‘The Reality Is, There Is No Problem’

My post ‘Everywoman?’ and the comments that follow it refer to the clique of utterly dreadful people who have occupied senior positions in health and social care in Wales for many years now. This bunch have spent their whole careers playing musical chairs – when they stuff up so badly that they just have to go, they pop up somewhere else in a very similar role, very often at a more senior level. The word ‘incestuous’ really is the only description applicable. Posts ‘It’s A Piece Of Cake’ and ‘I Know Nuzzing…’ detailed how it was this process of recycling incompetent or downright dangerous staff and managers that led to North Wales Child Abuse Scandal of the 70s, 80s and 90s. The Waterhouse Inquiry was supposed to have been the turning point. Of course it wasn’t, because although Ronnie Waterhouse admitted that terrible abuse of children in care had happened and that a paedophile ring was at work in north Wales and Cheshire, he concealed the extent of it and the links with public figures as far away as London, as well as evidence of links to abusers of children in Europe. Waterhouse also ignored the links between the organised abuse of children in north Wales and organised crime involving child porn and hard drugs. Hardly anyone resigned or retired even after Waterhouse – a few of the senior managers simply moved to other regions of the country and continued working, everyone else was bound by a code of silence and carried on in their own sweet way, mostly in north Wales. They continue to live and work there.

So how did Wales’s health and social care sector respond after the public inquiry into the biggest child abuse scandal that there had ever been in the UK? They remained in very deep denial.

The Waterhouse Report was published in 2000. In March 2001 the ‘Guardian’ published a feature on the crisis in the social care sector in Wales. It stated that ‘low morale, poor pay’ and the fear of involvement in ‘departmental failure’ made it difficult to attract social care staff to Wales and that the Waterhouse Report and critical reviews into local authority social services departments were ‘contributing to the problem’. No, it was the presence of a paedophile gang who’s mycelia spread throughout Wales that made it difficult to attract staff. Gwynedd and Clwyd Social Services had been dogged by scandal and allegations of abuse for years. The ‘services’ were so notorious that one social worker whose comments were published who desperately  wanted to escape from the sector in north Wales was quoted as saying ‘I’ve worked for Clwyd. No-one’s going to have me’.

So what comment did Hugh Gardner, the Chair of the Association of Directors of Social Services in Wales, make to the ‘Guardian’? Hugh stated that ‘Waterhouse has not helped…a feeling that there’s a special problem surrounding the integrity of people working in residential care in Wales. The reality is, there’s no problem, but public perception is damaging for morale’.

‘The reality is, there’s no problem’. A vicious paedophile ring had been in operation in the children’s homes in north Wales for at least 30 years – children had been raped, buggered, starved, beaten, used as forced labour and the children’s homes had doubled up as brothels. When the children hit their mid-teens they were trafficked to London and Brighton for sex work. So many former residents of the children’s homes were found dead as young adults that very few are now still alive. Five were killed in one arson attack in 1992. Every agency and organisation in Wales had colluded with the abuse – those kids had tried and tried to raise the alarm but no-one responded, except for Alison Taylor the Gwynedd social worker who blew the whistle and who was then sacked.

The response of the social care establishment in Wales to the crisis in social care was to establish a task and finish group in the Assembly, with the remit to look at recruitment and retention. This group was to be Chaired by Graham Williams, the Chief Inspector of the Social Services Inspectorate of Wales. Another member of the task and finish group was Rhian Huws Williams, the head of CCETSW Cymru (Central Council for the Education and Training of Social Workers) – for the low-down on Rhian Huws Williams, see post ‘Still Lost In Care’. Dominic Macaskill from UNISON, many of whose members work in social care, contributed to the debate – Dominic thought that the main problem was the ‘serious social deprivation’ in Wales. Mario Kraft from Care Forum Wales also sat on the group – he saw the group as a ‘chance to grapple with the recruitment and retention issues’. Mario observed that the outlook for the private sector as well was ‘bleak’.

At this time the Minister for Health and Social Services in Wales was Jane Hutt – a former social worker – a ‘family friend’ of Rhodri Morgan and his wife. Rhodri Morgan was First Minister. Rhodri’s wife Julie is a former social worker. Rhodri’s special advisor was Mark Drakeford – who had worked as a social worker in Dyfed, when they had a problem with abuse in their children’s services. All these people had been involved with social care in Wales BEFORE the Waterhouse Inquiry. They had been in place whilst the abuse was happening – and abuse wasn’t just happening in north Wales. The biggest scandal occurred there, it was particularly dreadful, but there were problems in health and social care right across Wales.

