The Great And The Good

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yet the mental health services are such a mess…

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

More Post-Waterhouse Glittering Careers

Recent posts have described how many of the people involved with the Waterhouse Inquiry found their careers heading for the stars soon after the whole shameful travesty. There were so many lawyers at the Inquiry – nearly all of them acting for the people accused of seriously abusing children or concealing the abuse – that until now I’ve only blogged about the most high profile or the names that I recognised. However I have been sufficiently intrigued by the way in which defending a bunch of vicious criminals acted as a booster to so many otherwise mundane legal careers that I’ve taken the opportunity to research a few more of the names involved. I have not been disappointed. So here we go.

Anna Pauffley QC. Anna represented over 100 people who had received ‘Salmon letters’. These were letters sent out to people who were alleged to be guilty of physical or sexual abuse of children or who were likely to be the subject of criticism. The Salmon letter recipients included people who had been named by the former children in care as having abused them – some of these people had already been convicted and even imprisoned by the time that the Waterhouse Report was completed. Other Salmon letter recipients were people who had witnessed or been told about abuse but who did nothing. So the Salmon letter recipients included some Grade A scumbags. Anna represented people who had punched and kicked children, who had raped or buggered them or forced them to participate in oral sex. If the former children in care were to be believed – and of course Anna’s job was to suggest that they weren’t – some of their abusers took them to other locations where they were molested by unknown people as well. One of the many people whom Anna represented was Lucille Hughes, former Director of Gwynedd Social Services, whom it was acknowledged even by Waterhouse had known that a paedophile ring was operating in the social services but who had not acted.

Sir Ronald Waterhouse devotes part of his report to thanking all the noble lawyers who worked so hard to defend the indefensible and noted that some of the witnesses ‘were subjected to necessarily severe cross-examination by Counsel for those against whom they made specific allegations’. Ronnie admitted that a number of witnesses found giving evidence so distressing that they were admitted as psychiatric emergencies, others became so distressed that dear old Ronnie just refused to accept their evidence, scores of others needed counselling to support them through the Inquiry and yet others were referred for long term mental health care. Others left the Inquiry ‘holding each other’, which Ronnie interpreted as meaning that they had ‘left something negative behind’, rather than that they had been just about destroyed. It’s OK though! Ronnie notes that ‘we believe however, that the satisfaction in their minds of knowing that they have been listened to will substantially outweigh the disadvantages of providing that evidence’. (Of course they were not at all satisfied when they read Ronnie’s report which dissed nearly all of them and whitewashed the biggest child abuse scandal that the UK had seen.) Ronnie was however very mindful indeed of the traumas that those accused of abusing the youngsters might experience. He observed that for the Salmon letter recipients the Tribunal was ‘a particularly anxious time’, but that ‘anxiety has been mitigated…by the Tribunal’s anonymity ruling…in respect of any person against whom an allegation of physical or sexual abuse had been or was likely to be made’. Ronnie also ‘exercised restraint in naming names’. I note that none of the paedophile gang or their friends needed emergency psychiatric treatment or left ‘holding each other’. They probably left uncorking the champagne.

So what became of Anna who defended Lucille et al by severely cross-examining anyone who dared allege that they’d been abused? Like Nicola Davies QC, Anna is now a Dame of course! She was appointed a High Court judge in 2003, although she did end up in hot water in 2015 when she publicly stated that it was ‘Okay for migrant families to hit their children’ (it’s their culture you see). Gov’t spokespeople were wheeled out to explain that child abuse was unacceptable from anyone. But what did the Gov’t expect from a woman who was made a Dame after psychologically assassinating people who relived details of the most horrific abuse – sensitivity???

Dame Anna was assisted in her defence of people who had done some pretty dreadful things by Rachel Langdale. Rachel was appointed a QC in 2009 and she now advertises herself as a specialist in Children’s Law. Last month she featured in ‘Counsel’ magazine maintaining that ‘The Only Way Is Ethics’, discussing the importance of in house ethics training, underlining the importance of Ethics Committees and discussing ‘the integrity which lies at the heart of the Bar’. So has Rachel finally seen the light? Or is she a hypocritical unscrupulous cow who’ll do anything to advance herself?

