This Is Not The Solution To The Problems We’re Facing

There have been so many articles about Wrexham County Borough Council on Daily Post Online over the past few days that I considered Wrexham County Borough Council to be worthy of a post on this blog. It is almost de rigueur for the county councils in north Wales to hold civil wars among their own members and to make ludicrous decisions that are not in the interests of local residents, but Wrexham has come into its own recently.

In yesterday’s post ‘History Repeats Itself, First As Tragedy, Second As Farce’, I mentioned that it had been proposed by Wrexham Council officers that the Councillors should take a pay cut in order to preserve services, but the Councillors themselves had voted against this. I seem to remember that the comments of Cllr Marc Jones, the leader of the Plaid group on the Council, were published by the Daily Post Online. I think that it was Marc Jones who maintained that the Councillors would be crying crocodile tears if they now told the residents of Wrexham that it was unfortunate that services would have to be cut. I have a degree of sympathy with Marc Jones on that point – but the other Councillors maintained that they were not allowed to vote on their own remuneration, even if it’s to reduce it. I think that a meeting is planned to thrash it all out.

This morning there was another Wrexham Country Borough Council story in the Daily Post Online, this time reporting a huge row that the Councillors had among themselves regarding which flag should be flown over the Council offices. Some Councillors wanted only the Ddraig Goch (the Welsh Dragon) flown, other Councillors wanted the Union flag flown as well as the Ddraig Goch. Some interesting arguments were forward by the Councillors who wanted the Union flag flown as well, pivoting upon the fact that Welshmen had fought and died in the two World Wars of last century. I can’t quite understand how this is an argument for flying the Union flag, but another argument used by the group who wanted to fly the Union flag was that the leader of the group who wanted to only fly the Ddraig Goch supported Welsh independence, so they would vote against his proposal. Again I find myself confused – I do not support Welsh independence but where is the harm in flying only the Ddraig Goch above the offices of a Welsh Council in Wales? (I did support independence at one point, but found myself argued down by other people who maintained that Wales is too poor a nation to become independent at present. However the one thing that really caused me to reject the notion of independence for Wales was discovering just how many of those in our glorious National Assembly had colluded with/kept quiet about the organised child sexual abuse which has caused such havoc in Wales, particularly in the north. This blog makes it clear that Westminster by no means has clean hands regarding this matter either, but it was Wales that suffered so badly at the hands of a lot of politicians in Wales who betrayed their own people in a very big way. They can’t be trusted with the future of the nation until a major clean up has taken place.)

The Post reported the comments of one Wrexham Councillor in particular regarding the row about the flags – a Cllr Marc Jones. Cllr Jones was someone who wanted only the Ddraig Goch flown and seemed sufficiently angry at losing the vote to have contacted the Daily Post. Shouldn’t he really be able to compromise on such a matter and get down to business working on more important things?

So imagine my surprise this afternoon when yet another story about Wrexham County Borough Council appeared on Daily Post Online – a story featuring a Cllr Marc Jones. Were I a Councillor in Wrexham I think that I would have supported Cllr Jones over the matter of implementing a cut to Councillors salaries in order to preserve services and flying the Ddraig Goch only, but Cllr Jones really did get it wrong in this afternoon’s story.

Marc Jones was sounding off in the Post Online regarding the matter of patient access to beds at the Hafan Wen detox centre in Wrexham. Marc is furious that English patients can get a bed within a matter of weeks, but patients from north Wales have to wait up to five months. Hafan Wen has 25 beds, 13 of which are commissioned by the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, but the remaining 12 beds are commissioned by Health Boards from England. Cllr Jones commented that until 2007 all 25 beds at Hafan Wen were commissioned for patients from north Wales and he wants a return to this situation.

Cllr Jones commented on the chaos that drug use is now causing in Wrexham and although he says of the Hafan Wen centre ‘this is not the solution to the problems we’re facing in Wrexham’ he goes on to state that ‘it’s one step to finding a complete answer’.

Not only is Hafan Wen not the solution to Wrexham’s problems, but it won’t even be one step towards a complete answer either. Why not? Because Hafan Wen is run by Dafydd Alun Jones and the paedophiles’ friends ie. CAIS. As with everything run by Dafydd, the reality does not match the claims made and there is dissatisfaction with Hafan Wen. A patient recently died there in very questionable circumstances, although it was notable that the questions raised concerning this death did not find their way into the Daily Post. This blog was contacted by a former member of staff at Hafan Wen who maintained that care there is by no means what it should be or what is claimed.

Marc Jones mentioned that until 2007 all beds at Hafan Wen were commissioned by the north Wales NHS. By 2007 Mary Burrows, the one north Wales NHS CEO who challenged the institutional corruption in the NHS in north Wales, had taken over the management of the NHS in the region covering Wrexham – Hafan Wen is situated upon the site of Wrexham Maelor Hospital. What’s the betting that Mary had discovered what a con CAIS is and that she implemented that particular change in provision? No wonder ALL the beds at Hafan Wen had been commissioned by the NHS in north Wales – my post ‘The Evolution Of A Drugs Baron?’ described exactly how Dafydd and CAIS picked up the contract for ‘substance abuse services’ for the whole of north Wales and it was far from transparent and open.

Marc mentions the terrible problems that Wrexham has with drugs and the associated issues. I have mentioned before that Dafydd and CAIS were awarded the contract for substance abuse services in 1995 – so the current chaos, with the associated turf wars and murders, is a result of their ‘services’ for the last twenty years. I don’t know how Dafydd has managed to hoodwink English Health Boards into buying his services, but north Wales has suffered quite enough as a result of Dafydd’s services, it doesn’t need to commission any more of them.

I am interested to discover the existence of a fan of Dafydd’s on Wrexham Council however, indeed such a big fan that he has gone to the Daily Post in an attempt to secure yet more contracts for Dafydd from the Betsi. My post ‘The Story Behind £1.5 Million’ explained the stitch-up which resulted in CAIS landing the contract for ‘service user and carer involvement’ across the whole of north Wales. Now not only do the paedophiles’ friends not have any credibility in the field of service user and carer involvement, but the awarding of that contract was inexplicable even before BEFORE the stitch-up that was the ‘tendering’ process. Before the contract was put out to tender – the commissioning process was operated in such a way that CAIS was the only organisation in a position to tender – the decision to put the contract out to tender and the way in which this would be done was made by Wrexham County Borough Council. North Wales is a huge region and Wrexham is actually very unrepresentative of the region as a whole.

Wrexham is very urban, English speaking and geographically located almost in England. Most of Wrexham is socio-economically disadvantaged, but on the outskirts of Wrexham there are places like Marford, which contain some of the most expensive properties in Wales. Many residents of Wrexham County commute to work in England. Wrexham is nothing like the rest of north Wales. So why was Wrexham County Borough Council given the remit for planning service user and carer involvement across the whole of north Wales? Areas like north west Wales – rural and Welsh speaking – never got a look in. From what I heard, ‘service users and carers’ in north west Wales didn’t even know that any of this was happening and they certainly weren’t consulted. Very few of them even knew about the ‘involvement’ vehicle that Dafydd et al established once they’d landed the contract that only they were in a position to apply for, a vehicle called CANIAD (see post ‘Introducing ‘Caniad’!’). Furthermore, CANIAD is overwhelmingly concerned with ‘service users’ with drug problems – there’s a surprise. If one is a ‘service user’ who does not have a problem with drugs or alcohol and one speaks Welsh and lives in rural Gwynedd, there’s sod all for you in CANIAD.

I tried very hard to discover exactly who decided to allow Wrexham County Borough Council to ensure that Dafydd got his paws on that £1.5 million for providing ‘service user involvement’ and on what rationale their decision was made, but I got nowhere. What was clear was that someone in Wrexham County Borough Council was determined to give Dafydd et al that contract – and that someone in the Betsi ensured that Dafydd’s little helper was in a position to make that decision, because it was the Betsi who decided that Wrexham County Borough Council would be running the commissioning process. As ever with matters Dafydd, nothing was open and transparent. But Dafydd and co have now trousered the dosh and this blog has already been contacted by someone who volunteered for CANIAD who claims that there is bugger all genuine ‘service user involvement’ happening and that no-one knows what CAIS has done with all the money because the ‘service users’ working for CANIAD are barely receiving their travel and lunch expenses.

In the light of Cllr Jones’s efforts to send more business in Dafydd’s direction, I looked up Cllr Jones’s background. Cllr Jones is the Plaid group leader on the Council, but the register of interests also mentions that Cllr Jones is the Press Officer for Plaid AM Llyr Gruffydd. Llyr tried whipping up a bit of business for Dafydd himself some years ago. Dafydd famously used to run a ‘nursing home’ called Ty Gwyn in Llandudno for ‘veterans suffering from PTSD’. Except that a former member of staff from Ty Gwyn told me that most of the patients there were not veterans at all, they were drug users who had got into trouble with the law and were staying at Ty Gwyn so that Dafydd would write them a favourable Court Report. I only know one person who stayed at Ty Gwyn and they described it as a ‘mediocre boarding house’. Ty Gwyn was unable to provide vegetarian food and this person was told to go into Llandudno and buy take-aways for his meals. He realised that he was being ripped-off (he was paying about £2000/week for the ‘nursing home’ and that was sharing a room and at 1990s prices), so he discharged himself. When he did this Dafydd turned up and tried to persuade him to stay ‘just another few weeks’. That was the first time that he saw Dafydd since his arrival. Nonetheless, during one election campaign, Llyr Gruffydd felt able to describe Ty Gwyn as a ‘beacon of excellence’ – Llyr was very angry because the beacon of excellence had gone out of business after the Welsh Gov’t refused to foot the bill for real veterans to stay there.

Before Marc Jones worked as Llyr’s Press Officer, he was a journalist. Marc worked for the BBC, ITV Wales, the Wrexham Leader – and for the Daily Post! Which might explain why he finds it so easy to get his views aired in the Daily Post when he clashes with the other Councillors or wants to put a bit of business Dafydd’s way.

In my post ‘History Repeats Itself, First As Tragedy, Then As Farce’ I mentioned that Wrexham Council was best known for colluding with the paedophile ring that operated in the north Wales children’s homes, particularly Bryn Estyn and the Bryn Alyn Community near Wrexham – the only Councillor who famously refused to collude was Malcolm King, all the others kept a very low profile. Much more recently, there has been one other Wrexham Councillor who repeatedly demanded further investigations into the North Wales Child Abuse Scandal – that was Keith Gregory. Keith Gregory had been in ‘care’ at Bryn Estyn. Despite the current demands that ‘victims should be listened to’ no other Councillors ever appeared alongside Mr Gregory in the press supporting his requests for further investigations. Mr Gregory has now stepped down from the Council because of poor health.

I don’t know for how long Marc Jones has been a Wrexham Councillor, but I see that he originally came from Mold and moved to Wrexham nearly thirty years ago to study at NEWI (which later became Glyndwr University). Everyone who has lived in north Wales and certainly in Wrexham for the last thirty years knows about the north Wales paedophile ring. If they hadn’t heard about it directly on the grapevine they read about it in the press from the early 1990s onwards. Cllr Jones was a journalist… Intriguingly, the local papers didn’t report quite as much about the North Wales Child Abuse Scandal as one would have expected. The Waterhouse Inquiry was held near Mold, Cllr Jones’s old stomping ground. Mold was certainly where the action was – after the embarrassment of the Jillings Report which confirmed the most dreadful abuse over many years of children in the care of Clwyd County Council, that Council was abolished and the newly created Flintshire County Council took over the handling of the Jillings Report’s aftermath. The offices of Flintshire County Council were located in Mold.

A number of the social workers who abused the kids in the children’s homes ‘trained’ at Cartrefle College – which became NEWI. Someone of Cllr Jones’s age who grew up and lived in north east Wales will also have known all about the dreadful reputation of the North Wales Hospital Denbigh, which was run by Dafydd.

There is an interview with Cllr Jones available online at Wrexham.Com. He mentions that his best memory is the birth of his sons at Wrexham Maelor Hospital. The Wrexham Maelor Hospital which had such serious problems in it’s maternity unit some years ago that a number of babies and mothers died, but the hospital managers refused to call in the risk managers to try to identify the cause of the deaths because it would damage the hospital’s reputation. The Wrexham Maelor which employed staff who asked no questions when they treated children from the children’s homes with serious injuries – or in some cases sent them away without treatment. The Wrexham Maelor which used to employ Lesley Griffiths, Wrexham’s AM who subsequently became Health Minister, as a medical secretary. Lesley Griffiths was also a Councillor in Wrexham. She has remained remarkably silent about the North Wales Child Abuse Scandal as well.

I can only wonder what with Cllr Marc Jones popping up so frequently in the Daily Post Online at the moment whether there might be council elections on the horizon in Wrexham. Whether there are or not, I think we should be told why Cllr Jones is batting for more dosh for Dafydd when he undoubtedly will have some knowledge of Dafydd’s less than impressive track record.

There is something else that Cllr Jones – and his fellow Councillors – should be concerning themselves with at present rather than scrapping over flags and trying to divert yet more of the NHS budget into the coffers of Dafydd and co. That is the plight of the homeless in Wrexham.

The Daily Post Online has reported a great deal about homelessness in Wrexham recently. The problem was dealt with by using the police to throw the homeless out of the bus station – which was where a lot of them had taken to sleeping because it had a roof – by the use of court orders. Because homeless people don’t actually magically disappear when they are removed from public view, after they were booted out of the bus station and indeed the whole of the town centre, a load of them set up a camp on the site of the old Groves School. The Wrexham Councillors were most irate about this and then they got even more angry when local residents who did have somewhere to live started helping the campers by giving them food. I thought that this was a very good reflection on the people of Wrexham, but the Councillors then stated that the homeless people would sell the food donated to them to ‘buy drugs’. Not all homeless people are drug users and furthermore drugs are a great deal more expensive that food, particularly the sort of food donated by sympathetic supporters. I don’t expect that the homeless of Wrexham had buckets of caviar to sell to restaurants in Cheshire, they were probably being given pasta and tins of beans which won’t fetch much on the second hand market. You won’t get many wraps of cocaine for the price of a packet of spaghetti.

There was yet more ranting about the homeless in today’s Daily Post Online. A group called Help Wrexham Homeless have been further over-indulging the homeless at the Groves School camp by providing them with extravagant luxuries such as sleeping bags and food. Cllr Hugh Jones, the lead member for Communities, Partnerships, Public Protection and Community Safety, stated that the Help Wrexham Homeless group were ‘undermining’ the work of the Wrexham Community Safety Partnership by ‘negatively affecting our ability to resolve the long term issues from which they are suffering’. The only long term issue from which the homeless are suffering is that they don’t have anywhere to live and kicking them out of the bus station was not going to resolve that.

Wrexham Council members and staff have a rather odd view of homeless people. A major sociology project was carried out in north Wales a few years ago and I was part of it. Part of the study involved looking at how the housing officers perceived homeless people. References kept being made to homeless people having ‘multiple complex long term problems’, ‘usually mental health or drug problems’. Some homeless people do have these problems, but at the same time as constructing all homeless people in this way, the housing officials admitted that they had a great shortage of housing, with only five or six properties being vacant at any given time, yet thousands of people were on the waiting list. This suggests that the problem is not hordes of people with long term complex problems or drugs/mental health problems, it is a very great shortage of places for people to live.

Cllr Hugh Jones claimed that Wrexham Council are working with Wrexham Homeless Group and AVOW (a Third sector organisation in Wrexham) ‘bringing together all the resources needed to address the complex problems’. All the resources except places for people to live. Hugh Jones stated that he would ‘ask this group [Help Wrexham Homeless] to work with all the established voluntary organisations already working in partnership’. Those will be the established voluntary organisations which have left the campers of Groves School homeless. One of the established voluntary organisations with which Wrexham Council is already working in partnership is CAIS. Yes, Dafydd and CAIS claim to offer services for homeless people. Dafydd will be receiving Gov’t dosh for this ‘service’, just as he receives dosh for ‘substance abuse services’ and ‘service user involvement’, but I bet that he’s not building any houses for the homeless with all that dosh.

Angie Hammons, a member of Help Wrexham Homeless, maintains that despite Wrexham Council’s claims to be addressing the ‘complex long term problems’ of the homeless on the camp, her group have identified that there are gaps in even this provision. Angie’s quite precise about it as well, she claims that the homeless are left without between Thursday mornings and Friday evenings and at weekends, which is when her group steps in to provide additional supplies of food etc.

Help Wrexham Homeless organised a petition calling for a public meeting over the homeless issue, but Cllr Hugh Jones maintains that this is not a ‘real’ petition and that it contains fictitious names. Or perhaps names which Cllr Jones doesn’t recognise – the names of homeless people rather than Councillors or the CEOs of ‘established voluntary organisations’ perhaps.

The very obviously swelling number of homeless people in Wrexham and the massive drugs problem would seem to echo the questions that many people in Wales have been asking recently – in the light of the huge quantities of long-term Gov’t funding that the voluntary sector are in receipt of (CAIS doesn’t rely on coffee mornings and tombolas for it’s funds, it receives literally millions from bodies like the Welsh Gov’t and the DWP), what exactly are they doing with all the money? And why are these organisations so unaccountable – they very obviously are not assisting with the problems that they are being paid to resolve, yet the contracts and money continue in their direction and local residents who plug the very obvious gaps in provision are given a bollocking by Councillors on the grounds that they are not ‘established voluntary organisations’.

Perhaps Cllr Marc Jones can explain why Wrexham County Borough Council are so wedded to the ‘established voluntary organisations with which they work in partnership’ in the face of them very obviously not delivering the goods – in Cllr Jones’s own words, ‘this is not the solution to the problems we’re facing’.

 

In The News At Present

I’m following up a few research leads for the blog at the moment, so today’s post is just a resume of a few stories that are currently in the news, with a bit of background info on some of the people involved.

This morning the ‘Today’ programme broadcast a rather weak piece concerning the issue of men in the workplace and their mental health. Of course, MIND provided someone to comment  – not the odious Paul Farmer, who has kept a low profile for a few days, but a Madeleine McGivern. Madeleine is ‘head of programmes, workplace well-being’ for MIND. I’m taking more and more of an interest in the Third sector, as are a number of other bloggers, because it has become clear that MIND are not the only charity coining it in by pretending to be representing the oppressed whilst doing anything but. There are problems across the whole of the Third sector. Madeleine has a wealth of experience in this domain, having previously worked for Christian Aid and Water Aid for some years. She does actually seem to have a lot of experience in working in the Middle East and specialised in the Middle East whilst she was at university. Her CV in that field is very impressive. So one wonders how she ended up in her present post with MIND – the only clue is that prior to her extended stint concerning the Middle East, she was a charity junky, having worked in a number of roles in the Third sector after she graduated. But there are now many people who are building extended highly paid careers on the back of charity work. Madeleine has shown a bit of nous in terms of building a network to land such roles – she co-founded something called FIND, a network which connects women with professional interests similar to hers. Despite her lack of previous stated experience in mental health, Madeleine is also a Trustee of Haringey MIND. My post ‘MIND Are Out For Mental Health – Never For Themselves Of Course…’ mentions that the worryingly paedophile-friendly Tony Smythe, former Chief Exec of MIND, continued to be involved with Haringey MIND long after he stepped down as Chief Exec, as did his partner Jeanne. So I took a look at the present ‘Board of volunteer Trustees’ for Haringey MIND.

There’s an awful lot of them – so either Haringey MIND is a substantial concern or they are top heavy. The Trustees are described on the MIND In Haringey website thus:

David Pascall, Chair and Acting Treasurer. David states that he has personal experience of mental illness and that he lives in Haringey. Is he a long term service user, battling with the excesses of welfare reform? Probably not. He states that he has retired from full-time executive work and is seeking non-executive chairmanships and directorships. He’s not going to be making the tea at the drop in centre then. I completely accept that executives can experience mental illness but David’s CV suggests that he wasn’t clobbered that badly – and some of his previous posts are rather inconsistent with the image that MIND likes to project. David was a senior executive with BP for 25 years. That’s the BP that was responsible for the 2010 Deep Horizon oil spill, the biggest oil spill in marine waters in history, which resulted in BP pleading guilty to eleven counts of felony manslaughter, two misdemeanours, one felony count of lying to Congress and paying more than $4.5 billion pounds in fines and penalties. David was the MD of Terra Firma, a private equity group, for eight years. (Terra Firma’s record is so bad that I have not got time to detail it all here, I recommend interested readers to just google, you’ll find pages of unscrupulous practices.) David has also held Gov’t positions and has experience of a range of non-executive chairs and directors positions.

Marcus Yorke. Marcus doesn’t claim any service user credentials himself, but he previously worked as an occupational therapist in a 57 bedded unit for young males with psychotic illness, supporting them to find work and educational opportunities. Marcus may have been doing a very useful job there – or he may have been the sort of mental health professional described in a previous post, who coerced people into work and education when they were not capable of it, resulting in them hitting disaster after a few weeks and finding themselves back in the mental health system again, although the records of Marcus will have had lot of ticks in the boxes labelled ‘recovered’. I cannot help thinking that Marcus’s previous employment will have been very attractive to MIND, as they made it clear to Gov’t some time ago that they couldn’t wait to bid for those lucrative DWP contracts forcing claimants with mental health problems off benefits into work. Marcus has organised events challenging stigma!

Gemma Coleman, Secretary. Gemma spent five months volunteering at Haringey MIND and then joined the Board. She worked for the Dept of Education in SEN and disability research. She has also worked for Rethink Mental Illness and has a Masters in Mental Health Research from UCL.

Laura Aldridge. Has personal experience of mental health issues. Laura spent a year volunteering at Haringey MIND in the admin dept. She believes that ‘mental health charities are ever more important due to the lack of Gov’t funding for mental illness’. Not only is that the Official Paul Farmer Line, but the only reason why Farmer, in his £100k pa plus post, wants an increase in Gov’t funding ‘for mental illness’ is so that it is channelled in the direction of MIND. Laura has worked in academic publishing and is a graduate of UCL.

Oran Blackwood. Oran is a mental health survivor and is training as a counsellor and SEN co-ordinator. He has ten years of experience working with SEN and mental health issues in post-16 education. Oran also volunteers with a number of other charities.

Tricia Bohn. She has worked as a GP in Hackney for more than 20 years, in a practice with a strong commitment to mental health and local voluntary organisations. Prior to working as a GP Tricia was a Youth and Community worker in Haringey and Hackney.

Glynnis Joffe. Glynnis has over thirty years experience in working in social care, initially as a social worker and then as a social services senior manager for twenty years. She has experience of working with NHS CCGs and provider Trusts offering hospital and community services, including mental health. Glynnis believes in co-production between the voluntary sector and service users!

Helen Moulinos. Helen trots out the myth that ‘1 in 4’ people suffer from mental illness. Which is not true, but it’s what MIND tells people. She has twenty plus years of international commercial experience in charity and the financial services. She has skills in business and commercial strategy and creating new business models. She is a Trustee of an East London based mental health charity – which is helping people return to the workplace! Helen is also involved in restructuring three of the UKs largest public health and social care charities.

David Mosse. David has personal experience of bereavement due to suicide. He is the Professor and Head of the Anthropology Dept at SOAS (University of London). His career has been in community based approaches to poverty reduction and human development internationally eg. Oxfam in India. He is a Trustee for an NGO working in rural India and a Governor of SOAS.

Heather Pegrum. She is a Mental Health First Aider and a volunteer support recovery worker with a background in fine art/graphic design.

Richard Popple. Richard is a trainer and facilitator for the private and public sectors including the NHS. He is also an actor and writer.

 

What is striking about these Trustees is what a very limited sector of society they have been drawn from. Many of them work in or manage the mental health services or arms of Gov’t which have led to so many of the problems experienced by ‘service users’. Two of them were educated at UCL which has been involved in concealing abuses in the mental health services and a number of them have spent their careers working in the Third sector. There is not going to be much divergence in thought among these Trustees – with the exception of the two who have a background in academic/international NGO work and of course the oil executive/corporate capitalist, they will all have been completely inducted into thinking about mental health problems and ways of addressing them in the way that the mental health services and MIND do. Which has not got us very far. Furthermore, most of these Trustees are in positions which makes public dissent impossible.

The Voice of the Service Users? Hardly. Some of them claim to have personal experience of mental health problems, but they all seem to have been able to build careers. That is not to dismiss their own experiences, which will be valuable – but there is an obvious absence of the voices of people with severe enduring mental illness who have experienced long-term poverty. It is those people who are being left destitute by Theresa May’s welfare reforms – welfare reforms which MIND intends to benefit from by bidding for Gov’t contracts. Something else is clear about this Board as well. Whilst I am cynical about organisations hitting ‘diversity’ targets, there is only one Trustee who is not white British. Haringey has one of the most ethnically and culturally mixed populations in the country. There is a huge Cypriot community, a huge Black community and a Jewish community. Statistics tell us that the Black community in Haringey will be over-represented among people who have been diagnosed with psychosis and treated under the Mental Health Act. Where are they on this Board? Where are older people, many of whom will be in receipt of ‘services’ (or more probably will need to be in receipt of services but won’t be getting them)? The Service Users on this Board are professional people whom I suspect have experienced the milder types of mental health problems. Which is probably why one of them is quoting the misleading 1 in 4 statistic…

 

Another health news item on the ‘Today’ programme was a discussion concerning the Gov’ts plans to increase the number of medical student places in UK universities – it’s a bit too little too late. It was pointed out to the Health Minister being interviewed, Phillip Dunne, that those students won’t be arriving in the medical workforce for years, yet the increase in numbers is a response to the alleged shortage of doctors now. Dunne stated that medical students make a valuable contribution to the medical workforce whilst they are training. They are certainly used as cheap labour for menial tasks, but they are also kicked about and bullied – particularly by a certain sort of Angel actually. Angels get kicked about and bullied by Top Doctors themselves which causes some of them to get the retaliation into medical students on the grounds that in a few years time their salaries will be exceeding the Angels’ pay and they’ll be putting the boot into the Angels themselves. It’s all a case of Red In Tooth And Claw in the NHS. Medical students are also completely powerless – so if they’re witnessing mad or negligent Top Doctors in action they can do nothing about it at all, even if patients are being very obviously harmed. NHS whistleblowers are nearly always sacked even when they’re paid up members of the workforce – I’ve not yet actually encountered a medical student who’s ever tried to report malpractice or misconduct, although I know plenty who have witnessed it. I do know student nurses who have been forced off their course for reporting the abuse of patients.