BBC News Wales in 2002 reported that ‘elderly care was in crisis’ – Hugh Gardner, the Vice-Chair of the Association of Directors of Social Services Cymru, maintained that more money was needed.

In Dec 2004 BBC News Wales reported that Hugh Gardner was to be awarded an OBE. A few others did even better. Dr Michael Shooter, a psychiatrist from the Abergavenny area – who was mentioned in a comment in response to one of my blog posts recently – was to be given a CBE, as was Janet Chaplin (the Assistant Chief Probation Officer of the South Wales Probation Service), along with Richard Blair (Director of the Wales Local Gov’t Association aka WLGA), Andrew Cozens (the former President of the Association of Directors of Social Services) and Gloria Mills (the Director of Equal Opportunities at UNISON).

A nice collection of gongs in return for complete failure there.

 

Did the Assembly task and finish group of 2001 manage to improve matters? It would seem not. ‘Community Care’ in Jan 2005 reported on the dire state of health and social care services in Wales. Chris Davies, the Director of Cardiff Social Services, commented that the Welsh health and social care services were performing worse than their English counterparts but ‘no-one can quite put their finger on why’. Immediately after the publication of the damning Jillings Report in 1996 concerning the abuse of children in care in Clwyd, Clwyd County Council was abolished. John Jevons, the Director of Clwyd Social Services, left Clwyd and took up the position of Director of Social Services in Cardiff.

Our old friend Hugh Gardner also popped up in ‘Community Care’, Jan 2005. It was mentioned that Hugh was the former Director of Social Services for Swansea. Hugh did admit that there was a problem now – the problem was that the Welsh Assembly hadn’t given them enough money.

Swansea Social Services were declared to be not fit for purpose and were put into special measures after the murder of baby Aaron Gilbert in May 2005.

Jon Skone, the Secretary of the Association of Directors of Social Services Wales, was also involved in trying to suggest a remedy to the problem according to ‘Community Care’. Skone began life as a social worker in Neath in the early 80s. The boys from Bryn Estyn who complained about being molested were sent to an even worse place if they didn’t shut up – Neath Farm School. Neath Farm School got a mention in the Waterhouse Report as being so brutal that boys preferred to be beaten and abused at Bryn Estyn than risk being sent there. Skone was a a community development worker in West Glamorgan County Council in the mid-80s, principal social services officer (learning disabilities) for South Glamorgan County Council, 1987-92, Assistant Director, Policy, Planning and Strategic Development for Dyfed County Council 1992-96, Head of Community Care, Pembrokeshire County Council 1996-2000 and was appointed Director of Social Care and Housing for Pembrokeshire County Council in 2000. Jon Skone climbed yet higher. In 2010 Skone received much publicity when he was appointed Director of Social Services in Pembrokeshire AND Director of Hywel Dda Health Board, responsible for the management of Withybush Hospital, the first person in the UK to hold such a double appointment. Skone worked with Trevor Purt at Hywel Dda. Purt left Hywel Dda after public protests regarding the state of the health services and became CEO of the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board – where he subsequently resigned after the Tawel Fan scandal which involved the ‘institutional abuse’ of mental health patients.

Skone’s own honeymoon didn’t last long. Skone resigned in 2012 when a child abuse scandal blew up in Pembrokeshire. Not the scandal which involved the paedophile ring in Dyfed/Pembrokeshire, that was another scandal. Skone resigned after children’s care services were described as ‘Victorian’ in a highly critical report which followed an investigation after children were found to be kept in ‘padded time-out rooms’ aka padded cells. Skone then set himself up as a management consultant, advising on social care, health and housing. In 2013 Jon Skone was appointed to the Board of the Care Council for Wales. Skone is also a member of Alder Advice, a collective of advisors to the social care, housing and healthcare sectors.

‘Community Care’ reported that Meryl Gravell, lead member for Social Services at WLGA (Wales Local Gov’t Association) maintained that most services were good but that there was a lack of money. Meryl Gravell is famous on the blogsphere in Wales, the blog Jac O The North is particularly keen on following her adventures and alleged conflicts of interest. Meryl hit the nation’s mainstream media in Feb 2012 after she described staff of Carmarthenshire Council – of which she was leader – and protesters campaigning to stop the proposed closure of the A&E Dept of the Prince Philip Hospital in Llanelli as ‘rabble’. She also implied that the Council’s staff were a bunch of lazy gits. Meryl stood down as leader in 2013 after a coalition of Labour and Independent Councillors got together and achieved domination on the Council.

Dear old Graham Williams – who was still the Chief Inspector of the Welsh Social  Services Inspectorate – mentioned the importance of the ‘dissemination of best practice’.

