betsi and by Higson during the years that he was CEO of Health Inspectorate Wales (HIW). They cooked the books, fiddled the stats and the whole lot of them claimed to be providing ‘excellence’. The reality was that north Wales had dreadful mortality figures and some of the poorest health outcomes in the UK. I suspect that despite Margaret’s warning, they are still marking their own homework – I noted that the fantastic ‘progress’ reported in the press recently regarding Fali Ward was simply an opinion proffered by the Betsi itself, there was no reference to an external assessment (please see blog post ‘Exactly How Bad Was Fali Ward?’).

The Rebel Member, Phil Edwards,  stated that they didn’t just need a verbal update on special measures, ‘we need evidence on paper’. (I’ve got plenty of evidence on paper Phil – evidence of thirty years of criminal activity and wrongdoing…)

Gary the CEO referred to special measures as being a ‘big question’, mentioning the ‘very wide-ranging areas’ that are under scrutiny. (Just about all activities of the Board as far as I can see.) He has noticed that with regard to the mental health services ‘we have a lot of work to get done…we are making good progress…our special measures challenge is the trust and confidence of many people’. Well there are suicides and suspicious deaths as well as a scandal most weeks, so I don’t think Betsi is quite there yet where the ‘trust and confidence of many people’ is concerned.

At this point Higson asked the Board for any declarations of interest. There were none, as usual – although this Board is packed with people who seem to have numerous conflicts of interest (please see blog post ‘Conflicts Of Interest – And Some Very Big Salaries’). The Board then started going through the minutes of the previous meeting.

Marian Wyn Jones (Independent Board Member) drew attention to the Finance Committee receiving approval for the business plan to develop the A&E Dept at Ysbyty Gwynedd. Marian claimed that this will be a ‘great boost’ to the economy in north west Wales. I’m not sure how that works actually – that hospital in a way is sucking the life out of north west Wales. It is receiving huge amounts of Welsh Gov’t money whilst offering a dreadful service. The local politicians dare not say a word about the appalling ‘care’ and malpractice because it is a major employer and one of the few places in Gwynedd that provides well-paid long-term jobs. The staff there really don’t want to join the ranks of most of the rest of the folk in Gwynedd, on incomes made up of low-paid work and benefits, so they lobby furiously to make damn sure that Hywel Williams MP and Sian Gwenllian AM toe the line. It is a rather unhealthy symbiotic relationship. Gary complained about the layout of the A&E Dept at Ysbyty Gwynedd and said that ‘the quality of the building is not what you would want’. Actually Gary, the quality of the staff is not what you would want – please read blog post ‘Two Dangerous Very Dishonest Nurses’ for an account of the conduct of staff at the A&E Dept at Ysbyty Gwynedd. I am not the only person who has had such experiences. Gary did however observe that it was ‘great’ that this bunch of liars and thugs who abuse their patients are going to be given a new building in which to do so.

Bobby Feely (Independent Board Member) drew attention to the shortcomings in the mandatory training in infection control at the Betsi – she was worried ‘about our standing in Wales’. This does rather smack of shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted, their standing in Wales could not be lower. Marian commented that the level of mandatory training in infection control was ‘down from last year’. Of course the hospitals in north Wales have a long tradition of being rife with infection but not actually telling anyone lest it affects their ‘reputation’. Or indeed their standing in Wales. Please see blog post ‘The Tip Of Yet Another Iceberg?’ for further details of the state of hygiene in units run by the Betsi and some of their rather novel ideas to remedy the problem. Margaret mentioned that they’ll be ‘keeping the pressure on’ regarding training an infection prevention. We’ll expect some more bad news media stories soon then.

Margaret then moved on to a topic central to this blog – matters relating to the mental health services. She stated that assurances had been provided to the Board’s Mental Health Act Committee that there have been improvements in the assessment of young people, ‘but we’re not there yet’. Margaret finds herself making this statement at most Board meetings. However they are ‘in a much better place’ and their duties under the Mental Health Act are being fulfilled. I’d carry out an intensive search of the Heddfan Unit if I were you Margaret, perish the thought that there might be someone in there who has been sectioned for months by Raj Sambhi because they have complained that there is neglect and abuse in the mental health services and that a paedophile ring used to operate in the region…Margaret mentioned that there is a shortage of Section 12 doctors and that they need to look at why that is. I’ll tell you why it is Margaret. It is because for years senior posts in the north Wales mental health services have been log-jammed by the likes of Dafydd Alun Jones, Marie Savage, Tony Roberts, Raj Sambhi et al and no-one wants to work with these vicious, corrupt, dysfunctional people who are exterminating their patients. Indeed, the one good psychiatrist that you have got has been given a really bad time by them – and other psychiatrists who have unsuspectingly taken up posts here have walked away after a matter of weeks, horrified by what they have discovered happening. Margaret mentioned the possibility of ‘getting more GPs on board’ – she’ll find the same problem. The good GPs will not work with that shower – I knew of a number of GPs in Gwynedd who loathed David Healy and Tony Roberts, because Healy and Roberts were just so unhelpful when those GPs tried to refer patients to them. The GPs viewed Roberts and Healy as frankly negligent. And just to chuck a further spanner in the works, Healy and his protégé Richard Tranter – who left for New Zealand in a hurry when people started discovering what he was up to – were busy on Healy’s blog blaming the dysfunction, chaos and cruelty in the mental health services on everyone but themselves, advising other people not to work at the Betsi. I can heartily recommend any patients who have experienced the insanity of the Hergest Unit to read the piece on Healy’s blog entitled ‘Richard’s Story’, it’s a real tear-jerker. The tale of a Hergest Unit that attracted Nobel prize winners no less (yes, honestly, that is one of the claims made), that provided excellent care for patients, that was an innovative unit providing the best care in the UK until that wicked witch Mary Burrows came along – except that it’s all a pack of lies, about as honest as the ‘research’ that was being carried out by those we know and love in the mental health services.

