News Updates, Additional Comments and Observations

We’ve had a temporary reprieve from the squealing of the Top Doctors – presumably the continued bad publicity surrounding Ian Paterson, the rogue surgeon who carried out unnecessary operations for non-existent breast cancers, has taken the wind out of their sails for a few hours. However, the pressure continues from their associates. I have recently reported on the demands from the ‘life sciences industry’ for billions more to be handed over to the NHS – now it’s the turn of a few others to announce the end of the world if the Top Doctors are not given a large amount of dosh very soon. On Saturday the ‘Guardian’ ran an article penned by one Niall Dickson, Chief Exec of the ‘NHS Confederation’. Who are the ‘NHS Confederation’? Well according to their website, they are ‘the authentic voice of NHS leadership’, comprising the ‘NHS Employers Organisation’, who it is claimed are ‘the voice of employers in the NHS, supporting them to put patients first’. This translates as the voice of NHS senior managers – the Peter Higsons, the Martin Jones’s, the Katrina Percys, the ‘senior managers’ at Mid-Staffordshire etc etc ie. that collection of liars and charlatans who have constantly concealed scandals and who never ever resign no matter how many patients die. They do not have a history of ‘putting patients first’. But then neither does Niall Dickson – for a number of years Niall was the Chief Exec of the GMC and received numerous e mails from me regarding the criminal activities of doctors employed in the north Wales mental health service. No, Niall did not investigate – of course I did not know at the time that the GMC themselves presented a forged document purporting to be a letter from me some years earlier when I complained about the dreadful Dr Tony Roberts at the Hergest Unit. (Please see post ‘The General Medical Council And Yet Another Forged Document’.) Niall’s article in the ‘Guardian’ did not touch on forging letters from patients, or on psychiatrists with such high death rates among their patients that they showed up as statistical outliers though. No, Niall banged on at length about the necessity of NHS staff being paid more. Not of course the poorly paid staff, such as the cleaners, porters or healthcare assistants, just the Top Doctors and nurses. Dickson mentioned the crisis in staffing in the mental health services. There is a crisis Dickson because these services are so bad – and are run by people like Higson and Katrina Percy who then appoint ‘clinical directors’ such as Tony Roberts – that absolutely no-one wants to work in them. ‘Pay restraint’ doesn’t enter into the equation. Dysfunction, workplace bullying and having to witness one’s patients being neglected and abused does. Dickson states that ‘parts of the country are finding it almost impossible to entice GPs’. Like north Wales perhaps? I know GPs who wouldn’t work in north Wales but, as with the staffing crisis in the mental health services, that was because they didn’t want to work with negligent, abusive crooks. Furthermore, GPs are paid so well and have such generous pension pots that many of them choose to work only three days a week and retire in their mid-50s – hardly surprising that there’s a ‘shortage’. Of course there was one north Wales GP who waxed lyrical about the crisis in north Wales – one Dr Eamonn Jessup, Chairman of the North Wales Local Medical Committee. He ran a Facebook group entitled ‘higher pay for doctors’ and announced his retirement recently, yet even more recently cropped up in a clinic in Cyprus selling his services, along with another north Wales GP, the dreadful Dr DGE Wood, who coerced me into seeing Gwynne Williams the lobotomist and then spent the next few years telling anyone who would listen that I was ‘dangerous’ and that they mustn’t listen to a word that I said about Gwynne the lobotomist because I really couldn’t be believed. DGE Wood also had a very chummy relationship with Dr Dafydd Alun Jones, he who was concealing and facilitating the north Wales paedophile ring. Along with Jessup, Wood was a leading light in the North Wales Local Medical Committee. The Secretary of the North Wales Local Medical Committee was one Dr Phil White, BMA representative, who at one point mouthed off regularly in the local media. However he went silent for a while after his son was imprisoned for drug dealing. He soon bounced back though and last year appeared in the Daily Post stating that parents who allow their children to become obese should have their children taken into care because they aren’t looking after them properly. Unlike proud dad Phil, who reared a drug dealer. Furthermore, anyone who has ever encountered Phil White will have noticed one thing – that he is absolutely enormous. But then I’ve known for a long time that Phil has a sense of the ridiculous. Many years ago he had a patient who was a rather chaotic 17 year old girl who consumed vast quantities of prescription painkillers. She had a particular affinity for distalgesic and she was also a very heavy drinker. She was obtaining the distalgesic from one Phil White. At the time there was much publicity regarding distalgesic, because there had been a number of deaths of patients who had taken it whilst drinking. Brown’s brother speculated that perhaps Phil White was trying to finish her off: ‘wash ’em down with a couple of whiskies…’ Oh and dear old DGE Wood knew about Phil’s lethal prescribing habits as well… But they all stand together on the Local Medical Committee! To return to the dire warnings from the ‘NHS Confederation’. Perhaps someone else in a ‘leadership role’ with them can be relied upon to be a bit more patient-friendly than Niall Dickson? Such as their Chairman? Their Chairman is a Stephen Dorrell. That’s the Stephen Dorrell who was for many years a Tory MP and who was in 1995, under John Major, appointed the Secretary of State for Health. In 1995 there were requests in the House of Commons for an inquiry into the problems at the Foundation Trust Stafford. An investigation was refused. And look what was revealed some years later… Between 2010 and 2014 Dorrell was Chair of the House of Commons Health Select Committee. In 2012 he was reported to IPSA (Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority) after he arranged to sell his London flat to ‘friends’ who owned a chain of nursing homes and subsequently rented the flat back to Dorrell for £1,400/month (funded by the taxpayer). The Health Select Committee at the time was investigating social care – the chain of nursing homes owned by Dorrell’s ‘friends’ had been criticised by the CQC. The other Committee members did not know of Dorrell’s financial connection. Cameron refused to intervene. In 2014 Dorrell announced his intention to stand down from Parliament to take up a ‘senior role’ with consultants KPMG, ‘supporting their health and public service practice’. For six months he worked both for KPMG and as an MP, whilst KPMG considered bidding for a £1 billion NHS contract. At one point a group of pensioners arrived at Dorrell’s office with a petition signed by more than 2000 people demanding his resignation. The police were called on the grounds that the penioners were ‘trespassing’. In 2016, Dorrell was appointed Chair of healthcare consultant LaingBuisson. Nicky Morgan, that not very bright stooge of Cameron’s who doubled up as ‘Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Women and Equalities’, is on record as saying that Dorrell has been ‘a really important political figure in Leicestershire since 1979’. That’s the Leicestershire that, like north Wales, had a paedophile ring operating in it’s children’s services. The Leicestershire that had another MP, Greville Janner, who, it is now acknowledged, should have stood trial for child abuse. (Of course there is another Leicestershire MP of note, one Keith Vaz. The Keith Vaz that ends up in scandal after scandal, the most recent involving male prostitutes and cocaine, but somehow just bounces back after every resignation.) Dorrell’s role as Secretary of State for Health was taken over by Frank Dobson when Blair was elected in 1997. So the ‘NHS Confederation’ is led by one man with a long track record of ignoring the serious wrongdoing of the Top Doctors and another man who has his nose deep in the trough of privatised healthcare. ‘Putting patients first’ really is not on the radar of either of them.