‘Community Care’ commented that this was ‘perhaps the last chance for Wales’s much maligned care sector to begin to recover its reputation’.

 

By 2005, health and social care services in Wales were supposed to be ‘working together’. Jane Hutt was removed from the role of Minister of Health and Social Services in 2005 in the face of the NHS continuing to sink like a stone and a row about excessively long waiting lists. (Hutt popped up again in 2007 as Minister for Children.) Somebody just as bad, a GP, Dr Brian Gibbons, was now in the role. See post ‘Politicians – And Their Responses’ for the background on the lethal Gibbons, who wrote me a letter simply stating ‘this correspondence is closed’ when I told him that I had evidence of serious criminal conduct on the part of staff and managers in the north Wales NHS and social services.

I have discovered a 2005 document, a ‘Concordant Between Bodies Inspecting, Regulating and Auditing Health and Social Care Services in Wales’. The signatures on this concordant are instructive. They include:

Dr Peter Higson of Health Inspectorate Wales (HIW); Graham Williams of Social Services Inspectorate Wales; Rob Pickford of Care Standards Inspectorate Wales; Gren Kershaw of the Welsh Risk Pool; Terry Rose of HSE; Anna Walker of the Healthcare Commission; Chris Heginbotham of the Mental Health Act Commission; Michael Ponton of NHS Confederation Wales; Peter Jones of the CHCs; Steve Thomas of WLGA. The signatures on the foreword of the Concordant are those of the then two biggest wigs in Wales’s Health and Social Care system, dear old Dr Brian Gibbons and Ann Lloyd, the Head of the Health and Social Care Dept, Chief Exec NHS Wales.

Ann Lloyd CBE has not featured on this blog until now, but she certainly has much to answer for. Lloyd was Chief Exec of NHS Wales 2001-09. So all those deaths and assaults at the Hergest Unit happened on her watch, as did the framing of patients by the staff for crimes that they had not committed – as well as the failure to investigate patients complaints. Ann Lloyd stated that ‘we must never have a mid-Staffs here’ [in Wales]. So that’s what the huge cover-up and harassment and wrongful imprisonment of patients was all about then – Ann didn’t want a mid-Staffs. You had one Ann, by anyone’s standards there was a mid-Staffs in north Wales and now you’ve got this blog to deal with. Ann served under successive Health Ministers Hutt, Gibbons and Edwina Hart. I have detailed previously how Edwina Hart really did try and sort out the NHS in north Wales but was hounded out of her post by the BMA and the paedophiles’ friends. I was also told that the civil service were being as obstructive to Edwina as possible – I wonder if one of those doing the obstructing was Ann Lloyd?

When Ann ‘retired’, she stated that ‘mental health [services] need a good going over’. She also believed that ‘services are more accountable and transparent’. The services need a police investigation Ann but you and Gibbons didn’t even respond to patients complaints. At this time the Chief Exec of the Gwynedd CHC was Glanville Owen, who didn’t investigate patients complaints either. Glanville was the Deputy Director of Gwynedd Social Services responsible for children’s homes when the paedophile gang were busy in those homes.

Ann didn’t completely disappear when she left the Welsh NHS full of criminals abusing patients. She became a Commissioner for Health and Social Services in London and spent two days a week there. I suspect that the dead hand of Ann Lloyd is still touching NHS Wales though. I have found a document dated May 2017 which was the minutes of the Welsh Health Specialised Services Committee. The Chair was an Ann Lloyd and the Vice-Chair was Lyn Meadows. Meadows is a member of the Betsi Board and the former corrupt dishonest Director of HR at Bangor University. Before that she was a senior manager of the Welsh Ambulance Service, which was a catastrophe. She was described to me as an ‘evil cow’, a manipulative bully who promoted someone to a managerial post who later ended up in prison for a savage attack on his wife. In a previous life Lyn Meadows was a non-executive director of an NHS organisation on the Wirral. She was named in Hansard and on Frank Field’s blog as having colluded with a fraud with some Top Doctors. More info about Meadows can be found by using the search facility on this blog, I’ve mentioned her often.

In the financial year 2003-04 Ann Lloyd’s salary was given as £125-130k.

When Ann retired, Sir Paul Williams became the Chief Exec of NHS Wales. Paul had been the Chief Exec of Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University NHS Trust – which was somewhat scandal ridden itself. Williams had started his career as a clerk in the Welsh NHS and worked his way up over the next 40 years. Details of Paul’s career can be found among the comments that follow my post ‘Wheels Within Wheels Or Flies Drawn To The Same Incestuously Corrupt Shithouse?’ Upon Ann’s retirement, Paul stated that NHS Wales now had opportunities which ‘will be the envy of other healthcare systems’.