The Board then held a long discussion about Wales’s ‘Wellbeing of Future Generations Act’. This Act is providing a very useful smokescreen for the state of the public services in Wales. Like a lot of things emanating from the Welsh Govt, the idea is good but it cannot actually work because our public services are so troubled. I have two friends in England who are very starry-eyed about this Act and are of the opinion that the Welsh Govt are leading the way. But how can one even begin to talk about the well-being of future generations when we have a health and welfare sector riddled with corruption and malpractice?

There were some prize contributions to this discussion from Board members. Rycroft-Malone claimed that ‘we in the university…are trying to pay attention to it…giving consistent messages about what we expect from students in training…’ The main ‘messages’ those students get from you Jo is that you have a very big problem with overseas students and colleagues and that if students witness malpractice on placement there’s no point reporting it because it usually won’t be dealt with. Margaret commented that it wasn’t just a matter of box-ticking, it was adopting a ‘hearts and minds’ approach. In view of the various catastrophes occurring in that Health Board I think it’s rather a matter of ‘shock and awe’ than ‘hearts and minds’. Then came Lyn’s contribution – the ‘evil bitch’ adopted her best old lady from Liverpool manner and asked ‘are we aware or do we have a measure of how our staff understand the legislation?’ Which was particularly rich coming from a woman who, in her capacity as Director of HR at Bangor University, bent the rules so often and to such a degree and showed such an ignorance of all relevant legislation regarding bullying, harassment and discrimination that most of us wondered whether she really did have a law degree as she claimed. Geoff Lang (Executive Director of Strategy) wisely stated that if a straw poll was carried out, the staff probably understood ‘very little’ regarding the legislation. I have sympathy with the staff on this point – if they’re any good, they’ll be so busy trying to care for patients in the midst of chaos, dysfunction and aggressive management that considering esoteric legislation will be the least of their concerns. Peter Higson suggested that an online survey be e mailed to all staff  – they’re going to love you for that Peter, you’re already running an organisation full of staff going off sick with stress and depression who are consistently reporting burn-out and bullying from managers… Bethan then chipped in with the extraordinary comment that ‘a lot of agencies in the Third Sector’ that are commissioned by the Health Board are ‘achieving a great deal’. So who do you have in mind then Bethan – CAIS and MIND perhaps, who seem to be running some of the biggest scams imaginable, as previously described on the blog? Bethan stressed the importance of ‘monitoring’ these Third Sector organisations – I wish someone would, including Mantell Gwynedd, the Third Sector organisation that Bethan herself runs, some of us have wondered for years what services they are providing and to whom. Bethan stated that the sums involved in commissioning these organisations are ‘small’ – this blog has described how CAIS has recently received £1.5 million for ‘service user/carer involvement’ and nearly £5 million for ‘substance abuse services’ (which CAIS are very obviously not delivering on). £6.5 million might be cat’s piss to you Bethan, but if the Board gave that money to me I bet I could do a better job than CAIS. Bethan maintained that ‘a lot of the Third Sector bodies are measuring social value and doing it in quite a sophisticated way’. Is this Third Sector speak for ‘we are visibly not making a blind bit of difference, so we’re going to pretend that our critics are too daft to understand our ‘sophisticated’ ways of measuring ‘social value’? Meanwhile CAIS will continue to rake in millions for providing shelter and detox services, whilst towns like Wrexham fill up with homeless drug users. And from what people contacting this blog are reporting, no-one is actually managing to get a service out of ‘Parabl’, aptly described by one reader as ‘the love-child of MIND and CAIS’.

Gary the CEO gave a little spiel about all the e mails and letters that he receives ‘every week’ no less from patients bowled over by the Betsi. Presumably he just ignores the e mails – such as mine – who tell him when things are going dreadfully wrong. He also mentioned the ‘nutrition and hydration’ week, which featured on this blog recently, one of the ‘events’ involved being a ‘multi-disciplinary team’ of senior staff who were going to observe a ‘service user meal experience’ – translated this means that a collection of managers were actually going to watch someone eat their dinner. Lest anyone ever thought that even the Betsi couldn’t possibly do this, I’m glad to say that they did. Gary reported back to the Board and mentioned that ‘I appeared out of the blue, people didn’t know about it, they were surprised’. I imagine they were completely gobsmacked Gary, you’re paid something like £200,000 pa and you’re watching someone eat their pudding. Gary then moved onto other matters such as infection control and storage of medicines and commented that there are ‘other Boards doing better than us’. That’s why you’re in special measures Gary.