Phillip Dunne also emphasised that more ‘diversity’ was needed among medical students and that the Gov’t will be giving universities incentives to accept students from underprivileged backgrounds or those who want to work in rural or coastal areas or psychiatry. No doubt the Gov’t will now implement some simplistic lame initiatives which will not result in what they want to achieve. This blog has previously commented that many Top Doctors are from privileged backgrounds. Younger Top Doctors however are often not quite so privileged – they still tend to be from the middle classes, but many more of them have attended state schools. The discussions concerning diversity in medicine that I’ve encountered are missing a crucial element. A greater variation in social backgrounds would be a positive move, but the problem with the Top Doctors isn’t so much that they are drawn from the more privileged sections of society – it is that so many of them are incredibly self-interested and no-one is acknowledging this. Their self-interest and sometimes sheer naked greed is what leads them to abuse or neglect patients, to demand bigger and bigger salaries, to mistreat their colleagues and to falsify research. There is little point in increasing diversity if the system still selects for people who’ll murder their grandmother – or indeed other people’s grandmothers – to advance themselves.

‘Today’ broadcast an interview with a Top Doctor who had been working in a rural GPs practice but who had returned to the city to work in a hospital. He explained in his interview that he had found general practice rather routine and boring and wanted ‘broader experience’. He was probably too tactful to admit that he had been stuck in a surgery with a group of old farts of senior partners who had ‘done things this way’ for years and weren’t going to take on board any suggestions from a whippersnapper. Of course, the image presented to aspiring medical students – including by medical schools themselves – is that of medicine as a glamorous career which involves endless heroics and life-saving, plus a healthy dose of brain surgery. If the students have been lured in on that basis, they will feel that it’s a bit of let-down when they find themselves spending most of their time treating frail elderly people with conditions that are not going to improve. As for tempting students into psychiatry – well Phillip Dunne needs to get rid of the Dafydds, the Marie Savages and the Tony Roberts’s if psychiatry is ever to become a popular speciality.

As is my current practice, I did a bit of research on the person being interviewed by ‘Today’, Phillip Dunne. His wiki entry describes him as a ‘farmer’ and a ‘banker’. I presume that he’s not the sort of farmer who has a flock of sheep on the side of a mountain in north Wales and is reliant on the agricultural subsidies to keep him from bankruptcy. Phillip I suspect is the sort of farmer who owns a few thousand acres and who also receives agricultural subsidies – but in his case they will ensure that he remains one of the wealthiest people in the UK. (I think that Lord Newborough of Rhug Farm Estate worked in the City before he returned to north Wales and took over the ‘family farm’.) I’m not sure that either of Dunne’s previous jobs leave him in a particularly good position to take up a role as Health Minister.

I was also interested to hear the former Chancellor Alistair Darling speaking on the radio – ‘Today’ were celebrating the 10th anniversary of the banking crash. Alistair reminisced about how it took him completely by surprise, he was actually on holiday and had gone out to buy some rolls when he heard that the French banks had collapsed. He didn’t worry but he then heard that banks were collapsing across the world and he thought gosh it might happened to the British banks. It did, a few hours later. Just like that. He subsequently had a phone conversation with the head of one of the biggest UK banks who told Alistair that the bank was probably going to run out of money later that afternoon and Alistair realised that he didn’t know what to do about any of it. Alistair, who had no idea that his running of the economy was going to lead to a banking crash and then didn’t know what to do when it did, has of course been rewarded with a seat in the Lords. Harriet Harman memorably stated that if only Lehman Brothers had been Lehman Sisters none of it would ever have happened (it was a problem of gender you see, not one of global capitalism) and the rest of them blamed the general public for spending like drunken sailors, although Gordon Brown had positively encouraged everyone to do this. Liam Byrne put the icing on the cake by leaving a witty note behind telling the incoming Coalition Gov’t that there was no money left.

 

BBC News Wales online has reported that the Welsh Gov’t has announced that it will be dispensing with the post of the Welsh Language Commissioner, who is of course a star of this blog – Meri Huws aka the Crack of Doom (see posts ‘Let Me Enlighten Lord Gnome… and ‘Local Accessories’ for background on Meri and the way in which she was alleged to have secured the numerous jobs that she could not do). Cymdeithas yr Iaith have got very angry about this, but then Meri is their former Chair, so they would wouldn’t they. Heledd Gwyndaf from Cymdeithas stated that the Welsh Gov’ts proposals were ‘aimed at making civil servants lives easier’. Their lives certainly will be easier once Meri is out of the door, when she was given that job a senior colleague of mine at Bangor University observed that she won’t know what she is doing, but at least the civil servants will. Alun Davies the Minister for the Welsh language made some eminently sensible comments, including that promoting and protecting the Welsh language involves ‘more than slogans and chanting on an Eisteddfod field’. But as I noted previously, Meri should never have been given that position, there was outrage among language scholars and researchers when the appointment was announced because she had no credibility with any of them.

Meri gave an interview stating that ‘change for change’s sake is not acceptable’ but ‘change is acceptable if it leads to improvement’. So Meri, who has received more than £100k pa for the last five years from the Welsh Gov’t, is now dictating the circumstances under which they can kick her out. Meri has demanded ‘evidence’ that change is needed. The evidence Meri is that you made such a hash of drawing up ‘standards’ a few years ago that Leighton Andrews had to publicly comment on the cock-up and that after five years of you being in post there is every indication that Welsh is still on the back foot. Furthermore, it was recently reported that ‘Sports Direct’ in Bangor had banned staff from speaking Welsh. Did you organise a boycott of ‘Sports Direct’ or send anyone in undercover to clock how many laws they were breaking – which they will be, they are after all ‘Sports Direct’? No, you were at the Eisteddfod, giving interviews explaining why it wasn’t ‘acceptable’ for the Welsh Gov’t to sack you.

There was however a protest in Bangor yesterday by another self-appointed guardian of the Welsh language. Hywel Williams, MP for Caernarfon, was photographed standing in the rain on a pavement in Bangor holding up a small piece of paper with a ‘No To Starbucks’ printed on it. It transpires that ‘Starbucks’ are planning to open a café in Bangor. Was Hywel protesting because this American tax-dodging giant might put other cafes out of business or disrespect the Welsh language (which it probably will)? No, Hywel was protesting because he thought that the road junction on which the proposed ‘Starbucks’ is to be sited is ‘dangerous’. Not that anyone has ever been killed or injured there.

Even the ‘Times’ yesterday, the Murdoch owned, Danny Finkelstein-employing, Tory-supporting ‘Times’, published a leader supporting the right of people to speak Welsh and condemned ‘Sports Direct’ in the strongest terms. So the ‘Times’ has been more pro-active in it’s support for Welsh than the Welsh Language Commissioner. Is anymore evidence needed to justify her dismissal?

BBC News Wales recently ran a story concerning a scandal in a Council in south Wales. A number of staff were disciplined for consuming cooked breakfasts whilst they were supposed to be working. New readers may not be aware that one of my first posts when I started this blog was an account of the practices of the Arfon Community Mental Health Team. Not only did they perjure themselves in an attempt to have me imprisoned and threaten to assault clients in their own homes, but the Arfon Team achieved notoriety for their consumption of cooked breakfasts. They’d all gather in Morrison’s café in Upper Bangor at about 9-30 every morning and enjoy a fry-up, finally returning to their offices at about 11-30. ‘Service users’ who were being refused ‘help’ from this team on the grounds that they were ‘too busy’ would watch this ritual daily. It went on for years – that ‘team’ was jointly managed by Gwynedd Social Services and the North West Wales NHS Trust. Disciplinary action was never mentioned.

To finish, some news about Bangor University. The Daily Post online is taking delight in reporting that the University has once more performed brilliantly in terms of student satisfaction. Bangor has done well on this measure for years – there are a lot of staff, including admin staff, who are very committed to student welfare and love working with the students. The irony is that the man who is basking in the glory and bragging about it to the Daily Post is none other than Professor Oliver Turnbull, PVC for Teaching and Learning. Turnbull is best known for being sent on extended gardening leave a few years ago when an e mail that he wrote was leaked to ‘Private Eye’. A female psychology student had complained about being sexually harassed by a teaching assistant. Turnbull had responded by asking whether her complaint should be taken seriously or whether she should just be viewed as a poorly performing student who was seeking excuses. Turnbull accidentally cc’d the e mail to the student herself. It remains a mystery why he was ever appointed as PVC for Teaching and Learning after his suspension. One thing is certain. Bangor excelling in it’s support for students will have sod all to do with Oliver Turnbull. For more details of Oliver Turnbull and the School of Psychology that he runs, see post ‘He’s Not The Messiah, He’s A Very Naughty Boy’.

MIND Are Out For Mental Health – Never For Themselves Of Course…

MRegular followers of this blog will know that I – and some of those commenting on my posts – have been bringing to public attention the appalling hypocrisy of MIND, an organisation claiming to be the ‘voice of the service user’ whilst concealing serious abuses in the mental health services and even entering into ‘partnerships’ with abusive services and individuals  (see posts such as ‘The Mysterious Silence Of MIND’, ‘Newly Discovered – Parabl’ and ‘The Commissioning Of Parabl – And Yet More History’).

I have explained that I first became aware of the corruption of MIND when I went down to see William Bingley, their Legal Director, in 1987 regarding the criminal activities of the north Wales mental health services. Bingley admitted that he knew all about the wrongdoing of Dr Dafydd Alun Jones and indeed he knew a lot more than I did. I gave Bingley yet more evidence re Jones et al but not only did Bingley continue to keep quiet regarding Dafydd and co but when Bingley later became Chief Exec of the Mental Health Act Commission, he and that organisation continued to collude with Dafydd and Dr Tony Francis (Dr X), although they knew about the continued illegal detention of people and abuse of the Mental Health Act in north Wales. I knew from my meeting with Bingley that he knew an awful lot about Dafydd – including the deaths in Dafydd’s ‘care homes’, the allegations that the wrongdoing in north Wales was linked to Freemasonry and the existence of Dafydd’s extensive ‘sex therapy’ practice and the possible purposes of that business. I have no idea whether Bingley knew that Dafydd et al were concealing the paedophile ring that was operating in north Wales at the time though – the paedophile ring that was concealed again at a higher level by Thatcher’s and Major’s Gov’ts. However before Bingley began working for MIND, he worked as a research assistant for Matthew Parris, A Tory MP who had previously worked as Thatcher’s correspondence secretary. A man whose autobiography told of his summer trips – in the company of friends – to a place in Italy that they named the ‘villa of shame’, where they would be visited by ‘boys’ whom Parris described as ‘always willing’. For more background on Parris and his connections, see post ‘A Pretty Classy Piece Of Operation’.

I had thought that I had previously dug up a substantial amount of shit and compromising info on MIND, but I’ve spent a bit of time doing more research on a few other key figures in that organisation and I’ve found much more worrying info – that organisation has been compromised for decades. Here are a few of the highlights that I have dug up.

The current Chief Exec is the disgusting Paul Farmer whom I have blogged about previously. Farmer’s reputation is plummeting fast as a result of his enthusiasm for MIND to land contracts from the Dept of Work and Pensions, contracts that are all about forcing ‘service users’ into employment that may well be unsuitable and for which they may well be too ill. Farmer’s enormous salary has also been made public by disability activists – he trousers in excess of £100k pa for his role as the Voice of the Service User – and I’m delighted to say that this unscrupulous git has been met with protests on his travels around the UK. I was expecting the BBC to wheel him out for him to give his comments regarding the latest round of bad news re the UK’s mental health services, but mercifully we were spared that for once. Had he done the rounds of the BBC studios perhaps somebody would have finally asked him why he and his lame organisation have kept so quiet about the crisis – which has been evident for many years. Of course Farmer also knew all about the criminal activities of the north Wales mental health services many years ago. When I wrote to Peter Hain in his capacity as Secretary of State for Wales in approx. 2005 giving him full details of what had happened to me t the hands of the mental health services, I cc’d the letter to the Chief Exec of Rethink (I didn’t cc it to MIND because I knew that they were ignoring what was happening in north Wales) – who at the time was one Paul Farmer. I never received a response, although a few months later Farmer then became Chief Exec of MIND!

But what of previous CEOs of MIND? Before Farmer, the CEO was Richard Brook, who was appointed in 2001. Brook was CEO when I e mailed MIND HQ about the assaults being carried out by Hergest Unit staff on patients – only to receive an e mail back written as though it was to a small child telling me that what I had to do was go to the yellow pages and look up ‘solicitors’ and go and talk to one of them…. At this time the ‘service user reps’ for the Hergest were heavily involved with MIND – those reps who wet themselves at the thought of confronting Hergest staff and managers concerning the gross abuses that were endemic. One of those ‘service user reps’ admitted to me that she knew that residents in Prestwood Homes were being abused – furthermore, Prestwood Homes were taking full advantage of free MIND facilities such as walking groups, drop in centres etc without paying MIND a penny, although Prestwood were charging thousands of quid a week for a ‘placement’. Somebody else involved with MIND knew about the abuse of residents at Prestwood as well – Geoff Lees, who is now Director of Vale of Clwyd MIND. I told him about it, whilst he was still working as a social work tutor at Coleg Menai in Bangor. I know that a number of other people told him what was going on at Prestwood as well. For details of the horrors at Prestwood and the unfortunate death of a young woman support worker there who witnessed even more that I did, see posts ‘A Convenient Arrangement With The Private Sector’ and ‘The Commissioning Of Parabl – And Yet More History’.

Richard Brook was able to publicise unacceptable practice if he felt like it though. In 2004 the ‘Daily Mail’ ran an article entitled ‘Why I Resigned Over This Disgraceful Happy Pill Cover-Up’. The article explained that Brook had resigned from the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulation Authority) after he discovered that they had known about the side effects of the anti-depressant Seroxat but had not publicised them. Brook claimed that he had been threatened with legal action by Prof Kent Woods, the CEO of the MHRA, if he revealed that the MHRA had been ‘sitting on’ it’s knowledge of Seroxat’s side effects. Brook stated that MIND had been ‘tracking Seroxat’ for a decade’. So MIND knew about Seroxat and it’s problems as well then – but then they’d known about the problems in north Wales since 1979 at least, when Mary Wynch was illegally arrested and imprisoned (see post ‘The Mary Wynch Case – Details’) and had done or said nothing. In this article, Brook mentions the ‘Panorama’ programme about Seroxat that had been screened the year before – that will be the programme that featured Dr David Healy, who worked at the Hergest Unit! So MIND had got into bed (so to speak) with two psychiatrists from north Wales – Dafydd, who years before had been involved with MIND and David, as he Bravely Spoke Out. Brook told the Mail that following the ‘Panorama’ programme, MIND held a demo outside the offices of the MHRA. As opposed to outside of the Hergest Unit, where patients were being assaulted, framed for serious crimes, refused treatment no matter how ill they were and were committing suicide.

Brook maintains that he went to see the Health Minister Lord Warner to tell him of his concerns regarding SSRIs and Warner told him that he would speak to the MHRA. Warner then simply issued a guide to doctors detailing the max recommended dose of Seroxat (that must have been why Dr Richard Tranter, Healy’s friend, protégé and PhD student prescribed a friend of mine three times the maximum recommended dose of Seroxat then). It was at this point that the man of principle Brook resigned from the MHRA. Brook told the Mail that there was an urgent need for an inquiry into the MHRA and stated that many people involved with the MHRA also have connections to the pharmaceutical industry. Which is true – but then MIND’s hands are as dirty as those of any advisor to the pharmaceutical industry.

In Jan 2006 Brook featured in a BBC News online report and commented on the mental health of people living in rural areas. He stated that ‘the extent of mental health problems in the countryside is likely to be hidden’ – it was in north Wales, it was hidden by MIND, they knew that huge numbers of people were being given a diagnosis of ‘borderline personality disorder’ and refused care after being told that they were ‘untreatable’. At the time the area served by the Hergest Unit had the second highest rate of suicide for women in England and Wales.

After defending people with mental health problems so successively, upon leaving MIND Brook was appointed CEO of the newly created Office of the Public Guardian! Just the sort of person that was needed in such a position obviously. After a year guarding the public, Brook then became CEO of the deaf-blind charity SENSE.

MIND’s CEO before Brook was Judi Clements, who was in post between 1992-2001. So she oversaw those crazy years in which I was repeatedly arrested by the mental health services for ludicrous reasons, in which Dafydd resisted efforts to shut down the North Wales Hospital Denbigh and for his pains walked away with the contract to provide ‘substance abuse services’ for North Wales (see post ‘The Evolution Of A Drugs Baron?’) – the years which also saw the massive cover-up of the paedophile ring in north Wales which was the Waterhouse Report, in the wake of which a lot of people who’d been victims of that gang as children were found dead after becoming ‘users’ of the mental health services. Judi’s tenure also spanned the years in which Prestwood Homes were established and became big business within just a few months, what with the constant supply of vulnerable people from secure hospitals available for Prestwood to traffic them…

Something must have happened on Judi’s watch, because there is virtually no info from MIND available about Judi, it’s as though she never passed through their doors. However, there is some info about her in an article in HSJ from 2010. HSJ told us that after being Chief Exec of MIND for nine years, she was leaving due to health related problems, namely diabetes and arthritis. A David Peryer, the Chair of Trustees of MIND, stated that Judi would be ‘sorely missed’ – so that’s why they subsequently air-brushed her out of history. Preyrer mentioned that MIND was currently undergoing restructuring to concentrate on ‘supporting local offices’. These were of course the ‘local offices’ which included those in north Wales who were so helpfully providing free services to Prestwood Homes and who then began entering ‘partnerships’ with CAIS to provide yet more ‘services’ after being handed contracts by the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board – many of whose former staff and their friends were now working with MIND.

Judi didn’t just leave MIND, she did a Richard Tranter and left the UK for New Zealand. Despite the diabetes and the arthritis, Judi seems to have bounced back and in 2005 when she relocated to New Zealand, she landed a job as Chief Exec of the Mental Health Foundation over there. She ‘moved on’ in 2015. In Feb 2015 Judi featured on the website of the New Zealand Law Society, promoting her forthcoming seminar on Mindfulness for the New Zealand Law Society Auckland Branch. On this website Judi was described as an ‘experienced Chief Exec in the NGO sector’ with a ‘background in law, social policy, housing, local government and management practice’. It was explained that ‘after a successful career in local government service management, policy and practice development, Judi moved to the NGO sector’. So which failing local authority did Judi work for prior to keeping the lid on the barrel of shit in MIND then? Judi has an LLB – so she will recognise serious crime when she sees it. Or indeed conceals it – or even facilitates it.

Judi has sat on ‘several Gov’t advisory groups covering mental health, social policy and NGO development’.

Between 1989 and 1992, Ros Hepplewhite was Chief Exec of MIND. Whose reign also spanned the Dafydd years, but then the Dafydd years have gone on for the last five decades so everyone’s implicated where Dafydd is concerned. So perhaps it’s more helpful to mention that Ros’s reign spanned the period of time during which St George’s Hospital Medical School and Springfield Hospital colluded with Dafydd – although they knew what he was up – to in his attempts to have me labelled dangerous and banged up. The early 1990s of course also saw allegations that a paedophile ring was active in north Wales involving political figures appear in the London based media. Dafydd and his mistress Lucille Hughes were concealing and facilitating this paedophile ring – it was Dafydd and Lucille to whom St George’s Hospital and Springfield turned for ‘evidence’ of my dangerousness. It was in 1992 that five people with connections to the North Wales Child Abuse Scandal were killed in an arson attack on a flat in Brighton (see post ‘The Silence of the Welsh Lambs). So Ros was pretty close to some serious action.

However I can’t find any references to Ros’s activities at MIND. Although Ros did hit the headlines after she left MIND. In 1993 Ros was appointed CEO of the Child Support Agency – which was a Gov’t disaster as big as the NHS IT system that had to be shelved after a few billion had been spent on it. Although unlike the CSA, the failed NHS IT system was not thought to have contributed to anyone’s suicide…Ros was famously removed from her post and the CSA metamorphosed into something else because Gov’t could not withstand the embarrassment any longer.

I have found a reference to Ros on the blog of the Labour MEP for London, Mary Honeyball. Mary’s post dated Jan 11 2010 discusses examples of what she believed was outrageous sexism. Honeyball believes that Ros was removed from her post as a result of such sexism – nothing to do with the suicides of distraught parents then, or the numerous parents who were never able to collect their maintenance payments, or the absent parents who used every trick in the book not to pay up leaving their former partners destitute whilst the CSA refused to listen to their pleas for help… Tragedies as a result of the chaos that was the CSA involved both men and women – and of course the children. Honeyball entertainingly stated that Dame Barbara Mills the DPP was also the victim of sexism. Babs has featured on this blog previously – she was the DPP whilst the CPS found excuse after excuse not to mount prosecutions against numerous paedophiles despite stacks of evidence being presented (see post ‘A Future Leader Of The Labour Party’). Mary Honeyball also extended her ‘sympathies’ to the former Home Secretary Jaqui Smith, who was ‘hounded’ for being a ‘high profile woman’. No, Jaqui Smith became a source of national entertainment when it was revealed that her husband had rented porn films, the cost of which Jaqui had then reclaimed on her Parliamentary expenses. In a desperate attempt to salvage herself in the eyes of a nation rolling around laughing, Jaqui then tried to construct herself as a latter day Mary Whitehouse and began speaking out about Porn and Sex, which culminated in her presenting a documentary about prostitution. Unfortunately she did this whilst wearing one of those brightly coloured plastic macs when she was filmed under street lamps, which caused one of the better Radio 4 comedians – it might have been Sue Perkins – to comment that Jaqui looked like something out of ‘Band of Gold’.

Mary Honeyball ends her post by explaining that she speaks as someone ‘who ran’ the Association of Chief Officers of Probation in the mid-90s – she mentions that she didn’t have a background in probation, but that she was appointed on the basis of her other talents. So that’s why at that time some of those accused of molesting children in north Wales or failing to act when their colleagues were molesting children found it possible to move into careers with the Probation Service.

Ros Hepplewhite was CEO of MIND whilst the most dreadful scandals involving the abuse and even murder of patients occurred at Ashworth and Broadmoor. Don’t remember the Voice of the Service Users saying much about all that at the time.

At the time of my initial encounters with Dafydd and the paedophiles’ friends in the mid-80s, the CEO of MIND was Christopher Heginbotham – he’d been appointed CEO in 1982. He was in post at the time that I had my meeting with William Bingley. I suspect that Chris and Bingley might have been chums – Heginbotham was appointed CEO in 1982. Bingley was working as lobbyist for MIND at that time and landed his plum full time post there in 1983. Bingley’s mother Lady Juliet Bingley was also a bigwig in MIND and was Chair 1978-84. Furthermore Heginbotham departed from MIND in 1989 – Bingley ‘moved on’ into the post as Chief Exec of the Mental Health Act Commission in 1990. Bingley eventually wound up in the Chair of Mental Health Law and Ethics at the University of Central Lancashire and then in a role at the University of Cumbria after resigning from his post as Chair of an NHS Trust when a few awkward questions were asked about his business interests. Heginbotham also eventually secured a position at the University of Cumbria. References to William Bingley seemed to have disappeared from the MIND website recently, but I know that MIND named a building after him in Lancashire, ‘William Bingley House’. I wonder if it’ll be a bit like the fall out after Jimmy Savile’s death and MIND will end up renaming the building in a desperate attempt to pretend that they’d never met Bingley? But guess what? Heginbotham ended up in Lancashire too – where I presume that he still is.

Bingley and Heginbotham were at MIND when Savile was appointed General Manager of Broadmoor. I do not remember them questioning the appointment. What’s the betting that there’s some photos somewhere of dear old Jim with folk from MIND that are now well hidden? Should anyone know of any, please do let me know…

Heginbotham is a Director of something called ‘Values Based Commissioning Ltd’ in Lancashire, which began life in 2011. The other Director is a Christine Heginbotham. It is described as ‘health and social care consultancy’. Christopher Heginbotham has also published a book on Values Based Commissioning of Health and Social Care. So what is this all about?

According to an article in HSJ from June 2013, ‘Values Based Commissioning’ (VbC) ‘aims to put users’ views at the heart of reshaping services’. The discussion concerns the commissioning of mental health services by CCGs (Clinical Commissioning Groups) and it is explained that ‘expertise’ in this area is ‘varied’. However, as readers may have guessed, a few aficionados are on hand to help! HSJ quotes words of wisdom from Rethink’s Associate Director of Policy, Research and Campaigning, Victoria Bleazard, as well as Sophie Corlett, Director of External Relations at MIND. A Joint Commissioning Panel on Mental Health (JCPMH) was established in 2011, which is co-chaired by the Royal Colleges of Psychiatrists and General Practitioners – this Panel produced ‘guidance’. VbC is ‘a new type of commissioning’ (which must be why it involves the same old people and institutions as the previous commissioning did), ‘prioritising service users’ values and experiences’ (the Royal Colleges mentioned, Rethink and MIND have such good track records in that area don’t they).

HSJ identifies a Dr Neil Deuchar as the architect and champion of VbC – he’s a psychiatrist from Birmingham, a specialist advisor on commissioning and JCPMH Co-Chair. The other Co-Chair is Liz England, a GP who is Mental Health Lead for a Locality Care Group within a CCG and National Institute for Health Research Clinical Lecturer at the University of Birmingham. Deuchar is quoted as saying that ‘patient power is the key’ and that ‘co-production between patient and carer groups, clinicians and commissioners is vital’. There then follows a bit of asinine text headed by the words ‘what do service users think?’

So Christopher Heginbotham saw an opportunity then – an insane system was devised by a Gov’t that had relied on the likes of Heginbotham and his mates at MIND for advice, this insane system was then explained to the world by HSJ and promoted by MIND and their friends, by which time Heginbotham had written his book and set up his company – presumably with Mrs Heginbotham – to serve the insane system. The insane system was entirely dependent at every stage on the involvement of the very same people and institutions that were colluding with the likes of Dafydd and the paedophiles’ friends.

Is it surprising that five years down the line we have Sir James Munby, the President of the Family Courts, hitting the roof because there is virtually no provision in the whole of the UK for a suicidal 17 year old girl who is due to be released from ‘secure custody’? Although no-one has explained why a girl in her state is IN secure custody, allegedly alone in a seclusion room from which everything has been removed except a mattress on the floor. That’s going to do her a power of good isn’t it. Furthermore I guarantee that I know how that barbaric regime will be described on that girl’s records – there will be a reference to her being ‘nursed’. I have heard mental health nurses taking about ‘nursing’ people in ‘seclusion’ or ‘nursing’ them ‘on a mattress on the floor’. The whole system is completely nuts and the people working within it have been sent nuts by it if they weren’t already nuts when they took up their employment.