OK Paul, that must be why eight years later we have some of the worst health outcomes in Europe and more than one NHS Board in Wales is technically bankrupt.

What about the others who signed the Concordat? Well Peter Higson who was Chief Exec of HIW is well-known to readers of this blog – he concealed the paedophile ring whilst he was the manager of the North Wales Hospital Denbigh, ignored abuse of patients and criminal misconduct and he’s now the Chair of the Betsi. Which is in special measures because of institutional abuse in its mental health services.

Graham Williams was still Graham in denial. Rob Pickford of Care Standards Inspectorate Wales started out as a social worker in the Rhondda. He became a child protection officer for Mid-Glamorgan Social Services and then occupied management positions in social services in the Rhondda. Following this he was Assistant Director for Adult Services for Bridgend County Borough Council. Rob just rocketed upwards – he became Director of Social Services for Bridgend and at some point took over Graham Williams’ former remit of Chief Inspector of Care and Social Services. Dear old Graham became Director of NHS, Mid and West Wales Region and then retired. Rob went on to become Director of Social Services, Children and Families in the Welsh Gov’t. In 2013 he was appointed visiting Professor at the University of South Wales and an honorary research fellow at Cardiff University. Rob maintains that his career has been spent ‘supporting people to deliver citizen centred services’. (Higson used to claim on his profile on the HIW website that his career had been dedicated to making life better for the citizen.) Latterly Rob Pickford could be found on the website of the Big Lottery Fund – he is listed as a Wales Committee member, alongside other equally duplicitous people. Rob is also Chair of the Wildlife Trust for south and west Wales.

Gren Kershaw of the Welsh Risk Pool is known to readers of this blog (see post ‘How Much Do Staff Surveys Really Tell Us?’). He was the senior manager of the North Wales Hospital Denbigh in its final days and the CEO of the Conwy and Denbighshire NHS Trust, 1991-2008. He then took control at the Welsh Risk Pool, where he worked with John Bowles and Patricia Gaskill. Bowles was risk manager at Ysbyty Gwynedd whilst patients were assaulted by staff and died and Gaskill was the hospital solicitor who covered up for and failed to take action against Hergest staff who assaulted patients. Whilst Gren was CEO of Conwy and Denbighshire NHS Trust he was responsible for Ysbyty Glan Clwyd. There was cover-up after cover-up following serious complaints and the elderly wards were so bad that staff at Glan Clwyd warned their friends not to let their relatives be admitted there. In 2005, Peter Higson in his capacity as CEO of HIW wrote a report on Gren’s mental health services – which included the infamous elderly mentally ill wards – describing them as ‘good and still improving’. Higson and Gren were old mates from their days concealing the paedophile gang at the North Wales Hospital. Gren isn’t Welsh – until the 80s he was an NHS manager in Jimmy Savile’s stomping ground in Yorkshire. After ‘retiring’ from the NHS, Gren set up a management consultancy.

Gren co-authored an article with an Annette Bartley for ‘Asian Hospital and Healthcare Management’ entitled ‘Effective Leadership For Patient Safety – Lessons From Safer Patient Initiative’. Bartley was described as Head of Modernisation, North Wales NHS (Central Division) – which was the later name of the Conwy and Denbighshire NHS Trust; it gained such a dreadful reputation that a rebranding exercise was undertaken. Annette Bartley was an Angel – presumably one who had spent all or most of her career in north Wales. Bartley became a fellow of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and even spent a year in Boston which was funded by them. She then returned to Gren and north Wales. She did of course set up her own management consultancy. Bartley died in 2016 and a tribute was written to her by the Point of Care Foundation on The Health Foundation’s website. It stated that Annette was a nurse until 2007, but then became a quality advisor, that she had a ‘passion for excellence’ and was ‘an experienced nurse and capable service improver in north Wales’. She was also obviously a very good liar. We are told that Annette had a little anecdote – ‘when the organisation hit a barrier to progress, it brought inspiration and new energy to enable change’.