Alistair Webster QC. Alistair acted for the senior managers of Clwyd County Council. A previous post (‘Ain’t Nothing Clean – Not Even The Welsh Calvinistic Methodists’) detailed just how culpable and either dishonest or incompetent these people were. Alistair is still going strong and is a Crown Court recorder. He is a member of the Liberal Democrat Lawyers Association and describes his fields as ‘commercial crime, crime and regulation’. He boasts that he has acted for the defence in ‘large drug conspiracies’ and many ‘gangland murders’. (Many people who grew up in care in Clwyd were found dead, sometimes shortly after giving evidence against their abusers.) In 2015/16 Alistair defended Indranee and Meghadeven Pumbien, who owned Briarwood Rest Home in Preston, when they were accused of the serious abuse of elderly people in their care, as well as perverting the course of justice. Among the allegations were that a 99 year old woman was burnt after being dropped into a bath of scalding water. Another elderly person had two inexplicable black eyes and bruising on their arms. Alistair also represents Top Doctors in trouble with the GMC, both at Tribunals and in the High Court. Alistair was assisted in his defence of the Clwyd senior managers by Suzanne Goddard. In 2015 she became a circuit judge on the Northern Circuit.

Andrew Caldecott QC. Caldecott appeared at the Waterhouse Inquiry to act for Gordon Anglesea. Anglesea had of course recently won a libel case after ‘Private Eye’ and others accused him of molesting boys in care. Anglesea was awarded almost £400,000 in damages. One of the men who gave evidence at the trial was found dead some weeks later. In 2016 Anglesea was convicted of sexually abusing boys in care and was imprisoned. Caldecott describes himself as a leader in the field of defamation and he also has an interest in human rights law no less. Caldecott acted for Constance Briscoe, the former barrister and judge, when Briscoe’s mother sued her for libel after Briscoe published a book maintaining that her mother had inflicted dreadful cruelty upon her when she was a child. Briscoe won the case. In 2014 Briscoe was imprisoned after being found guilty of perverting the course of justice in an unrelated case. She is now an ex-judge.

David Knifton. Knifton defended, among other people, Nefyn and June Dodd, who were accused again and again of serious physical violence against children resident at a children’s home in Bangor. One of Dodd’s specialities was to make children lick his boots or sometimes his bare feet. At one point a forged letter purporting to be from one of Dodd’s accusers was sent to Lucille Hughes in support of Dodd and his wife. Not only did Ronnie brush this piece of very incriminating evidence to one side but he decided not to believe numerous former residents who claimed to have been assaulted by Dodd and his wife. A number of former staff accused Dodd of brutality as well. One of my former neighbours used to work in the children’s home that Dodd managed and she described him as being a ‘total fascist’. Knifton was appointed a Crown and County Court Recorder in 2002. He advertises himself as a specialist in clinical negligence and personal injury.

Steven Crossley. Crossley represented Roger Saint, the foster carer who sexually assaulted children repeatedly but who was nonetheless allowed to adopt and foster again and again (see post ‘Tower Hamlets, Paul Boateng And Tessa Jowell’). Crossley represents Top Doctors and Angels in trouble at GMC and NMC hearings and also specialises in helping police officers who’ve ended up in hot water. He has defended a number of doctors and police officers accused of sexual assault.

Barrie Searle. Represented a number of ‘care workers’ accused of abuse at Waterhouse. These days Barrie represents Top Doctors and Angels in trouble with their regulatory bodies. Barrie is based in Manchester and is a recorder.

Theresa Pepper QC and Charles Gratwicke QC acted for ‘care workers’ accused of physical and sexual abuse. Theresa is now a recorder on the Northern Circuit. Charles Gratwicke QC is the resident judge at Chelmsford in Essex and led the tributes when a ‘controversial’ colleague retired. This colleague seems to have made some positively dangerous decisions with regard to people convicted of serious offences, including sexual ones. Not that Charles minded – he really liked this bloke because he was ‘his own man’ and Chelmsford was fortunate to have been graced with his presence.