If readers have been impressed by the calibre of MIND CEOs described so far, hold on to your hats whilst I tell you about Heginbotham’s predecessor, Tony Smythe, CEO from 1974-82.  Smythe’s incumbency pre-dated the internet, but Smythe was quite something and info about him is still available online. Smythe’s full name was Clifford Anthony Smythe. He categorised himself as a radical anarcho-pacifist until the day that he died in 2004 and was involved with a number of political causes. He was appointed General Secretary of the NCCL in 1966, a post that he held until 1971. It was in the 70s that it became clear that the NCCL had been infiltrated by paedophiles who had conflated their cause with gay liberation – paedophiles also infiltrated the Campaign for Homosexual Equality (CHE) at this time and a number of those guilty of abusing children in north Wales were active in CHE. Smythe was at one point Vice-President of CHE. In 1971 Smythe became involved with MIND. His obituary describes him as establishing an ‘executive committee’ which led to ‘service users becoming involved in management and policy decisions’ and that this ‘chimed with Tony’s anarchist belief’.

Now this talk of the active involvement of ‘service users’ also surrounds Bingley and his mother. Which ‘service users’ do people think that the Bingleys and Smythe liberated? Psychiatry was dreadful in the 70s and early 80s – it was particularly gross in north Wales but it was pretty grim everywhere else as well. There is no way that ‘service users’ had any voice anywhere in the 70s – who are MIND actually talking about? Radical ideas were bandied around by people like Laing et al but these ideas didn’t touch mainstream psychiatric practice – it is dishonest to pretend that they did.  I am wondering if all this guff about the active involvement of ‘service users’ in MIND is simply a glorified reference to one or two influential people in the organisation who may have had mental health problems themselves at some point. Of course Dr Dafydd Alun Jones told everyone that he suffered from a ‘nervous illness’ himself – it was a good excuse when he was challenged about his appalling conduct.

CHE was usually led by people who were gay themselves, so I was interested to read that Smythe had a ‘lifelong partner’ Jeanne and five daughters. Jeanne died in 2001.

Smythe and Jeanne were involved with Haringey MIND long after Smythe had stepped down from his post as CEO. Tony Smythe was listed as a Director of Haringey MIND between 1998-2000 and Jeanne between 1990-92 and between 1996-97.

I have mentioned previously that Dr Dafydd Alun Jones had a contact in Haringey Social Services – when I finally got out of the North Wales Hospital in Jan 1987, he told me that he had rung Haringey Social Services to ‘let them know’ that I would be living on their patch. This was not any sort of referral for aftercare – this was just the way that Dafydd conducted himself. I have also mentioned that I now have copies of letters between Alun Davies, the manager of the mental health services in Gwynedd and Laurie Wood, the manager of the North Wales Hospital Denbigh, in which they discuss their ‘friend’ at St George’s trying to find out which dept I was working in when I started working there in 1989 – there is also a reference to their friend accessing mail that was sent to me at St George’s in an attempt to discover my home address. There is no clue as to the identity of this friend in my documents, but whilst I was working at St George’s I was visited by a junior doctor called Jimmy Schroff who had come to find me because he’d heard that there was a girl from Bangor working there – Jimmy Schroff seemed to know everyone whom I had made a complaint about in north Wales and furthermore he had done his GP training in the practice of Dr D.G.E. Wood (see post ‘St George’s Hospital Medical School, 1989/1990’). Jimmy Schroff died some years ago – his widow works at the Betsi.

Tony Smythe was also a Director of an organisation on the Embankment called Reach Volunteering in 1990/91. In 1992 and again between 1995-2001 Jeanne was a Director of ‘an inclusive community hub’ called the Markfield Project.

Tony Smythe kept interesting company. He was acquainted with an actress called Adrienne Corri who died in 2016. Corri had a cult following and was noted for being rather excessive, sometimes swearing aggressively at her own audiences. She was friends with Ronnie and Reggie Kray. In the days before they were both banged up when it dawned upon everyone that despite hanging out with Barbara Windsor and Adrianne Corri they were a pair of vicious thugs. Who had also murdered people. Ronnie of course ended up in Broadmoor and there was a lot of huffing and puffing from some Tory MPs when it was revealed in the press that he had superstar status in Broadmoor, was politely called Mr Kray by the prison officers (who according to the likes of Professor Robert Bluglass were ‘nurses’) who generally pandered to him. What the Tories expected from an institution which Edwina Currie had appointed Jimmy Savile to run I do not know. Perhaps they should have taken a bit of notice of the other patients who complained that they were being beaten up and sexually abused by the ‘nurses’. As well as by Savile.

In 1968 whilst Tony Smythe was still leading the NCCL, they sponsored a production of Samuel Beckett’s play ‘Come and Go’ which starred Adrienne Corri. It was advertised as ‘gala entertainment concerning depravity and corruption’. The evening included other entertainment as well and was compered by George Melly. The George Melly who was famously promiscuous but whose wife was very tolerant of his desire for an open marriage. Much has been written about Melly’s bisexuality and his penchant for numerous extra-marital relationships, but his wife was I suspect much more tolerant than most people realised. Many years ago, George Melly came to do a gig at Theatre Gwynedd in Bangor. I know a man who was at the time of Melly’s performance in Bangor 16 yrs old. Melly paid to have sex with him. This was whilst the age of consent for gays was still 21. I have never seen Melly’s name included among the Rolfs or the Saviles or the Gary Glitters, which is extraordinary, particularly as some years before he died Melly gave an interview to a newspaper mentioning how much he enjoyed caressing the thighs of pre-pubescent boys. Yet no-one commented on this at all. Melly retired to Wales of course – to the Brecon Beacons.

Tony Smythe’s years as CEO of MIND covered the period of time which saw Mary Wynch unlawfully arrested and illegally detained in Denbigh for a year by Dafydd. Whilst she was in Denbigh Mary told me that she witnessed the patients in Dafydd’s ‘young people’s ward’ having sex with each other – after being encouraged to do so by Dafydd – whilst the nurses watched the show. Mary approached MIND for advice regarding her unlawful imprisonment. William Bingley admitted to me that MIND received grant funding from Gwynedd Health Authority and that Dafydd wrote to MIND telling them that he would block their dosh from Gwynedd if they advised Mary. Bingley told me that they didn’t succumb to Dafydd’s threats. However I now know that Bingley wasn’t in the least bit truthful regarding his stories of fighting for patients rights. What’s the betting that they slung Mary overboard lest they lost their dosh from Gwynedd Health Authority? Bingley also admitted to me that Dafydd had been a ‘leading light’ in MIND himself in the 1960s.

The General Secretary of MIND immediately prior to Smythe was Mary Appleby. She was CEO from 1951-74. Whilst Dafydd was a leading light in MIND! At the same time that Gwynne was lobotomising people and the paedophile ring was growing and growing, assisted by John Allen’s collection of children’s homes, the Bryn Alyn Community, which was doing a roaring trade in accepting children from across the UK but particularly from the London boroughs and the West Midlands…

Appleby died in 2013 and her obituary in the ‘Guardian’ mentioned that she became involved in MIND because there were mental health issues in her family. The ‘Guardian’ tells us that it was as a result of Mary’s efforts that MIND (then still called the National Association for Mental Health) became hugely influential, employing 200 people and was consulted by the Gov’t, the judiciary, the NHS and social workers’ organisations. In the early 70s a group of Scientologists tried to join MIND. Scientologists, although they are a rather eccentric group of people themselves, famously loathe psychiatry. They attempted to join MIND after alleging that psychiatrists were illegally imprisoning people, torturing people and were ‘carrying out perversions’. Mary fought the Scientologists in the High Court to keep them out of MIND. However, she allowed Dafydd to remain in.

Mary Appleby worked in both the War Office and the Foreign Office. She Chaired the Bench of Magistrates in an inner London juvenile Court for many years. She contributed to Gov’t Inquiries on mental health and social services. She sat on the appeals panel for the BBC and ITV and was a Member of the Immigration Appeals Tribunals. She also sat on the Selection Committee for the Civil Service. A pretty well-connected and influential lady then – even at Whitehall level.

Tony Smythe took over from Mary Appleby in 1974, but Appleby remained a Vice-President of MIND until her death in 2013. She will have not only had substantial influence regarding the appointment of Smythe, but she wielded considerable influence over that organisation for decades. She will have known exactly what sort of people were being appointed, what they were getting up to and indeed what they were concealing, ignoring or colluding with.

 

So what about those who have Chaired MIND? Let’s take a look at some of them….

Between 1969-78 Christopher Mayhew MP was Chair. Mayhew spent many years as a Labour MP but in 1974 he defected to the Liberals. In 1974 the Liberal MP Cyril Smith was busy abusing boys (and had been for some years) but it is now admitted that there was assistance from the security services in ensuring that he was never prosecuted (see post ‘Dr Death’). Mayhew is perhaps most famous however for taking part in a mescaline experiment in 1955 with Dr Humphrey Osmond. The plan was to film Mayhew on a mescaline trip for ‘Panorama’ but the programme was never broadcast. Humphrey Osmond was a psychiatrist who was well-known for his research into hallucinogens and schizophrenia – he was the man who administered mescaline to Aldous Huxley in the 50s which resulted in Aldous Huxley writing ‘The Doors of Perception’. Osmond also experimented with peyote when he went to stay with Native Americans.

So Mayhew was a man up for experimentation. He was given a peerage in 1981.

Between 1978 and 1984, William Bingley’s mother Lady Juliet Bingley was Chair. Juliet Bingley grew up in Harley Street – her father was a surgeon at Barts. She studied social administration at the LSE, during which time she undertook a placement in Liverpool at the Personal Services Society. In 1945 she qualified as a medical almoner (what we would now call a social worker). Her first job was at Barts. Juliet Bingley was married to Admiral Sir Alec Bingley who in 1959 was appointed NATO commander-in-chief of the Royal Navy’s Mediterranean fleet in Malta. The family only spent three years in Malta but Juliet got to work out there. She became involved in the development of health services for elderly people – but she was also good mates with the former Prime Minister of Malta, Dom Mintoff. Mintoff had just resigned as PM, which meant that Malta was under direct rule from London – Juliet became the ‘messenger’ between Mintoff and the London Gov’t and continued to play this role throughout the 70s and 80s during the various crises in Anglo-Maltese relations. Alec Bingley died in 1972 which was when Juliet became involved with MIND. She was initially Chair of the Local Associations Committee before becoming Chair of the whole organisation. In 1973 she also took up a post as medical social worker at St Marks, a hospital for gastro-intestinal disorders in London and was Chair of the Heads of Departments Committee there.

Juliet Bingley was busy with other charity work as well as MIND. In 1979 she founded the National Association for Colitis and Chrohns and she was also a founding Trustee of the Carr-Gomm Society, a charity now working for the homeless.

Well with a mum and dad with backgrounds and connections like that William Bingley was certainly not going to do anything to put Dafydd out of action whilst he and Lucille facilitated a paedophile ring supplying boys to Westminster figures and others in London who were enjoying the protection of the security services at the time. Come to think of it I don’t think that Juliet would have been particularly inclined to put a stop to Dafydd’s activities either – and she was incredibly well-connected among the very Top of the Top Doctors as well as the highest echelons of Gov’t should she need to protect him…

How did the Bingley clan ever manage to convince anyone that they were the Voice of the Service Users?

The person who succeeded Juliet as Chair of MIND was Lord David Ennals – he was Chair between 1984-89. Ennals was a Labour politician. In 1967 he was appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Home Office under Jim Callaghan. The Home Office that was at that time directly managing Bryn Estyn, where a brutal regime overseeing the violent sexual abuse of teenaged boys was becoming established. Ennals became Minister of State for Social Services in 1969. He lost his seat in 1970 and it was then that he became the ‘Mind campaign’ Director for the National Association of Mental Health. This campaign was established to fundraise but also to clarify the policies and aims of the organisation – as a result of the campaign in 1972 the charity changed it’s name to MIND. It was whilst Ennals was Chair that Tony Smythe was appointed Chief Exec – supposedly on the basis of his ‘human rights’ experience. Ennals remained campaign director until 1973 and was re-elected to Parliament in 1974. He lost his seat again in 1983 and was elevated to the Lords – then he popped back to MIND again to become Chair.

Ennals has a few close relatives who are worth mentioning. His younger brother Martin was a human rights activist and Secretary-General of Amnesty International. His son Paul has fingers in numerous pies.

Sir Paul Ennals was Chief Exec of the National Children’s Bureau (NCB) between 1998-2011. That’s the NCB to whom Peter Righton, a social care expert and academic who was a founder member of PIE and a convicted paedophile, acted as a ‘consultant’ (see post ‘The Waterhouse Tribunal – Who Was Involved And What Happened To Them Subsequently?’). Despite such worrying connections, the NCB, being an umbrella organisation, has links with many other organisations, including Barnardos – some of those involved with child abuse in north Wales had worked for Barnardos. The NCB also collaborates with the NSPCC – which works with Esther Rantzen’s Childline (see post ‘Ian Brockington’s Mischief’ for the questionable background of Valerie Howarth, the first Chief Exec of Childline) – and works in partnership with the Department of Health.

Paul Ennals is Chair of Haringey Local Safeguarding Children Board; South Tyneside Local Safeguarding Children Board; Gateshead Local Safeguarding Children Board; Sunderland Local Safeguarding Children Board. I do not know why Ennals has interests in both Haringey and the north east of England but I presume that he does a lot of commuting. If anyone living in the north east hopes to escape Paul Ennals’s safeguarding when they hit 18, they’ll be disappointed – he also Chairs the Safeguarding Adults Board of Gateshead and South Tyneside.

Before Ennals was involved with the NCB he was Director of Employment at the RNIB. He has Chaired or played a leading role on numerous Gov’t taskforces, working groups etc concerned with SEN, disabled or very young children.

Between 1994-2001 David Peryer was Chair of MIND. Peryer had previously been Director of Humberside Social Services. On 23 April 1998 Peryer gave evidence to the Select Committee on Health, along with Liz Sayce (Policy Director of MIND), Peter Wilson and Dinah Morley. Wilson had been Director of Young Minds for six years, was a child psychotherapist and had ‘many’ many years ago’ been a social worker. He had also worked in child and adolescent mental health at another institution familiar to readers of this blog, the Maudsley. In addition Wilson stated that he had worked in ‘child guidance’ in London. Dinah Morley was the ‘professional services manager’ for Young Minds. She had previously been the Assistant Director of an unidentified London borough, responsible for mental health and children’s services. Before that she ran a multi-disciplinary mental health team. She is also a member of a Health Authority.

So these witnesses all had vast experience of working in organisations and fields that had screwed up badly. Indeed Peryer told the Committee that he began working the field of child protection in 1977 in East Sussex, ‘shortly after the Maria Colwell case’. Maria Colwell was the first high profile death of a child in recent decades that was attributed to the fuckwittery of the welfare services.

The Committee were happy to rely on the advice of this bunch nonetheless. Liz Sayce in particular had a lot to say to the Committee. She was keen to tell the Committee of the sort of problems that ‘service users bring to us’ – did they include abusive psychiatrists, mental health staff perjuring themselves in order to secure convictions against them or their illegal detention in secure units? No, the service users complained of being bored in day hospitals. So Liz recommended that day hospitals should be shut and service users encouraged to attend college. I remember the results of Sayce’s recommendations well. The day hospitals were indeed closed down – nothing replaced them, so service users had nowhere to go at all and lost touch with their friends whom they used to meet in the day hospitals. So service users ended up being bored at home, alone. In the two years following the closure of the day hospital at the Hergest Unit, service users could be seen hanging about in the local towns destitute. A number of them died. As for ‘going to college’ – well a very small number of ‘service users’ benefited greatly from this and it turned their lives around. However Sayce’s ‘encouragement’ of such activity was interpreted by mental health teams as ‘coercion’ and certainly in north Wales numerous ‘service users’ were frog marched into college courses – they were told that they would lose social services support if they didn’t ‘take responsibility for getting better’ and enrol. Many of them did not have the academic ability needed for the courses that they had been coerced into joining and even more of them were far too fragile emotionally to cope with a college course. I knew of one course in which at the beginning of term about 15 service users enrolled at the behest of their mental health teams – every one of them withdrew before the course was half-way through and two of them were so distressed that instead of handing in essays to their tutor they handed in suicide notes and accounts of how they had been sexually abused by members of their chapel when they were children. The college ‘counselling service’ was in no way equipped to deal with the difficulties that these students were encountering. Not that the mental health team cared – once the ‘service user’ had enrolled, the mental health team ticked a box marked ‘recovered’ and forgot about them. A lot of ‘service users’ paid a very high price as a result of Liz Sayce’s advice.

No-one noticed – Sayce fucked up peoples lives all over again a few years later once she had been appointed Chief Exec of the Disability Rights Commission and a leading light on the UK Commission for Employment and Skills. It was Sayce that advised the Gov’t – what with her unique insight and being the Voice of the Service User – to close the Remploy factories on the grounds that they were ghettoes. Hundreds of Remploy staff volubly protested that they loved working at Remploy, that their disabilities were such that they couldn’t hold down other jobs – Remploy staff came forward with the most harrowing accounts of their mistreatment in previous workplaces and begged for Remploy to be reprieved. But Nurse Liz knew best and in 2012 told anyone who would listen in no uncertain terms that Service Users must be Included, that Remploy was Old Fashioned and that the Gov’t proposed Access To Work Fund was far more Empowering (it was also much cheaper and merely involved chucking a few hundred quid at a few service users to pay for simple adaptions on things like cars). The Gov’t followed Sayce’s advice and shut the Remploy factories down. Many of the former Remploy staff never worked again and are now on benefits. Furthermore I think that Theresa May et al are now proposing to whittle away at the Access To Work Fund anyway.

The Gov’t is still grappling with the advice that Liz gave them in 1998 – she recommended that health care and social care should NOT be merged. That’s why there is still such extreme inequity in the treatment of those people classed as needing ‘social care’ as compared to those whose needs are categorised as ‘medical’. But somebody was stupid enough to allow Liz to ‘lead’ on creating the Disability Agenda forming the basis of policy for the next two decades….

In Jan 2017 Liz announced her retirement from the Disability Rights Commission – she’d been shortlisted for a post as a Disability Commissioner on the European Human Rights Commission! For fuckwittery, arrogance and sheer irresponsibility, Liz is only matched by Rachel Perkins.

In 2001 David Henry took over as Chair. I can find no info about David Henry at all other than that whilst he was Chair of MIND he was given two free tickets worth £1,500 for the opening ceremony to some grand event in his capacity as ‘leader’ of a UK charity.

The present Chair, Ryan Campbell, has been in post since 2012. He was formerly the CEO of a ‘drug, alcohol and mental health charity in the south east of England’ and is currently the CEO of Demelza Hospice Care in Hindhead, Surrey. Ryan was previously involved with Age Concern and has been an expert advisor to Gov’t on the development of health services; is the author of DoH guidance to commissioning in the Third Sector; has been an advisor and taskforce member to DoH guidance on High Impact Changes in Health and Social Care (2008); and was the UK rep to the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse.

Ryan is also a member of something called the ‘Association of Chairs’, which seems to be no more than a collection of freeloading dipsticks who become Chairs of outfits like MIND. Ryan explains on their website that he joined the Association ‘because I need a network’. Of course you do Ryan. To propel you onwards and upwards in the face of your dismal performance in order that one day you too can bag a seat in the Lords or a place on the EHRC alongside Rachel bloody Perkins.

 

It is because of people like this lot that so many other people are dying and suffering in the UK’s health and welfare system.

 

NB. BBC News Wales and the ‘Daily Post’ online are reporting that there is pressure on Wales to provide ‘fix rooms’ in which drug users can inject heroin. North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones – he who as a young PC chauffeured Gordon Anglesea to the venues at which Anglesea molested boys and who many years later as Police and Crime Commissioner ‘made a mistake’ which resulted in Anglesea’s widow receiving 50% of his police pension although Anglesea died in prison as a convicted child abuser – is fully in support of the idea. Well it’s another great business opportunity for Dafydd and Lucille at CAIS – they can provide shooting galleries in which the CAIS clients can inject the goodies which they have been sold by their ‘peer guides’ and draw down a grant from the Welsh Gov’t to fund it all! I used to know someone who always quipped that CAIS stood for ‘Come And Inject Some’.

Anyone for co-production?

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More Summer Reading!

I’ve been digging around in book shops recently and I managed to pick up a second hand book which might be of interest to readers of this blog.

‘NHS plc’ was published in 2004 and was written by Allyson Pollock. I read quite a lot of Pollock’s work some years ago and what always struck me was that although Pollock undoubtedly knows exactly what goes on in the NHS, she was rather mealy mouthed when it came to admitting the full horror of it all. I always attributed this to Pollock being a policy advisor and therefore maintaining a discreet silence regarding patients’ being maimed and killed – I also was under the impression that Pollock had a background in social policy and such researchers very often do have trouble admitting just how much blood there is on the carpet. But I discovered yesterday that Pollock is actually a Top Doctor – she’s a Consultant in Public Health Medicine and has been since 1986. Since Jan 2017, Pollock has been Director of the Institute of Health and Society at Newcastle University. Prior to that she was Head of the Public Health Policy Unit at UCL and Director of Research and Development at UCL Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Pollock set up and directed the Centre for International Public Health Policy at Edinburgh University (2005-11). Before then she was Professor of Public Health Research and Policy at Barts and London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary, University of London. Her earlier career is not mentioned on her wiki entry – but guess what can be discovered if one reads ‘NHS plc’? That Allyson previously worked at Sin City – St George’s Hospital Medical School! She mentions that she worked there ‘before’ New Labour’s 1997 election victory. As she has been a consultant since 1986, presumably she was a consultant at St George’s. So she was there at some point in the 90s then – when the madness and malpractice that I have detailed on this blog prevailed there (see post ‘St George’s Hospital Medical School, 1989/1990’), under the ‘leadership’ of the dreadful Sir William Asscher…

Allyson Pollock is best known for her work on the gradual privatisation of the NHS with the associated imposition of a ‘business culture’ and the introduction of ‘new public management’ techniques. Her work on this is very, very good. I have never been able to fault her analysis of what this process has resulted in or her historical detail of the steps by which it has taken place. But reading ‘NHS plc’, it is clear why Pollock’s work never details the chaos and tragedy that is happening in the NHS, although she obviously loathes the privatisation agenda and could add considerable weight to her argument if she was prepared to go public on the excesses of the NHS. It is because Pollock is only telling half the story. The bit that Allyson Pollock just won’t mention is the contribution of the Top Doctors themselves to the mess.

Throughout ‘NHS plc’, Pollock paints a picture of a medical establishment that always does and has always done the best for NHS patients and which has been forced off course by the privatisation agenda – an agenda which Pollock suggests that nearly all Top Doctors have fought against for noble reasons. She does name the occasional sinner, the odd Top Doctor who has encouraged and personally benefited from privatisation, such as the odious Dr Chai Patel. Pollock describes Patel as a ‘millionaire doctor’. He is far from the only one Allyson as you well know. Patel of course notoriously ran a huge chain of private ‘care homes’ which were eventually exposed as being riddled with the most dreadful abuse and neglect of patients – it was this that forced him to step down from his role as a Dept of Health advisor on the care of the elderly. Among Patel’s business interests was his acquisition and expansion of the ‘Priory Group’. That is the Priory Group that currently employs two of Allyson’s former colleagues from St George’s and the associated psychiatric unit Springfield Hospital, Dr Robin Jacobson and Dr Adrienne Key! Likewise Allyson names a few of the biggest scandals that there have been in the NHS – scandals so big that she can’t avoid naming them, such as the Bristol Children’s Heart Surgery Scandal or Harold Shipman. There is not a mention of the fact that actually the NHS for a very long time has been dogged by scandals in which patients suffered greatly and were known to be suffering but no-one acted. According to ‘NHS plc’ the problems only began when Thatcher’s administration began privatising the NHS, a process which escalated under New Labour. It is New Labour into whom Allyson really puts the boot – she hates them.

Whilst Allyson highlights the idiocies that that Tories imposed upon the NHS in the name of the ‘internal market’, she makes no mention of why they were able to convince voters at the time that this might be a good idea. It was actually because there was a great deal of dissatisfaction with the NHS. I can remember the debates very well – the allegations made again and again were of Top Doctors who were so fucking arrogant that they would not listen to patients or respond to their needs. It wasn’t simply a case of affluent patients wanting a private room or special treatment, although that was indeed Margaret Thatcher’s personal interpretation. There had been for example massive dissatisfaction among women concerning the way in which many of them had been treated whilst giving birth, which led to practitioners like Michele Odent establishing private practices to which middle class women swarmed. There was the emergence of ME and the Top Doctors’ complete refusal to accept that this might have a physical cause – seriously ill people were dismissed as suffering from ‘Yuppie Flu’. People with an interest in alternative medicine also fumed at the way in which they were mocked and belittled by Top Doctors. I’m of the opinion that much ‘alternative medicine’ is indeed ineffective, but if one is a Top Doctor faced with anxious patients enquiring about such matters, taking the piss out of them to their faces is not the best way to proceed. The London surgeon Michael Baum was interviewed on TV regarding alternative medicine and he explained that patients enquiring about this were usually middle aged women wearing ethnic weave clothes who read the ‘Guardian’. That’s the sort of observation that is best made to one’s friends in private, not made on prime time TV – it caused massive offence and actually did him a lot of damage (which was unfortunate, because some of Baum’s opinions are worth listening to). I remember an episode of ‘Any Questions’ in which the biggest cheer from the audience was given to a Tory MP who when talking about the Tories reforms of the NHS, had robustly said of hospital consultants ‘they’re not God, they’re just guys doing a job’. People had really had a bellyful of the Top Doctors by the mid to late 1980s and that feeling was exactly what the Tories utilised to sell the voters their agenda for the NHS. Allyson mentions that ‘some’ hospital consultants were ‘downright arrogant’, that they were not ‘directly accountable to anyone’ and that team working was ‘often poor’, but she does not get anywhere near to admitting the extend of the greed, the bullying, the autocracy, the abuse of their positions and the overall preservation of their own vested interests that did – and still does – go on.