Then Martin spoke. This was certainly illuminating to someone like me who has some knowledge of how Martin conducted business in his previous incarnation as CEO of the North West Wales NHS Trust. The fact that Edwina Hart felt obliged to abolish that organisation and undertake a massive rebranding exercise in the (vain) hope that we’d all forget what happened there, hasn’t however prompted any inner reflection on the part of Martin. Martin started talking about staff performance. This is the man who literally terrorised staff at the North West Wales NHS Trust, the man who removed the beds from junior doctors rest rooms because he wasn’t going to pay them to lie down – even though these were junior doctors who were working extremely long shifts – and of course the man who was part of the management Board of a Trust that achieved fame when they purchased custom-made crockery for many thousands of pounds embossed with the Trusts ‘logo’, for their personal use. Meanwhile patients died – in great numbers. Martin hasn’t changed. He opened with the phrase ‘MY staff’, with the emphasis on the ‘my’. Not ‘our team’, but ‘MY staff’. They are not your staff Martin, you all work for the NHS. But this was characteristic of managers in the North West Wales NHS Trust. Their risk manager, John Bowles, actually used to refer to ‘my subordinates’. Martin then unveiled his latest Regime of Terror. After mentioning ‘staff health’ and stating that there’s a lot that can be done to ‘help staff adjust’ and build ‘resilience’ (resilience to Martin’s aggression, that’ll take some building), Martin stated that he was going to ‘discuss with people how they are progressing’. God, can you imagine what that will entail. Martin explained that there was going to be ‘an increase in the number of training days’ and that this ‘will result in staff being excluded without pay if they fail to attend’. Now I heard the details of the ‘training’ that was ‘offered’ at the North West Wales Trust when Martin was CEO. The staff were seething, because they maintained that it was very obviously not ‘training’ at all, it was always a tick-box exercise on a computer that trained no-one in anything and furthermore everyone maintained that there was only one purpose to this ‘training’ – so that in the event of complaint, litigation or even tragedy, Martin could maintain that the staff had been ‘trained’ and that member of staff would therefore be deemed fully responsible and would be hung out to dry by Martin in order to protect the wider organisation and of course Martin himself, from scrutiny. Furthermore I was told that because there were many more staff required to do the ‘training’ than computers available for use, it was often impossible to complete the training. These were of course the same computers that staff had to use for clinical work, to update patients records etc. I was told that the ‘training’ was sending the Trust into chaos and preventing people from seeing their patients. And Martin is doing it all over again – this time accompanied by a threat to withdraw pay (would that even be legal?). The Betsi Board recently hit the headlines when it was revealed that staff were refusing to co-operate with the external investigation into the Tawel Fan scandal, in which elderly mentally ill patients were found to have been seriously abused and neglected on Tawel Fan, a ward in Ysbyty Glan Clwyd. No-one mentioned withdrawing their pay. But if anyone sticks two fingers up to Martin’s dodgy ‘training’ or even just isn’t able to find a computer… Martin then announced to the Board that he of course had been ‘compliant with my management training’ and began to talk about the computerised system that is so easy to use – staff just have to log on and away they go. No excuses!

As Martin has learnt absolutely nothing despite having ‘his’ Trust abolished and being removed from his previous job, may I suggest that someone at the Betsi starts carrying out DBS checks on ALL staff. When Martin was CEO of the North West Wales NHS Trust, I was told that criminal record checks were not being carried out. This resulted in the employment of at least one person with previous convictions for assault in a role with direct patient contact….

I left the meeting after hearing Martin explain his latest plans to ensure that the recruitment crisis and breakdowns among staff at the Betsi will continue for some while yet. As I left, I spent a long time pondering on why the Betsi Board are actually putting themselves through this. They cannot run the Board, things are getting worse by the day and now they’re getting touchy about my comments on this blog. Higson looks like a bag of nerves, Martin spent the whole meeting staring downwards at the desk in front of him – even when he was unveiling his plans for the Great Terror – and Phil the Rebel Member had the distinct appearance of a very guilty man facing a police investigation for serious crimes. Which is odd because Phil is the former Police Federation chief for north Wales. Phil doesn’t need to be on the Betsi Board, he will have a generous police pension, even Gordon Anglesea’s widow received one of these, thanks to Arfon Jones, the North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner. Higson is past retirement age as well, he will have a state pension as well as a gold-plated pot from his many years concealing wrongdoing in the mental health services and I bet that he’s paid off his mortgage by now as well. If anyone knows why Higson has not sailed off into the sunset on a Saga cruise, please do let me know.

A Truly Splendid Letter From The CEO and the Chairman of the Betsi

I have just received an e mail from one Dawn Lees, ‘Business Support Manager/Executive Assistant to Chief Executive’ at the Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board. I reproduce the text of the e mail below:

Dear Dr Baker,

Please see attached correspondence from both Mr Gary Doherty, Chief Executive, and Mr Peter Higson, Chairman, Betsi Cadwaladr University Local Health Board.

Please note that a hard copy will not follow.

Kind Regards

Dawn

Naturally I was expecting this to be a letter from Gary and Peter finally addressing the complaint that I made some months ago, explaining how they were going to rectify the numerous libels and mountains of misinformation on my medical records, explaining why some of my medical records had been ‘removed’ from my files years ago without my knowledge, or indeed explaining why I have not yet received a full copy of my medical records despite requesting them months ago and paying the access fee. It was not to be.

The letter is so entertaining that I’m attaching it here to enable readers to read it in it’s full splendour 697 Sally Baker 13 03 17

Yes, Gary and Peter are complaining my blog, specifically the ‘derogatory personal references’ about ‘individual Board Members’. This is a Board so deeply in dept that it is consuming a huge proportion of the nation’s total NHS budget, a Board in special measures because of the constant scandals in it’s ‘services’, a Board overseeing mental health services that are so unsafe that patients are being found dead on an almost weekly basis…I could continue but I won’t reproduce my whole blog in this one post. What’s the betting that Peter and Gary utilised the services of some expensive lawyers before sending me this – they were probably hoping to do me for libel, only they should be aware that I have documentary evidence for everything that I state as fact. Including me being illegally detained at the North Wales Hospital whilst Peter Higson was a manager there and my very serious complaints about the mental health services being ignored by Health Inspectorate Wales whilst Higson was its CEO.