Dickson is not the only Top Doctors friend to be begging for more dosh for the NHS. Chris Hopson, CEO of ‘NHS Providers’ which ‘represents hospital trusts’ (in England), has stated that the mere £770 million overspend by English NHS Trusts last year – despite an extra £2 billion bailout funding from the Westminster Gov’t – represents ‘genuine success at cutting costs’. Hopson has featured on this blog previously – begging for more money for NHS staff salaries (see post ‘Those Who Care Are Concerned’). Two ‘health thinktanks’ have also joined in. Sally Gainsbury, senior policy analyst at the Nuffield Trust, has commented that ‘£770 million is a very poor measure of how much the NHS is actually overspending by…[it] overspent by significantly more that £770 million’. However both the Nuffield Trust and the Kings Fund maintain that nonetheless the NHS is performing the most magnificent job, is underfunded and Must Be Given More. The present Chief Exec of the Kings Fund is Prof Chris Ham. The former Chief Exec is a Niall Dickson! And the Kings Fund have just jointly published a report on ‘future models of care’ with my old friends the Royal College of Psychiatrists… The Nuffield Trust, like the Kings Fund, is very much part of the medical establishment. I know the Nuffield Trust as a funder of research. Some years ago I and a senior colleague at Bangor University applied to the Nuffield Trust for funding to explore the experiences of mental health patients, including those who had been prosecuted by the NHS. Our bid was peer-reviewed and it came back with many compliments regarding our methodology, our research design and our background knowledge. However we were turned down for funding because ‘it is a great pity that a project claiming to research service users experiences does not contain a service user researcher’. I was named as the person who would be managing the day to day work of the project – but I wasn’t wearing my yellow star… So my senior colleague wrote to the Nuffield Trust explaining my background but commenting that it was intrusive and unethical to expect researchers to provide confidential details concerning their personal medical histories as part of their funding applications. He also observed that the Nuffield Trust seemed to be allocating research funding for reasons other than research-related criteria. He did not receive a reply to his letter. (If any member of the Nuffield Trust is reading this blog: you will now realise that I have more ‘lived experience’ of the mental health services than either Peter Beresford or Rachel Perkins. Furthermore, they have never been harassed, threatened, abused and framed for serious offences by the mental health services. I think that my yellow star is bigger and better than theirs even if I have a habit of not wearing it at all times as required. In the light of this, would you now like to give me some funding?) Just in case Niall Dickson, Chris Hopson, the Nuffield Trust and the Kings Fund weren’t providing enough muscle for the Top Doctors, I noticed that it was also reported that a number of unidentified NHS ‘finance experts’ all maintained that none of the three major political parties manifestos were pledging enough extra money for the NHS during the next Parliament. Not even Jeremy and John McDonnell, who as far as I can see have promised to give the NHS everything, including the shirts off their backs.