The attitude of the Top Doctors to patients was exemplified by the ‘reviews’ that the Top Doctors who fancied themselves as thespians used to put on themselves in medical schools at Christmas. Those stage shows were essentially a series of sketches in which the Top Doctors patted themselves on the back and sneered at patients for all being a bit ignorant or neurotic. I attended two such Christmas Reviews whilst I worked at St Georges – they were virtually identical and basically served to consolidate what someone the other day termed the ‘professional superglue’ that causes NHS staff to close ranks in the face of malpractice or patient harm.

Allyson mentions the concession to accept ‘pay beds’ that Bevan made when establishing the NHS. Bevan of course admitted that he was forced into doing this in order to get the Top Doctors to accept the idea of the NHS. (The Top Doctors REALLY objected to the idea of the NHS.) Pollock I note doesn’t quote Bevan’s most famous words – that in order to overcome the Top Doctors’ objections to the NHS he would ‘stuff their mouths with gold’. Allyson tactfully states that Bevan had accepted the existence of pay beds ‘in order to secure consultants’ participation in the new free health care system’. Pollock mentions that in 1975 Barbara Castle abolished pay beds – and my God wasn’t that one of her biggest battles – but her decision was later reversed and ‘by the 1980s pay beds were justified as an income earner for hospitals’. I don’t remember the Top Doctors objecting to their re-introduction Allyson – in fact when you and I were working at St George’s there was plenty of private practice going on. To be fair, some of the Top Doctors doing it were re-investing their earnings into their research programmes and of course there was a limit placed on the amount that medical academics were allowed to earn through private practice. Which was why so many Top Doctors didn’t want academic posts… Some of Allyson’s non-academic colleagues at St George’s were known to be very rich indeed as a result of their private practices.

Again and again Allyson portrays these very wealthy people with interests in private practice who ignored the wrongdoing of their colleagues as selfless barefoot doctors. She maintains that when ‘concerned NHS staff’ critiqued public-private partnerships they were dismissed by Gov’t as ‘self-interested’. However did anyone come to that conclusion? So who were the concerned NHS staff that Allyson was talking about? The cleaners? The canteen staff or the porters? The Angels perhaps? No, it was the BMA and the NHS Consultants’ Association.

There are plenty of clues in Allyson’s book as to what the beef of the Top Doctors really was. It was not that the Top Doctors were taking a principled stand against privatisation. It was a power battle. The Tories wanted to flatten the BMA in the way that they had flattened the NUM because the BMA were causing havoc behind the scenes and that’s what much of the obsession with imposing a business culture and managerialist practices on the NHS was all about. Unfortunately the Tories tried to fight the Top Doctors by giving huge power to an equally toxic group of people – NHS senior managers. The Tories were well aware of the damage that the likes of Dr Dafydd Alun Jones and Gwynne the lobotomist were inflicting upon the NHS and it’s patients, but their solution was to give as much power to the likes of Alun Davies and Martin Jones. It was not a good idea and for years now a full-on battle has raged between these two groups who are substantially made up of shites. Top Doctors who do have integrity are not going to be told what to do by Martin which is why so many of them are now leaving the NHS and good managers aren’t attracted to working in the NHS because most of the other managers there are like Martin. A few years ago I was friends with a newly qualified law graduate who landed himself a job in the management offices of Ysbyty Gwynedd. He memorably described Martin and co as ‘corrupt as fuck and thick as shit’. Of course, when the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board was first established, they had an excellent CEO, Mary Burrows, who was very bright and genuinely committed to improving the dire state of the NHS in north Wales. Mary was effectively hounded out by the Top Doctors and Martin et al. The last thing that a bunch of unscrupulous, abusive Top Doctors lining their own pockets want is a high calibre senior manager. Which is why you don’t tend to find such creatures in the NHS.

Allyson writes of the battle that the BMA had with Ken Clarke regarding GP fundholding and describes how the BMA were ‘defeated’ and ‘would never again challenge the Gov’t on matters of principle’. Allyson is being somewhat economical with the truth here. The BMA continued to fight Gov’ts tooth and nail, but they adopted a new tactic. Instead of presenting themselves as Top Doctors Who Knew Best overtly confronting the Gov’t, they constructed themselves as People Who Cared About The Disadvantaged – which is exactly the way in which Allyson presents herself! ‘NHS plc’ is full of warm words for the BMA – except towards the end of the book, in which Allyson accuses them of selling out, upon the appointment of a particular Chief Exec. Allyson wrote that book in 2004. In 2007 the BMA famously screwed the Gov’t over regarding the negotiation of the GP out of hours contract which was so favourable to the Top Doctors that one of the BMA negotiators described it as ‘a bit of a laugh’. It was this that led to enormous problems concerning GP out of hours provision. But Allyson’s heart must have melted at some point because in 2014 she was appointed as a Member of the BMA’s Council! She is still there.

Pollock’s own attempts to categorise herself as a barefoot doctor are interesting. She mentions going to dinner with a merchant banker before the election of New Labour to discuss PFIs (I wonder why Allyson was doing that?) and describes how the dinner was held in the ‘bank’s private dining room’ with ‘black coated waiters’ who ‘served lunch that lasted almost three hours’. Allyson compares that dining room with the ‘hospital canteen’ at St Georges and how she ‘could not help thinking of the rows of terraced houses in the impoverished community of Tooting from which St George’s mainly female, mainly black ancillary workforce was drawn’.

I remember those rows of terraces in Tooting as well – I lived in one of them. As indeed did many of the female, black workers of St Georges. So what did the Top Doctors of St Georges think about those workers and the other people who lived in those terraces? Well, one Top Doctor described the midwives as being ‘really thick especially the black ones’. Another Top Doctor told one of the researchers about a ‘really scummy family who live in Garrett Lane’ (Garrett Lane was one of the most deprived parts of Tooting.) A medical student was ostracised because he lived in a shared house in Garrett Lane. It wasn’t only living in Garrett Lane that made one persona non-grata – I attended a departmental meal in a restaurant in Wimbledon during which the wife of a senior registrar refused to speak to a junior doctor after she was told that the junior doctor lived in Brixton. Many of the Top Doctors at St Georges lived in Wimbledon or Clapham or further afield in affluent areas. I only knew of one Top Doctor who lived in Tooting who, as a result of having a number of young children from a series of broken relationships, didn’t have the sort of disposable income that his colleagues had and could only afford to buy in Tooting. He resented living there – although his house was a good deal better than everyone else’s – and he complained at length about the lifestyle enjoyed by another Top Doctor from Kings, who was sufficiently loaded that she was having a house built to her own specifications with a matching bathroom for each bedroom. That was Professor Linda Cardosa – I didn’t ever see her house which caused so much envy, but if any readers did do e mail me and tell me all about it. Should anyone ever see Prof Cardosa on a BMA protest supporting a pay claim I suggest that they ignore her.

As for merchant bankers – the brother of one of the researchers in the dept in which I worked at St Georges was a merchant banker. One of his bonuses was bigger than the annual salary of his sister’s boss. This caused much gnashing of teeth, but no-one used it as evidence that merchant bankers should be paid less – they used it as evidence that they should be paid as much as merchant bankers. As for the merchant banker’s sister – she grumbled at length about her own salary although it later emerged that some sort of ‘special arrangement’ had been made for her so she was earning much more than all the other researchers anyway. Not that she needed a higher salary than everyone else – she drove a Mercedes, but ‘only an old one’ which her father had given her and when she had enough of living in the inner city her parents allowed her to live rent free in the cottage on their estate in Surrey which had previously been inhabited by the gardener. I’m only surprised that mum and dad didn’t supply her with a butler as well.

Not all of my former colleagues at St Georges were as spoiled, as fuckwitted, as snobbish and as shallow as this, but one didn’t have to work too hard to find people who were. There were a lot of them cluttering up the place. The source of their discontent was the fact that so many of them did come privileged backgrounds and they had friends and family who were earning even more than Top Doctors did. So many Top Doctors, despite being among the most highly paid people in the UK, managed to convince themselves that they were very hard done by indeed. It is this phenomenon that propels the BMA and it’s campaigns. The notion of ‘public service’ does not enter into the equation.

In ‘NHS plc’ Pollock is also very critical of NHS organisations selling off buildings and land – the ‘NHS estate’ – to raise money. Such sales are often a very bad deal for the NHS and are effectively fleecing the tax-payer, but the example which Pollock provides is yet another reflection of Pollock’s sleight of hand. She refers to the proposed sale of Springfield Hospital and the accompanying proposed deal with a private care company. Springfield Hospital was an appalling place, in a dreadful state of repair with completely inadequate facilities. It was in no way suitable to be housing mental health patients in the late 20th century. The care was dreadful, abuses of patients were rampant (see post ‘Some Very Eminent Psychiatrists From London…’) and eventually there was a public inquiry after a series of murders there. I do not know what the facilities and care standards at the establishment where it was proposed to transfer the patents to were like, but no-one could defend Springfield Hospital. This example reminded me of the articles that ‘New Statesman’ ran back in the 80s concerning the closure of institutions like the North Wales Hospital Denbigh. Those articles accused Thatcher of selling off the ‘homes’ of patients – I really don’t think that the readers of the ‘New Statesman’ would have wanted a home like Denbigh. Of course, the first Health Minister to propose closing the asylums was Enoch Powell – after visiting Denbigh, which appalled him. Pollock compliments Powell for his ‘political inspiration’ behind the 1962 Hospital Building Plan, but she doesn’t mention a word about him wanting to close institutions like Denbigh and Springfield.

Again and again Pollock lays the blame for notorious NHS shortcomings on privatisation. She rightly mocks the deals that were done with celebrities like Lloyd Grossman which resulted in private companies being contracted to provide hospital food that turned out to be awful. But hospital food was known to be awful before privatisation – it was, like British Rail sandwiches, a byword for dreadful food. Whilst I was imprisoned in the North Wales Hospital Denbigh by Dafydd Alun Jones Brown worried about my diet – because he knew how bad the food was in institutions like that. In Denbigh most patients lived on chips – the fare was so grim that chips were usually the most edible thing on the ‘menu’. One patient at Denbigh who was actually receiving regular visitors – unlike most people who had simply been illegally imprisoned and abandoned in there – got her daughter to bring her meals in. Things were no better in Springfield in 1991 where Pollock’s fellow Top Doctors worked. One inpatient was a young South Asian woman who, for religious reasons, was being given meals that differed from everyone else’s (they certainly couldn’t have managed that at Denbigh). So Springfield could therefore tick the ‘catering for a multicultural community’ box – but this young woman was delivered a meal each day which no choice offered or no say in what it was. On one occasion a meal was delivered which for dietary reasons she could not eat (one of the ingredients upset her stomach). She explained this to the vile abusive ward manager – an Australian called Stephanie whose standard method of communication was to shout and swear at patients – and was simply told ‘you’ve got to have it, these meals are costing us a fortune’. The young Asian woman went without dinner that day. This was before there had been any implementation of the idea of privatising NHS catering.

Pollock writes some scathing passages about the dreadful neglect of the elderly in the private sector – again this is endemic and she is quite right to draw attention to what is going on. But this was happening before NHS privatisation was on the agenda. As far back as the 1970s I knew of a notorious nursing home in the Somerset town in which I went to school. It was owned and run by a nurse who had been sacked from Taunton hospital and it employed schoolgirls as ‘nurses’ (my friend worked there – at 15 years of age she was passed off as a ‘nurse’). Every Top Doctor in Bridgwater knew about that home – they’d have never allowed their own relatives to end up there but no-one put a stop to it. When I went to university in Bangor in 1981 I found out about a very similar establishment in Menai Bridge. The man who owned the nursing home was a drunk and the ‘matron’ in charge was a nurse who had been sacked by the C&A Hospital in Bangor – after she was found having sex with a male patient in his bed on the ward. This was common knowledge, as was the neglect to which the residents were subjected – Dr D.G.E. Wood had some patients there and visited regularly. No-one had the place closed down. Furthermore Chai Patel is not to the only Top Doctor who owned care homes with questionable standards. Brig-y-Nant in Bethesda was owned by Top Doctor Dr K. Shah, a mate of Dafydd’s (see post ‘Hippocratic Oath or Hypocritic Oaf?’ for details of my encounter with Shah). Shah’s wife ‘managed’ Brig y Nant and I heard allegations from one former care assistant that not only were ‘difficult’ elderly residents dumped in baths of cold water, but when injuries were sustained, one doctor would always be called to deal with the problem – a Dr K. Shah.

Something else that Allyson attributes to NHS privatisation is the silencing of whistleblowers and the appearance of dodgy publications in the BMJ. I can kill two birds with one stone here. Back in the 1980s I remember reading an article that a particularly courageous doctor had penned for the BMJ. He was a GP from Devon and he wrote an account of how he had been called out to visit a patient in a nursing home and had arrived to find residents tied to their chairs with pairs of nylon tights and what he described as a ‘sloppy’ young woman on duty. He attended to his patient and as he prepared to leave he was stopped by an old lady who asked him if he was a doctor. When he said yes, the old lady pulled her skirt up and showed him severe, extensive scalding over her thighs. The old lady told him that someone had poured a kettle of hot water over her legs. This nursing home was owned by a local Top Doctor. A few days later the GP heard that the old lady who had been scalded had died. He was so worried about standards at this home that he contacted the coroner regarding his concerns. The coroner told him that there were no concerns at all regarding the home. The GP discovered that the coroner was a business partner of the Top Doctor who owned the home. The GP contacted the GMC and was told to take a running jump. So he penned an article for the BMJ to let the world now exactly what was possible on Planet Care Home. Was this caring and diligent GP supported in his efforts to expose this scandal? Not at all. In the next issue of the BMJ there were a number of letters published from other Top Doctors, all pompously declaring that the BMJ was not the place to air allegations about one’s colleagues. But that was not the worst thing that appeared in the BMJ in the 80s. On one occasion they debated Homosexuality. One old bigot wrote in and stated quite categorically that homosexuality does not exist ‘in the animal kingdom’ and that it is most definitely a perversion of Man. I’ve got news for that particular high-flier – homosexuality DOES exist in the animal kingdom as any zoologist will confirm. Such was the shite that the BMJ felt able to publish in days gone by.

As for whistleblowing – Allyson’s off in fairyland regarding this: ‘formerly doctors could and did speak out in the interests of their patients’ and ‘in the past doctors were free to speak out – in fact they were under a moral obligation to do so – if they felt it was in the interests of their patients’. Of course Allyson – that is why, for many, many years pre-NHS privatisation, Dr Dafydd Alun Jones et al were able to break the law, sexually exploit patients, sell drugs to addicts, lie on oath, illegally imprison people in Denbigh, conceal a paedophile ring and threaten and bribe people with many, many people knowing and no-one blew the whistle on any of it. In fact your own colleagues at St Georges and Springfield knew of at least some of what was going on and documented it – but told each other that I was ‘extremely dangerous’ and should be referred to the forensic services ‘for containment’ after I spoke to them about it. Other people who knew what Dafydd and co were up to included Dr James Earp from Leicester (see post ‘An Expert From England’), Professor Robert Bluglass (see post ‘Enter Professor Robert Bluglass CBE…’), The Medical Ombudsman for Wales Professor Robert Owen, Dr Chris Mawson (see post ‘Doctors Who Disappeared From The Medical Register’) and Dr Chris Hunter (see post ‘The Night of the (Dr Chris) Hunter’). Dr Mawson and Dr Earp did not, unlike the others, suggest that I should be banged up without trial in a secure hospital, but not one of them raised the alarm regarding what was going on.

‘NHS plc’ also takes aim at the various inspection regimes that have been introduced in recent years, such as the CHI (Commission for Health Improvement). Pollock describes such inspectorates as ‘ineffectual’ and mentions that the review teams are ‘inevitably less qualified and less experienced than the hospital staff they were inspecting’. Which is true and it is insulting to good hospital staff. But those inspectorates have been a Godsend to Top Doctors who aren’t doing what they should be doing – such as in Mid-Staffs. Or indeed in north Wales. Dangerous troubled services have passed inspections with flying colours. But it has always been thus – the Mental Health Act Commission were actively colluding with Dafydd and Dr Tony Francis (Dr X) in north Wales to conceal their criminal activity before privatisation was underway.

There is a glaring contradiction in Pollock’s writing, in that among her attempts to portray Top Doctors as helpless pawns in the face of power-crazed Gov’ts there are actually plenty of indications that she knows just how powerful swathes of the medical establishment are, including her own colleagues and the institutions in which she herself has spent her career as a senior member of staff. She clearly explains how the London teaching hospitals and medical schools are invested with prestige and status enabling them to attract high calibre staff, which in turn gives them huge influence even over Gov’t policy – just like Allyson and her Public Policy Units based in those medical schools have sometimes enjoyed.

Allyson mentions the idea to close Guys and St Tommy’s that was put forward some years ago – but she admits that the notion pretty soon died a death because of course Tommy’s is the hospital that serves Parliament. No, no-one’s going to shut down the most elite joint in town with plenty of friends in the Palace of Westminster. Allyson also mentions the enormous power and influence that Great Ormond Street Hospital has, due it’s legacy from J.M. Barrie and it’s very successful fundraising arm. She explains that in 2000, Camden and Islington Health Authority along with the Medical Director at UCL Hospitals Trust, planned to integrate all paediatric services across the area, but that GOSH disagreed with this plan, ‘was in a powerful position to put it’s own priorities before patients needs or planning’ and was successful in ‘silencing debate’.

Yet elsewhere in her book, Pollock holds up GOSH and it’s satellite hospital Queen Elizabeth Hospital for Children as being all that is best about the NHS. Queen Elizabeth Hospital was linked to GOSH and a number of consultants at GOSH had shared appointments with Queen Elizabeth. Allyson explains how Queen Elizabeth served the severely disadvantaged area of Hackney where some of the poorest children in the UK lived. She states that Queen Elizabeth was a ‘model of how a hospital in a severely deprived inner city area should be run’, that it was ‘accessible, open and caring with exceptional expertise’ providing a ‘superb service to needy children’. My post ‘Ian Brockington’s Mischief’ mentions that Dr Robin Skynner, who had links with Top Doctors who were concealing child sexual abuse, was the Physician in Charge of the Dept of Psychiatry at Queen Elizabeth between 1965-70.

As for GOSH – that was the hospital that employed the negligent doctor who contributed to the death of Peter Connelly in the ‘Baby P’ case a few years. GOSH has also just been at the centre of the Charlie Gard storm. And I doubt that either of those cases had much to do with privatisation.

Another inconsistency in Pollock’s book concerns Richard Smith, the former editor of the BMJ. He’s mentioned in Pollock’s acknowledgements section as one of the people who have ‘inspired’ her. Yet Smith is named elsewhere in the book as a baddie who jumped ship in 2004 and joined United Healthcare as CEO.

There are clues in the text as to what irks Pollock so much about New Labour as well as the root of some of her inconsistencies. Pollock seems to get to meet some very grand people. Not only did she dine with a merchant banker whilst her heart remained with the St Georges canteen in downtown Tooting, but she had an audience with Geoffrey Robinson in his capacity as Blair’s Paymaster General who afterwards invited her for a drink on the terrace of the House of Commons – although obviously she really wished that she was having a cup of char at a cleaner’s house in Garrett Lane – and she even met Gordon Brown when he was Chancellor. She described them as being on a ‘charm offensive’ and wanted to be ‘seen to be listening’. Pollock also thought very highly of Blair’s first Secretary of State for Health (1997-99) Frank Dobson – ‘a well-liked and competent Minister’. Not many other people shared that opinion – Dobson was widely perceived to be well-meaning but a bit gullible and dim (‘Private Eye’ named him ‘Dobbo’). The NHS continued to go pear-shaped and Dobbo’s scalp was demanded. There was another perceived problem with Dobbo as well – he rolled over for the Top Doctors…

Now although the Top Doctors are a very conservative bunch, they really didn’t like Thatcher and she didn’t like them. Thatcher loathed the professions (as well as academics) and very much saw them as being conspiracies against the layman. So the Top Doctors were most glad to see the back of Thatcher – I remember loud cheering breaking out in St George’s when she resigned. But the Top Doctors are not a bunch of lefties no matter what the Daily Mail says about them. However I suspect that when Blair was elected, Allyson and her fellow Public Policy/Public Health specialists may well have thought that their boat had come in. A Labour Gov’t that wasn’t socialist, with an authoritarian streak, wedded to the notion that Policy Experts should tell the plebs how to live. Which is probably why Allyson broke a leg in her efforts to meet Blair’s Ministers. A similar phenomenon occurred among HE specialists committed to widening participation – Blair maintained that he was going to pursue this policy and educational sociologists all got very excited, but of course he didn’t listen to any of them and a lot of them ended up very miffed. I suspect that Allyson fell into the same trap. Indeed, she makes it clear in her book that she feels that New Labour discredited and intimidated it’s critics, including her. Which they probably did – but then the Top Doctors discredited and intimidated those of us who discovered that their colleagues in north Wales were concealing a paedophile ring. At least Blair didn’t try to frame Allyson for serious crimes or state that she would end up in an institution for the ‘criminally insane’ as dear old Dafydd and Bluglass did with respect to me.

For all her griping though, Allyson knows that the Top Doctors can pack a punch if they are able to successfully construct themselves as the defenders of the NHS in the face of Bastards In Government. She reminds us of the lesson that no politician has ever forgotten – the election of Top Doctor Dr Richard Taylor in Kidderminster, who unseated the Labour MP David Locke. Taylor of course did this by running on a ticket of opposing hospital closures. Pollock mentions another similar event as well – the election of retired Top Doctor Dr Jean Turner in Glasgow in the wake of plans to close Stobhill Hospital. Pollock states that the Gov’ts announcement in 2003 that there would be no closures of smaller local hospitals after the election of Taylor and Turner was ‘a notable acknowledgement of the power of popular mobilisation’.

No Allyson, it was an acknowledgement of how bloody-minded the BMA are – they were fighting ALL hospital closures, including hospitals which were unsafe and harming or killing patients. They didn’t admit that any hospitals were doing this and they didn’t even work behind the scenes to raise standards – they did what they have always done and told the Gov’t ‘touch us and we’ll brain you’. Which indeed they did.

As all good Top Doctors do when they wish to ram home their arguments, Allyson makes references to popular media images of Top Doctors. We are told that the ‘frantic atmosphere in ‘Holby City’ is quite typical of the acute hospital today’. Which is rather like saying that the ‘Carry On’ films with Hattie Jacques giving terrified weedy men bed-baths and Barbara Windsor wearing an Anne Summers style nurse’s uniform whilst her bra flies off were an accurate depiction of life in an NHS hospital in the 60s. There is one big difference between Holby City and ‘an acute hospital today’ – in Holby City the staff never make mistakes and the complex cutting edge surgery is always successful, unless it’s an utterly hopeless case and the patient’s chance of life was unfathomably slim anyway. And from the episodes that I’ve seen, a lot of the surgeons are proud of their upwardly mobile journey from their disadvantaged childhoods – in one episode a female surgeon called Jac even revealed that she’d grown up in care and had been sexually abused. Er, no, as we know from the fate of the kids who grew up in care in north Wales, Jac would not be a heart surgeon, she’d be banged up in Denbigh with everyone calling her a dangerous liar. That is if she hadn’t actually been found dead in suspicious circumstances after having given evidence against the paedophiles that were employed in her children’s home.

Pollock also makes reference to a film called ‘As Good As It Gets’, which she appreciates because it makes some barbed points about US privatised healthcare. It stars Jack Nicholson. As of course did ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest’. Which was a film that one of Pollock’s colleagues at St George’s, the occupational health physician Nicky Mitchell-Heggs, had a real problem with. Mitchell-Heggs had previously been a psychiatrist and maintained that ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest’ set out to deceive because it was modelled on an asylum from the 50s but pretended that such places were still in existence. Which of course they weren’t. Indeed not Nicky – at Denbigh the patients didn’t wear uniforms and there was no piped music. But all the other ingredients were there – a lobotomist, Nurse Rached aka Janice Davies, sane people imprisoned and drugged up because they had dared challenge corrupt Top Doctors and staff terrorising and blackmailing vulnerable people by threatening to release confidential info about them. Except that Denbigh also had a psychopathic psychiatrist sexually abusing the patients who was also concealing the paedophile ring that his mistress facilitated. And those were the two people from whom Mitchell-Heggs and her colleagues were taking evidence regarding my ‘dangerousness’ so she must have known that they were there…. Mitchell-Heggs’s online profile describes her interests as theatre, opera and ski-ing! It’s those self-sacrificing Top Doctors again who fight tooth and nail for the NHS. I also seem to remember reading that both Mitchell-Heggs and her husband now run private practices.

In the initial pages of ‘NHS plc’ Pollock explains that she isn’t able to cover everything in a volume of that length, so there are some areas that she hasn’t commented upon. Such as mental health and learning disability services. Which is just as well considering how bloody shameful these ‘services’ are and were when she wrote that book. She also mentions that she doesn’t cover groups of staff such as cleaners, canteen workers, security officers and porters. In other words those staff who are treated and paid appallingly, whose presence is generally ignored by the Top Doctors and who are actually the very staff who have suffered most as a result of NHS privatisation.

At the beginning of her book, Pollock gives a long list of acknowledgments and names the people who have ‘inspired’ her. They include Dr Richard Taylor, ‘all members of the NHS Consultants Association’, ‘members of the Medical Practitioners Union’, ‘Brian Potter formerly of the Scottish BMA’, ‘Sir Sandy Macara at the BMA’ and Richard Horton of the ‘Lancet’. She mentions ‘many others’ to have come ‘to the aid’ of the Public Policy Unit which she was directing when she wrote ‘NHS plc’. Pollock pays tribute to the ‘special stalwarts of the NHS including Charles Webster, the former official historian of the NHS’. I mention on the front page of this blog that a number of people have written ‘histories’ of psychiatry in north Wales. These histories are at their best highly sanitised and at their worst have about as much historical accuracy as a Barbara Cartland novel. One of those ‘histories’ was written by a Bangor University lecturer called David Hirst and I’m fairly sure that it was his book that was co-authored or assisted in some way by an ‘NHS historian’ called Charles someone. I’m fairly sure that it was Charles Webster. I’ve been googling to try and clarify this but all traces of that book have vanished from the internet. I wonder why – after all it was proudly on display in Bangor University for years, so it definitely exists….However I note that David has co-authored with a number of the Top Doctors from the Hergest Unit! He arrived in Bangor to begin his work in ‘social policy’ in 1973 – Christ almighty, Gwynne and Dafydd were in full swing then, they will have been lobotomising and subjecting people to ‘aversion therapy’ if they dared to be gay til the cows came home. And of course Bryn Estyn was still under the direct management of the Home Office and the systematic sexual abuse of the boys there will have been well-embedded by then. Fancy publishing anything about that lot then David?