Any sensible person will conclude that Peter and Gary should be prioritising matters other than ‘derogatory personal comments’ about Board Members on this blog. But this is the NHS all over – ‘reputation’ comes before patient safety every time…

There’s another Health Board meeting on Thursday and as usual I will be in attendance. I will report back on this blog in the usual manner.

 

 

News Round-Up, March 13 2017

I’ve found a lot to blog about today but since finishing my last post a few hours ago, even more news items have appeared that might be of interest to readers.

BBC News Wales have reported on the opening of the inquests into the deaths of Cerys Yemm and Matthew Williams in Argoed, South Wales http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-south-east-wales-39253238 This was a particularly dreadful case in which Williams, who had recently been released from prison and was living in a hostel, murdered Cerys, a young woman whom he had met after his release. Some two weeks after meeting her, he took her back to the hostel where he attacked her. Although Williams was interrupted during the attack, he continued with the attack and killed her. Williams was tasered by police and died shortly afterwards. Williams was a man with serious mental health problems. I will report the findings of the inquest on this blog – I suspect that this will be a story of serious service failure on the part of multiple agencies…

BBC News Wales are also reporting that a physiotherapist employed by the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, Joanne Lee, took the files of 800 patients home to store whilst her office was being renovated http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-north-east-wales-39259456  A panel of the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) Conduct and Competence Committee heard that the absence of the files had resulted in the Health Board having to carry out either full re-assessments or further assessments on patients. The panel chair, Manuela Grayson, said that this ‘may have unnecessarily resulted in further intimate or invasive re-examinations’, which in turn ‘may have caused additional physical or emotional distress’. It was concluded that Ms Lee’s behaviour fell ‘seriously short’ of that expected and she was suspended from the register for 12 months. I was interested to read of this case and the HCPCs conclusions, because some three years ago I reported a consultant clinical psychologist who is employed by the Betsi to the HCPC. This psychologist befriended the former wife of a patient who was in the process of making a formal complaint about one of the colleagues of this clinical psychologist. She lied about her job and her relationship to the psychiatrist that the patient was complaining about to the patient, presented herself as a ‘friend who was trying to help’ and then tried to manipulate both this patient and his former wife in an attempt to stop him complaining about her colleague. She also telephoned, on a number of occasions,  an acute mental health unit managed by the Betsi when he had been admitted there, again describing herself to the nurses as a ‘friend’, without revealing that she was a member of Betsi staff herself and attempted to obtain confidential information about this patient. The HCPC refused to even investigate my complaint. Joanne Lees should not have taken patient’s files home but I consider that her actions had been a lot less unprofessional, downright mendacious and abusive than the clinical psychologist’s conduct. There was another mystery regarding this clinical psychologist. As well as reporting her to the HCPC, I made a complaint about her to Health Inspectorate Wales, HIW. They refused to investigate my complaint. When Dr Peter Higson was appointed Chair of the Betsi, this psychologist was delighted at Higson’s forthcoming arrival and stated that it was great that Higson was coming because he’d be ‘so good’ for the mental health services. Higson was CEO of HIW when they refused to investigate my complaint against this woman. The serious failures of the mental health services caused the Welsh Govt to place the Betsi in special measures, where it still is. Higson is still the Chair of the Betsi and the lying, unscrupulous clinical psychologist is still employed by the Betsi.

There is another story involving someone employed in health and social care behaving badly in the Daily Post. Janie Emery, 24, was described as a ‘female paedophile’ by the Post and has been given a suspended prison sentence as well as 150 hours of unpaid work, after having a sexual relationship with a fifteen year old boy, despite knowing his age. She must also undertake a rehabilitation course supervised by the Probation Service, her name and other details will be on the Sexual Offenders Register for 10 years and she must also observe the terms of a 10-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order. She was described as working as a ‘carer’. The Post does not report whether she will be allowed to continue in that role.

The Guardian has a report on how ‘Deprivation of Liberty Orders’ (often handed out under the Mental Capacity Act) has resulted in thousands of vulnerable people – frequently people with dementia or learning disabilities – being unlawfully detained in care homes and other establishments  https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/mar/13/thousands-vulnerable-people-detained-unlawfully-care-homes-hospitals-report