Now for a bit of news from north Wales. Daily Post online excitedly reported that a Zoe Davies of Wrexham has been given a community award from the esteemed Arfon Jones, North Wales’s Police and Crime Commissioner. It was explained that Zoe, 39, is a former drug addict but has been clean for two years. Zoe started using cannabis and ecstasy at 13, sold LSD at 14 (Zoe maintains that this wasn’t very profitable, she only made enough to buy more drugs), was onto methadone reefers at 17 and also ‘got really good at blagging doctors for prescription drugs’ and was an addict at 18. She explained that the doctors in the Wrexham area stopped prescribing methadone but because she was addicted she experienced serious withdrawal symptoms. She moved away from Wrexham believing that would enable her to move away from drugs, but although she was away from north Wales she still ended up in prison for dealing, once in 2008 and again in 2013. Zoe now volunteers with CAIS and works as a healthcare support worker at Hafan Wen ‘detox centre’ in Wrexham. Zoe commented that she wants to ‘repay the people and community of Wrexham’ ‘for all the trouble’ that she caused. I’m not sure that Zoe was the one causing the trouble. Let’s look at this story closely. Zoe, a teenage drug addict, managed to ‘blag’ prescription drugs out of doctors. There was one doctor in north Wales who was notorious for, as one former addict told me, giving you ‘anything that you wanted, anything at all’. That was one Dr Dafydd Alun Jones – Chair of CAIS. CAIS runs the Hafan Wen detox unit. Furthermore, it was Jones who was the mover and the shaker behind the campaign to stop doctors prescribing methadone – Jones was taking patients who had stabilised on methadone off it and loading them up with benzodiazepines instead. Indeed, in the 1990s Jones appeared on ‘The Kane Debates’ boasting about this practice. He was challenged by members of the audience who told him that benzodiazepines were highly addictive but Dafydd robustly defended his prescribing excesses, pompousing away about how ‘the profession’ understands the dangers and has regulated itself. So perhaps Dafydd can explain why in today’s Mail Online there’s a huge feature regarding the enormous numbers of people who have become hooked on benzodiazepines because of irresponsible prescribing by UK medical practitioners and how the BMA are spearheading a campaign to stop this. That would be the BMA that Dafydd and his colleagues were using for free advice and to back them up when they were perjuring themselves in an attempt to have me imprisoned when I complained about Dafydd’s criminal activities. The GMC are involved in the stop the benzodiazepines campaign as well – yes, the same GMC who failed to take any action against Dafydd despite the numerous very serious complaints against him. Regarding Zoe’s failed attempts to get away from the drug scene by moving to another region – this is standard advice given to people with drug problems. It is the advice given to the people from Liverpool with drug problems and it is why they are encouraged to move to north Wales – as Dafydd well knows, because some of those people end up as his patients. I note that Zoe tried selling drugs when she was young but didn’t make much money. She obviously wasn’t linked into the right distribution network then, because I have been told again and again that a lot of the CAIS ‘volunteers’ and ‘peer supporters’ are dealing in drugs and are doing very well out of this. The real winner has to be Dafydd though – CAIS are being paid millions by the Welsh Gov’t (as previously detailed on this blog) for their part in the battle against drugs in north Wales. By the way, a reader recently sent me more info regarding CAIS. Business must be booming, not only have they colonised mid-Wales but they’re now in south Wales as well. The same reader also wondered whether CAIS Chief Exec Clive Wolfendale is about to launch his own enterprise. This reader sent me a link about Clive and his ventures and I notice that before his time with the North Wales Police, Clive was a member of the Greater Manchester Police Force. That was another force alleged to be rife with corruption, the force that ignored the sexual exploitation of hundreds of children by criminal gangs in Rochdale recently, the force that violently assaulted the student demonstrators at Manchester University in 1984, one of the students being threatened and assaulted so seriously that he fled abroad to hide. Furthermore, when I was able to access the details of Elfed Roberts’s Facebook friends because he hadn’t set his privacy settings – Elfed being the former north Wales police officer who left the force under a very big cloud and was subsequently appointed as the Chair of the North West Wales NHS Trust, only to achieve notoriety by demanding that I be arrested because I had pink hair, had called his car a penismobile and he was sick of my complaints – some of them were former officers in the Greater Manchester Police Force. So Clive’s just the sort of man one wants involved with a drug charity then. On a pan-Wales level.