Pollock makes several mentions in her book of a man who has acquired superhero status in the eyes of any Top Doctor who wants to pledge their commitment to the NHS – Julian Tudor Hart. Tudor Hart is very elderly now, but he is one of the few Top Doctors still practising who was practising before the establishment of the NHS. He has written about just how grim things were in those days – Tudor Hart worked in south Wales among people experiencing very great poverty and hardship. I am interested in Tudor Hart, because although I do completely accept his account of how dreadful it was to fall ill or have an accident before the establishment of the NHS, he does seem somewhat blind to some of what goes on in the NHS. He is an intelligent man and a keen scholar, so like Allyson Pollock he will know. And being a man of his age from Wales, he will know what Gwynne the lobotomist and Dafydd got up to as well. Tudor Hart has been very rude about Ivan Illich and sees Illich as someone who simply plays to an audience of privileged middle class rebels, which is pretty much what the psychiatric establishment used to say about Thomas Szasz. There is truth in that argument – one had to be affluent to afford sessions with Thomas Szasz – but it ignores why the work of people like Illich and Szasz caught the imagination of so many. It was because of what folk like Gwynne the lobotomist and Dafydd were actually doing to them – people didn’t find it very helpful. There is also another factor about Tudor Hart that I cannot forget. He worked in the same practice as Dr Brian Gibbons, the former Health Minister for Wales. Who when I told him that I had evidence of the Top Doctors and managers in the Hergest Unit participating in criminal activities wrote me a letter saying ‘this correspondence is closed’. At the time the Hergest Unit had the second highest suicide rate for women in England and Wales.

I can only conclude that Allyson Pollock is one of the most articulate, useful PR mouthpieces that the Top Doctors possess and that she, along with the rest of the Top Doctors, are not very happy that Gov’ts are no longer commissioning their ‘research’ and seeking their ‘opinion’ on which to base policy.

As Corporal Jones of ‘Dad’s Army’ fame might have said – ‘It’s the Top Doctors. They don’t like it up ’em’.

 

There is one Top Doctor in particular who certainly doesn’t like it up ‘im – David Healy. I’ve been interested to note that since I reviewed his appearance on ‘Panorama’ the other day and observed that the voices of patients were noticeably absent from that programme and that whilst the Top Doctors scrap amongst themselves global capitalism continues to screw up healthcare, Healy has retweeted a couple of things. One was from a patient claiming to have ‘lived experience’ – the use of that phrase alone suggests that he falls into the category of a ‘professional service user’ (my neighbours don’t talk about ‘lived experience’ when they discuss their the local health services). Another retweet was from someone whom I have corresponded with, Finola Moss. Finola is a blogger who is doing some brilliant work exposing just how much money the Top Doctors who are involved with private psychiatric provision are now making. One company very much in Finola’s sight is Cygnet Healthcare and it was info relating to the billions that Cygnet is now raking in that Healy retweeted. The Medical Director of Cygnet is Robert Kehoe. Kehoe was the ‘expert witness’ who lied in a report about me, Brown, my PhD supervisor and even my lawyer after we had all made representation regarding the criminal activities and negligence of the Hergest Unit. David Healy was one of those named on the documents submitted to Kehoe in evidence. I later discovered that Kehoe’s business partner had a personal connection to Healy’s colleague at the Hergest, Dr Tony Roberts.

News Round Up, August 1, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Last Man Standing

I have plagiarized the title of this post from Jack Straw’s autobiography which I am about to start reading. Because I haven’t read his book yet I don’t know why a privileged former Cabinet Minister has framed himself as the last man standing, but the subject of this blog post really is worthy of that title, as his chances of reaching mid-life yet alone pensionable age were so much lower than Straw’s. I decided to write this post to illustrate the ways in which mental health patients’ experiences are grossly caricatured by mental health staff, how abuses and horrors are intentionally air-brushed out of medical histories and how if anyone really wanted to uncover the institutional wrongdoing that was prevalent in north Wales during the latter decades of the twentieth century they could, quite easily.

The man starring in this post is F, a man who has spent most of his adult life living among the hippy community in Bethesda. F acquired diagnoses of, variously, ‘paranoid schizophrenia’, ‘drug induced psychosis’ and ‘chronic psychotic illness, resistant to medication’. F did suffer from a psychotic illness and at stages during his life had been in a very bad way indeed, but the way in which he had arrived at that state does not appear in any of his medical records. F is – unbelievably for those of us who know something of his adventures – still alive, although I understand is no longer under the ‘care’ of the mental health services, after a lifetime of their ‘help’. He told them to piss off some three years ago as he had decided that they play no useful role.

As did many of the Bethesda hippies, F came from a middle class background in England but actively made the decision to ‘drop out’ sometime in the seventies. He moved to Bethesda in either the late 70s or early 80s when his first wife took up a place at Bangor to do teacher training. By the time that F had moved to Bethesda he had already acquired a degree in Fine Art – at one point he was described as the most talented artist in north Wales, but unlike his contemporaries Ed Povey and Peter Prendergast, F was seriously hampered by illness. He could still do the artistic bit and churned out excellent work but tended to say and do bizarre and unacceptable things at exhibitions or when trying to negotiate sales, which unsurprisingly resulted in him not ever selling very much.

By the time that they arrived in Bethesda, F and his wife were enthusiastic dope blowers as well as keen consumers of magic mushrooms. They were completely uninterested in narcotics, had pretty much given up amphetamines but occasionally took hallucinogens. Although F’s wife qualified as a teacher she didn’t like teaching and she established a gardening and house renovating business. F spent most of his time painting although he did spend a few summers working as a gardener at Penrhyn Castle – he inherited money as a young man which enabled him to lead quite a leisurely lifestyle. Previous posts have discussed the police corruption that was rampant in north Wales. This has received UK-wide media coverage because of the part that it played in the North Wales Child Abuse Scandal, but students and hippies invariably experienced it in the form of the completely bent drug squad that operated in north Wales, in particular two notorious plain clothes drug squad officers who used to frequent the Bangor area and stitch up anyone whom had crossed their path. The effect of the actions of these two was to constantly harass and prosecute people for possessing small amounts of cannabis whilst allowing a thriving trade in hard drugs to develop in the area, to a large degree facilitated by Dafydd Alun Jones’s ‘peer support workers’ at CAIS who were frequently dealing to their ‘clients’.

F came to the attention of the corrupt drug squad because he was basically a hippy who was newly arrived in the area. In the early 80s they raided his house. During the raid, they planted cocaine in his wife’s handbag and seized the small amount of cannabis that was in the house. The drug squad then ordered F’s wife to make a statement against him, framing him for possessing much greater quantities of drugs than he actually had, in return for a plea bargain concerning the cocaine that they had planted on her. F and his wife had a volatile relationship and led a fairly chaotic existence – although they were both bright and well-educated – and thus F’s wife allowed herself to be threatened by the drug squad in this way. So F was arrested and taken off to the police station. He was not given access to a solicitor whilst he was there. At the police station – I think it was Bangor – he was ordered to strip naked. After he did so, a senior officer – F described him as an ‘inspector’ – walked into the room and in F’s words ‘ogled me’ and commented on his genitals. F responded by saying ‘Christ can’t I even undress in peace’ and ‘why do you want to look at another naked man’. The Inspector punched him in the face. F responded by saying ‘that took a real man with the whole police force behind you’ and stated to the constable who had witnessed this assault that he would complain about this. The Inspector walked out and F didn’t see him again. F  was charged with possession of drugs – far more than he had actually been in possession of – and after a long while, with no medical attention following the punch in the face, was released. He went back to Bethesda, distressed after what had happened at the police station.

He was alone at home, his wife had gone back to England to visit family, not knowing what had happened at the station. That night, F descended into a full blown psychosis. He had not consumed any drugs since leaving the station – his interpretation is that the arrest, framing and assault at the station had been so traumatising that it all precipitated the psychotic episode. (F had experienced his first psychotic episode in England a couple of years previously.) F’s account of that night is that he hallucinated giant spiders crawling out of the walls, a demon sitting in the corner of the room and then heard God’s voice telling him to ‘raze this house’. F set fire to the house – it was a terrace and fortunately the neighbours saw smoke and called the fire brigade. By this time F had left the house believing that it was possessed. He spent the night outside, seriously ill and he was only picked up when the police arrested him for arson and endangering life.

He was taken to the magistrates court – I think in Bangor – and was detained in the notorious Risley Remand Centre for ‘psychiatric assessment’. F’s account is that after two weeks or so in Risley, the psychotic episode had passed – not that he received any ‘medication’ whilst he was there. He graphically described to me how every night he heard the screams of the other prisoners as they were beaten up by the prison officers, how prison officers taunted all the prisoners with threats of ‘we’ll make sure you come back here and it will be even worse when you do’ and how when he asked an officer if he would change the light bulb in his cell because it kept flickering on and off and was stopping him from sleeping, the officer removed the light bulb leaving him in darkness saying ‘you’ll sleep alright now won’t you’. He was left in darkness for several days. But something else happened to F whilst he was in Risley. A detective from London came to visit him and tried to interview him. This detective got frustrated with F and gave up, threw him back in his cell saying ‘There’s no point talking to you, you’re mad’. F told me this story many times but he never managed to work out what it was that the detective from London wanted to know. F remembers the detective constantly saying ‘I want to talk to you about your brother’. F  had a brother who lived in Surrey whom he did not get on with and had little contact with. F’s brother ran the family business, he was not involved with drugs or hippydom and he was very condemning of F’s lifestyle. So it is unlikely that the detective would have been hoping to grill F about any potential criminal activities involving his brother.

I had always presumed that the detective would have been after info about the drugs trade in north Wales. But researching the details of the North Wales Child Abuse Ring and it’s network into Westminster has thrown up another possibility that F himself never mentioned. F had been violently assaulted after challenging an Inspector who had walked into his cell after F had been framed and ordered to take off his clothes. F was a young man when this happened, he was attractive as a young man and he was also very slightly built. We now know that police officers such as Gordon Anglesea – who was, guess what, an Inspector – were sexually abusing boys and young men after they had been arrested, detained and criminalised for trivial offences. Those young men described being violently assaulted if they resisted – and many of them ended up in Risley Remand Centre or in the mental health system. F had announced his intention to complain about the officer who hit him. The assault had been witnessed by a constable. F was not an illiterate teenager who had grown up in care, he was from a middle class affluent family and his wife’s father was a society dentist with mates in Harley Street. F’s wife’s brother was a journalist. I’m wondering if there might have been some very worried police officers after F ended up going psychotic – F had of course made the headlines of the local papers after setting fire to the house. I suspect that this might have been why F received a visit from a detective from London when he was in Risley. F’s father was dead and his mother had returned to South Africa to live (she grew up there and only moved to England after she married) – so F’s brother was his only blood relative. F’s next of kin was of course his wife – who had been framed by the police herself and forced to make a statement against him. I really don’t think that the North Wales Police would have wanted to answer any difficult questions about what had happened to F in the police station.

So what happened to F after this detective visited him in Risley? Whilst he was there, F’s psychotic episode quietened down. By this time he did have a solicitor, who visited him in Risley and told him that although everyone accepted that he was no longer psychotic, he was going to be transferred to the North Wales Hospital Denbigh ‘to keep the courts happy’. F was told that he would only be expected to stay at Denbigh for three weeks or so. The charges of ‘endangering life’ were dropped – interestingly enough, after F’s solicitor mentioned that he had been assaulted by an unidentified police officer. F was charged and convicted of arson. He was then transferred to the North Wales Hospital – to the care of one Dr Dafydd Alun Jones!

So F arrived at Denbigh, no longer psychotic. Once there he was told again that he would just be there for a month or so as a formality. He had an interview with Dafydd and like all interviews with Dafydd it was bizarre. F described Dafydd as ‘a bit of a twat’, but F is quite open and friendly even to twats, so cheerfully engaged in a conversation with Dafydd about his cannabis smoking habits. F’s account of his interview with Dafydd is worth hearing – he does a good impersonation of Dafydd and explains how he mentioned to Dafydd that he was walking in the mountains and ate some grass. To which Dafydd responded ‘do you mean mar-i-jew-a-na?’. F replied ‘no, grass’. Dafydd asked ‘why were you eating grass?’ F explained ‘because I was thirsty’. At which point Dafydd began furiously scribbling away. F later caught sight of his notes – Dafydd had described him as ‘a man with pleasant manners and casual attire’ who of course was suffering from ‘cannabis psychosis’. No mention of F and his wife being framed by the drug squad, no mention of F being punched in the face by a senior police officer who had inexplicably appeared as F was naked, no mention of conditions at Risley Remand Centre, no mention of the detective from London visiting F at Risley, no mention of F no longer being psychotic and only being admitted to Denbigh ‘to keep the courts happy’. No mention of any of it – but a diagnosis of cannabis psychosis!

So did F only stay at Denbigh for a month to keep the courts happy? No, of course not. F was in Denbigh for a year. When F was first admitted to Denbigh, F commented to the nurses on their quasi-military uniforms. He playfully flicked the epaulettes on the shirt of one nurse and asked him if he was a sergeant major. He was dragged off down a corridor and sedated. After about four weeks in Denbigh F was offered amphetamines by another patient. Yes, Dafydd’s proud establishment, his much boasted about ‘therapeutic community’ where people who’d grown up in care and hippies had to remain for months and months to keep them away from the perils of cannabis, was host to a healthy trade in drugs much more problematic than cannabis. At the time that F was offered the amphetamines, he was severely depressed so he accepted the offer. Whatever he was given was incredibly strong – and it precipitated another psychotic episode. So F was deemed to be suffering from such a serious form of cannabis psychosis that he was detained by Dafydd for a year.

Imprisoning F for a year lest anyone began to investigate those corrupt police officers wasn’t enough for Dafydd though. F only narrowly escaped ending up in Holyrood House, the appalling ‘care home’ in Llandudno run by Margaret Richards that was choc full of Dafydd’s patients. Holyrood House was the centre of a media expose in the 1980s and even got a mention on ‘That’s Life’. Patients were being beaten up by a heavy who was employed as a ‘security guard’ there and a former drug addict from Liverpool was responsible for the drugs cabinet. When Dafydd finally decided that the coast was clear and that it was safe to let F out, he told F that he would make a better recovery in lovely Llandudno. F told me that he ‘wanted to get back to dogs, Bethesda and mess, not live in bloody Llandudno’. Dafydd then refused to let F out ‘because you do not have an offer of accommodation’. Apart from Holyrood House that was. After a few weeks of Dafydd trying to force F into Holyrood House or be forever incarcerated in Denbigh, F sneaked out of the grounds, rang a hippy friend in Bethesda, explained what was happening and the hippy friend agreed to write to Dafydd offering F accommodation. And that is the only way that F actually got out of Denbigh.

F had many other adventures in Denbigh. I’m not going to detail them all here, I’m going to let those we know and love guess how much F told me. They’ll all know who F is and because F is chatty a lot of them actually know what happened to him before he set fire to his house because he used to talk about it quite openly. But those bastards don’t know what else he told me….

Whilst F was in Denbigh, he did try and engage the help of the charity ‘Release’, which had a reputation for being able to get people out of prison or police custody if they had been arrested on drugs charges. A man from ‘Release’ did go all the way up to Denbigh from England, but he was unable to get F out. I wonder what he thought was happening – he had travelled to the wilds of Wales and found a sane but eccentric man being held prisoner in a hell-hole…

I knew F well for the best part of ten years and I knew how he and his problems were conceptualised by the Hergest Unit throughout the 1990s. It was all a matter of drug induced psychosis – or occasionally there would be speculation that he was someone who would have been vulnerable to psychosis anyway, but his consumption of drugs triggered it. I heard him tell Hergest staff what had happened before the fire. I was even in his company when he met the policeman who had witnessed the Inspector punch him in the face and he reminded that policeman of what had happened that day – the policeman still worked locally. The policeman looked sheepish and had a sudden lapse of memory. More recently that particular policeman was stationed at Ysbyty Gwynedd.

North Wales is heaving with people who knew that these sorts of things were happening. They are all colluding in a sort of en masse delusion as many of them now move into their comfortable retirements on public service pensions. Every time the North Wales Child Abuse ring is mentioned – ooh, no, I never knew anything about that. Every time police corruption is mentioned – ooh but we never knew. As for Denbigh – ooh it wasn’t good, but no, we didn’t know patients were being abused….

F’s adventures at Risley and at the hands of Dafydd are some thirty years ago now. But F was stung more recently all over again by those we know and love. My post ‘It’s All About Protecting Children’ details how F was denied access to his own baby because he dared report a child molester who was being protected by Jo Bott, the monstrous ‘safeguarding officer’. Bott had previously been a police officer. That post also describes the untimely death of yet someone else who had witnessed wrongdoing on the part of Gwynedd Social Service’s child protection team – this young man was killed just at the time that no-one could deny any longer that child abuse on an enormous scale had taken place in north Wales and talk of police cover-ups and possible public inquiries were in the media.

I mentioned at the beginning of this post how F has suffered from a psychotic illness throughout his life. This is true – he is bright and sociable, but he certainly had difficulties throughout the whole time that I knew him. But the thing that I noticed more and more during the 90s were that a lot of F’s difficulties were being caused by the mental health services. Not just in the obvious ways – they stood by whilst he was fleeced financially by an unscrupulous family after he finally split up from his first wife and they stood by whilst lies were perpetuated about him which led to him losing access to his own child – but the ‘medication regime’ that he was on had to be witnessed to be believed. This was someone who when he was young did take drugs – but he gave up illegal drugs after the house fire and the year in Denbigh. Instead he moved onto prescribed drugs – which were given to him in huge quantities by the mental health services. Obviously they didn’t have to work too hard to persuade him to take them, he was delighted to have some drugs to take – but they did bugger all to try to stop him. As far as I knew there were only two people – two of the rather better GPs that worked in the area – who warned him frankly about the dangers of excessive drugs and told him that they would in no way collude with him if he abused prescription drugs. The psychiatrists at the Hergest Unit – namely Dr Tony Francis (Dr X) and Dr Bob Tresman – loaded him up with more and more drugs as the years went by. The drugs were never reviewed, although they were very obviously affecting F’s functioning – he used to sleep for about 18 hours a day because he was so heavily sedated – and whenever he expressed any anxiety or stress (which he did very regularly) the prescription pad would be wielded and another anti-psychotic or benzodiazepine would be added. But no drug was EVER removed as another one was added. Suggestions from other people that he might be massively over-medicated would be brushed aside with ‘but he’s got a psychotic illness’. Yet bizarrely his Hergest notes described him as ‘chronically psychotic, resistant to medication’. If his illness was resistant to medication why did they continue to dispense so much of it and continue adding to it?

As F hit his 40s, his teeth very obviously began to disintegrate. He maintained that there was nothing wrong with his teeth because he wasn’t experiencing toothache. In the end, he was persuaded by his friends to visit a dentist. By the time that he made that visit his teeth were so far gone that the dentist maintained that the only option was to remove the remains that were there. F was staggered and asked the dentist why he hadn’t been getting toothache. The dentist explained that he was on such high levels of benzodiazepines and anti-psychotics that his pain receptors weren’t responding. Even the dentist was shocked as to the drugs that were being prescribed. There was one person in F’s life who took prescription drugs along with him though – that was a social worker who lived in the village who had been a friend of his from his hippy days. She used to pop around for a coffee and down a few benzodiazepines with him, just as the rest of his friends were desperately trying to impress upon him that the shite being foisted upon him by the wielders of prescription pads in the Hergest was not really doing him any good. That social worker now works as a social work trainer for Conwy!

F is no longer living in Bethesda and I haven’t seen him for years, but one of my friends is in contact with him. He is now in his 60s and I am told that his psychotic symptoms have decreased drastically, that he still paints and that his moods are much more stable. A few years ago for a while, for the first time in his life, he was allocated a CPN whom I was told was head and shoulders above the others. This CPN actually managed to get a review of F’s medication to reduce the amount being prescribed. His psychotic symptoms gradually started to recede….

So that’s the story of F, who is indeed the last man standing from Denbigh. As far as I know, I and two other women are the last women standing. Like nearly all the former kids in care who witnessed the North Wales Paedophile Ring in action, everyone else from Denbigh (and pretty much the early days of the Hergest Unit as well) is dead. But before they died, they will have told scores of people what had happened to them. Which was almost certainly why no-one worked too hard to ensure that they stayed alive.

F spent more than thirty years being used by the mental health services in north Wales as a cautionary tale of the perils of Too Much Cannabis. He was actually the consequence of a corrupt drug squad, a perverted and violent police inspector, a corrupt magistrates court and Dr Dafydd Alun Jones and the associated thoroughly rotten mental health and children’s services. Compared to the damage that lot did to F, the cannabis was neither here nor there.

Although the main trashing of F seems to have been precipitated by the fear of what would happen if anyone started investigating the circumstances in which he was arrested and what subsequently went on in the police station, a lot of people had a vested interest years later in ensuring that no-one would believe anything that F said and not just because of his knowledge of the misconduct on the part of the children’s services in Gwynedd. F had a sense of humour and although he was always dismissed by Hergest staff as being completely mad, he chatted to people, listened to their stories, remembered those stories and often knew some of the ‘professionals’ whose misconduct he was hearing about. He had heard nearly as many first hand accounts of Dr Dafydd Alun Jones’s inappropriate conduct with female patients and staff as I had heard; he noticed that everyone appointed as a ‘service user representative’ in Gwynedd and Anglesey was a total fuckwit who were simply doing what they were told by the managers of the mental health services and he confronted Alun Davies, the manager of the Hergest Unit, about the naked corruption that was occurring between the managers and clinical director of Ysbyty Gwynedd, Dr Terry Maxwell; he personally knew people who had been threatened with violence by staff of the Arfon Community Mental Health Team; he knew scores of dispossessed people in the area whose lives had been ruined by those we know and love, including people who had been sexually molested by people paid to care for them; he knew about the corruption in MIND and had confronted the staff in the Bangor branch about it and was then banned from the ‘drop in centre’ by the Voice Of The Patients Helen Milne (who after ignoring the criminal abuse of patients at MIND was given the Rape Crisis Centre to play with would you believe) and sometimes, as a result of entertaining himself, F would uncover serious wrongdoing. One such occasion involved F’s efforts to secure a telephone for the Hergest whistleblower.

The Hergest whistleblower led a team of three or four and was the most valuable, helpful member of staff at the Hergest Unit. He was of course also the only person who kept blowing the whistle on the malpractice up there. F noticed that the Hergest whistleblower was treated very disrespectfully by Alun Davies and that although he was a team leader and had a bigger client load than anyone else, the Hergest whistleblower was the only member of staff who didn’t have a phone in his office. So F announced that he would get him a phone. He didn’t tell the whistleblower that he was going to do this, but he did tell me. F then rang BT and told them that he was John Mullen – who was either Chair or Chief Exec of the Trust at the time – and that he wanted to order an extra phone for an office in the Hergest Unit. And BT actually said ‘will this be on the special arrangement Mr Mullen?’ F was not asked to prove who he was, he was not asked anything about an invoice or an account, he was just asked if it was to be on the special arrangement. So F said ‘yes please’ and gave BT the number of the office in the Hergest Unit in which the whistleblower worked. There were literally no questions asked at all, BT cheerily stated that they would be installing the phone asap. F then rang the receptionist of the Hergest Unit, claiming to be BT and told her that a telephone would soon be arriving for the Hergest whistleblower’s office and when BT arrived please could she show them to the correct office. She was happy to oblige. I didn’t think that this plan would ever work, but it was really incredible because about a week later, there was a newly installed phone in the whistleblower’s office. F asked him about it and the whistleblower said ‘it’s all rather odd, I didn’t ask for a phone, Alun Davies told me that I wouldn’t be getting one, but it just arrived’.

So as Brown pointed out, there was obviously an irregular corrupt arrangement between that Trust and BT. Where had the bill for the installation of the phone been sent? Where was the bill for the use of the phone being sent? What on earth was the ‘special arrangement’? How the bloody hell could a patient make one phone call to BT’s marketing dept, claiming to be John Mullen and order a phone? Brown speculated that people in that Trust were installing home phones for themselves and charging them to the NHS and suggested that F could probably have ordered a car for the Hergest whistleblower as well and had that on a special arrangement.

Would John Mullen and Alun Davies care to enlighten us all regarding the ‘special arrangement’? This was happening during the John Major NHS efficiency years, circa 1995. About the time of the Jillings Report and all those assurances from the Welsh Office that there was nothing at all untoward happening in the public services in north Wales. Ooh and about the time that Dafydd was allowed to retire without all the very serious complaints about him being followed up and with the contract for providing ‘substance abuse services’ in his greedy clutches (see post ‘The Evolution Of a Drugs Baron?’).

F’s problems with the North Wales Police were a regular occurrence as well. At one point for a short while, he moved to Holyhead. His house was burgled and he called the police. An officer arrived who then threatened F. F told the officer that he would complain to a senior officer about this – so the police were forewarned. F arrived at the police station shortly afterwards and explained to the desk sergeant that he wished to make a complaint. The desk sergeant tried to obstruct him, so F asked to see the Inspector. The desk sergeant disappeared into the depths and F heard him swearing away at the Inspector waxing lyrical about what a pain F was. F heard the Inspector ask ‘but is he intelligent?’. The sergeant replied ‘yes’. F was entertained to find that the Inspector then appeared wearing a pair of half moons, presumably with the intention of impressing upon F that he was a scholarly intellectual man, rather than a corrupt old bastard whose officers threatened burglary victims. F’s complaint went uninvestigated. The half moons became a joke, because of course Dafydd and many of the other clapped out old fools with whom we all had to deal sported half moons. I have been told that in criminology, this sort of thing is known as a ‘signifier’ – conmen use such techniques, for example brass plaques outside the buildings of people masquerading as professionals when they are not. But in north Wales it was half moons.

Readers might think that although mental health professionals and others in north Wales were told hair-raising stories by F, this was a man who did suffer from a psychotic illness and perhaps those professionals genuinely didn’t believe the stories that F recounted. After all, Dafydd et al were writing down that F had ‘cannabis psychosis’, they certainly weren’t recording what had actually happened to him at their hands or anyone else’s, although he was telling everyone very clearly. It would be understandable to conclude that in the face of wrongdoing this dreadful, it could be difficult to believe a patient with serious mental health problems. But as I keep mentioning, there are some old lags in north Wales who’ve cluttered up the place for decades and they witnessed much of this, although every time there’s an investigation it’s a case of ‘I Know Nuzzing’. That is why I’ve started naming people on this blog.