I’m mentioning this article here because one factor that motivated me to start blogging about what was happening to people in the ‘care’ of the mental health services was reading the blogs of the parents of learning disabled adult children who had been forcibly removed from their care and had been placed in ‘residential homes’ or ‘ATUs’ (assessment and treatment units). This was being done in the name of ‘protecting’ these young adults whilst allowing them to ‘live independently’, using Deprivation of Liberty Orders and the Mental Capacity Act. These parents described how their children were removed from their care for months or even years, given huge doses of anti-psychotics and sometimes abused in the homes, hospitals and ATUs where they were placed by the Court of Protection. Some of these young people had died whilst in this ‘care’. These young people had not been removed from their parents homes because they had been neglected or abused, it was purely ideological – they had to leave their parents homes to ‘live independently’. If the parents objected too robustly and loudly they found themselves subjected to Court Orders preventing them from talking about their cases – some were prevented from visiting their children and a few were not even allowed to know where their children were. One particular campaigner, Finola Moss, whose own daughter had been removed from her home in this manner, summed up this idiocy perfectly when she published a photo taken undercover of a young woman in an ATU in distress, lying on the floor under a table, whilst a ‘carer’ kicked her. Finola labelled this photo ‘a young lady living independently’. I realised that if I went into many acute mental health inpatient units I too could take similar photos of people in extreme distress caused by the ‘care’ that they were receiving. When I first read the blogs of Finola et al I could hardly believe what I was reading – but it was true enough and the Westminster Govt have now admitted it. This is an important subject for Wales – these ‘homes’, ‘hospitals’ and ATUs are springing up all over Wales. They are privately owned and it is a very profitable business – property can be purchased cheaply in rural Wales and there is a ready supply of cheap labour. The ‘residents’ are invisible to the wider world and hundreds of miles away from their families. As with the mental health services this ‘care’ is forced upon people by the law yet those providing the ‘care’ are completely unaccountable… We have a health and social care system that is broken and cannot care for people – yet more and more people are being coerced into this dreadful system to be ‘protected’ or ‘safeguarded’. A sort of institutional madness has gripped the health and social care sector and no-one will actually admit the horror of what is happening.

Exactly How Bad Was Fali Ward?

Daily Post online are reporting that the Betsi are claiming that Fali Ward at Ysbyty Penrhos Stanley has drastically improved since a damning report was compiled by Health Inspectorate Wales (HIW) last year http://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/holyhead-hospital-slammed-inspectors-makes-12697140

HIW had reported ‘unacceptable’ findings on Fali Ward, that the ward had fallen ‘well below’ standards in areas such as record keeping and storage and management of medicines. Concerns were raised that patients were not being fed properly and the most terrifying discovery was that a ‘do not resuscitate’ notice had been placed next to a patient’s bed when no such order was in place. We are now being reassured by the Betsi and Holyhead councillor Jeff Evans that a new leadership team is in place and that things are very much better on the ward. It is reported that the Health Board continues to work with the Community Health Council to maintain high standards.

Whilst it is reassuring to hear of improvements in facilities, I note that these claims are actually coming from the Betsi, who are not known for their honesty or transparency. Furthermore, just how bad was this ward before these ‘improvements’ and how was it allowed to reach such a dire state? Has there been disciplinary action against anyone – not feeding patients and erroneously ordering others not to be resuscitated are very serious matters. Was it admitted that there were serious problems on Fali Ward before HIW dropped their bombshell or was it the usual story – anyone raising concerns being ignored and staff in complete denial? As for the Board ‘working with’ the Community Health Council to maintain high standards – why did the CHC stand by in silence whilst conditions on this ward deteriorated to such an extent? I don’t remember noting any campaign from anyone to improve standards. I suspect that the usual situation prevailed – everyone involved with the local NHS and our glorious local politicians banging on about our ‘excellent’ NHS in north Wales that would be even more ‘excellent’ if only it were given a few more billion. Throughout all this excellence, someone on Fali Ward had a ‘do not resuscitate’ notice wrongly attached to them. It was sheer good luck that they never required the resuscitation that they would never have received.

The only saving grace is that Dr Peter Higson is no longer CEO of HIW, so perhaps at last we are being told the truth regarding the many problems that dog the NHS in north Wales.

It’s Yet Another E Mail To The Chairman of the Betsi

 


Regular readers will know that since December 2016 I have been e mailing the Betsi regarding the constant damaging lies that have been documented upon my medical records as fact and have been trying to obtain a full copy of my medical records. I don’t seem to be getting any closer to a resolution, so this morning I e mailed Peter Higson, the Chairman of the Betsi, yet again. Here is the text of my e mail:
Dear Dr Higson
I am writing to you yet again regarding my ongoing problems in retrieving a copy of my medical records from the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board. In January 2017 I made a formal complaint about this and other matters which has still not been resolved. Among the other matters, my complaint concerned the numerous fallacies and serious unsubstantiated allegations that now populate my medical records (please see the e mail below for a little reminder of just a few of the nasty fallacies that are enshrined as fact upon my records). I have heard nothing from the Betsi regarding their proposals to rectify this matter. Neither have I yet received a copy of my medical records, despite asking repeatedly and paying an access fee of £50. Time and again I am told by Betsi staff that I now have ‘all’ of my records. Last week I collected another bundle from Ysbyty Gwynedd, having been told that it contained ‘all’ my records from the Hergest Unit. It doesn’t – most of the bundle was made up of copies of records from the Heddfan Unit – copies of which were released to me some weeks ago – and there are hardly any copies of records from the Hergest Unit there. However there are records relating to another patient, including e mails between Denbighshire Social Services and the Betsi Older People’s Team and the funding arrangements for this person’s care. Furthermore, I am still awaiting an explanation as to why some of my medical records had been ‘removed’ from my file many years ago, as admitted to me by a member of your Access to Health Records team, when he was doing his best to track down my records.
To summarise, you have failed to release my records to me despite numerous requests to do so. You have failed to even begin discussions with me regarding a possible solution to rectify the numerous libels on my medical records. And you have breached confidence by releasing records concerning another patient to me. All of these things of course have happened before – when the North West Wales NHS Trust was in operation, when Keith Thomson was its CEO and when you were CEO of Health Inspectorate Wales maintaining that all was well in the North West Wales NHS Trust.
If these matters are not addressed within the next four weeks I will be raising them with the Data Protection Commissioner.
yours,
Sally Baker
As with my other e mails concerning access to my records and the libels upon them, I have copied this e mail to Vaughan Gething, Minister for Health in the Welsh Govt. Just in case Vaughan and Carwyn are thinking of claiming that they are unaware of serious problems in the NHS in north Wales. I will report back on the blog if or when I receive a response.