What of the man who presented Zoe with her award, Arfon Jones? Well it transpires that as well as presenting her with the award, he nominated her for it as well. Arfon is of course a regular on this blog, Arfon being the former police officer who used to drive Gordon Anglesea to the venues where he molested children and Arfon being the man whose ‘oversight’ led to Anglesea’s widow receiving 50% of a police pension, even though her husband died in prison a convicted child abuser. Arfon told the Post that Zoe was a ‘beacon of hope’ for the community. Just like Llyr Huws Gruffydd (Plaid) described Dafydd’s mediocre boarding house aka Ty Gwyn nursing home as a ‘beacon of excellence’. The beacon that charged patients more than a thousand a week for a shared room, that told patients to go into Llandudno and buy takeaways for meals, the beacon where patients received no face to face counselling or therapy from Dafydd or anyone else… There’s another person in the photo of Zoe receiving her award – Ann Griffiths, the Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for North Wales. Ann was ‘nominated’ for this role in July 2016. She trained as a psychiatric social worker! She has lived on Ynys Mon since 1984, when she took up a post as a social worker with a community mental health team. So that would be one of the local CMHTs who were complicit with the criminal activities of Dafydd and his colleagues at Ysbyty Gwynedd and the North Wales Hospital then. Who were banging up people who’d complained about being molested whilst they were residents of children’s homes in north Wales. Ann was later promoted to the position of line manager at Gwynedd County Council. So her manager would have been Lucille Hughes, the Director of Gwynedd Social Services (as well as Dafydd’s mistress), who was later named in the Waterhouse Report as knowing that a paedophile ring was operating in the social services but failing to act on this information. Ann was then team leader in the Arfon Duty Team responsible for the initial assessments and joint investigation of child abuse with the police (it’s just terrifying isn’t it – no wonder so few of the paedophiles were imprisoned until very recently and so many of the witnesses were found dead). Ann then spent 10 years working for NSPCC Cymru! Again her responsibilities related to children who had been abused – presumably whilst in the care of Ann’s previous employer – and she set up the NSPCC Cymru helpline (which was dogged by allegations that callers weren’t being helped…) Since 2002 Ann has been an Independent Social Care Consultant employed in a range of roles across north Wales – again largely concerned with children who’ve been abused… So a social worker employed whilst the paedophile ring was active in the social services was later used to ‘investigate’ the abuse, ‘counsel’ the victims, chair the child protection conferences and was employed in very senior roles in this very abusive ‘service’. Which has still not been cleaned up – I know one social work student who left north Wales as soon as they qualified because they maintained that children in care were still being abused and I know someone who grew up in foster care in north Wales who was violently abused by her foster mother. She ran away from the foster home and called ‘her’ social worker and told him what was happening to her. He drove her to the police station, rang the foster mother, summoned her to the police station and asked the girl ‘would you like to repeat your allegations to your foster mother?’ The girl was then returned to the foster mother. That social worker still works in north Wales as a social worker. The abusive foster mother was rewarded in an honours list for her ‘contribution’ to ‘looked after children’. But Ann Griffiths is now Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner. Furthermore in 2013 Ann was elected as a Plaid Councillor to Anglesey County Council. She has held the shadow portfolio for Social Services and Housing and Planning and was Vice-Chair of the fostering panel. She is currently chairperson of the Planning and Licensing Committee. Anglesey Council has appeared regularly in Private Eye’s ‘Rotten Boroughs’ column and some councillors have been imprisoned. There are constant allegations that the Planning Committee in particular is corrupt and one councillor is alleged to have become a millionaire through dodgy planning deals. In 2015 Ann stood in the general election as the Plaid candidate for Montgomeryshire and in 2016 she was the Plaid candidate for the National Assembly for Wales election. It can only be a matter of time before she joins that Strong Woman on her Independence Journey, Leanne, in the Senedd. ‘Jesus Christ’ as they used to say in Bethesda…

There has been a news report that someone called Matt Johnson is going to be starring in a film to be shot in the Brecon Beacons that will be ‘tackling mental health’. Johnson is described as being an ‘active ambassador for MIND’. The MIND that is colluding with abuse and criminal activity in the mental health services in north Wales and elsewhere and was recently outed on the Disability News Service as intending to bid for Gov’t contracts to assist the Tories in removing welfare benefits from people with mental health problems. Paul Farmer, the CEO of MIND, earns approx. £100,000pa. Other MIND ambassadors include those well-known underprivileged people Stephen Fry, Alistair Campbell and Melvyn Bragg.

A friend told me that they had heard Dr David Healy on Radio 4 and then another friend observed that Healy has positioned himself as a defender of ECT rather than anti-depressants. Which is interesting because there’s been an awful lot in the media recently about how ECT is actually really good and ooh its nothing like ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest’ and a nurse held my hand and it was lovely and I’m really glad that I had it. It may be coincidental but I wonder if David ‘you’ll never take me alive’ Healy has been doing a bit of PR? After all he has good media connections, he may well be gearing up for one of his summer appearances at Hay or somewhere in front of an audience who have no idea of what he has been complicit with at the Hergest Unit and Healy is of course the psychiatrist with responsibility for ECT at the Hergest Unit. I witnessed someone who was being ‘prepared’ for ECT at the Hergest Unit on one occasion – she had experienced it previously and I presume that it wasn’t a beautiful experience with a nurse holding her hand, because she was incredibly distressed, shouting at nurses ‘you’re not going to do that to me again’, tried to run away from them and then tried to hide. Three of them yelled at her ‘right if you won’t walk you’re going in a wheelchair’, picked her up and man-handled her into the said wheelchair and pinned her in there whilst they carted her off. This was a lady of about 70. I bet David Healy isn’t going to tell the Radio 4 listeners about that…