Now there is one social worker in north Wales who has spent the last twenty years working in community work/probation work/alcohol and substance abuse services/social work training who most definitely knows the names of many of the sinners and knows about the sins that they committed – and many, many years ago he knew F. Step forward Wulf Livingstone, Senior Lecturer in Social Work at Glyndwr University.

Wulf Livingstone certainly knows me from my time working in the School of Social Sciences at Bangor University, but I doubt that he remembers the first time that he met me. It was in about 1993 and I was in a café in Bangor with F. Livingstone breezed through and F cheerily greeted him, only to be patronised by Wulf and spoken to like a loony. That was because Wulf was moving away from being a ‘service user’ himself into one who provides the services. After Wulf had gone, F explained that he knew Wulf from his drug taking days and that Wulf had ‘worked as a cook for that bastard Tindall and sued him’. Tindall was a notorious Bangor ‘businessman’ who owned and ran a number of absolutely dreadful ‘care homes’ for mental health patients – they were bad even by north Wales standards and were eventually forcibly shut down, amid rumours of Tindall being investigated by the police and being forced to surrender his passport. One of Tindall’s ‘homes’ seemed to almost solely house patients of Dr Dafydd Alun Jones. The sorts of things that went on in Tindall’s ‘homes’ were gross – elderly patients thrown back onto beds if they fell out at night, homes for EMI patients had no incontinence pads or gloves available, all health and safety considerations were ignored, chipped and cracked crockery was standard practice, furniture was purchased from junk shops, patients were fed inadequate quantities of the cheapest food available, staff were employed who had been dismissed from everywhere else, it was truly dire. Because there was a shortage of jobs in north Wales, a lot of people took jobs with Tindall’s establishments and left again within a couple of weeks – there were numerous allegations of Tindall not paying people. Wulf’s name was being bandied around Bangor as someone who had been swindled by Tindall and who had challenged him in court. That was how I first heard of and met Wulf.

Years later, when I started in the School of Social Sciences, I was gobsmacked to find Wulf working there – he was introduced to me as a social work lecturer ‘with an interest in mental health’. He didn’t seem too overjoyed to see me – I very much doubt that he ever remembered meeting me that day in the café with F, so I wondered if he was part of the contingent that had begun squirming with embarrassment because I’d turned up at the University with decades of knowledge of how patients were actually being treated in the ‘services’ that these folk were associated with. By then, Brown and I had also started appearing in the laypress making very critical noises about the mental health services in north Wales. A couple of days later I saw Wulf again at lunchtime, so I thought that I’d try to be sociable and I went over to say hello. I told him that he probably wouldn’t remember me but years ago I remembered him making a name for himself by taking on Tindall in court. I told him that it was good to know that someone had challenged Tindall. But Wulf’s reaction was quite interesting – he very obviously didn’t want to talk about that and he just said ‘yeh, right, yeh, nasty man’. So I made a few comments about the vile abuse of patients that had been going on and that I was very glad to see Tindall put out of business. I then mentioned that another chain of care homes equally as abusive as Tindall’s had started up, Prestwood Homes and I wondered if Prestwood was actually anything to do with Tindall. Wulf then announced ‘yeh, yeh, I know all about Prestwwod too. Still, we don’t want to go back to Denbigh do we’ and got up and walked off. Which apart from being bizarre and rude was unfathomable, because the likes of Tindall and Prestwood were abusing patients being released from psychiatric hospitals in exactly the same way that Holyrood House abused patients released from Denbigh.

Over the next few months I began to suspect that I knew why Wulf might have a problem with me. I discovered that since that day in the café, he had actually worked for many of the utterly shite organisations jammed full of abusive or corrupt people – but unlike Brown and me he wasn’t going public about any of it. And he knew that I knew what was going on and that I had intentions of publishing. Furthermore Wulf liked to portray himself as a radical service users champion – so I don’t think he really would have wanted anyone to know what he was keeping quiet about. Wulf had of course worked for CAIS – Dafydd’s set up. Unlike the stooges employed by Hergest as ‘service user representatives’, Wulf is not gullible and naïve, he is a very competent social scientist and he knows abuse and malpractice when he sees it. And from what I know of his CV, he has seen much of it. He was involved with CAIS for years and he also worked for the probation service in north Wales – the probation service that employed some of the people who had been accused of child abuse, the probation service that was warehousing the scores of people who had been fitted up in the way that so many people like F and indeed myself were.

Wulf definitely knows all about another man as well, who like so many of us experienced the worst of the ‘services’. This man was a friend of F years ago and experienced alcohol and drug problems himself for many years. He tried AA and walked out because he found an associate of Dafydd Alun Jones there – a man who masqueraded as a Minister and used to appear wearing his dog collar on TV and calling himself ‘Rev’ along with Dafydd, discussing how people could be weaned off drugs and drink. This friend of F’s brought a lot of grief upon himself by exposing this fake Minister. This man has also done much to challenge another bunch of quacks in north Wales claiming to offer ‘services’ to people with substance abuse and alcohol problems, a group based on Anglesey called AGRO. I do not know one person who has benefitted from AGRO, everybody has described it as a con. There is no confidentiality at all, another friend who was ‘referred’ to AGRO by the Arfon Community Mental Health Team received e mails openly cc’d to dozens of other ‘service users’ with their names and e mail addresses visible to all. On one occasion this friend received an e mail from AGRO asking him to send money urgently because the organiser of AGRO had been robbed whilst on holiday in the Philippines and needed money to get back home – whether this was the organiser of AGRO trying a rather transparent scam or whether his e mail had been hacked I do not know, but AGRO is very obviously not an organisation which is going to assist people with drink or drug problems. AGRO is of course in receipt of funding from numerous sources. How do I know that Wulf knows all about F’s friend’s experiences with AA, Dafydd, the fake Minister and AGRO? Because a couple of years ago I bumped into him and he told me that he was having another go at detoxing – and that his mentor was a man called Wulf Livingstone.

So Wulf has been a ‘service user’ himself, he knows other ‘service users’ very well and he knows exactly how bad and abusive the ‘services’ are – the services that he now works for! Just before I left north Wales I was given the name of a CAIS worker who it was alleged was a major drug dealer in Gwynedd. I was told that she and Wulf were in discussion regarding plans to set up a business together offering probation ‘services’ – the probation service is undergoing a sort of privatisation process and from what I understand many probation officers are now forming businesses in order to contract out their services to the probation service. I also notice that the online blurb available about Wulf describes him as providing ‘social work supervision’ for several teams and that he is also involved with the British Association for Social Work Cymru. It also states that Wulf is part of the ‘growing north Wales recovery movement’. There is no ‘recovery movement’ in north Wales, it is another illusion like ‘service user involvement’, organised by the same abusive colluding people who have spent years colluding with all the other malpractice. Wulf will of course know all about the appalling practices of the likes of the Arfon Community Mental Health Team. He has a particular interest in alcohol and substance abuse – so he will know that the Hergest Unit refuses to assist anyone at all with alcohol or substance abuse problems and that there has been a number of deaths of such patients hours after they have been turned away from the Hergest Unit.

So what’s keeping you so quiet about the rampant wrongdoing, misconduct and abuse of vulnerable people in north Wales then Wulf?

Local Accessories

There was a lot of publicity yesterday regarding the future of the Welsh language and the Welsh Gov’ts desire to vastly increase the number of people who speak Welsh over the next few decades. There’s been a problem with previous efforts to do this by teaching children through the medium of Welsh at school, because some kids then came to associate speaking Welsh with the sort of boring, stuffy chores one has to do whilst at school, so of course they made a point of speaking English when they were not at school. There is much interesting research on the best ways of keeping Welsh alive, but the Welsh Gov’ts plans in this area are hampered by the incompetence and unpopularity of the Welsh Language Commissioner, one Meri Huws, who really is not a good advert for anything that she has ever endorsed. So of course, who turned up on the ‘Today’ programme yesterday morning? Meri! She made no more sense than she usually does. My post ‘Let Me Enlighten Lord Gnome…’ described how Meri has been appointed to a series of jobs that she was not qualified for and just could not do and explained why she has zero credibility with language campaigners and scholars. Her Marjorie Wallace-like conduct in terms of being ‘close to’ a number of well-connected men politically which seems to have been the one consistent factor in her appointments to various positions is openly – and crudely – discussed in Wales and there was much entertainment some years ago when it became known that Meri was allegedly referred to as ‘the crack of doom’ in the Welsh Assembly. A PhD student with knowledge of the way in which Meri conducts business observed at the time ‘that name actually took some intelligence to think up’.

At about the same time I was told by someone else who had been chatting to a civil servant working at Westminster that Wales was making an idiot of itself by giving public positions and funds to, in the words of the civil servant, ‘a really weird woman who doesn’t know what she’s doing’ – it was Meri to whom he was referring. I was told years ago that Meri was holding a lot of people over a barrel because of the ‘unspoken blackmail’ that she was alleged to be directing towards her former bedfellows. That is the most common interpretation of Meri’s influence in political circles in Wales – ie that she’s shagged loads of them, they’re now embarrassed by her and they know that she won’t keep quiet if she doesn’t get what she wants. But long ago, before she got anywhere near the dizzy heights of a job as Welsh Language Commissioner, Meri worked in a rather more mundane capacity, yet one in which if she used her brains (not sure that there are many of those in Meri’s skull though) would provide her with a lot more potential where silent blackmail is concerned. Meri was a social worker in Caernarfon.

I don’t know many details of Meri’s career in social work, but I think that she was categorised as a ‘community social worker’ and from what I know of Meri’s age and subsequent career, I presume that it will have been in the late 70s or 80s. Meri was a social worker in Caernarfon, for Gwynedd County Council, at the time when the paedophile gang that operated within the social services was going strong. Even if Meri didn’t have the lowdown on the paedophile gang, she will definitely have known that something was very wrong in Gwynedd Social Services and that the ‘service’ was full of serious misconduct and the abuse of clients, because everyone who had anything to do with Gwynedd Social Services knew that, it wasn’t even hidden. I do suspect though that dear old Meri may have been party to a great deal of info. I’ve been able to find out loads – mainly of course because I was under attack by Gwynedd Social Services, I remember very clearly what they did and I now have the documents that demonstrate that what was going on without my knowledge was even worse, but also because I knew other people under attack as well and watched what happened to them. But Meri is very much more sociable than me. Meri is a party animal and has spent decades getting pissed with the very people that were covering up for that paedophile ring. Furthermore Meri, professing to be a champion of the Welsh language, has moved among the very people who were, on a local level, up to their eyeballs in colluding with the wrongdoing. Previous posts have explained how a number of people have flown the flag for nation and language as a distraction for some of their rather less reputable activities. Meri has spent decades at the heart of that lot. Meri, I am going to carry on naming people on this blog, at all levels and across the UK, so perhaps you’d like to make your way down to the police now and tell them of the many sordid activities that you found out about and who was involved.

The paedophile ring operated throughout Gwynedd and Clwyd Social Services and was assisted and concealed by all other health and welfare agencies. So pretty much everyone who worked in social work in north Wales during the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s would have known something. I am not for one minute suggesting that they were all paedophiles themselves, but what they all knew was that their senior managers were appalling and that the staff were very frightened of them. Exactly as in the mental health services – even the staff who were doing their best knew damn well that complaints were never investigated, that patient care was unbelievably poor and often led to unnecessary deaths and that there were scores of people even at very senior levels who very obviously should not have been in their posts. Virtually everyone employed in those services has valuable information about the very serious criminal activity that was happening.

So I’ll mention here the names of a few other people – who are probably known to Meri actually – who definitely would have information of value to the police.

One of those people has for many years worked at Bangor University as a lecturer in social work – Malcolm John. Malcolm John has caused very serious grief to a number of his former colleagues and no-one could ever understand why. Two people in particular were very nearly made ill by his conduct and both left the social work teaching team after they could bear no more of him. To onlookers it was inexplicable – both of these people were collegiate, bright, pleasant, committed to students and had solid academic reputations. But Malcolm John very obviously didn’t want colleagues like that. I heard allegations from a number of people that Malcolm John was failing to fulfil his work commitments and fiddling his expenses. He lives in Dolgellau which is so far from Bangor that people openly commented that he clearly didn’t even expect to commute into work every day – people were speculating that he might actually have another job somewhere else. But even that didn’t explain the way in which Malcolm seemed determined to drive high calibre colleagues out of their positions. His manipulative bullying – which was so bad that one former colleague described him as ‘evil’ – had been honed to a fine art.

Some five years ago when I was following up some local history concerning the Methodist Church in north Wales, I responded to an advert inviting interested people to drop into a building at Bontnewydd near Caernarfon, which was well-known locally as having been a former orphanage established and run by Methodists in 1907. The building was being sold, so it was an end of the era invitation for people to look around. I was interested because some time before this I’d met a man who’d been in that orphanage in the 1950s and 60s and had described a very idyllic existence there. This man knew about the abuse in the children’s homes run by the social services and unfavourably compared those homes to the one that he had grown up in. But he mentioned something else. That in recent years, that home had been given by the Methodist Trust to Gwynedd County Council to run and once that happened there were ‘problems’. He didn’t expand on the nature of the problems. So I went into the former orphanage, Cartref Bontnewydd, to look around. One lady there was ever so welcoming and chatty and I explained that I was a sociologist from Bangor University researching for future publications. She started giving me a guided tour, explaining the history of the home and whilst I was looking around a few older people came in and started chatting to me, telling me that they had lived in the home as children. There was another person there as well – a woman who had been working at the home recently, who was getting frostier and frostier towards me as the tour continued. We went into yet another room and there on the walls were a series of framed photos of people involved in running the home  – and Malcolm John was in every one of them. The friendly lady cheerily said ‘oh that’s Malcolm John, he’s worked with us for years, he’s our senior advisor and organises foster placements for us’. I realised that I had discovered Malcolm’s other job.

At this point the woman who was currently employed at the home interrupted us and asked me to leave, on the grounds that former residents might become ’emotional’ whilst looking around and it would be ‘inappropriate’ for me to be there. I presumed that I was in the company of a social worker, almost certainly one who was on good terms with Malcolm John.

The Waterhouse Report has a chapter on Cartref Bontnewydd. It explains that it was run by the Methodist Trust as a children’s home until 1983. It shut then as a result of the belief that children were better off in foster placements than in children’s homes, so Cartref Bontnewydd then became a Family Placement Centre, again run by the Methodist Trust. But they did this as an agency in partnership with Gwynedd County Council, providing fostering services. This continued until Gwynedd County Council was abolished in March 1996. However in 1988, much of the building was re-opened as a children’s home, managed and controlled by Gwynedd County Council which occupied it under licence from the Methodist Trust. It was still operating as a children’s home at the time that Waterhouse wrote his report and remained so for a few more years.

I have mentioned before that Waterhouse admitted that children in Gwynedd and Clwyd were seriously abused in foster placements. I have also mentioned that in 1983 I shared a house with someone whose mum fostered children for Gwynedd and who remarked on the degree of callousness of the social workers involved and their complete uninterest in the children’s welfare. My friend’s mum always noted that she could have done anything to those kids and no-one would have intervened. Some of the revelations about the foster placements where some of children were sent to north Wales were horrific. Children were sent to the homes of people with past records of sexual abuse and physical violence, they were used as unpaid labour and there was one case in which a teenaged boy was not only made to do the work of an adult farm worker but was hung up by ropes from the barn roof and flogged. So Malcolm John was the man who arranged the foster placements for Gwynedd Social Services.

Did Malcolm do any better in his capacity as ‘senior advisor’ to the children’s home when it was managed by Gwynedd County Council? Let’s refer to Waterhouse – who did of course bend over backwards to play down the degree of abuse that had happened. Ronnie Waterhouse observes that during the years that the children’s home was run by the Methodist Trust there were no complaints. But then Gwynedd took over – and ooh dear, things went downhill…

The staff of Cartref Bontnewydd mentioned in Ronnie’s whitewash were David Bayley Hughes, Mari Thomas, Anna Ashton and Peter Gadd. They had all previously worked for Gwynedd Social Services.

David Bayley Hughes was the family placement officer at Cartref Bontnewydd from Feb 1986. Hughes crops up elsewhere in the Waterhouse Report. He had worked at Ty’r Felin in Bangor, the children’s home that was run by the notorious Nefyn and June Dodd who were repeatedly accused of brutality and the sexual abuse of children by witnesses at the Waterhouse Inquiry. In 1977 a ‘highly disturbed girl’ who had been at Ty’r Felin and was then transferred to Silverbrook Treatment Centre in Pontypridd, Mid Glamorgan, ‘alleged’ that she’d had sexual intercourse with Hughes two or three times whilst she was at Ty’r Felin and had become pregnant as a result. She had made ‘similar allegations’ against a different person at an earlier date. Her claims were investigated by the Deputy Director of Gwynedd Social Services, D. Alun Parry, who was ‘completely satisfied’ that the relationship between Hughes and the girl was ‘completely innocent’ and that the allegations were ‘completely unfounded’. Mid-Glamorgan was informed and no further action was deemed necessary. Ronnie states that he had seen the ‘background documentation’ and was not going to criticise the decision.

I have detailed previously how a number of people who alleged abuse and misconduct on the part of health and social care staff in north Wales were described as ‘highly disturbed’ – including me. I do now of course have documentation demonstrating that my allegations were true, which is something that some of the other ‘highly disturbed’ people haven’t got, because they ended up in prison or dead. ‘Highly disturbed’ simply translates as ‘making very serious allegations that we have just got to squash’. As for the man who investigated the allegations – Waterhouse himself documents elsewhere that D. Alun Parry was identified by his own colleagues as incompetent and unable to carry out his job – he was eventually removed from his position. Ronnie mentions that he had seen the ‘background documentation’, but he gives no indication of what that documentation said or who compiled it. There is such an enormous elephant in the room here that I’m surprised that even Ronnie didn’t try and deal with it somehow. A pregnancy involves a foetus. If Hughes had made the ‘highly disturbed’ girl pregnant, she would either have had an abortion or a miscarriage or a baby. It wouldn’t be difficult to demonstrate that none of these outcomes had occurred – and that would clear Hughes’s name. But a non-pregnancy is not mentioned. Neither is a result of a pregnancy. Instead she was transferred to Pontypridd and they were informed of the result of the ‘investigation’. Was she pregnant or not on arrival at Pontypridd? Did they deal with the arrival or non-arrival of the baby? Or was that problem dealt with in north Wales perhaps – in the way that a few other embarrassing pregnancies that were the result of people abusing their positions were dealt with (see posts ‘Another Case of Not Knowing’ and ‘The BMA And It’s Ethics’). After all Dr Dafydd Alun Jones was the psychiatrist responsible for assessing women who requested terminations on mental health grounds… I note that this young woman was so disturbed that she had made similar allegations previously. Well as she was living in a region where the children’s homes had been infiltrated by a paedophile gang and were rife with abuse, that comes as no surprise.

Would someone like to trace that girl – if indeed she is still alive – and find out whether she did become pregnant and if so what happened subsequently?

The home at which the girl allegedly become pregnant was the home where practices were such that social worker Alison Taylor blew the whistle on the abuse. It was at this point that poison was thrown at Alison and attempts were made to discredit her in every way possible. In one damning letter dated 1 Feb 1978 – drafted by D. Alun Parry but signed by the Director of Gwynedd Social Services, T.E. Jones – about her alleged shortcomings, one sentence reads ‘I do not wish to comment at all on the work that you have done with the children as this gives the appearance of being satisfactory’. So Alison was not the one abusing the kids or facing allegations from ‘highly disturbed’ young people, but she was the one who ended up being sacked.

After the highly disturbed girl was transported to south Wales, David Bayley Hughes completed his CQSW at Cartrefle College (which later became NEWI and then Glyndwr University). I’d be interested to know what was going on at Cartrefle College because the Waterhouse Report names umpteen child abusers who obtained social care or social work qualifications from there. After this, Hughes was employed at an establishment near Bangor called Ty Newydd. Ty Newydd was also the centre of abuse allegations. Someone I know used to help out at Ty Newydd because his wife had a job there. They both ended up leaving after alleging that the young people were being mistreated and forced to work illegally – my friend and his wife told the boys to refuse to do this work but the boys expressed fear of violence from social workers if they did this.

David Hughes’s name comes up in another place in the Waterhouse Report as well. Among a catalogue of sexual abuse allegations by former residents of Ty’r Felin – Ronnie concludes that although a number of former residents alleged sexual abuse, they all named different members of staff and no-one else but that notoriously highly disturbed girl named David Hughes. Ronnie therefore concludes that there was no ‘pattern’ and no evidence that there was a problem of sexual abuse at Ty’r Felin. There were only twelve allegation of sexual abuse after all. One complainant that Ronnie was made aware of was the mother of a child but Ronnie ignored her as well because the sexual abuse alleged had not been documented by staff at Ty’r Felin. Well fancy that.

Mari Thomas was also transferred from Ty’r Felin to work at Cartref Bontnewydd. Mari did a solid bit of career building at Cartref Bontnewydd and stayed there a number of years, ending up as manager of the place by the time that Ronnie wrote his Report. There were four complainants who alleged that Mari was physically abusive. Former residents accused her of slapping them round the face, of forcing them to strip and then removing their clothes and of deliberately knocking one 14 year old girl against a windowsill causing her to bang her head, after having grabbed her by the hair. This girl subsequently told the police that she didn’t want an investigation into any aspect of her ‘care’ at Cartref Bontnewydd. Probably because she was still living there at the mercy of Mari Thomas. A number of residents alleged that Thomas’s violence had followed after they had been returned to the home by the police after running away.

Ronnie was very cross with one witness at the Tribunal who alleged that she had been abused at Cartref Bontnewydd. She was ‘a very unsatisfactory witness. She was anxious to give live evidence…very nervous about doing so but her recollection of events was confused and at times demonstrably false…her allegation in relation to her period at Cartrefle Bontnewydd was directed against a member of staff called Mark, whom no-one has been able to identify and she had not been interviewed by the police in the course of the major investigation between 1991 and 1993’.

So this very unsatisfactory witness was keen to give evidence – as were a lot of people, because everyone was led to believe that Waterhouse would get to the bottom of what had happened in north Wales and wanted to hear from people who had suffered. She was very nervous – I bet she was, the paedophiles had scores of lawyers cross-examining their victims in an aggressive manner at that Inquiry and all this was happening in public. Ronnie’s assertion that some of this witness’s evidence was ‘demonstrably false’ was based on the fact that records produced by Gwynedd County Council didn’t reflect her account of which homes she was in and when. Well records of mine from the North Wales Hospital were not an accurate record of when I was actually there – those records state that I left the hospital in February of 1987 when I didn’t. But unlike this poor young woman I have plenty of other evidence to prove that the records compiled by the North Wales Hospital were fallacious. Dafydd Alun Jones was responsible for that institution and his mistress Lucille Hughes was responsible for Gwynedd Social Services. It won’t have been the former resident’s evidence that will have been demonstrably untrue, it will have been the evidence from Gwynedd. As for no-one remembering ‘Mark’, when I tried to trace a clinical psychologist from the North Wales Hospital called Nigel whom had spent hours with me I was told repeatedly that no such person worked there and there was no trace of any clinical psychologist visiting me. I now have possession of a document compiled by an administrator at that hospital called Kay Hemsley stating that I was trying to contact Nigel Stennet-Cox and could someone please ‘persuade’ him not to speak to me. It is also significant that the young woman making allegations against Mark wasn’t interviewed in the police investigation. So someone was working very hard to ensure that she wasn’t heard.

These people were harbouring a paedophile gang, they were making up the documentation as they went along, altering it if necessary and frequently disposing of it altogether. Just as the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board still are. I received yet another letter from the CEO Gary Doherty a couple of days ago telling me that there are no more medical records of mine to be found. Not only has Gary lost more than 20 years worth of them, but I actually have copies of the ones that he says don’t exist – my lawyer sent them to me.

As for Mari Thomas who denied ever slapping, pushing, stripping children or knocking anyone’s head against a windowsill, her name is mentioned in another part of the Waterhouse Report as well, in the chapter concerning Ty’r Felin, where of course she worked prior to Cartref Bontnewydd. Guess what – a number of former residents describe her slapping them across the face, dragging them out of bed by the hair or shoving them, particularly after they had been brought back by the police after running away! One person remembered that Mari Thomas used to approach him in the day room and for no reason put her hands over his nose and mouth to stop him breathing. One witness described Mari as Nefyn Dodd’s ‘henchwoman’. Nefyn Dodd was the manager of Ty’r Felin, as well as line manager of two other children’s homes and was repeatedly accused of punching, kicking, caning, head-butting and thrashing children, of making virtually all the residents lick his boots and some of them lick his bare feet and of sexually abusing at least five children. He forced children to eat carbolic soap which left their mouths ulcered and blistered and then failed to access medical care for them. But Ronnie just can’t believe what those former residents say about Dodd. He notes that one man had experienced a mental breakdown which must have affected his memory. Another witness was ‘mistaken’ because he claimed to have been assaulted by Dodd yet his description of the person who attacked him didn’t match that of Dodd. I suggest then that he was assaulted by someone else who claimed to be Dodd, in the way in which I was assaulted by a CPN called Bob Ingham, who told me that he was Arfon Community Mental Health Team ‘leader’ Keith Fearns. I didn’t know what Fearns looked like – he had of course perjured himself in an affidavit by then, when he gave evidence about my extreme dangerousness, but I’d never met him and I didn’t know what he looked like. This lot didn’t hand over their passports for the purposes of identification when they assaulted and molested people and furthermore they lied about everything at all times, including who they were. The same went on at the Hergest Unit – violent care assistants called themselves ‘nurses’, refused to reveal their surnames and refused to wear their ID badges. When new uniforms were introduced that differed in colour according to their roles, they refused to wear the uniforms.

One former member of staff told Waterhouse that Dodd was ‘a martinet who ruled with a rod of iron’, another former staff member said that staff and children were petrified of him and someone I know who worked at Ty’r Felin described Dodd as a ‘total fascist’. Mari claimed that he was firm but fair, but autocratic and that when she first worked at Cartref Bontnewydd she was ‘a bit strict’ after having worked for Dodd. Her attempts at suffocating children was just her ‘being playful’. Ronnie suggested that a lot of people saw Dodd as a gentle giant.