I can understand that the goons in north Wales all swallowed Annette’s nonsense because like her they’d never dare admit what was happening in their organisation which had hit a barrier to progress, but how did she manage to convince anyone in BOSTON that she was a ‘an experienced improver’?? They’d only needed to have paid a visit to the shambles that was Ysbyty Glan Clwyd…

 

Anna Walker was the Chief Exec of the Healthcare Commission, 2004-09, until it was subsumed by the CQC after one scandal too many. Walker was a Whitehall civil servant who had worked for the DTI, DEFRA and had been the Director-General at Oftel. Anna was supposed to be all about being a hard taskmaster and inspecting/regulating the NHS in order to effect improvement (she should have just asked the Great Improver Annette for advice) – she didn’t have much joy with the NHS in north Wales. Anna was the daughter of Lord Butterworth, the first Vice-Chancellor of Warwick University and was in the same class as Princess Ann at Benenden. Anna’s husband is Tim Walker, who was the Director-General of the HSE. The HSE that only very, very rarely took the NHS to task, no matter how many times they killed patients. One of Tim’s underlings at the HSE co-signed the Concordat with Anna. Between 2009-16, Anna was the Chair of Young Epilepsy. At about the time that Anna became Chief Exec of the Healthcare Commission, a young woman with epilepsy ended up in a vegetative state after being admitted to Ysbyty Gwynedd. It was a bank holiday and there was no senior doctor on call because Keith Thomson, the CEO of the North West Wales NHS Trust, had refused to pay for senior doctors to cover at weekends and bank holidays. No-one on duty knew how much medication to give her and they got it wrong. She ended up severely brain damaged. Thomson wasn’t sacked and no-one was prosecuted. Thomson did resign in 2005 – hours after my lawyers had him summoned before a High Court judge in Cardiff and ordered him to hand over my medical records which he had been refusing to. Not that Thomson actually retired, although he told the local paper this – Thomson went off quietly to Pembrokeshire and joined the senior management of the NHS Trust down there! He stood down from that post suddenly for unexplained reasons, but was kind enough to tell them all that he’d remain as an advisor to the Board.

Chris Heginbotham of the Mental Health Act Commission – the MHA Commission that failed to investigate abuses of patients in north Wales, lied to patients and had a very chummy relationship over a period of many years with NHS senior managers in north Wales – was formerly Chief Exec at MIND. Heginbotham worked closely with William Bingley, the legal director of MIND whilst Heginbotham was Chief Exec – who also went on to lead the MHA Commission – who admitted to me that he knew the extent of the criminal activities of Dr Dafydd Alun Jones. For more details of Heginbotham’s activities, see post ‘MIND Are Out For Mental Health – But Never For Themselves Of Course’.

Michael Ponton was appointed as Director of the NHS Confederation Wales in 2004. He began working for the NHS in Cardiff in 1962 and moved to England in 1968, where he worked at St Mary’s Hospital Paddington and Leicester General Hospital. In 1974 he returned to Wales as manager of the Morriston Hospital, Swansea. After spending 16 years in senior management roles with West Glamorgan Health Authority, Ponton returned to Morrison in 1985 to manage the revamped hospital. In 1990 he became Managing Director of East Dyfed and Pembrokeshire Health Authorities. In 1996 Ponton was appointed as Chief Exec of Health Promotion Wales. In 1999 he arrived at the newly established Welsh Assembly Gov’t as the senior civil servant supporting the Chief Medical Officer, Dr Ruth Hall, on Health Promotion and Public Health.

Dr Ruth Hall was or still is a member of NICE’s Public Health Advisory Committee, is on the Board of Governors of the Public Policy Institute for Wales and is Joint Chair of the Mid-Wales Healthcare Collaborative. Healthcare services in mid-Wales are notoriously virtually non-existent and two days ago the children’s services in Powys died a death. Ruth penned an entertaining piece for the University of South Wales’s website, entitled ‘Riding The Wave of Success’, in which she urged everyone to ‘enjoy the wave of reflected glory. This particularly applies to the NHS…’

Michael Ponton led the Assembly Strategy ‘Improving Health in Wales’ – he was Director of Health Policy and Development in the Assembly’s Health and Social Services Dept. In 2010 when he retired Ponton became a visiting Professor at the University of South Wales. He was or is a Trustee of Age Concern Cymru as well as Help the Aged in Wales.

 

A Report on the Implementation and Progress of the Concordat 2005-07 followed a few years later. The signatures on this Report were pretty much the same as the signatures on the Concordat, but there were a few new additions, including that of Dr Finlay Scott, Chief Exec of the GMC. At the time, Finlay was busy trying to explain why Harold Shipman had been allowed to continue practicing although there had been concerns expressed about him many years previously after he was convicted of a drugs offence.