Jodie Swallow represented the dreadful Stephen Norris, a truly hideous specimen who was described as coarse, obsessed with sex and unsuitable to work with children by his fellow paedophiles, so one can only marvel at the depths to which Norris must have sunk. He was one of the ‘care staff’ who had already been imprisoned by the time that the Inquiry was held, so I’m not sure why he actually needed Jodie to represent him. So where is Jodie now? She hasn’t gone far geographically. She is an honorary lecturer with the Criminal Justice Team at Glyndwr University in Wrexham and a part-time postgraduate student at Chester University. When she was working as a lawyer her ‘area of expertise’ was ‘dealing with cases of sexual abuse especially involving children’ – well yes, she represented the people who molested them. Jodie gave up practising law in 2001 because she wanted to spend more time with her young children. Presumably she wanted to give them a bit of high quality parenting lest they ended up in care in the hands of someone like Norris. Jodie managed to get on the Radio 4 sociology programme ‘Thinking Allowed’ last year, talking about women’s experience of domestic abuse. No doubt she kept very quiet about acting for Stephen Norris when she was chatting to Laurie Taylor.

Now we come onto a real star – the late Anthony Jennings. Jennings acted for Peter Howarth, one of the most notorious paedophiles who worked at Bryn Estyn. Before he molested boys at Bryn Estyn, Howarth molested boys at an approved school in Gateshead. Like Norris, Howarth was already in prison by the time the Waterhouse Inquiry was underway. One might have thought that representing Peter Howarth would not be the best career move, but it certainly didn’t hold Anthony Jennings back. Jennings died in 2008, but his obituaries have nothing but praise for him – he was clever, skilled, full of fun, ‘larger than life’. He became a QC in 2001 and in 2002 was given permission to try rape trials. In 2003 he was appointed a Crown Court recorder. So how did the man who defended Peter Howarth describe his area of expertise? Civil rights of course! Howarth’s civil rights presumably, not those of all the kids whom he molested. Jennings was well-known in legal circles, but he wasn’t half as well-known as one of his colleagues. Jennings was a co-founder of Matrix – the chambers where Cherie Booth aka Mrs Tony Blair practised…. They’ll have known each other well.

I’ve kept the most stunning example of career progression until the end of this post. The lucky winner of this award has got to be Fiona Walkingshaw. Fiona was de facto solicitor to the Tribunal and remained so until Ronnie handed over the final documented whitewash. Fiona worked for the Welsh Office, had been on secondment to Europe and then returned to help Ronnie out. So Fiona loyally assisted Ronnie as witnesses collapsed in distress, as they were hauled off as psychiatric emergencies, whilst Ronnie discredited nearly all of them yet described the paedophiles who wrecked their lives as ‘kind’ and ‘generous’ or ‘strict but fair’. So what is Fiona doing these days? She’s a counsellor, what else would she be? Not just any old counsellor though – Fiona is a tutor with the Psychosynthesis Trust. She specialises in ‘bereavement, issues of love and loss, working with children and young people’. She enjoys her work because it gives her the ‘opportunity to witness and support the journey of other souls who open themselves up to transformative compassion’. She’s not in Wales anymore, she’s based in the south east of England and is listed as holding sessions with the Croydon Young Persons Service for girls between 11 and 18 who are refuges and asylum seekers. I think that Fiona ought to get her arse back up to north Wales and quickly, because there’s a few souls up there who are on a journey after spending years being raped and buggered in the children’s homes. They didn’t experience much love, but there was an awful lot of loss and quite a bit of bereavement as well, particularly after five of them died all at once in an arson attack (see post ‘The Silence Of The Welsh Lambs’). Come on Fiona, Wales needs you and your therapeutic skills – and of course the empathy and compassion that you’re advertising in your biography…

 

 

News Round-Up, March 20 2017

I have a few updates regarding recent blog posts, as well as a few new items to report.