Someone else who worked with Mari and was schooled in the ways of Nefyn Dodd was also transferred from Ty’r Felin to Cartref Bontnewydd and that was Anna Ashton. A Peter Gadd also worked with Mari at Cartref Bontnewydd but he left to join the probation service!

So a bunch of thugs who learnt at the knee of Nefyn Dodd – who had previously worked at Bryn Estyn where even Waterhouse admitted that boys were beaten and buggered by a paedophile ring, the Bryn Estyn where a number of staff went to prison – were redeployed to Cartref Bontnewydd and behaved in exactly the same way as they had at Ty’r Felin.

Not that Ronnie found much amiss. He found no evidence at all that Mari Thomas or anyone else had ever been responsible for any physical or sexual abuse at Cartref Bontnewydd, although ‘it may well be’  ‘on one or two occasions’ ‘in the early days’ that Mari Thomas did ‘use very limited force’. In fact Ronnie was really impressed with Mari and took further evidence from her in her capacity as Manager of Cartref Bontnewydd. He detailed all the improvements that she claimed to have made at Bontnewydd – including a whistleblowing system enabling members of staff to report untoward incidents to her! So she could then slap a few people around the face and drag them about by the hair. Or order them to strip and take their clothes away. By the time that Waterhouse was lapping up Mari’s lies, Mari had gone a step further than the other ‘care workers’. It wasn’t Cartrefle College for Mari, no, she’d acquired a Diploma in Social Work from Bangor University! That will have been the course that Malcolm John taught on then… He probably encouraged her to enrol, in his capacity as ‘senior advisor’ for Cartref Bontnewydd.

Waterhouse noted that he thought that Mari’s evidence was particularly important because she had worked in child care in Gwynedd for the old Gwynedd County Council and the newly formed Gwynedd Council after the local government reorganisation. In other words, the sadistic Mari had survived the cull after all the scandal, the police investigation and indeed the establishment of Ronnie’s Inquiry. Cartref Bontnewydd has closed down now – what’s the betting that Mari is at present a senior manager somewhere in Gwynedd Social Services or elsewhere in north Wales. Or indeed with the Third Sector.

As for Ronnie’s certainty that Nefyn Dodd, Mari’s mentor, was a gentle giant and that no sexual abuse went on at Ty’r Felin, this morning I received an e mail from a man who had been a resident there in Mari’s day. He described Ty’r Felin as ‘hell’ and when he was fifteen he was regularly visited by a much older man who it turned out was using a false name. This man had a sexual relationship with him and when the man who wrote to me left ‘care’ he set up home with the Ty’r Felin visitor. The older man became very physically abusive and the younger man is now in the care of the mental health services. His abuser used to carry out voluntary work at Ysbyty Gwnedd.

A number of my former colleagues at Bangor University used to observe that Malcolm John ought to be sacked. I think that he ought to be arrested and questioned under caution. Along with Mari.

There is another former social work tutor latterly of Bangor University who perhaps ought to be asked a few questions and that is a man called John Borland. I didn’t know Borland, but I do know something rather worrying about him. Social work degrees have panels of ‘service users’ who give lectures to students about their ‘lived experience’ and who sit on admissions panels. It’s a manifestation of ‘service user involvement’ and like most ‘service user involvement’ it’s a tokenistic joke. Social work courses are so troubled and students see so much bad practice and abuse on placement and are simply failed or removed from the course as ‘unsuitable’ if they blow the whistle, that no-one is going to let an activist near a social work course. So the service users always have the official stamp of approval and are usually very tame. But Borland had the production of tame service users down to a fine art. Borland established a company of ‘service user consultants’ and when Borland was still working at Bangor it was only from Borland’s approved list that the service users could be selected. I presume that Borland also charged the University a fee for this service. When a new member of staff took over the management of the social work degree this practice was ended, but I presume that it had been going on for years. No doubt John Borland is still doing ‘consultancy work’ somewhere, which will involve giving a truly dire ‘service’ the stamp of approval. So why wouldn’t Borland let service users other than those who worked for him near the social work students then???

Two other people associated with Bangor University and north Wales social work who might like to make statements are Sian and Richard Barker. Both have worked as social workers and social work tutors, both have been around for years and Richard Barker is yet another social worker who set himself up as a ‘consultant’. So he’ll provide the ‘independent opinion’ to get his former colleagues in the statutory sector out of trouble. I am told that the Barkers also have close personal connections to the bunch of crooks that run Anglesey County Council. The social services on Anglesey are famously a catastrophe…

 

Now for another two people who need to make their way to their nearest police station, but this pair’s knowledge of wrongdoing has been acquired as a result of their careers in the NHS – Dr Ruth Hussey and her brother Dr Peter Higson. Ruth is the former Chief Medical Officer for Wales and after screwing up in that role for years is now Chairing a panel of nine ‘experts’ in order to thrash out some ideas as to how to make health and social care in Wales ‘sustainable’. Vaughan Gething the Health Minister has asked her to do this. The one organisation in NHS Wales that is so obviously not sustainable is the one Chaired by Ruth’s brother Higson, ie. the Betsi Cadwalar University Health Board. Higson’s track record is as bad as Ruth’s – he managed the North Wales Hospital Denbigh and then the wider mental health services in north Wales throughout those long and glorious years when the region’s mental health professionals concealed and colluded with a paedophile ring. After Waterhouse carried on the cover-up, Higson was then appointed Chief Exec of Health Inspectorate Wales. Once in that position he failed to investigate complaints against his former colleagues, no matter how serious. The biggest single improvement to the NHS in Wales that Vaughan Gething could make would be to sack Higson and remove his equally appalling sister from all positions of influence. They have inflicted quite enough damage on the nation.

 

 

 

‘A Pretty Classy Piece Of Operation’

Yesterday somebody drew my attention to a few You Tube clips from that period of time that so many people found so difficult – the months in 2012 following the Jimmy Savile revelations. I watched a clip of Esther Rantzen with great interest as she wriggled around maintaining that she had heard ‘rumours’ but one can’t act on rumours (people used to say that to me when I challenged them over Dr Dafydd Alun Jones’s conduct). At one point Esther got really ratty and angrily told the interviewer that Childline had acted on every single complaint that children had made – well that’s interesting Esther because I was told that some of the kids who were abused in north Wales rang Childline and no, they were not helped. But then when Esther was campaigning for improved mental health care I wrote to her about Dafydd Alun Jones and the North Wales Hospital Denbigh – I did not receive a reply (see post ‘News Round Up, April 30 2017’). I noticed that the Daily Post’s website ran an article last week featuring Esther on a visit to north Wales publicising Childline… Now I don’t really expect anything other than vacuous insincere hypocrisy from an idiot like Esther, whom I was told by a friend who used to work at the BBC was loathed and known as a ferocious sharp-elbowed bully anyway – but there was a far more interesting You Tube clip than Esther pretending that she never had an inkling regarding Savile’s activities. That was a clip of Edwina Currie being interviewed on RTE 1 on 3 November 2012, in which she too denied all knowledge of Jimmy Savile’s penchant for molesting vulnerable people. Edwina of course was the junior Health Minister who, in 1988 when Ken Clarke was Secretary of State for Health, had appointed Savile to lead the ‘task force’ that was charged with managing Broadmoor and sorting out it’s very serious problems (see post ‘Socio-Political Context Of The North Wales Mental Health Services In The 1980s’). After Savile’s exposure as a sexual predator who shagged anything that moved, Edwina reassured the world that the reason why she made that very inappropriate appointment was that the POA (Prison Officers Association) to which all the ‘nurses’ at Broadmoor belonged were swindling enormous sums of money out of the NHS and dear old Jimmy had told her that he would reign the POA in by blackmailing them. Savile’s plan was to frighten the POA into submission by threatening to use his media contacts to run a story about them in the ‘Sun’. Edwina is on record as saying that she considered this to be ‘a pretty classy piece of operation’. But Savile was by no means the only one indulging in a bit of classy blackmail.

As Edwina was repeatedly confronted by the RTE interviewer with the reality of Savile’s abuse of Broadmoor patients, she continued to maintain that she had no idea that he was capable of such debauchery and that the only reason that she could think of for the staff at Broadmoor not grassing him up was that Jimmy, being as we all know an evil manipulative genius who fooled the world, had ‘information which gave him a hold over staff’. I’m sure that he did – not only were the staff at Broadmoor stealing from the NHS but they were behaving every bit as badly as Savile. There was rampant sexual abuse of patients, a porn racket and serious violence and brutality. Now the Tories knew that patients were being horribly abused in Broadmoor and they knew that many of the patients were not ‘criminals’ but were actually patients whom Top Doctors in other hospitals had transferred to Broadmoor after refusing to care for them themselves – just like Professor Robert Bluglass predicted that I would be if I didn’t stop complaining about Dafydd et al! – but they weren’t raising concerns about that. They were concerned about the POA embezzling the dosh and controlling the institution. So why couldn’t the Gov’t reign in the POA at Broadmoor, or indeed at Ashworth, which had very similar problems at the same time? Could it have been that the POA were playing the same game as Savile and were holding people over a barrel with ‘information’? What information might those staff have had?

Well, they would have known that a lot of the patients in Broadmoor were alleging that they had been sexually abused, beaten up and generally violated in other psychiatric hospitals. The Broadmoor staff would also have known that many of the patients were making exactly the same allegations about their experiences when they had been children who had been in care. Some of them in north Wales. Now some of the former residents of children’s homes in north Wales have maintained that some of the people who abused them were ‘VIPs’, at least two of which were alleged to have been Tory politicians. One of those politicians was Sir Peter Morrison, MP for Chester. He was known to have visited children’s homes in north Wales for inexplicable reasons and two former Conservative MPs are on the record as saying that they knew that Morrison was having sex with under-age boys. Those MPs are Rod Richards and Edwina Currie. Currie described Peter Morrison as a ‘noted pederast’ in her 2002 book of parliamentary life.

Currie appointed Savile as leader of the Broadmoor task force in the summer of 1988. During her RTE interview she stated somewhat vaguely that ‘for approximately four months in 1988’ she was responsible for mental health. That was pre-devolution, so her remit would have extended to the mental health services in north Wales. By the summer of 1988 Mary Wynch and I had both approached politicians and Ministers about our own abuse at the hands of the mental health services in north Wales. In the autumn of 1988 I was receiving correspondence from the Welsh Office concerning the Review into my complaint (this was the Review that eventually took place in 1989, the utter whitewash by Robert Bluglass). By the time that Edwina was in charge of the nation’s mental health services Mary Wynch had won her case against Risley Remand Centre, Dr Dafydd Alun Jones and Clwyd Health Authority (please see post ‘The Mary Wynch Case – Details’). Edwina was only responsible for mental health for four months in 1988, but she was Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health between Sept 1986-Dec 1988. By 1987 the chaos in Gwynedd Health Authority was such that the Welsh Office had sent a team of management consultants in (see post ‘A Visit To Gwynedd Archives’).

So Edwina knew that all was not as it should have been in the mental health services in north Wales. But would she have known about the paedophile ring operating in the region, the victims of which were ending up in the mental health system if they complained? Well someone whom Edwina idolised and claimed to use as a role model knew – Margaret Thatcher. In Jan 1987 Alison Taylor wrote to her and told her that children in care in north Wales were being abused. Alison – like Mary and I – also wrote to a lot of other people as well. One of those was a man called John Major, who at the time was a Minister in the Home Office. Edwina knew him well, indeed she shagged him for a number of years. (Interestingly enough it is rumoured that John Major was by no means the only politician that Edwina had an affair with, although none of the others have been identified. But she says a few interesting things about her boss John Moore in that RTE interview.) Early in 1988 Alison also wrote to Tony Newton, another Minister that Edwina will have had dealings with; Newton was Secretary of State for Social Security – at that time Health and Social Security were dealt with by the DHSS.

If Edwina’s rationale for appointing Savile to the Broadmoor task force – that he was a sharp operator where blackmailing other criminals was concerned – was eccentric, so was the way in which the appointment of the Chief Executive of Broadmoor at the same time was actually discussed. It was discussed – and presumably offered – to Savile’s friend Alan Franey at what Franey later called an ‘unusual meeting’ that was held at the Athanaeum club in Pall Mall. The meeting was attended by Franey and Savile as well as two senior civil servants, Clifford Graham (who was Currie’s departmental Under-Secretary of State) and James Collier. When this all became public in the aftermath of the Savile expose there was much gnashing of teeth, but I suspect that an awful lot of this sort of thing went on. For a start the Athanaeum is a club with a lot of Top Doctors and academics as members and there is a lot of evidence that even very senior jobs in medicine are dished out on the basis of networking rather than ability or a sound track record. After he died no-one wanted to admit to knowing Jimmy Savile – although he was a mate of Prince Charles’s and was invited to numerous Christmas’s at Chequers by Thatcher – and trying to establish who had lived it up at the Athanaeum with Savile et al was like trying to get blood out of a stone. Yet in her RTE interview Edwina fesses up that she had popped over to the Athanaeum with Savile too. Of course she stresses in the interview that this wasn’t the way to impress a woman like her – then why did she accept the invitation ? I bet if Savile had invited her for a coffee and a pasty in Greggs she’d have found it within her heart to say no. There were also some rather odd people working in the highest echelons of the civil service at the time. The mandarin who had been instrumental in forming the Broadmoor task force in 1987 was Brian McGinnis, the Under-Secretary for mental health with responsibility for high security hospitals. McGinnis was never convicted of child abuse but there was sufficient concern regarding his conduct with children for him to end up being banned from working with them after he retired.

In this fetid environment is it surprising that the POA themselves were getting away with abusing patients whilst simultaneously holding the Party of Law N Order hostage? Of course Broadmoor’s troubles didn’t end with the appointment of Savile and the task force. After Savile’s death, Dr Bill Kirkup led an investigation into his involvement at Broadmoor. Kirkup’s report is entertaining in that he admits just how dreadful the problems were/are at Broadmoor, but he works very hard to exonerate any Top Doctor of contributing to the fuckwittery that led to it all. Kirkup’s report mentions a few names known to me. There’s a reference to Robert Bluglass in there! Bluglass was involved in the investigation into the abuses at Ashworth in the early 1990s – which included the murder of a patient. Having concealed the criminal activity of Dafydd et al at the North Wales Hospital Denbigh some three years previously Bluglass was obviously the ideal candidate to carry out a whitewash at Ashworth. There’s a reference to someone else as well- Dr Julie Hollyman, the former Chief Exec of the West London Mental Health Trust,  who was responsible for managing Broadmoor whilst Savile abused patients there. I remember Julie Hollyman well, although she won’t know who I am. Hollyman was reputed to be the most aggressive and unhinged psychiatrist at St Georges/Springfield Hospital when I lived and worked in south London in the early 1990s. The nurses loathed her and even my flatmate who was a psychiatric nurse in another London hospital had heard about Hollyman. I managed to have an encounter with her myself. Part of my job used to be carrying out pregnancy tests and one day a sample came in from a Springfield patient marked urgent with a request to phone back with the result as soon as poss. So I did. Only to be literally subjected to a mouth full of abuse from Hollyman’s secretary – which really astounded me, so I hung up. I then received a phone call from Hollyman shouting at me accusing me of being intolerably rude to ‘her’ secretary. I explained that for some reason best known to herself her secretary had actually sworn at me down the phone – Hollyman shrieked that she didn’t believe that. So I hung up on her and informed the Head of Dept what was going on. The response from someone in the know was ‘oh God it’s Hollyman, she’s nuts’. I was then told that the foul mouthed secretary was actually a ‘service user’ on Springfield’s ‘flagship’ patients work programme (which hit the headlines a few years later when it was revealed that one ‘service user’ had been given a job as a stripper in a night club), that she wasn’t suitable, shouldn’t have been given the job and Hollyman knew it. But Hollyman wasn’t too happy that she’d been rumbled and Hollyman grasped any excuse for a scrap.

Of course I now have documentary evidence that Hollyman’s colleagues at Springfield knew about the criminal activities and abuse in the north Wales mental health services and things at Springfield itself in 1991 were pretty dire (see post ‘Some Very Eminent Psychiatrists From London’). But things were to get a lot worse at Springfield with patients murdering each other and members of staff. In 1993 Julie Hollyman herself appeared in the ‘Independent’, after a major scandal involving allegations that five patients had been raped – the appalling Hollyman had by then been promoted to the post of Unit General manager at Springfield. (I was delighted to see that MIND Spoke Out about the need to ensure that patients were safe – the MIND that knew what was happening in north Wales but kept schtum and indeed continues to keep schtum about the sordid activities of the mental health services. Please see post ‘The Mysterious Silence of MIND’.)

Five rapes on your watch? No problem – Julie Hollyman could only go higher and that is how she ended up being appointed in 1998 as Chief Exec of West London Mental Health Trust overseeing Broadmoor. In 2003 Julie hit the national media once more. A whistleblower at Broadmoor had gone public after conducting a small survey of 28 female Broadmoor patients over three years and finding that between them there had been 56 cases of sexual abuse, five rapes and that six of them had needed to request a pregnancy test. Dear old Julie had been in post when much of it had happened. Three months after the whistleblower blew Hollyman resigned and stated that ‘at 52 years of age’ it was time to leave the NHS. (I don’t think you should ever have been there in the first place Julie and you certainly should never have been promoted after the disaster at Springfield.) Sadly Julie believed that the world still needed her talents. She took up non-executive posts with the British Refugee Council, the Youth Justice Board and New College Worcester (a special school for the visually impaired). Julie also Chaired a housing association, the Hyde Group. More recently though Julie has realised that the NHS does indeed need the services of a vile bitch who has spent her career bullying staff and putting patients in danger and she is now a non-executive director of the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. I’m tempted to quip that we’ll now await a spate of rapes and sexual abuse at the Maudsley but I fear that things at the Maudsley may have been bad for a long while. The Maudsley is where Dafydd Alun Jones did a stint of ‘training’, it employed Dr Paul Bowden who ignored Dafydd’s abuses and criminal activities in north Wales and it also employed the plagiarist Raj Persaud who happily plagiarised away for years until Richard Bentall finally confronted him. And now the Maudsley has Julie on it’s Board.

But let us return to Edwina Currie. Currie’s role as a junior Minister will undoubtedly have resulted in her knowing exactly how dire the mental health services were, but she has also been in other positions whereby the abuse of children in care may have become apparent to her. Edwina was first elected to the Commons in June 1983, for the constituency of South Derbyshire. Edwina represented South Derbyshire until 1997. Indeed she still lives in Derbyshire, in Whaley Bridge, although she did spend a while living in Surrey. It was of course John Jillings, the former Director of Derbyshire Social Services, who carried out the first external investigation into the abuse of children in Clwyd. The Jillings Report was so damning that it was famously suppressed and only published many years later and then in a heavily redacted form, but I suspect that even Jillings may not have been as frank as he could have been regarding just how serious the abuse of children in Clwyd was. My post ‘A UK Network’ describes how even back in the 80s paedophiles working in the children’s services and those concealing their activities had linked up on a UK-wide basis. There were connections between north Wales and Derbyshire Social Services before Jillings ever retired and investigated Clwyd. John Leslie Jeffreys worked at the Bryn Alyn Community for nine or ten years, between about 1974-83. Prior to that he had been a community youth worker and then a residential care worker at a children’s home in Derbyshire, having received ‘training’ from Derbyshire Social Services. The Bryn Alyn Community was owned and run by John Allen, currently serving a life sentence for the sexual abuse of children in his care. Boys abused by Allen maintained that he ran a gay sex, drugs and porn empire and that boys from children’s homes in north Wales worked in brothels owned by Allen in London and Brighton. John Jeffreys was named repeatedly in the Waterhouse Inquiry as inflicting serious violence upon boys at Bryn Alyn and also upon a boy who was staying at John Allen’s villa in Bordeaux. Jeffreys’ wife – who moved to Bryn Alyn along with him from Derbyshire – also worked at Bryn Alyn and eventually became one of the Directors. Jeffreys was Officer in Charge of one of the Bryn Alyn homes. Jeffreys and his wife were major players in Bryn Alyn.

I note that two of the ‘advisors’ to the whitewash that was the Waterhouse Inquiry also had connections with Derbyshire. Sir Brian Briscoe, the Head of the Local Government Association, had previously worked for Derbyshire County Council. Sir Ron Hadfield, Ronnie Waterhouse’s advisor on ‘police matters’, had previously worked for Derbyshire Constabulary. It is quite obvious that absolutely everybody involved with the Waterhouse Inquiry only ever got near it because they were considered a safe pair of hands and would not be in any danger of making public just how horrific the situation prevailing was. So someone in the Welsh Office felt able to rely on people with previous involvement with Derbyshire. But of course someone somewhere also felt able to rely on John Jillings – they will have needed a clean skin for that investigation, someone who could be seen to be carrying out a thorough job (because by then the north Wales child abuse scandal had hit the London-based media), but they won’t have appointed anyone whom they thought might blow the whole thing wide open. Which was probably why the Jillings Report made a point of refusing to speculate on whether a paedophile ring was operating in north Wales.

But Edwina will have been in a position before she ever became an MP to know that some unacceptable things might be happening in children’s homes. Like many MPs, Currie has also been a councillor. Between 1975-86 she was a councillor for Birmingham City Council. Councils from the West Midlands were among those who were placing children in the Bryn Alyn Community. My post ‘Amber Rudd, The Miners’ Strike And A Memory Jogged’ details the case of a family from Birmingham who adopted a little girl who had been abused who then relocated to Anglesey in the 80s but were subjected to vindictive attacks by those we know and love. That post mentions a few other links between Birmingham and north Wales as well. Furthermore there were some people in public life in Birmingham who knew what was happening to children in care in north Wales. One of the people involved in the 1991 Cartrefle Panel of Inquiry which investigated after a care worker was imprisoned for sexually assaulting children was Susan Mead, Chief Inspector of the Social Services Division of Birmingham City Council. Adrianne Jones, the Director of Social Services of the City of Birmingham Council, carried out a review of children’s services in north Wales and then acted as an advisor at the Waterhouse Inquiry. Adrianne Jones then retired to Wales – to Abergavenny, which was another site of a facility where children had been sexually abused. Sir Ron Hadfield also had a connection to Birmingham – he was the recently retired Chief Constable of the West Midlands and was still based in Birmingham.

In the 1980s there was another Derbyshire MP who will have been in a position to know about paedophilic activity in children’s homes and who I think may well have known about the abuse that was happening in north Wales. That is Matthew Parris, who between 1979-86 was MP for West Derbyshire. As I have mentioned previously on this blog, I read Parris’s autobiography about four years ago, an autobiography that he wrote some years ago covering his time in politics. He writes of how he and a number of friends of his used to go to Italy to a place that they called ‘the villa of shame’ and have a lot of gay sex. Parris uses the phrase ‘the boys were always willing’. Boys – not men. Did Parris not wonder where these boys had come from and why they were so willing to have sex with him and his much older friends from Westminster? Who procured these boys for Parris and his mates? No-one seems to have thought to ask Parris about this. Parris was of course famously one of the first MPs to publicly declare that he was gay. He is also well-known for outing Peter Mandelson in 1998 and has stated that there are between 30 and 60 British parliamentarians who are gay but are keeping it quiet. Did any of them holiday at the villa of shame as well? By the time that he outed Mandelson and made his claims regarding scores of other gay politicians who were in the closet Parris had spent a few years in positions where he would have been well-placed to acquire such information. In the mid-70s he spent two years working at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The same Foreign and Commonwealth Office that employed the diplomat Sir Peter Hayman, who was known to be a paedophile. After that Parris joined the Conservative Research Department and following a stint there he became correspondence secretary to Margaret Thatcher. The Thatcher who was a personal friend of Jimmy Savile and lobbied for him to be given a knighthood in the face of civil servants telling her that there were concerns about Savile’s ‘private life’ which could prove politically embarrassing if it ever became public. The Thatcher who was sent documents in 1980-81 informing her that Peter Hayman had sexual fantasies relating to children and that his ‘sexual perversion’ rendered him vulnerable to blackmail. The Thatcher who was told that Sir Peter Morrison was holding sex parties with under-age boys, but still appointed him Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party in 1986 and then her PPS in 1990… A correspondence secretary for a woman who was repeatedly being warned that some of her closest aides and friends were abusing children would have read a lot of very interesting things.

Both Edwina Currie and Matthew Parris have now left politics but are in excellent positions to control what is known by the wider public about them and indeed their associates. Edwina has cultivated good media connections and makes frequent appearances on TV and radio. At one point she had her own radio show and it was through this that she met the man to whom she is now married, John Jones. John Jones is a former senior detective with the Metropolitan Police! Since retiring from the Met he has worked as an advisor to media companies and in the media himself. Matthew Parris has an even more influential position. When he suddenly resigned as an MP in 1986 he took up the position as host of the ITV programme ‘Weekend World’. Between 1988-2001 he worked for Murdoch as a columnist for the ‘Times’ and he also wrote for the ‘Spectator’. He is now a parliamentary sketch writer and presents a weekly programme for Radio 4. Parris has homes in Catalonia, Derbyshire and the Docklands in East London. He doesn’t have all three homes to himself though. Parris has a partner, Julian Glover – they’ve been together since 1995. Glover is a political journalist and used to work for the Guardian. He is also a speechwriter for David Cameron.

A pretty classy piece of operation on behalf of just about everyone I think.