Another new signature was that of Jeremy Colman, the Auditor General for Wales. Jeremy was a civil servant who had worked as the Private Secretary to successive holders of the post of head of the Home Office’s civil service and in the Treasury. Colman had played a leading role in the privatisation of British Airways and the British Airports Authority. In 1988 Colman was Director of investment bank County NatWest. He then became a partner in Price Waterhouse – he was based in Prague, as head of Corporate Finance. Colman joined the National Audit Office in 1993 and was responsible for PFIs and public-private partnerships for 12 years. Colman became head of the Wales Audit Office (WAO) in 2005. He resigned in 2010 after an internal investigation found child porn on his computer. An investigation by South Wales Police followed – Colman was later found guilty of fifteen separate offences of possessing indecent images and was jailed. The only surprise is that he hasn’t turned up on the Board of the Care Council for Wales.

After Colman resigned, Huw Vaughan Thomas was appointed as head of the WAO. Huw Vaughan Thomas was the former Chief Exec of Gwynedd County Council, whilst Gwynedd Social Services was host to the paedophile ring and was subject to police investigations. Vaughan Thomas refused to meet Alison Taylor, the social worker who blew the whistle on the paedophile ring, who was subsequently sacked. Vaughan Thomas is involved with numerous worthy causes – full details of Huw’s glorious career and extensive network can be read in my post ‘I Know Nuzzing…’

If any reader knows who sat on the panel that appointed Huw Vaughan Thomas to the WAO, I’d certainly like to hear from them. Huw is still in that post.

 

In the midst of all this, in March 2005 ‘Community Care’ ran an article on Rhodri Morgan’s ‘vision’ for public services in Wales – a vision that was conjured up by his advisor Mark Drakeford. The vision involved rejecting the consumerist model of services that had been adopted in England – all part of Rhodri’s famous placing of ‘clear red water’ between Wales and England. I am completely sympathetic to such ideas – but as we have seen, they cannot be successfully implemented if the whole system is full of corrupt, abusive people who are never removed from their jobs and who are immediately given another senior role if they condescend to resign in the face of major scandal. Flattering words were said in ‘Community Care’ regarding the ‘new way’ of sharing staff and resources. A number of key figures were mentioned, including Paul Elliott, spokesperson for Wales UNISON and David Halse, head of Childcare Commissioning at Pembrokeshire. David was head of Children’s Services in Pembrokeshire, working under Jon Skone.

In Jan 2006, ‘Children and Young People Now’ carried an article on the serious problems in children’s social care services in Wales. One Graham Williams – who was still  Chief Inspector – commented that ‘improving the performance of children’s services must be given immediate priority’. Everyone chipped in as usual. A Sally Ellis was named as the Association of Directors of Social Services lead on children’s services in Wales. Sally Ellis was a Corporate Director in Denbighshire County Council, between 2001-14. The Denbighshire County Council which had problems in all of its ‘services’ and whose education service famously imploded. Sally was, among other things, Director of Social Services for Denbighshire and is described as having held ‘many posts in local gov’t’. What’s the betting that at one point Sally will have been a social worker in north Wales as the paedophile gang raged and the mental health patients were neglected and abused? Sally was also the Director for Modernisation over at Denbighshire – and was or is the local gov’t representative on the Betsi Board! She Chaired the Strategic Improvement Steering Group which dispensed advice to the Health and Social Services Minister in Wales on social care improvement. Sally is also listed on the website of the Public Services Staff Commission as a Commissioner, who provides ‘advice to Welsh Gov’t Ministers and public service organisations’. She also provided advice to the National Institute of Care and Support.

Sally Ellis is a volunteer advisor to Denbighshire CAB. Lucille Hughes, the Director of Gwynedd Social Services who was named in the Waterhouse Report as colluding with the paedophile gang who operated in north Wales, is a senior manager of CAB. Ellis is also Vice-Chair of North Wales Housing aka the North Wales Housing Association. The North Wales Housing Association began the Bangor branch of their empire by fleecing a vulnerable psychiatric patient. They are known for housing drug dealers who intimidate the more vulnerable residents – complaints from the vulnerable residents are ignored. In the 1990s, North Wales Housing used to run a homeless hostel in Bangor. I knew a young woman who was ‘housed’ there. She struck up a close friendship with a young man who was also a resident and one night went along to his room and got into bed with him. He was dead. He had died of an overdose of drugs that he’d been sold whilst he was in the hostel. They young woman who found him was taken to the Hergest Unit and sectioned. Her clothes were removed – and never returned – and she was given a police forensic jump suit to wear. She was detained in the Hergest Unit until after the funeral and the inquest of her dead friend. She was never interviewed about her friend’s death by anyone. There was no investigation into the death. The manager of the hostel on duty the night that the young man died later became Chief Exec of North Wales Housing.