A Review of the Performance on February 16th 2017

I attended another performance of the Betsi Board this morning, but only stayed for the first hour and a half. Peter Higson the Chair was struggling because there was building work taking place on the roof of the building in which the Board Meeting was being held and there was much hammering and banging. Eventually the racket defeated poor old Peter and he stopped the meeting until the builders had finished. It was certainly interesting to watch the Board grind to a halt in the face of some workers who were clearly really determined to achieve something in comparison with a group of over-paid utter incompetents who are presiding over lethal NHS ‘services’ and achieving very little. Anyway, when the builders stopped hammering Peter started the meeting up again.

Prior to Peter stopping the meeting, apologies were sent from Board members who were absent, most noticeably the appalling Jo Rycroft-Malone and Martin Jones. (This is the second meeting that I’ve attended at which it has been announced that Martin is indisposed.) One would like to think that Jo and Martin are now too ashamed to show their faces in public, but they were probably simply up to skulduggery elsewhere. Peter then asked for declarations of interest – there were none, but as regular readers of the blog know, people associated with the Betsi do not excel at declaring conflicts of interest. After this Peter started going through the minutes of January’s Board Meeting – the Rebel Member, Councillor Phil Edwards, kept trying to raise issues regarding these minutes, but Peter shut him up and told him that his points would have to wait ‘until the end’. (Presumably the end of the meeting, by which time I’d left.) Cheryl intercepted with concerns regarding a mental health team working in north Denbighshire – no matter how bad this mental health team are, surely they cannot be any worse than many of the other mental health teams employed by the Betsi.

Once the meeting resumed, there was a presentation regarding the maternity services at the Betsi. Now the Betsi was put into special measures because of the mental health services and maternity services, although these had both been in a very bad state for a very long time before the Welsh Govt finally stepped in. The Board were told that a Polly Ferguson, a consultant midwife from the Welsh Govt, had joined the Board to assist with improvements. Polly clearly has a very steep mountain to climb. The powerpoint presentation shown to the Board suggested that the maternity services – certainly at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd – must have been in a very ropey state indeed. I remember rumours circulating some time ago that there was a nightmare of a consultant working out there and of course Bangor University famously withdrew their student midwives from placements there – they never even did that to students on placement at the Hergest Unit despite the students trying to raise the alarm at what was happening, so goodness knows what was going on at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd. There were some clues to what this might have been – as part of the ‘special measures maternity update’, it was explained that plans for improving the ‘culture’ of the services at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd included sessions addressing ‘undermining behaviour’ and even sessions on ‘promoting normality’. Clearly abnormality has been the order of the day at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd. Which is interesting because one Dr Phil Banfield, ‘Chair of the BMA Welsh Council’, who frequently mouths off in both the lay media and specialist press regarding the problems of the NHS and how to remedy them, is a consultant obstetrician at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd. So presumably Phil and the BMA know all about this abnormal problematic person employed there, but he’s never published anything about that. It was mentioned that one area for improvement is to ensure that women with serious mental health problems who are pregnant have a care plan in place. Now I know a young woman with serious mental health problems who recently passed through the hands of the dreadful Hergest Unit, where she had many distressing experiences and was loaded up with so many anti-psychotics that as soon as she finally escaped their clutches she took herself off to live in a remote location on Pen Llyn to wean herself off the ‘medication’ and effectively hide away from the Hergest Unit’s reach. Her friend told me a couple of weeks ago that this young woman had been pregnant but had been coerced into having an abortion by the Hergest Unit – at five months pregnant no less – on the grounds that she ‘wasn’t stable enough’ to be a mother. (But hey this young woman had also been gang-raped a few years ago, which her friend thinks fuelled her problems considerably, but the dear old Hergest Unit knew so little about her that they never took this into consideration – instead a bog-standard diagnosis of ‘paranoid schizophrenia’ was dished out along with enough tranquillisers to send a horse into a sound sleep for a month.) So there probably wasn’t much of a care plan in evidence there. It’s all OK though – the Betsi are pushing ahead with their plans for the Sub-Regional Neonatal Baby Care Unit, which I understand is to be located at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd, where abnormality has ruled the roost. Of course, some years ago when Mary Burrows was CEO of the Betsi, the Vice-Chair at the time, Dr Lyndon Miles, argued at a public meeting that the best care for neonates would be provided at a specialist centre such as Liverpool, rather than in north Wales. Mary and Lyndon were faced with a baying mob at that meeting and were shortly afterwards forced to resign. Presumably Mary and Lyndon knew about the very serious problems at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd and were of the opinion that a service that troubled should not be trusted with a neonatal unit. But they were howled down and a campaign to establish a neonatal unit put so much pressure on the Welsh Govt that Carwyn Jones caved in. I was at the public meeting where Lyndon was given so much grief and two other people there at the time were Councillors Bobby Feely and Cheryl Carlisle – both now Members of the Betsi Board. A Board now in special measures. No doubt Health Inspectorate Wales also knew about the serious problems at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd but concealed them – that’s the Health Inspectorate Wales that at the time was headed by one Peter Higson.