THIS BLOG WAS EDITED ON APRIL 24th 2017 ON THE ORDERS OF A JUDGE – I HAVE HAD TO REMOVE CERTAIN PARAGRAPHS

….who was alleged to be sexually exploiting patients who also tripped over himself to fill the role as the psychiatrist specialising in ‘substance abuse’ in north Wales – one of the main stars of this blog, Dr Dafydd Alun Jones. When the Hergest Unit was first built, Jones would attend there regularly to hold ‘clinics’ for ‘his’ drug users. Angry patients who had previous experience of Jones’s misconduct would constantly challenge the staff of the Hergest Unit regarding Jones’s presence there. The staff would always respond in the same way – they would tell the protesting patients that although they might not like Jones, other patients attending his clinic ‘want to see him and like him’. There was one patient at the Hergest Unit who was a former drug user himself who one day could bear these lame excuses no longer and responded with ‘they like him because he gives them drugs and I should know because I used to be like that myself’. Many years later I met a former patient of Jones’s who sung his praises and told me that he was great because ‘he’d give you anything you wanted, anything at all’. I have previously mentioned on the blog that Dafydd was a regular on TV shows in the 90s – he appeared on ‘The Kane Debates’, on ‘Kilroy’ and when he was resisting retirement and trying to prevent the North Wales Hospital from being closed he managed to con S4C into doing a few programmes entirely about him and his heroic work with drug users. It was during one of these TV appearances that Dafydd explained to the world that he didn’t hold with methadone reduction programmes, he ‘helped’ addicts by prescribing them sizeable doses of diazepam instead. I always wondered why Dafydd was so enthusiastic regarding the magical powers of diazepam. Interestingly enough, Dafydd is little and in public usually indulges in a bit of ham-acting in an attempt to dupe people into believing that he’s a God-fearing little old man who wouldn’t hurt a fly – however when Dafydd thought no-one was watching and he lost his rag with me, on one occasion he gave me a quick thump in the arm as he passed by me and another time he clenched his fist and I think was about to clobber me but I pointed out that there was a secretary standing behind him who was watching…

….It is about the state giving you enormous power over the lives of vulnerable people and corrupt institutions like the BMA and GMC working very hard indeed to ensure that you are never held to account, no matter how serious the complaints against you. It also helps if you are surrounded by colleagues who know what you are doing but make as many lame excuses for you as they can, some of whom do this because they fear being dismissed if they blow the whistle on you, others because they are also indulging in wrongdoing and there’s so much to hide that they fear the whole ship sinking if anyone breaks ranks….

Whilst on the subject of questionable prescribing, there is another item of interest in the news. Mail Online is reporting that Kate Matthew, a health visitor employed by Aneurin Bevan University Health Board in south Wales, has been struck off the nursing register indefinitely by the NMC after forging prescriptions for use in her ‘beauty’ business which she ran as a sideline, offering ‘treatments’ such as Botox, lip fillers etc. The fraud involving acquiring a number of blank prescriptions that a doctor colleague had signed and photocopying them to use the doctor’s signature. Matthew was given a suspended prison sentence and unpaid community work as a result of the criminal proceedings against her. However, it won’t hold her back, because she has stated that she will continue to run her business in a managerial capacity and will employ a registered nurse to actually carry out the ‘procedures’. Which seems to be the basis on which a lot of ‘medical aesthetics’ businesses are run – an unqualified or even disqualified person owns and runs the business and employs a qualified person who is effectively treated as a minion to remain within the law. There is one other huge unanswered question in this case – it is reported that the doctor who signed the prescriptions was unaware of the fraud and had ‘signed the blank prescriptions in good faith’. How does one sign a blank prescription in good faith? The whole point of a signature on a prescription is for that signature to be added AFTER the prescription has been completed, in order that fraud like this doesn’t happen. I note that the doctor churning out signed blank prescriptions in good faith has not been named, disciplined and did not face trial himself. Which is interesting because he is probably guilty of the greater wrongdoing. But then three years ago when I had the misfortune to be detained at Parkhead Hospital in Glasgow, I was keeping an eye on the drug charts as the ‘medication’ was handed out because I could see how bad the practices were in that place and nearly every day I witnessed prescription fraud including the same technique described in this south Wales case.

A recent blog post described the serious shortcomings of the Bangor branch of the Samaritans (please see post ‘Updates From NHS England, March 18 2017’). I was therefore interested to read in the Daily Post that Bangor Samaritans have somehow accumulated so much dosh that they have acquired a brand new building – presumably people handing over the donations have no idea how the Samaritans in Bangor are actually conducting themselves. However I am wondering if, like so many other Third Sector organisations in north Wales claiming to be providing ‘support’ for the vulnerable and distressed, the Bangor Samaritans are in receipt of large quantities of dosh from the Welsh Gov’t. The purpose of the Post article is to urge potential volunteers for the Bangor Samaritans to come forward – now I wonder why the Samaritans in Bangor are having difficulty finding volunteers…