In July 2007, an article appeared in Wales Online explaining that the cost of negligence in the Welsh NHS was going through the roof. Spencer Collier, a solicitor handling such claims, observed that it was ‘the same basic and simple mistakes which keep occurring….very, very simple year one medical school stuff’. Gren Kershaw’s own documents from the Welsh Risk Pool also showed that the same mistakes were being made repeatedly. A Welsh Assembly spokesperson responded by saying that ‘the NHS Redress Measure that has been published today will further encourage a learning culture in the NHS’. At about this time, one of my colleagues at Bangor University was ‘leading a project’ with dear old Gren and the Welsh Risk Pool. Brown and me used to be greatly entertained by this person’s description of the NHS as a ‘learning organisation’. Within two years the project had gone tits up in a major way due to her mismanagement, the two PhD students associated with it didn’t get PhDs, there was talk of the funding body demanding the dosh back from the University and the person who believed that the NHS was a learning organisation was sacked. She later set up a ‘coaching and mentoring business’ and was recently commissioned by the Betsi to ‘train’ their senior doctors. Some months ago, at a Betsi Board meeting whilst yet another disaster was being discussed, the Vice-Chair of the Board, Margaret Hanson, talked about ’embedding the learning’. Margaret is a former social worker who is married to David Hanson, who also worked in the care sector before he became an MP in Wales.

The learning just goes on and on – as do the deaths, the scandals and the abuse.

 

Another major player between 2006-12 was Tony Jewell, Wales’s Chief Medical Officer. Jewell always looked as though he led a very good life, he was rather tanned and seemed to be in possession of some very expensive teeth. He was a public health specialist and I never worked out whether he was a good advert for his own speciality or whether he was just wealthy enough to afford a very comfortable lifestyle. Many years ago Tony Jewell worked as a GP in inner London for 10 years and was a member of Tower Hamlets Area Health Authority for six years, specifically as the union rep. So he will have known the fuckwits that ran that borough and that they were sending their kids in care on placement to north Wales – where they were abused. Jewell was Secretary to the Support Wendy Savage campaign, so he’ll have known many of the folk mentioned in my post ‘Little Things Hitting Each Other’. Jewell was a Council member of the Socialist Health Organisation, but resigned when he was appointed CMO for Wales. Yorkshire Television produced a documentary on Jewell’s work in the 80s. In the late 1980s Yorkshire Television also filmed Alison Taylor for a planned documentary on child abuse in north Wales children’s homes – but it was suddenly stopped. Jewell was involved in the Inquiry into the death of David ‘Rocky’ Bennett. Rocky was a mental health patient who suffocated whilst being ‘restrained’ by an inexplicably high number of people who were paid ‘to help’. Tony Jewell was President of the UK Association of Directors of Public Health, 2002-06.

Whilst CMO, Tony Jewell created Public Health appointments in every Health Board in Wales. I knew one of the people who landed one of those appointments in the North West Wales NHS Trust. He was a capable senior doctor who had won prizes for his work whilst he was working in London. After working for the North West Wales NHS Trust for a year he began to describe the serious misconduct among his colleagues that he was witnessing. He alleged that he was being bullied in the workplace, became clinically depressed and ended up having a breakdown. He left Tony Jewell’s flagship job and moved to another part of the country to work as a GP – after a leading light in the BMA ensured that nobody got to hear about what had happened to this doctor in Gwynedd. The doctor who had the breakdown also knew about the research fraud that was mindfulness and noticed that the ‘mindfulness practitioners’ in Bangor University were behaving appallingly.

Tony Jewell established NISCHR (National Institute for Social Care and Health Research) in Wales, an organisation that dishes out funding to people who know exactly how bad the social care and mental health services are in Wales, but who never publish a word about it preferring to pursue simplistic surveys and box ticking exercises instead.

Some years ago that there a terrifyingly embarrassing cluster of suicides in Bridgend, which no-one ever managed to get to the bottom of. I always wondered about that particular mystery, but I have now discovered that Jewell ‘defused’ the problem by conjuring up the All Wales Response To Suicide Prevention. Not that it’s prevented any suicides, people are still dropping like lemmings, but at least no-one talks about it anymore, because there’s now a Strategy. The learning will have been embedded.