There has been some shock-horror figures released and discussed in the ‘Guardian’ regarding the number of students who are withdrawing from universities because of mental health problems. Brown and I published on this many years ago, but I see that the same problems exist now – students cannot get care and instead of the focus being on an NHS that is seriously letting them down, universities are being blamed. Universities are being told that they must provide more ‘support’ for students. Aren’t the Top Doctors paid to do this? University staff aren’t paid half what the Top Doctors are and anyway they are supposed to be teachers and researchers. Indeed the Top Doctors in north Wales were so bloody hopeless that other mental health professionals were actually advising local people to enrol for courses at the University because the University had a counselling service and counselling wasn’t available from the NHS mental health services. Furthermore I knew a number of students who were just completely unable to access any mental healthcare at all – they all told me that their tutors had been far more supportive to them than the bunch of thugs that constituted the Arfon Community Mental Health Team or the psychiatrists who refused to see them, telling them to ‘go home’ (ie. back to their parents) if they were ill. One of my friends is a retired academic and she told me that she regularly took distressed suicidal students to Ysbyty Gwynedd A&E for assessments, only to be kept waiting for hours and told ‘take them back to their parents, if they’re students we won’t treat them’. I knew of one member of staff who was allowing two seriously depressed students to stay over at her place on the grounds that she was not going to stand by and watch them kill themselves. The same member of staff told me that she had contacted the dreadful Keith Fearns, ‘leader’ of the Arfon Team, to tell him that one of ‘his’ clients was threatening to kill himself by jumping off the Menai Bridge, only to be told by Fearns to let him go on and do it then and that if ‘the little bastard’ bothered Fearns again, Fearns would section him. How on earth has anyone got the temerity to suggest that the deficit lies with universities when ‘mental health professionals’ behave like this? There are even some people making noises about the possibility of suing universities for lack of a duty of care – surely it is the NHS that has a duty of care? In my own case, whilst I was doing my PhD, my supervisor and his wife very kindly did what the mental health services were being paid to do but refused to – throughout my PhD they flatly refused to treat me, threatened and abused me when they saw me around the town and rang my supervisor and other members of staff to tell them that I was ‘dangerous’. And of course tried to frame me for a serious crime, only for the case to collapse when it became evidence that a number of ‘mental health professionals’ had committed perjury. Believe me, the problem of students being unable to get support for mental health problems does not lie with the universities.

Mail online reported that a nurse from Scotland confronted Nicola Sturgeon and told her that she was having to use foodbanks. There was then an accusation that the nurse in question was a Tory plant, which was robustly denied. Sturgeon apologised and ‘paid tribute’ to hard-working NHS staff. Photos were then found online of the nurse knocking back champagne and enjoying herself on holiday in New York. Of course if Nicola really wants to know what goes on in the Scottish NHS, instead of relying on nurses telling tall stories during an election campaign, she could just pay a visit to Parkhead Hospital in Glasgow, where I had the misfortune to spend a few weeks about three years ago, after a neurological problem was misdiagnosed. I was assaulted by nurses myself and witnessed this happening to other patients. Staff regularly swore at and insulted the patients. There were patients who had been sectioned there for months who didn’t even have a change of clothes. Myself and another patient caught staff altering drug sheets and stealing drugs – this wasn’t even for their own use, they were selling the drugs to another member of staff from another ward who arrived at about 5am each morning to collect the package. One young male patient was delighted to discover that he could access hard core porn on the ward TV – because someone on the hospital staff had subscribed to those channels and was obviously watching it whilst they were on duty. An elderly lady fell over in a corridor and injured herself whilst the staff looked on – it was other patients who helped her. As ever on such abusive wards, there were two or three staff doing their best – one encouraged me to document everything that I was witnessing and make a formal complaint. I did and there was of course never any investigation. When I finally got out of there I did a bit of research – there had been a number of deaths there, the hospital had been deemed unsafe and had been earmarked for closure some years ago. But somehow Sturgeon just hadn’t got round to that. Whilst I sat in there making field-notes, I watched the Scottish news where Scottish Ministers regularly made an appearance boasting about the fine state of the NHS Scotland. I discovered that one reason why Parkhead was in such a state was that all the resources were going into Southern General, the flagship hospital and neurological centre a few miles away. Southern General is one of the best hospitals in the western world and has had literally billions invested in it. So I thought that I’d find out a bit about it. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the clinical director was one Dr Gwen Jones-Edwards – I recognised that name. She used to work at the Hergest Unit of all places and disappeared in the mid to late 90s. If anyone knows how a mediocre jobbing psychiatrist from a dump like the Hergest Unit whose colleagues were concealing the presence of a paedophile ring ended up ten years later as clinical director of Southern General, please do let me know. It is so improbable that I know that there’ll be a story worth blogging about behind it.

In the aftermath of the terrorist attack yesterday in Manchester, both Andy Burnham and Tessa Jowell were interviewed on the ‘Today’ programme this morning. Burnham was his usual hideous self – but then he was someone who in his capacity an Secretary of State for Health, along with Alan Johnson, ignored 81 requests for an investigation into the very high death rates in Mid-Staffs. Andy had something far more important to think about – he wanted to become Prime Minister… He didn’t make it, so now he’s settled for Mayor of Manchester. Tessa was just wonderful – you could picture her taking the onion out of her pocket, as she put on her special social workers voice and kept referring to ‘loving’ and ‘caring’ for all the people in Manchester, oh and ‘connecting’ with them. She also kept mentioning ‘leadership’ as well for some reason and remembered Ken Livingstone’s wonderful ‘leadership’. That’s the Ken who signed the Early Day Motion to keep Garth Angaharad open, one of Dafydd’s prisons where the kids who were abused in the children’s homes ended up (please see ‘More On Those Who Signed That Early Day Motion’). The man who owned Garth  Angharad, Paul Hett, also owned ‘schools’ and ‘children’s homes’ which were the centre of allegations of cruelty and sexual abuse. Some of the children placed in those homes/schools came from London boroughs. Such as Lambeth – where Ken was a councillor. Tessa also had a connection to Lambeth – she was a children’s care officer there. Lambeth Council have now paid out several million pounds to children in their homes in the 70s and 80s who were abused by paedophile gangs – Lambeth admitted to knowing that the gangs were at work but failed to protect the children. Before working for a council that allowed paedophiles free reign Tessa was a psychiatric social worker. At the Maudsley. Where Dafydd trained! Tessa was also deputy director of MIND. At the same time as MIND was concealing criminal activity in the north Wales mental health services. And now Tessa is in the House of Lords talking about loving and caring. For more information on Tess and her appalling New Labour cronies, please see post ‘The London Connection’. (NB. Tessa – you need to be a bit careful with regard to talking about loving people. Dafydd used to tell his patients that he loved them, but what he meant was that he was sexually exploiting them. And Suzanne Hamlet of Prestwood Homes fame told the patients that she loved them and she was operating a people trafficking business. Of course, MIND knew about both Dafydd and Prestwood.)