Another north Wales Third Sector organisation receiving Govt dosh to provide ‘services’ to people with mental health problems that has previously featured on the blog is ‘Parabl’, memorably described by a reader as the love-child of CAIS and MIND (please see blog post ‘Newly Discovered – ‘Parabl’!’). Since I blogged about Parabl, I have received correspondence from a number of readers all maintaining that they have attempted to obtain a service from Parabl but were turned down on the grounds that their ‘problems’ were ‘too serious’ to be dealt with by Parabl. These people were being refused care by the mental health services because their problems weren’t serious enough and were referred to Parabl, only to be turned down by Parabl as well. So to whom is Parabl providing a service? Although I have yet to find someone to whom Parabl have agreed to give a service, I note that like CAIS, MIND and indeed the Bangor Samaritans, Parabl is obviously another Third Sector organisation failing to deliver what it claims to be delivering but expanding nonetheless – whilst in the Co-Op Store in Machynlleth a few days ago, I noticed an advert for Parabl. So presumably they have now expanded into mid-Wales. Machynlleth could constitute a good target for Parabl – there are no statutory mental health services in the Machynlleth area (although I doubt that this means that the residents of Machynlleth will be missing out on much), the nearest statutory mental health services are in Newtown or one can use the ‘services’ provided by dear old MIND in Aberystwyth. So presumably Parabl have capitalised on this and persuaded someone to fund their ‘service’ in mid-Wales.

BBC News is reporting that a former consultant paediatrician at the North Devon District Hospital, Dr Jonathan Walsh, has been imprisoned for three years after using ‘military-grade’ software to cover his tracks whilst possessing and sharing child sex images. Police confirmed that none of the images related to patients at the hospital. Such statements tend to be made in the wake of cases like this – why do the police think that Walsh chose to specialise in paediatrics? Many years ago Professor Oliver Brook, a paediatrician at St George’s Hospital Medical School, was found to be in possession of a huge quantity of child pornography and was subsequently imprisoned. However he was released very shortly after by a sympathetic judge who believed that he was simply a man with a weakness. That was of course true, but there is now information available online regarding the Brook case alleging that Brook was actually a key figure in a pan-European paedophile network. At the time of Brook’s conviction, St George’s put out a statement reassuring everyone that of course Brook had never behaved improperly with any patients. After what I witnessed when I worked at St Georges not long after Brook was imprisoned, I wouldn’t rely on their assurances regarding any matter at all. But back to Walsh – he was put on the sex offenders register for life and served with a sexual harm prevention order. There is no mention of whether the GMC will be taking any action against Walsh…

However, someone else has been facing a GMC hearing and that is Dr Hannah Ryan, who has admitted misleading other medics by concealing nurse Pauline Cafferkey’s raised temperature before she became seriously ill with Ebola when Cafferkey returned to the UK after volunteering in Sierra Leone in 2014. Ryan allegedly wrote down a temperature 1C lower than it actually was during a ‘chaotic’ screening process at Heathrow airport in December 2014. Ryan admitted misleading others and ‘acquiesced’ in the wrong temperature being given but denies misconduct. It was obvious from the report in the Guardian that Hannah Ryan was not alone in misleading the authorities regarding Cafferkey’s temperature, so one wonders why there are no reports of the others involved facing disciplinary action. Furthermore, the misconduct of scores of practitioners in concealing the abuses in the mental health services in north Wales has been every bit as serious and dangerous as Hannah Ryan’s actions yet not one of them has faced disciplinary action from the GMC…