Tony Jewell retired in 2012, tanned, healthy and still in possession of those splendid teeth. The rest of Wales was on its arse, I’d been hounded out of Gwynedd by the paedophiles’ friends and the nation’s health outcomes were shameful. By this time Lesley Griffiths was Minister for Health and Social Services. Griffiths had been a member of Wrexham Council whilst the paedophile ring raged in the children’s services in Wrexham (see post ‘History Repeats Itself, First As Tragedy, Second As Farce’) – all the Councillors except Malcolm King refused to make a nuisance of themselves about this minor matter. Mark Drakeford was appointed as Minister for Health and Social Services after Griffiths – the Drakeford who was once a social worker in Dyfed where children in care were abused, the Drakeford who was Rhodri’s advisor a few years previously – you get the picture. Drakeford was in post when the Tawel Fan scandal blew up and covered him in crap. Tawel Fan ward provided care for EMI patients in Ysbyty Glan Clwyd – Gren Kershaw’s former empire, that beacon of ‘improvement’ that so impressed quality assessors in Boston. The EMI services in Gren’s empire also managed to receive an award for being the best team in the UK from the Royal College of Psychiatrists the year before the horrible truth hit the headlines re Tawel Fan.

After Tony Jewell retired, Dr Ruth Hussey was appointed as CMO for Wales. Ruth Hussey is Peter Higson’s sister. Ruth Hussey picked up an honorary Fellowship from Bangor University – Peter Higson is a member of the Council at Bangor University.

 

Regular readers will know that although I am very rude about the nest of corrupt vipers that have wrecked the public services in Wales, I always maintain that they have been propped up by even worse equally corrupt incestuous vipers from England. So let’s look at who oversaw this complete mess at the highest level and started the ball rolling from the earliest days of the creation of the Assembly, by simply re-employing and indeed promoting the fucking idiots who had caused so much damage previously.

It was Sir John Shortridge, who was Permanent Secretary in the Welsh Office from 1999 and who became Permanent Secretary of the National Assembly for Wales when it was created in May 1999. Shortridge’s predecessor was Rachel Lomax, who has a great deal of explaining to do re the cover-up that was the Waterhouse Inquiry. Further details pertaining to Rachel can be read in my post ‘So Who Was It Exactly Who Appointed The Corrupt Old Bugger?’

Shortridge joined the Welsh Office in 1984. In 1987 he became Private Secretary to Secretaries of State for Wales Nicholas Edwardes aka Lord Crickhowell and then Peter Walker. So Shortridge will have been au fait – and perhaps even organising – the Welsh Office’s cover-up of the abuse of both children in care and mental health patients as detailed in previous posts, by the use of corrupt lawyer Andrew Park and the corrupt Medical Ombudsman, Professor Robert Owen. It was also the Welsh Office’s Social Services Inspectorate that failed to carry out regular inspections of the children’s homes in north Wales, even though they were being told by Alison Taylor that abuse was rampant and some ‘care workers’ from the homes had been convicted of assaults on children. In addition, Alison and me were writing to Ministers in the Welsh Office telling them that there was criminal activity in the social services and mental health services in north Wales. Shortridge will also have been party to the development of Cardiff Bay and the way in which this was used to transfer many millions of taxpayers money to Nicholas Edwardes and his friends and business partners (see post ‘Corruption Bay Special’). In fact between 1988-92 Shortridge was head of the Welsh Office Finance Division, so he’ll have been the person who waved that particular massive scam through. There was a great deal of unhappiness with the Welsh Office in Wales, with allegations of corruption, mismanagement and decisions being taken that were anything but helpful to Wales. In 1995 a Senior Managerial Review of the Welsh Office was undertaken – by Jon Shortridge. Then in 1997, Shortridge was appointed Director of Economic Affairs, responsible for establishing the National Assembly of Wales.

After ensuring the corruption was built into the civil service and public services of Wales from the very beginning, Shortridge retired in 2008. Between 2012-15, Sir Jon Shortridge was Chancellor of the poorest performing university in the UK, that institution riddled with problems, Glyndwr University at Wrexham. My post ‘A Vampire At Glyndwr University!’ identifies and details the backgrounds of the numerous people who facilitated, concealed and colluded with those involved in the North Wales Child Abuse Scandal who have held or hold roles governing that institution. I presume that Shortridge is the biggest vampire of the lot.

I have come to expect high levels of fuckwittery from those responsible for running health and care systems – these systems are so dysfunctional that they are designed to ensure that no competent person ever achieves any degree of influence. But under Jon Shortridge, a paedophile was appointed to lead the Wales Audit Office and then after the paedophile was imprisoned, someone who facilitated a paedophile gang was appointed as his successor.

The Westminster Paedophile Ring was alleged to have involved Whitehall civil servants. Children from north Wales children’s homes were trafficked to London for prostitution. Some of the boys from north Wales found themselves visiting apartments at Dolphin Square – the location of the residences of a number of politicians and civil servants.

 

It is good to know that there is ‘no problem’ and that everyone is ‘riding the wave of success’ – and that Jon Shortridge, having presided over this shameful mess that resulted in so many ruined lives and numerous deaths, ended up with a knighthood.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

News Round Up, 6 October 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.