Peter however paid tribute to the ‘amazing amount of work’ that has been done regarding the maternity services. Marian Wyn Jones sounded a note of caution when she noted that there had been ‘concern over a long period of time over the behaviour of certain staff members’ and asked what effect the improvement plan has had on the behaviour of consultants. So the maternity services at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd were brought to their knees by some rogue staff – who have not been sacked. Instead a hit squad has had to be sent in by the Welsh Govt to ‘promote normality’.

Earlier, the presentation had tackled that perennial problem for the Betsi, recruitment, specifically the recruitment of medical staff for women’s services. It was mentioned that ‘in the west’ (the euphemism for Ysbyty Gwynedd) one of the people recently appointed had stepped down. So someone told them what life at Ysbyty Gwynedd is like then. A re-advertisement is going out. Bethan mentioned that when she joined the Board two years ago, the maternity services were in a ‘dark place’ – but no-one will have admitted it or warned the local pregnant women. They will simply have told them that everything was fantastic and anyone daring to complain would have been blown out of the water. Some 12 years ago, I was told that there were such serious problems in the maternity services at Wrexham Maelor that a number of babies (and I think one mother) had died. The midwives had wanted an investigation to try to find out what was going so wrong but the hospital authorities (this was before the establishment of the Betsi) refused to hold such an investigation on the grounds that if the public found out there’d be bad publicity. Yesterday the Daily Post reported that a 14 year old boy has just been paid £3.6 million in compensation by the Betsi for injuries sustained when he was born at Wrexham Maelor. How many people were put at risk because that hospital feared bad publicity? After decades of that sort of thinking we are now left with this mess. The irony is that this morning, when discussing the maternity services, Higson observed that ‘two years ago we started some very difficult discussions’. Yes, discussions that you avoided all the time that you were CEO of HIW Higson…

After the discussion on the abnormal maternity services, Higson told the Board that HIW were now doing an inspection of the Board’s mental health services and were due to report back. (I can only imagine the horrors that may be uncovered.) Margaret stated that they were ‘in a bit of a lull’ regarding processes around special measures, but work is ‘ongoing’, although there ‘is still a lot of work to do’ (I’d never have guessed) – but ‘we’re not complacent in the least’ (perish the thought that they might ever have been complacent).

Later on in the meeting, Marian Wyn Jones commented that action was underway to improve the way that contracts are being managed – er, yes, you could stop awarding them to the likes of Dafydd Alun Jones and Lucille Hughes… Then Higson introduced Phil the Rebel Member, who is responsible for the Stakeholder Reference Group – Phil mentioned the importance of the Board considering patient experience. If the Board want to know about patient experience, all they need do is read this blog and the comments that readers are making in response to my posts. At one point during this morning’s meeting, it was mentioned that the Board had ‘awarded a contract’ for ‘Real Time Patient Experience’. I have a horrible suspicion that this contract may have been awarded to those experts in service user involvement at CAIS, Dafydd and Lucille…

For some reason best known to himself, Higson stopped the meeting half way through, demanding a ‘comfort break’ because an ‘important discussion’ was going to happen next. I left at this point – I was intrigued regarding what the ‘important discussion’ might be about, but I presumed that it wasn’t going to be Peter announcing his resignation or fessing up his part in the criminal activities that were taking place at the North Wales Hospital Denbigh when he was a manager there, which is what I really want to hear at present….

Conflicts of Interest – and Some Very Big Salaries

Regular readers of this blog will by now have gained some idea of the wrongdoing, cronyism and mutual backscratching that is rife within the NHS in north Wales and other associated organisations and sectors. So at this point I will take the opportunity to introduce the following document to readers, the Betsi’s Annual Report and Accounts, 2015/16 http://www.wales.nhs.uk/sitesplus/documents/861/BCUHB%20Annual%20Report%202015-161.pdf

Some of the information is now slightly out of date, due to the departure and arrival of various Board Members, but it’s worth reading this document. Take a look at pages 46-47, the Register of Director’s Interests. It is certainly illuminating.

Prof Angela Hopkins (now retired) was the Director of Nursing, Widwifery, Therapies and Health Sciences. It was on Angela’s watch that the disaster in Tawel Fan brewed and exploded – and Angela was one of those previously employed by the North West Wales Trust who failed to investigate complaints of nurses threatening me and abusing their positions. Recent blog posts of mine have described what passes for ‘therapy’ in the Betsi. And Bangor University recently withdrew midwifery students from certain placements in the Betsi due to serious problems, although the precise nature of those problems was not widely known. So Angela has not really excelled. Yet Angela was ‘Director in Wales with the Royal College of Nursing’, a ‘Member of the National Cultural Alignment Group, sponsored by the Royal College of Nursing’ and was awarded an honorary Chair at Bangor University’s School of Healthcare Sciences in 2015 (by that time, everyone knew about Tawel Fan). So this woman, who presided over gross failure and naked abuse, held influential positions within her professional body and was rewarded with a Chair – a Chair in the School of Healthcare Sciences, which was previously headed by Jo Rycroft-Malone, who now sits on the Betsi Board after previously receiving research funding from the Betsi! I used to wonder why the Betsi was picking up awards from the Royal College of Nursing despite the horrors that existed there…

Bernie Cuthel (no longer sitting on the Board, but I think she still works for the Betsi), but former ‘Interim Director of Primary, Community and Mental Health Services. So she didn’t do too well in improving those services then during her time as Interim Director. Bernie of course arrived at the Betsi amid much media coverage, due to the enormous cloud under which she seemed to have left her last position as a senior manager in the NHS in England. Allegations of bullying and mismanagement swirled around and questions had been asked in the House…So Bernie is obviously the ideal person to be a member of the ‘Governing Body of Nugent Care’, a Third Sector organisation providing services to vulnerable adults and children. Bernie has a family member working in Ysbyty Glan Clwyd.