Another regular on this blog, Arfon Jones the North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner, has featured in the local media today, launching a domestic abuse strategy. One of Arfon’s ideas is that healthcare professionals should be ‘trained’ to spot signs of domestic abuse. I’m not sure that Arfon needs to train them to do any such thing – from what I know health practitioners in north Wales are more than able to spot signs of domestic abuse. Indeed I know of three men who have been employed as doctors at Ysbyty Gwynedd who have all been perpetrators of domestic abuse themselves. I also used to be very friendly with a lady who lived in Gwynedd who was married to an incredibly abusive man whose conduct was well-known and indeed witnessed by the neighbours. Two of these neighbours were a married couple who were both employed as nurses in the Hergest Unit. On one occasion one of these nurses told me that my friend’s husband’s violence towards her was ‘partly her fault because she’s so pitiful’. I’m not surprised she was pitiful, she was married to a maniac. Furthermore, this man’s repeated assaults on my friend eventually led to her developing mental health problems – she was sectioned by the local GP, also a neighbour, who knew about the violence that she was enduring and he admitted her to the Hergest Unit. To the very same ward on which her neighbour was employed as a charge nurse, whilst her neighbour was on duty. The violence and my friend’s distress continued and she then became very conscious that her neighbours had witnessed her at her most vulnerable, sectioned in a mental health unit. She became so distressed about this that she decided to leave the area as she believed that she was being openly gossiped about – she was, I was directly asked by a ‘carer’, ‘ooh what’s gone on there then she’s lost loads of weight’. (My friend had developed body image and eating disorder problems.) By this time my friend’s violent husband had very publicly left her for a teenaged girl so that became a rich source of gossip for the local healthcare staff as well. At this point my friend put her house up for sale at a knock-down price because she was so desperate to move away. She had an immediate offer – from the two Hergest Unit nurses who had gossiped about her and blamed her for her husband’s violent attacks. These two nurses only lived a few doors away, but my friend’s house was more desirable than theirs so they capitalised on my friend’s difficult situation and her embarrassment – to which they had contributed themselves – to get their paws on a house that they had always wanted but had not been able to afford when they first moved into the area…

I noticed another news item this evening when I was catching up on the Welsh news regarding Theresa May signing the Swansea Bay City Deal when she visited Wales today. There has been a critic of the Swansea Bay City Deal, who has appeared on BBC News Wales online offering his pearls of wisdom, stating that the Deal is based on a ‘discredited model’- that is one Professor Dylan Jones-Evans, of Bristol Business School. Dylan has not always been of Bristol Business School, he has formerly been of the University of Wales, Glyndwr University – and Bangor University. I don’t know how long it will be before Bristol Business School decides to dispense with his services, but that’s his current location. Dylan likes to think of himself as a right-wing ‘thinker’, but in reality he spends his time ingratiating himself to anyone whom he thinks can advance his prospects. He previously used to boast of being an ‘economic advisor’ to the Welsh Tories, but that all went a bit pear shaped a few years ago as a consequence of some ill-advised comments that Dylan made on his blog which were picked up by Peter Hain. When Dylan blighted Bangor University, he was part of Bangor Business School. I heard many first-hand accounts of atrocious bullying in Bangor Business School and one of the worst accounts involved Dylan. A young woman who was a junior member of staff working with Dylan’s team was subjected to some very unpleasant experiences. At one point she became pregnant as the result of a relationship with a rather predatory man and decided to end the pregnancy. She found this an incredibly distressing experience and took time off work because of it – Dylan, who I think was her line manager, knew about this. When she returned to work, one of her first tasks was to attend a conference as Dylan’s side-kick – at the conference dinner Dylan thought it was a good idea to make a ‘joke’ about her recent termination. This Charming Man’s activities did not end there. Eventually Bangor University decided that Dylan was a bit of a liability and they parted company and Dylan left for the green pastures of Glyndwr University. No-one actually seemed to know how Dylan had been persuaded to leave Bangor, but it was clear that he didn’t want to and after his departure he repeatedly swore that he’d wreak revenge on Bangor University. A few years later I heard that Dylan was standing as the Tory candidate for the Aberconwy area in the forthcoming Assembly election. I was then told by someone whom had met up with Dylan on the day that he had been selected as the candidate that he had treated this person to a slap-up dinner with him to celebrate his selection. I was told that during this dinner, whilst polishing off a lot of champagne, Dylan revealed that he only wanted to become a Tory AM to become Minister for Education and when he achieved this he intended to use his position to shaft Bangor University. Furthermore, Dylan let on that once he’d done this, he intended to become First Minister. Sadly Dylan’s Cunning Plan went badly wrong – he was never elected, which seemed to be a hurdle that he had forgotten about.