 

 

 

 

 

Every Sperm Is Sacred – Particularly In Scotland

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

 

 

Who Is In Need Of Restraining?

Today the Observer has published an ‘open letter’ to Jeremy Hunt, Minister for Health in Theresa May’s Government, from leading figures of eight national mental health charities demanding an end to face-down ‘restraint’ in mental health units. The Observer is also carrying an accompanying article.

The Observer is reporting that restraint is being used much more frequently on women and girls in mental health units and this is deeply traumatising for them, particularly as many have experienced previous sexual violence or abuse and that it is being used routinely in some units, rather than other de-escalation techniques. I had not realised that restraint was being disproportionately used on female patients, although I certainly know that there is a problem with ‘restraint’ being grossly abused by some people in some units.

However I would argue that the ‘open letter’ to Jeremy Hunt does not reveal just how serious this problem is, although any efforts to reduce incidences of ‘restraint’ is to be welcomed. From what I have seen, ‘restraint’ is frequently an excuse to assault and intimidate the patients – and because it is the staff that have done the ‘restraining’ who fill in the mountains of documentation that are compiled in the wake of an incident of ‘restraint’, there is absolutely no way of telling whether the restraint was necessary or not. I saw ‘restraint’ abused on a number of occasions on Taliesin Ward in the Hergest Unit. My first indication that this technique was being abused was when I witnessed a young man, whom I think was a Muslim, reduced to a trembling wreck on that ward. Every time a female member of staff came near him he’d start repeating ‘please don’t hold me down and inject me again, please don’t ever do that again’. Interestingly enough, one of the staff on that ward, a nursing assistant called Kate Madden, actually responded with ‘now why would we do that?’ (Because Kate you did it to him previously and I suspect that you did it to him a number of times and frightened the living daylights out of him.) Over the next few days I observed a number of things about Kate Madden. She was a criminology student at Bangor University – I think that she might even have been a postgrad – who was working shifts at the Hergest Unit to earn extra money. She was not stupid and being a social scientist she would have known all about institutional abuse and the abuse of power and would have easily been able to identify just how abusive the practices were on that ward. She said nothing at all in protest at what was happening. I also noticed something else – that she didn’t like this young man who had been subjected to ‘restraint’ and she admitted this to me. She didn’t like him because he had expressed some views about women that in her eyes were unacceptable. I found his views on gender unacceptable too, but I got the impression that the self-styled ‘feminists’ of Taliesin Ward had decided to teach this young man a lesson…

I have a close friend who has also spent time on Taliesin. He was never subjected to restraint there himself, but he noticed that another patient was, constantly. He described this patient as being ‘a tiny teenage girl, weighing about 6 stone who was completely psychotic’. My friend noticed that the male staff on Taliesin ‘used every excuse’ to ‘jump on’ this girl on the grounds that she needed ‘restraining’. He noticed that she was far too small in stature to have presented a danger to anyone and that she wasn’t self-harming. What really disturbed him however was that during every ‘restraint’, this young woman’s clothes would somehow end up being removed and the male nurses doing the ‘restraining’ would end up basically groping her. But I bet that didn’t go down in the medical records. Might this be the explanation as to why some mental health units seem to be restraining women and girls so much more than men?

As readers may have guessed, I too have had my own experiences of ‘restraint’ on Taliesin Ward on a number of occasions. On one occasion it was an excuse for a male healthcare assistant to assault me – the incident left me with bruises. I notice that the written record stated that I had attempted to ‘hit out’ at a nurse so this man ‘restrained’ me. I did not ‘hit out’ at anyone, it would have been impossible for me to do so as during the incident in question I was lying down horizontally on a bed, when the four abusive staff in question walked into my room unannounced and surrounded my bed. I later found out that there had been many, many complaints of abusive behaviour from this ‘team’ – Sian Lloyd, Gwen Bethan Roberts, David Wood and Michelle Shaw. David Wood often seemed to find himself unaccompanied in female patients rooms at night. My solicitor made Herculean efforts to get this abusive, lying bunch investigated but they were afforded total protection by Patricia Gaskell, the hospital solicitor at Ysbyty Gwynedd. (I will be blogging further details about this soon.) Another incident of ‘restraint’ involved the manager of Taliesin Ward at the time, one Alison Parry, literally landing on me in a corridor, demanding assistance from a male colleague who then also landed on me. I was later told by a former member of staff that there was a very big problem with Alison Parry doing this to patients and that she was encouraging trainees and junior staff to respond to patients in the same way. I never ever managed to work out what I had done to set Parry off. However, recent documents released to me from my lawyers contain Parry’s rationale for this ‘restraint’ – that I was ‘in a doctor’s personal space’. Now I do not know whether it could be fairly judged that I was in someone else’s personal space or not because the notion of personal space means different things to different people. But if someone is in my ‘personal space’, I simply move back a step. I would not expect two of my colleagues to jump into the air, land on them from above, deck them to the floor and pin them there for twenty minutes. It would seem to be somewhat of an over-reaction. There was another incident of ‘restraint’ on Taliesin Ward as well and again I have no idea at all what precipitated it. This time it was accompanied by my clothes being removed and a forcible injection, followed by a very long time in a ‘seclusion room’ (ie. cell). Interestingly enough, it came to an end the minute the shift changed and a different ward manager came on duty – a man who was actually a human being rather than a thug. Following this incident, I was detained in Taliesin Ward for a further week although the then clinical director of the Hergest Unit, Dr Tony Roberts, had already stated that I was not suffering from a mental illness (I had a borderline personality disorder of course, as did nearly all the patients who had the misfortune to be ‘assessed’ by Tony Roberts). No-one managed to explain why I was kept in that locked ward for a further week. However I noticed that by the time that I was released, the numerous bruises that I had incurred as a result of the ‘restraints’ had finally disappeared – I had asked for these to be documented whilst I was in Taliesin, but guess what, they weren’t. An hour after arriving home I was arrested by the police on the instructions of the Hergest Unit, but that’s another story (please see blog post ‘Interesting Happenings In The Legal System’). Before anyone lapses into too much crude gender stereotyping regarding these matters, I should mention that I later found out that the psychiatrist who had ordered the restraint/sedation/seclusion in a cell was one of the female psychiatrists at Hergest. Men do not have a monopoly on abusive behaviour towards women patients.