Dr Peter Higson, OBE. Peter and his activities past and present have featured prominently on this blog – he’s the Chairman of the Betsi. But look – he’s also a Council Member at Bangor University (which seems to be dishing out funds and Chairs to people involved with the Betsi who often seem rather undeserving of these Chairs and funds). Peter’s sister is Ruth Hussey – until last spring, she was Chief Medical Officer for Wales. Ruth was recently awarded an Honorary Fellowship by Bangor University. Peter also has a finger in the Third Sector pie, he is a Trustee of Cartrefi Cymru, an organisation providing residential homes for people with learning disabilities. Not sure that his track record suggests that he’ll be much use in that role.

Prof J. Rycroft-Malone. ‘Independent Board Member and University Representative’. The only interest that Jo declares here is that her spouse is an employee of the Betsi. But read my previous post an ‘Expert On The Betsi Board!’ and it is clear that Jo and people that she directly works with clearly enjoy a very cosy relationship with the Betsi and seem to have benefited from substantial funding from the Betsi.

Mrs B. Russell-Williams. ‘Independent Board Member.’ She’s also Chief Officer of Gwynedd County Voluntary Council aka Mantell Gwynedd – which receives funding from the Health Board (I’m becoming very familiar with this arrangement). Mantell Gwynedd is infamous to those of us who are familiar with north west Wales; no-one ever worked out what it did or what is was for, there were constant allegations of nepotism and cronyism in terms of who actually landed paid positions with Mantell Gwynedd and it was widely perceived to be a Welsh language equivalent of the Abbey Road Centre/MIND in Bangor, another Third Sector organisation which seemed to be achieving very little and dishing out jobs to friends. But look – Bethan’s husband chairs Gwynedd Community Health Council. For the uninitiated, the CHC advertises itself as the ‘watchdog’ that represents patient’s interests in the region. The CHC is notorious for having kept completely silent about the state of the mental health services in north Wales. I see that on her Board Member profile, it is stated that Bethan is ‘passionate’ about the Third Sector ‘particularly about the future role of the Third Sector in the delivery of public services in Wales’. I bet she is – ‘co-production’ is now Welsh Govt policy and the gravy train clearly cometh, particularly now that Bethan is on the Betsi Board.

Mrs L. Meadows. ‘Director at Bangor University’. Lyn Meadows is well-known to me and has featured previously on this blog, in relation to her unprofessional behaviour whilst she was HR Director at Bangor University, her activities when she was on the Board of an NHS Trust in the north west of England and her ‘previous’ at the Welsh Ambulance Service. (Please read, for example, my blog post ‘The Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board’.)

 

I have only highlighted the very dodgy connections and potential conflicts of interest that are obvious to me upon scanning this document. If I did a bit more research who knows what I’d dig up – readers of this blog may have spotted a lot more than I have. I do accept that people who work together often marry each other and that people with similar interests or working in similar fields get to know each other and build up networks. If these people were self-sacrificing geniuses, working for the good of the wider public in north Wales and involved in genuinely ground-breaking research and initiatives, such a network would be fantastic. However they are clearly not doing that and the evidence is an effectively bankrupt Health Board in special measures and deaths of mental health patients that are so frequent that I’ve found it worth my while keeping a tally on this blog.

Now scroll down to page 51 of the document and get some idea of what this bunch of charlatans are being paid (before expenses, allowances and other jollies that is). Gary the CEO: full year equivalent salary £200,000-205,000. Angela Hopkins was on £130,000-135,000. The dreadful Martin Jones (on a protected contract for 10 years after being recycled into the Betsi following his disasterous ‘leadership’ of the North West Wales Trust) is receiving £130,000-135,000. Grace Lewis-Parry (on a 10 year protected contract after being recycled into the Betsi following her previous lacklustre performance as CEO of the Local Health Board) nets £100,000-105,000. Higson, who can’t even answer an e mail and ‘cannot recollect’ when he has been told about the most serious abuses in the mental health services, is pulling in £65,000-70-,000 for ‘Chairing’ this catastrophe, after he retired from his failings at Health Inspectorate Wales. Even ‘Independent Members’ like Bobby Feely, Meadows and Bethan from Mantell Gwynedd are receiving £15,000-20,000.

How can this be justified in the light of the neglect and abuse in the NHS in north Wales? North Wales – and Gwynedd in particular – has swathes of people on benefit, in casual minimum wage jobs and some of the lowest incomes in the UK. Snowdonia hill farmers only manage to stay in business because of agricultural subsidies. But get your foot in the door of the NHS (or ‘Third Sector’), refuse to resign even in the face of public outrage when your failures are made public and you’ll be among the highest paid people in the region – even though the people on the receiving end of your ‘service’ will be dying.

The phrase ‘snouts in the trough’ comes to mind. Or, for a more literary reference, we can paraphrase George Orwell – ‘The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again, and from Gary to Martin to Peter to Lyn to Jo, but already it was impossible to say which was which’.