One way in which Dylan promotes himself is by his ‘mentoring’ of business start-ups. He boasts of his achievement in establishing the ‘Fast Growth 50’ scheme, which is heavily advertised by the Western Mail, probably because Dylan works for them as a columnist. I know of a number of people who have been ‘mentored’ by Dylan who have come to regret it – they allege that he simply fleeced them. In common with a lot of people over the past fifteen years, Dylan has been very keen to claim to be helping women, in Dylan’s case helping women start up in business. (People subjected to this PR of course know nothing of how Dylan has actually treated women who have had the misfortune to find themselves working with him.) Dylan had a pal in this endeavour – someone else who used to be associated with Bangor University, one Rebecca Jones. I was never sure what Rebecca Jones actually did or who employed her, but she used to hang around the Management Centre a great deal. The Management Centre was a University-owned company – I think Dylan himself played a role in establishing it and I was also told that the notorious Elfed Roberts, former Chair of the disasterous North West Wales NHS Trust was associated with the Management Centre – and was the source of much entertainment and contempt from the rest of the University, because no-one at the Management Centre seemed to be able to manage anything at all. Although the building was wonderful, every one of their various ventures such as their Business Club, their Bar, their café, was a total disaster. For a long time the Management Centre was run by the dreadful Colyn Gardner, who eventually parted company with the University much to everyone’s relief. As with Bangor Business School, there were terrifying anecdotes circulating regarding the alleged swindles that some of the senior staff were said to be involved in. At one point I was told by someone who worked with the Management Centre that Rebecca Jones had discovered some of this wrongdoing and was alleged to be blackmailing one of the people involved. Rebecca then disappeared from Bangor completely and I later discovered that she had resurfaced in south Wales, where she and her husband were running a B&B business of all things. (I was told at the time that Rebecca’s husband had departed from Anglesey County Council under a big cloud.) At the same time as running a B&B, Rebecca took a leaf out of Dylan’s book and reconstructed herself as a ‘business mentor’ – specialising in ‘advising’ women who wanted to establish businesses. Rebecca took to social media, calling herself Red Shoe Biz Woman, promoting her services as an ‘inspiring woman’ who wanted to ’empower’ other women. To be empowered however, women were required to hand over a lot of cash to Rebecca. I presume that Rebecca was targeting quite naïve women who had very little knowledge of business because her marketing material had the ring of something straight out of a woman’s magazine – ‘Rebecca knows what your life is like, as a mum and as a woman, she cares about you and knows the struggles that you face’ sort of thing. Rebecca advertised her numerous services online – as a mentor, as an inspirational speaker, as a facilitator of networks etc etc. Dylan and Rebecca went through a phase of vigorously promoting each other on social media. I notice that information about Red Shoe Biz Woman and her many talents is still available on the internet, although the information seems to be quite old. However Rebecca has posted up a copy of her ‘CV’ online, which isn’t a CV at all but a shameless boast sheet with very little evidence of the many achievements claimed. However, Rebecca’s CV did illuminate one thing for me – about the only recognisable qualification on that CV is an NNEB in nursery nursing. So that’s what is needed to be an inspirational business mentor for whose advice other women must pay handsomely…

I heard many worrying stories about Bangor Business School and the Management Centre, but there was one incident at the Management Centre that I received full details of, because it involved a good friend of mine. He obtained a part-time summer job as a receptionist at the Management Centre immediately after he graduated. Within days he noticed a lot of things that he felt should not be happening and believed that Colyn Gardner was encouraging an unpleasant bullying atmosphere. Most staff were terrified of Gardner and no-one dared raise the issue of the bullying culture with him. My friend suffered from epilepsy and was quite upfront about this lest he ever had a seizure and people who worked with him needed to help. However, after he had made this known, he noticed that some unpleasant comments were being made by certain members of staff at the Management Centre. He ignored them until one day when he went into work, he was asked to go into a room because someone had ‘something they wanted to show him’. He walked in and found that they were screening a video of someone having a grand mal seizure, as the assembled staff rolled around laughing. My friend walked out and began a disability discrimination case against the Management Centre. On the evening of the day that he began his case, he received a phone call at home, unsolicited, from Lyn Meadows, the HR Director at the University. Meadows tried to intimidate and silence him. Meadows is now an member of the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board. My friend then had another encounter. He was approached by one Aled Griffiths, a senior lecturer in law at Bangor – my friend had just graduated in law. Griffiths asked him if he would be interested in doing a PhD. My friend was quite flattered and presumed that he’d been invited because he was considered to be a good student. A few days later he was told by Griffiths that unless he dropped his legal case against the Management Centre, ‘there would be a problem’ with him registering for a PhD. But then I imagine that Griffiths felt that this was a perfectly acceptable way of conducting business – his sister is Gwenan Carrington, former Director of Gwynedd Social Services and his wife is Joanna Griffiths, a retired senior manager from Conwy Social Services. My friend decided that he really didn’t want to do a PhD under these circumstances and instead took up a job in London. The Management Centre later settled out of court with him.