Among the documents recently released pertaining to my ‘care’ from the Hergest Unit, there is paperwork relating to one of the incidents involving me that was judged by the Hergest to be worthy of a ‘risk assessment’. It certainly makes interesting reading. There is a copy of the sheet documenting the ‘risk assessment’, with the signature of the nurse who completed the documentation. The document required the nurse to judge on a scale of 1 to 10 how ‘serious’ the incident was. The nurse had ringed the figure 2. However, someone had then made an alteration to this document and had crossed out by hand the figure 2 with a ring around it and had written in ‘8/9’. The person who had done this had very kindly dated the form – the date was quite sometime after the incident had occurred – and signed it. The signature was that of Anne Ward, one of the senior nurses at the Hergest Unit. Ann Ward was at one point suspended from her job, but a robust campaign by her colleagues soon saw her reinstated. Indeed, even Dr David Healy managed to detail the unjust treatment of poor Anne Ward on his blog. It might just be relevant that the incident documented on the form that Anne Ward altered formed the basis of a very serious complaint that my solicitor made to the Hergest Unit on my behalf. By the time that Anne Ward was rewriting history, we had made it clear that a complaint was going to be made.

The open letter to Jeremy Hunt mentions that staff should be trained in ‘de-escalation techniques’. Unfortunately a lot of staff abusing patients by the use of ‘restraint’ believe that they are. In the midst of my constant problems with the Hergest Unit on one occasion I asked the manager of the Unit, Alun Davies, why none of my or my solicitors letters were receiving responses. Alun Davies responded by standing in front of me and repeatedly bellowing ‘shut up’ at me. So not unsurprisingly my lawyer then wrote to him about his inappropriate conduct. Davies wrote back telling my a lawyer that a colleague who had witnessed this scene had ‘complimented’ him on his ‘de-escalation technique’. I can only presume that they were being sarcastic but Davies was too thick to realize.

The Hergest Unit is not alone in its novel interpretation of the notion of ‘restraint’. Some three years ago I spent a terrible few weeks at Parkhead Hospital in Glasgow. As far as I could see ‘restraint’ in that place was simply the signal for a punch-up involving as many staff as possible.

So as far as ‘restraint’, ‘risk assessments’ and ‘de-escalation’ go, staff doing the restraining, assessing or de-escalating fill in all the documentation and if they are Anne Ward return later and alter it if necessary. If the patient has been injured they’ll be kept in a locked ward and denied access to the police, or indeed any visitors at all, until the injuries are no longer visible. The denial of visitors in my case was due to me being ‘distressed’. I tried to phone the police to report the assault on me and my phone was forcibly removed and locked in the nurses office. I then tried to phone a friend using the ward phone and when they heard me talking about the ‘restraint’, Kate Madden cut the phone off and told me that I would not be allowed to ‘abuse’ the phone in such a way. I was not the only person subjected to these techniques – whenever ‘restraint’ occurred at Taliesin, a notice would be pinned on the door explaining that visitors were not allowed in because a patient was ‘distressed’. Visitors only appeared when that patient had agreed to stop referring to the ‘restraint’ in terms such as ‘they’ve hit me’. The patient’s version of the fight is never solicited yet alone documented and if the Hergest Unit is involved any complaints of assault subsequently made will never be investigated. Indeed after I complained about the sheer naked aggression of staff on Taliesin Ward, Keith Thomson, the CEO of the North West Wales NHS Trust, sent my lawyer a letter saying that patients often misinterpreted ‘restraint’ and that complaints of assault against staff in these circumstances were ‘common’. My lawyer responded by telling Thomson that if complaints of assault against staff were common, there was a substantial problem. I doubt that it sunk in.

But what of the signatories to this open letter to Jeremy Hunt? Well the first signatory is Katherine Sacks-Jones, who seems to be leading on this campaign. And straight after her is of course that illustrious ‘voice of the service users’, Paul Farmer, CEO of MIND (please see blog post ‘The Mysterious Silence of MIND’). But Paul has known just how serious this problem is for years. After I was assaulted and injured, I mean ‘restrained because I was distressed’, in Taliesin Ward I wrote to Paul Farmer (among others) who was at that point leading the charity Rethink. I heard nothing. I also wrote to MIND, just after Paul Farmer had arrived there as CEO. I received a very odd reply written as though it was to a child, explaining that what I had to do was go to the yellow pages, look up ‘solicitors’, choose one and go and tell them what had happened to me. They might as well have added ‘because we certainly aren’t interested, Paul has his enormous salary and future possible gong to think about’.

 

An Update On Those Missing Medical Records

Previous blog posts ‘Missing Documents, Perjury and Yet More Lies’ and ‘An E Mail To The Betsi Chairman’ describe how, in the autumn of 2016, I requested a copy of all of the records that the Betsi hold concerning me and paid the requested fee of £50. The previous posts detail how I was lied to repeatedly, constantly told that I had now been given ‘all’ the records when I very obviously hadn’t and how one member of staff admitted that some of my records had been ‘removed’ many years ago.

Today I went to Ysbyty Gwynedd having been told, once again, that ‘all’ my records from the Hergest Unit were ready for me to collect. I wondered what I would actually be given. Well, I’ve been given hardly any records at all from the Hergest Unit. I have been given copies of records from the Heddfan Unit – which I was given previously, so I’ve now got two copies of those – and copies of some records from Gwynedd Social Services, as well as records from a highly abusive hospital in Glasgow, Parkhead Hospital, where I was admitted some three years ago and copies of records from a dreadful ‘assessment unit’ at Langley Green in the south of England. (I have briefly mentioned Parkhead and Langley Green on the blog, but will be blogging more about these places in the future.)

However, I have been given someone else’s records, as well as copies of e mails relating to this person’s care between Denbighshire Social Services and the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board’s Older Person’s Team. I’ve also been given copies of the funding arrangements for this other person’s care. This is not the first time that I’ve received copies of someone else’s records. When my lawyers obtained a High Court Order against the North West Wales NHS Trust in 2005, summoned the CEO Keith Thomson in front of a Judge and forced the Trust to hand over my records, there were details of eighteen other peoples complaints and notes in the files released. Furthermore, back in 2005, there were approximately thirty A4 box files of records that had been compiled. Since my request to the Betsi in 2016, approximately three box files of records have been released and most of those relate to shenanigans since 2005. So where have thirty box files of notes disappeared? Have they perhaps been delivered to someone else?

I am also still waiting to hear from the Betsi regarding the records of mine that were ‘removed’ many years ago. I can see that I’m going to have to send a few more e mails…

A Rather Mealy-Mouthed ‘Condemnation’

BBC News Wales online is reporting that a group calling itself ‘The North Wales Health Alliance’ has highlighted serious issues around patient safety at the Betsi and has stated that the Betsi Board, ‘in some cases’ ‘risked breaking the law’ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-38666291http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-38666291

Er, well readers of this blog, as well as mental health patients in north Wales, know that the law has been flagrantly broken for years by the mental health services in north Wales. And let’s not fall into the trap here of believing that this chaos only began with the establishment of the Betsi – it didn’t, these ‘services’ have been dominated by the same unscrupulous, abusive people for the last three decades.

I don’t know who the ‘North Wales Health Alliance’ are. I have vaguely heard of them before because they have occasionally cropped up in the media, but I have no experience of them putting out any feelers to talk to patients – but then that’s pretty much par for the course regarding people making statements regarding the mental health services in north Wales – and no patients that I know have ever heard of them (just like ‘Caniad’, the latest vehicle for ‘service user involvement’).

However, a quick google regarding the North Wales Health Alliance produced this article from 2014 http://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/news-opinion/north-wales-health-pressure-group-7987423   I see that in 2014 the Chairman of this ‘alliance’ was one Mabon ap Gwynfor – presumably the same Mabon ap Gwynfor who recently stood as a Plaid candidate. In this article Mabon asked why the Daily Mail, when reporting on the Tawel Fan scandal, had been so silent about the problems in the north Wales NHS before this. Never mind the Daily Mail Mabon, no-one believes that they ever attempt a serious analysis of the problems in the NHS, but why have you and all your colleagues in Plaid remained so silent about the problems in the NHS in north Wales since you berated the Daily Mail for doing so in this article? And as you clearly know just how serious the problems in the NHS in north Wales are, why are you campaigning to build a medical school for these shysters to play with? Mabon accuses the Daily Mail of using the NHS as a ‘political football’ – just like Plaid are doing now.

I note that Mabon praises the performance of the NHS in Scotland – I was in Parkhead Hospital in Glasgow for a few dreadful weeks some four years ago and I’m happy to tell Mabon that it was appalling. I and other patients witnessed staff altering patient’s drug sheets and stealing the drugs themselves and there were regular physical assaults on patients. I have yet to blog about all this because I’ve been busy with other things, but sooner or later Mabon I will, so you can forget about promoting Sturgeon’s Scotland as an NHS heaven. The situation up there is exactly the same as in Wales and England – mental health patients are routinely neglected and abused and complaints are ignored.