 

 

‘Did I Slap Him?’

This blog usually concerns itself with the statutory mental health services in north Wales, but regular readers will know that it also sometimes takes a trip into the voluntary and private sectors. As with this post.

The Daily Post has reported on a professional misconduct hearing held by the NMC, concerning a nurse employed at Wepre Villa Care Home in Connah’s Quay http://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-wales-news/connahs-quay-nurse-slapped-elderly-8544443

The nurse concerned, Lorna Borthwick, was caring for a resident on a night shift along with two healthcare assistants. The resident suffered from vascular dementia, diabetes, bowel cancer, heart failure, a chest infection and eczema. They were having difficulty getting the resident to stand up whilst trying to change him, when Laura Borthwick slapped him, described as a ‘hard, sharp slap to his upper left thigh’. Although Laura Borthwick was the most senior member of staff on duty it seems that the healthcare assistants were so concerned at what they had seen that they remained with the resident for the rest of the night, not wanting Borthwick to go back into his room. They confronted her and claimed that initially she claimed not to remember hitting the resident and asked ‘did I slap him?’ The care assistants then reported the matter to the care home manager and an investigation was held. It was found that Borthwick did not record the incident in the patient’s notes or complete an incident report form.

Borthwick admitted the three charges that were brought against her and admitted that her fitness to practice was impaired. Although the NMC panel found that the charges were proved, they judged that a striking off order would be ‘disproportionately severe’. So in an era of ‘zero tolerance’ where sectioned mental health patients are prosecuted for less, this woman assaulted a patient and remains on the nursing register – and is therefore in a position to, if she so wishes, return to a job at a more senior level than the two healthcare assistants who realised how wrong her behaviour was.

But then the NMC has been doing some very odd things for a very long time. I had an interesting experience with the NMC after being subjected to verbal and physical abuse by four staff in the Hergest Unit about fifteen years ago. The staff concerned were Sian Ruth Lloyd, allegedly the nurse ‘in charge’ of the ward, and three nursing assistants, Gwen Bethan Roberts, Michelle Shaw and Dave Wood. Their conduct was appalling, towards me and other patients. (I will be blogging about this incident in greater detail soon.) I requested that the police be called in order for me to make a complaint of assault against them, but of course this didn’t happen. Neither was my complaint ever investigated by the North West Wales Trust. So I went to the NMC. I could only raise concerns about Sian Lloyd with them, as she was the only registered nurse among them – the others weren’t even on any sort of professional register. The NMC took a very long time to reply to correspondence and when they did they were incredibly unhelpful. So at one point I rang them up. Everyone that I spoke to was unbelievably sloppy and rude. I then ended up having an extraordinary conversation with a man in the NMCs ‘fitness to practice’ division – he was phenomenally aggressive and unpleasant in manner and ended the conversation by saying that ‘when’ Sian Lloyd was cleared, they would ‘destroy the evidence’ that I had submitted. It was as a result of conversations like this that I started recording my interactions with healthcare staff. Subsequently, I was told by the NMC that Sian Lloyd had been cleared – but I had of course been expecting that. I later found out that there had been many serious complaints about her and her three colleagues and that even other staff at the Hergest Unit had been worried about their activities. I then found out that at the time that I had encountered her she had only been qualified a matter of months and should never have been left as the most senior nurse on a (so-called) ‘intensive care’ ward.

Since my encounter with Sian Lloyd, the NMC has become notorious for failing to take action against unsuitable nurses and in the wake of yet another scandal some four years ago they offered a public apology to all the patients that they had ‘let down’ and promised changes. But in north Wales patients can still be assaulted and the person concerned will remain on the register. I await the eventual response of the NMC to those involved in Tawel Fan…