 

 

 

 

 

News Round Up, June 8 2017

I’ve written a lot recently on this blog regarding the con that is CAIS, the Third sector organisation providing ‘substance misuse’ services. Previous posts have detailed the dodgy commissioning processes by which CAIS have received millions in funding from the Welsh Gov’t to provide services, including ‘service user involvement’ (see post ‘The Story Behind £1.5 Million’), the huge contracts that they have been handed by the DWP despite their very limited success regarding ‘outcomes’, the scam that they seem to have operated to persuade George Osborne to cough up a lot of money (please see post ‘George Osborne Enters The Picture’) and the very questionable histories of many of the CAIS Trustees. I’ve also documented the burgeoning drug problem in parts of north Wales which suggests that CAIS are failing spectacularly in providing ‘services’. CAIS have now moved into the homelessness business, eg. providing ‘supported accommodation’. Again, a quick walk around Wrexham would suggest that CAIS are having bugger all effect in this domain. So I was certainly interested to read in the Daily Post online that a very angry lawyer in Wrexham has demanded that Wrexham Council should ‘get a grip’ on the drugs and homelessness problem – that’s the Wrexham Council that seems to have been tying itself in knots to ensure that the contracts for the ‘services’ to address drugs and homelessness are given to CAIS. The lawyer concerned, Mark Davies, has a client, Craig Nikolic, who has just been imprisoned. Mr Nikolic was imprisoned after he was found ‘asleep in Lord Street with his sleeping bag next to him’. Lord Street is the street in Wrexham where the homeless have been hanging out because it’s near the bus station, so they can go in there out of the rain (although it doesn’t provide much in terms of shelter, it’s usually freezing cold in there and the rain does get in), go to the loo, have a wash etc. Because they don’t have a home in which to do that. Mr Nikolic is a heroin addict and after being released from prison on an early release scheme he was ordered not to enter Wrexham town centre. But as his lawyer pointed out, he was homeless, so if he didn’t enter the town centre he had nowhere to wash etc. So he risked it and has been caught and returned to prison. The account of Mr Nikolic’s recent encounters with the Courts and law is fascinating because it makes it clear that this man is repeatedly ending up in prison because he doesn’t have anywhere to live. He is being punished far more harshly for his destitution than he has been for possession of illegal drugs. But then simply being very poor does now lead to people being criminalised. As if to rub in the dismal performance of CAIS where ‘tackling drugs’ is concerned, there have also been media reports of a recent major drugs bust in Llandudno with a number of dealers being arrested and the North Wales Police issuing a statement saying that they expected to make more arrests very soon – this has come hot on the heels of accounts of turf wars between drug dealers in the region, some of which have resulted in murders.

In my post ‘George Osborne Enters The Picture’ I mentioned that a recent initiative of CAIS has been the establishment of a place in Cardiff called the ‘Living Room’. I was puzzled to discover that the Living Room was providing ‘after care’ and ‘sociopsychological support’ to Cardiff GPs and questioned why highly paid Top Doctors were receiving the services of a charity when their own patients usually cannot access such support. I have now been given further information about the Living Room. I have been told that the distressed GPs receiving ‘services’ are actually Top Doctors with addiction problems and are encountering difficulties because, for example, they have lost their driving licences. Now alcohol problems are very common in medical practitioners and drug problems are not unknown, and of course doctors with such problems deserve help and support (although the irony is that certainly in north Wales the Top Doctors loathe people with drug and alcohol problems and usually refuse to treat them; that is how CAIS picked up the remit for providing ‘services’ (please see post ‘The Evolution Of A Drugs Baron’). However CAIS is Chaired by Dr Dafydd Alun Jones and is still very much a reflection of all that he holds dear and follows the model of business that he has followed for decades. And Dafydd has form for ‘helping’ people who have ended up coming unstuck as a result of their addiction problems. This ‘help’ usually simply involves extracting people out of the shit that their addiction has landed them in (at a price of course) rather than tacking the addiction. A nurse who had formerly worked at Dafydd’s ‘nursing home’ for veterans suffering from PTSD, Ty Gwyn, told me that there were very few veterans in Ty Gwyn, but there were a lot of people with addiction problems who had ended up being prosecuted so they had checked into Dafydd’s facility for a few weeks and in return Dafydd would write them a favourable Court report, although he had virtually not seen them at all whilst they had been patients at Ty Gwyn. I was also told by another person that Dafydd’s ‘medical reports’ were equally useful to people who had encountered problems with driving licences and their insurance. Indeed Dafydd is so good at helping people who are in danger of losing their licence as a result of drinking and driving that he attempted to rescue his own son when he appeared in Court on a drink driving charge. The Court were given a real tear-jerker, a story of how Dafydd’s son worked as Dafydd’s chauffeur, enabling Dafydd to pursue his heroic line of work with of course veterans (Dafydd has found that invoking the image of distressed soldiers works wonders), that Dafydd did much of this work free of charge no less and if his son lost his licence the patients would Suffer. The Court didn’t buy it – Dafydd is notorious in north Wales, to be fair to them the more honest local magistrates stopped believing anything that he said years ago – and his son lost his licence. It transpired that this chauffeur who spent his time assisting his dad patch up veterans was actually a student at Aberystwyth University. I seem to remember that it was on this occasion that someone in Court remarked that it was odd that Dafydd had obtained Legal Aid, being a highly paid very wealthy man. But as ever, no-one investigated further. Dafydd bending the rules to selflessly help patients has a long and noble history – sometime in the mid 1990s, a photo of him appeared on the front page of the Daily Post under the headline ‘He Saved A Life – And Got A Fine’. The reality was that Dafydd had been caught exceeding the speed limit somewhere along the north Wales coast – in a big way as well, it was something like 50mph in a 20mph zone – and when he was caught he claimed that he was on his way to rescue a suicidal patient who was standing on the Menai Bridge waiting to jump. It didn’t occur to him to call an ambulance then.

A Story Of Our Time appeared in the media yesterday. Jacqueline Grayson, the manager of ‘Treflys’, a care home in Llandudno, was summoned to a fitness to practice disciplinary hearing by Social Care Wales for sharing Facebook posts that the ‘presenting officer’ for Social Care Wales alleged were ‘anti-Islamic’ and ‘discriminatory’. Social Care Wales seem to have very little understanding of what Islamophobia and discrimination are. Ms Grayson had shared among a group of Facebook friends posts discussing whether the wearing of burkhas should be banned in public areas. Discussions regarding the wearing of full face veils or not are held among many Muslims. Mrs Grayson’s other sin was to share a Facebook post involving a golliwog. Yes, the golliwog originated as an offensive parody of a black person, but most people who were children in the sixties only knew the golly as a toy or a badge that could be acquired by collecting pictures of gollies from Robertsons jam jars. It seems that was the reference that Ms Grayson was making on Facebook. So Social Care Wales doesn’t know the difference between recent cultural history and racism so serious that it questions a social care professional’s fitness to practice. A number of people defended Ms Grayson at the hearing. One was a Romanian colleague who described Ms Grayson as being ‘amazing’ with staff and residents alike. Another one was a Mr Bhusan Ramnath, the proprietor of the care home and Ms’ Grayson’s employer. His wife was a Muslim and he was supporting Ms Grayson. The panel heard that there was no evidence that Ms Grayson had treated any Muslim resident in any way differently to any other resident. The panel concluded that Ms Grayson’s fitness to practice was not impaired but nonetheless her crime was serious that she was reprimanded.

So in a field – the care of elderly people – where bad practice and even abuse is endemic, Social Care Wales have gone to the trouble and effort to haul Ms Grayson up in front of them on the basis of some laughable evidence that did not in any way reflect on her capacity as the manager of a care home. There had been no complaint at all regarding her practice, just a ‘whistleblower’ – who was not identified – who spotted some Facebook posts that she had shared among her Facebook ‘friends’. Llandudno is only a few miles down the road from Ysbyty Glan Clwyd. It was at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd that four years ago elderly patients in Tawel Fan ward were sworn at by staff, barricaded into their beds with items of furniture and left to crawl around naked on a floor that was covered in urine and faeces whilst staff discussed their sex lives. One patient was found to have an untreated fractured arm. No member of staff has been disciplined or prosecuted – except for the nurse who blew the whistle on all this who was suspended, arrested after being the subject of malicious allegations and also received threatening anonymous letters. She now works in England. The two inquiries into Tawel Fan have yet to be completed – one has been hindered by the staff refusing to co-operate. I know there to be much bad practice in privately owned elderly people’s homes, but what the Betsi, an NHS Health Board, continues to get away with is breath-taking.

The flagship prison at Wrexham, HMP Berwyn, which so delighted local politicians – just imagine, a warehouse with nearly 2000 people banged up inside, mostly people with mental health or addiction problems, how exciting! – has run into yet more problems. It is in breach of a number of it’s planning conditions eg. landscaping, the providing  of two bus shelters and producing certain certificates demonstrating that various standards have been met – and Wrexham Council are threatening action.

The crisis at Bangor University continues and the Vice-Chancellor has stated that the financial situation is so serious there that there will have to be redundancies and even pay cuts. The unions have hit the roof, have stated that staff will be ‘pushed into poverty’ and one of the union reps has suggested that one way of solving the crisis would be to sell the Vice-Chancellor’s house, which was purchased by the University for him. That house has been a running sore ever since it was purchased – I think people are making a mountain out of a molehill, it’s not THAT posh -and furthermore there was more fuming last year when it was revealed that the Vice-Chancellor’s bedroom had received a makeover and that new furniture purchased from Laura Ashley had been installed. The Daily Post even provided a photo of a Laura Ashley inspired bedroom to feed the readers imaginations, although the photo that they provided was the sort of bedroom that a contemporary Barbara Cartland might have favoured, all in pink. I’m not sure that Professor John Hughes would have exactly the same taste, but you never know. It has not occurred to the union rep that even if John Hughes’s residence was flogged, it would only raise about £1 million, if indeed that. It would last me quite a long time, but it wouldn’t keep Bangor University afloat for long, particularly as they are currently footing the salary bill for great swathes of staff in ‘health and social care research’ or ‘psychology/mental health research’ whose output is very questionable indeed (I have detailed some of this dodgy research in previous posts). There are also a lot of younger modestly paid staff working their butts off whilst more senior people rest on their laurels. Among the senior academics, some are wonderful, supporting students and carrying out first class research – but others should not be in their present jobs and everyone knows it. It is true that there are some very badly paid staff at Bangor – they are the cleaners, the catering staff etc. No-one bothers to fight very hard for them – when I worked at Bangor, the people who consistently made the most noise every time they feared that cuts cometh, were the less productive (in some cases frankly bloody lazy) staff on permanent contracts who had been there years. They didn’t REALLY fear their contracts being terminated either – it is very hard to get rid of academics with permanent contracts no matter how bad they are. In reality, it is the better staff on short-term contracts who get the chop if belts have to be tightened because the useless old farts fight tooth n nail to hang on to their very comfortable existence. This is going on in every university in the UK and it is a very big problem, it’s not just a disease that affects Bangor. However union reps at Bangor do seem to have a history of developing strange obsessions with the way that they imagine Vice-Chancellors are spending money. When I worked there, at one point the UCU rep, one Eileen Tilley, was frothing at the mouth about the money that the VC was alleged to have spent on his office desk – how on earth did she know how much he’d paid for it? I very much doubt that he’d showed her the receipt. When I made comments to this effect, she changed tactic and complained about the style of the desk that he’d purchased. Que??? (It had too much glass in it apparently so it wasn’t suitable.) Tilley continued to make extraordinary allegations – which I suspected were in the realms of fantasy – regarding the VC’s office furniture and I got somewhat pissed off with her, because whilst she was making these allegations she was actually colluding with the truly vile Lyn Meadows, the Director of HR (Meadows is now a member of the Betsi Board), who was breaking employment law regularly and bullying and harassing people. The next allegation was that the VC had hired a chauffeur. No-one actually had any evidence that this had happened and I searched high and low for the said chauffeur and never found him/her. I think that the real story was that discussions were underway regarding the possibility of a chauffeur that would be made available to a number of senior managers – but the backstabbing Tilley was busy making plans for the revolution on the basis of the chauffeur. So I conducted an experiment and told her that I knew all about it, that it wasn’t a real chauffeur, it was a security man dressed up in a special uniform. And a few days later my lie came back to me on the grapevine, so it rather confirmed that none of these people actually knew what they were talking about. The irony was that while the revolutionaries on ‘only’ £40-50k pa grumbled and fumed about glass desks and chauffeurs, me and my ilk were doing their teaching and a good deal more research than them as well for far less. And because we were on short-term contracts we often had no salary at all. I’d have done the sodding chauffeur’s job myself quite happily at that time, at least it would have been a stable income.

Yet another scandal involving the abuse of learning disabled people has hit the London-based media today. An organisation called the ‘Atlas Project Team’ who owned two homes in Devon – which were ‘isolated farmhouses’ has been prosecuted. The founder of the ‘Atlas Project Team’, a Paul Hewitt, has been fined £12,500 with £105,000 costs. Paul Hewitt is described as ‘a well known figure in mental health who helped formulate national policies on caring for people with learning disabilities in the community’. Well that’s pretty much par for the course – this blog has named scores of ‘experts in mental health’ or ‘service user representatives’ who have either colluded with or ignored the most dreadful abuses. It’s how one becomes an expert in those fields. Jolyon Marshall, the Director of Atlas, has been jailed for 28 months for conspiracy to falsely imprison and perverting the course of justice. A number of other managers and staff have received suspended jail terms or other non-custodial sentences. This case has been running for six years, but reporting restrictions have only just been lifted. The fascinating feature of this case is that a number of people have been prosecuted for doing what is almost standard practice in hospitals and ‘homes’ for people with learning disabilities and mental health problems, namely locking people in what are euphemistically called ‘quiet rooms’ but what in reality are bare rooms with no bathroom facilities or furnishings except for a mattress on the floor. I am delighted to see someone prosecuted for this and I look forward to hundreds more prosecutions, because this is going on in just about every facility for the mentally ill/learning disabled across the UK. And the rationale for confining people to such seclusion rooms is also very shaky, as it was with Atlas. The prosecuting barrister Andrew Langdon QC stated that a ‘view was taken that residents had somehow learned to behave badly. That behaviour had to be unlearned. If they were kept in their long enough they would learn their lesson and change their behaviour’. This philosophy underpinned all ‘care’ on Taliesin ward in the Hergest Unit and I heard staff articulate this view constantly. Patients were not distressed, they were not ill, they were bad and locking them in a seclusion room (or of course having them arrested) was the answer. Indeed, now that Jolyon Marshall has gone to prison for conspiracy to falsely imprison and perverting the course of justice I look forward to a few arrests of Hergest staff and NHS managers because that is exactly what they did to me – and to a lot of other people.

Andrea Sutcliffe, Chief Inspector of CQC, admitted that they ‘should have acted earlier’ over Atlas and admits that concerns had been raised. So once more, the CQC stood by whilst people were abused. But what do we expect – Sir Robert Francis QC is a leading light in the CQC. The Robert Francis QC who, whilst working as a barrister for the MDU, tried to have me imprisoned for ‘harassment’ – because I was writing many letters maintaining that people working in the mental health services in north Wales had illegally imprisoned me and had committed perjury (please see post ‘The Sordid Role of Sir Robert Francis QC’).

Perhaps someone would also like to begin mounting prosecutions in the face of another near universal practice in mental health, that of ‘not stimulating’ people who are deemed to be psychotic. This is going on in the Hergest unit and in the Heddfan Unit and in reality it means providing patients with an environment as bare as possible – not even pictures on the walls. Because patients might become ‘stimulated’. (I really don’t think that there’s much chance of that, as they’re parked in front the TV all day and loaded up with anti-psychotics.) In fact Taliesin ward in Hergest was so keen not to stimulate patients that the staff didn’t talk to them – and they told the patient’s families not to talk to them either. I know this because I knew the mother of a teenaged boy who became seriously unwell and spent a long time on Taliesin ward not being talked to, on the orders of the ‘experts’ who ran that place and presided over the constant suicides there. The staff did communicate with me whilst I was a patient in there though – indeed they shouted at me, they swore at me and on one occasion four of them assaulted me. Presumably it’s only talking to people or looking at pictures that causes over-stimulation.

Jan Tregalles, the Chief Exec of Mencap, and Vivien Cooper, the Chief Exec of the Challenging Behaviour Foundation, put out a joint statement stating that Atlas offered ‘specialist care’ that cost up to £4000/week per person and that ‘poor commissioning’ from numerous local authorities and ‘weak inspection’ allowed an abusive culture to develop and sustain itself. Have they only just noticed? Bloggers like Mark Neary, Finola Moss and Sara Ryan have been trying to expose this for years. Indeed Sara Ryan seems to feel about Mencap the way that I feel about MIND – she has always termed them ‘Mencrap’. Mark Neary’s adult son Stephen was removed from his care for a year simply due to the fuckwittedness of their local authority and had Mark not been able to engage in a full scale battle through the Courts he would have lost Stephen for ever. Finola Moss had a similar experience with her daughter. Finola has taken a big interest in the huge amounts of money that are now being made by the private ‘care’ sector for housing learning disabled people in unsuitable, frequently abusive facilities, as well as in the constant supply of ‘expert witnesses’ and dishonest health and care professionals who are prepared to lie in Court in the face of carers complaining and simply accuse those carers of abuse themselves. The really great thing about most of these cases is that because they involve the Court of Protection, no-one can even publish what’s happening – until the learning disabled person dies in the ‘care’ of the ‘provider’. Mark Neary’s blog is doing an excellent job of exposing how this naked abuse and cruelty – and sheer idiocy – is disguised by the language of ’empowerment’, ‘independent living’, ‘service user involvement’ and associated hogwash.

 

 

George Osborne Enters The Picture

Yesterday’s post ‘The Evolution of a Drugs Baron’ detailed the extraordinary sequence of events that led to Dr Dafydd Alun Jones and his fellow travellers in CAIS constructing themselves as ‘substance abuse experts’ and consequently being handed the remit for substance abuse ‘services’ over huge swathes of Wales, despite their very questionable track record. I also detailed the ‘oral evidence’ that Clive Wolfendale, the Chief Exec of CAIS, gave to Parliament’s Welsh Affairs Committee in 2012, which very obviously seemed to be a pitch for CAIS to be given the remit for the ‘care’ of military veterans. That was five years ago and naturally I wondered if Clive’s case for the care and rehabilitation of veterans had resulted in money flowing into the coffers of CAIS yet. My co-researcher has now e mailed me the CAIS reports and financial statements for the years 2014/15 and 2015/16, which answers some questions but of course raises many more. He has also sent me a few other useful links.

First, I need to (attempt to) clarify something regarding yesterday’s post. When I was giving the lowdown on the shameful histories of some of the CAIS Trustees, I speculated that Cledwyn Williams was probably one of the people named in the 1996 Jillings Report into the abuse of children whilst in the care of Clwyd Social Services. I’ve been reading the Jillings Report in detail this morning in preparation for a future post and I note that Cledwyn Williams is not the person that I was thinking of. So I am still no wiser as to which social services it was that Cledwyn played a leading role in until 1996, when he was appointed Director of Conwy Social Services. As Cledwyn himself is deliberately vague about this in his biography on the CAIS website, it does suggest that he doesn’t really want to shout too loudly about which organisation it was that he worked for – so I would not be surprised if it was Clwyd, particularly as Clwyd County Council was dissolved in 1996 after the admission of appalling long-standing sexual abuse and cruelty throughout their children’s services. Since yesterday I’ve discovered that Cledwyn is actually Robert Cledwyn Williams, just to add to the confusion. (Of course he may have been named in the Jillings Report nonetheless, because so many names were redacted when that Report was finally released.)

I’ll put the confusion regarding Cledwyn to one side for the present and move on to the purpose of today’s post, that is the discussion of the documents that my co-researcher has sent me. The documents do indeed confirm that since Clive appeared in front of the Welsh Affairs Committee, CAIS have hit the jackpot where funding for the delivery of ‘services’ to veterans and their families are concerned, those services being ‘Change Step’ and ‘Listen In’. As with all ‘services’ provided by CAIS, they are delivered by volunteers, with just a back-up skeleton staff. The CAIS accounts dated 20/4/15 show that they’d secured and begun to receive funding from the Ministry of Defence for ‘Change Step’ and ‘Listen In’ and had begun delivering services. The CAIS report for 2014/15 tells us that ‘Change Step’ was launched on 31 May 2014 by their ‘patron’ Brigadier Gerard Wheeler. It was set up with funding from the Ministry of Defence LIBOR fund which provided funding for two years of pan-Wales peer mentoring. That was the fund that was much publicised by Cameron’s Gov’t, the money coming from the fines that were levied on the banks for attempting to manipulate LIBOR. Nearly £1 million was given to CAIS. The CAIS report tells us that ‘1000 veterans and their families have been supported’ by ‘veteran peer mentors’ in terms of their mental health issues, loneliness, welfare and addiction problems’. Now £1 million quid would buy an awful lot, particularly if the work was being largely carried out by volunteers. Yet CAIS give very scant details of what this £1 million has funded. There is a fleeting reference at one point in the report to people being involved in ‘clearing war graves’ and setting up a website in respect of genealogy, but keeping graves tidy and researching one’s family history can be done at the weekend and needs neither £1 million pounds nor peer guides to do it. So where did that £1 million go? The mystery deepens when one takes a look at the CAIS report for 2015/16. This states that George Osborne, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, gave ‘Change Step’ another £434,659 from the LIBOR fund in the Budget, ‘to support the families and carers of veterans in north Wales’. This generous donation from Osborne was also featured in a news report by BBC News Wales. The BBC explains that Osborne had ‘saved’ ‘Change Step’ after it had ‘run out of funding’ after having been ‘unsuccessful’ in bidding for further funding and that ’29 jobs were at risk’. The date on that BBC News Wales report is 16 March 2016. But my co-researcher has sent me a link to a list of all the projects whose funding under the Armed Forces Libor Fund Successful Tranche 3 Projects was announced in George Osborne’s Budget – the £434,659 to CAIS is listed there. But George Osborne made this announcement on the 15 October 2013. That was BEFORE the launch of ‘Change Step’ and ‘Listen In’ in May 2014 on the basis of the £1 million from the MoD Armed Forces LIBOR fund. But CAIS didn’t announce this until 2016 and stated that it was successful follow on funding from a project that had run out of money and that it would provide ‘peer support’ for 800 veterans. This is so confusing that I’ll go through it all again. In Oct 2013 George Osborne announced that CAIS would be awarded nearly half a million from the MoD LIBOR fund. At about the same time CAIS received nearly £1 million from – the MoD LIBOR fund, to set up ‘Step Change’ and ‘Listen In’ and launched these in May 2014. So CAIS received TWO lots of funding at the same time, for the same project, but announced one lot of that funding as ‘follow on’ funding more than two years after George Osborne had publicly announced it. Furthermore when the £1 million lot of funding was announced, it was stated to be for a TWO YEAR pan-Wales programme. So why were CAIS claiming to have run out of funds for the project before the end of two years and to have been ‘unsuccessful’ in further bidding? And why did they not only make multiple applications to the LIBOR fund for the same project, but sit on one load of dosh for more than two years, only to then misrepresent it on a BBC News Wales feature? Furthermore, the £1 million was for a pan-Wales project – yet there’s only details of north Wales based ‘support’ given. And how the hell had Dafydd manage to spend a million quid in a year on tidying gravestones and making a website featuring family histories anyway? And what were these 29 jobs allegedly at risk? If ‘Change Step’ utilises ‘peer support’, who were these 29 paid people and what were they doing – particularly if the only outcomes that could be boasted about were the tidy graves and the family histories website. As with everything involving CAIS, NONE of this adds up. Neither was George Osborne doing his homework. Not only did he hand over a huge quantity of money to a charity containing a number of Trustees who were involved in the concealing of a paedophile gang – one had even been named in the Waterhouse Report as having done so – but they were given two lots of money for the same work. If indeed clearing some gravestones and researching family histories can be classified as ‘work’. This was a charity whose Chief Exec in 2012 could not give any figures at all regarding how many veterans that they had among their ‘clients’ or produce any firm evidence regarding the ‘need’ for a support service for veterans. Yet Cameron’s Gov’t gave them the best part of one and a half million quid just over a year later. This is much, much worse than ‘Kid’s Company’.

Interested readers – or indeed the fraud squad – might like to ask the CAIS accountants a few questions about all this. The CAIS ‘Independent Auditors’ are listed as Williams Denton Cyf, 13 Trinity Square, Llandudno. The CAIS registered office and principal address is at 12 Trinity Square Llandudno. Someone might need to speak to CAIS’s bankers about this as well. They are Barclays Bank Plc, 84 Mostyn Street, Llandudno. Finally, CAIS employ something called ‘Honorary Solicitors’ that perhaps could shed light on these very dodgy business practices. They are John Owens Solicitors, Unit 13, Ffordd Richard Davies, St Asaph Business Park, St Asaph.

But inexplicably pouring money into CAIS coffers to provide ‘peer support’ for veterans is not the only way that Cameron helped Dafydd et al. I mentioned in yesterday’s post that CAIS are receiving money from the DWP. The CAIS reports explain why. Since October 2012 CAIS have been contracted by the DWP to deliver the Rehab JobFit work programme (the main DWP unemployment scheme) in north west Wales and since 20 April 2015, CAIS have been delivering this in Wrexham. Their record regarding this programme is utterly mediocre. The 2014/15 report tells us that out of the 564 unemployed individuals ‘supported’ by CAIS, only 206 secured employment. For the year 2015/16, CAIS ‘supported’ 345 people, of whom 259 found work. But being crap is no barrier to CAIS. They have established a ‘training’ enterprise, ‘Crew-IT’, after ‘obtaining funds’ of course. Crew-IT claims to offer training for work in hospitality and catering, providing ‘on the job’ training in their very own Porters Coffee Shop and Bistro, Colwyn Bay and Troop Café, Llandudno. (Troop Café was previously known as Caffi CAIS and was a sort of shack that made such a loss that CAIS shut it down and reopened it a few months later as Troop Café. Presumably the new name was a reference to CAIS’s newly acquired expertise in military matters. However CAIS have now reported a ‘poor trading season’ for Troop Café and they are redesigning it as an ‘activity hub’.) In the year 2014/15, out of 24 participants on the ‘training scheme’, 5 secured jobs. In 2015/16, out of 21 participants, there were 11 who secured jobs. So CAIS is not even that successful at training people to work for minimum wage jobs in cafes. But they continue to build on their mediocrity – they have now secured EU funding through the WCVA ‘Active Inclusion Scheme’ and are offering two year training programmes to make people ‘work ready’. One programme, ‘At Your Service’, is directed at the catering and hospitality industry and another, ‘Seeds To Grow’, is directed at horticulture. Out of 413 participants, 45 secured jobs. CAIS have since submitted a pan-Wales application for funding from the EU ‘Out of Work’ scheme to the Welsh Gov’t.

The creativity of CAIS knows no bounds. They are involved in providing ‘support’ for offenders through ‘Jigsaw’ (guess what – Jigsaw is entirely dependent upon volunteers); they provide ‘housing advice’ for the homeless in Wrexham ‘through our partners Shelter’ (although the ‘outcomes’ given simply refer to people having their questions answered rather than people actually securing accommodation); they provide ‘recovery coaching’ enabling people to become ‘work ready’ (out of 668 people, precisely 33 found jobs) and they provide ‘supported accommodation’ in north Wales, Powys and Pembrokeshire (I dread to think what passes for ‘supported accommodation’ with Dafydd’s history of placing mental health patients in run down accommodation where they are neglected and abused). Of course CAIS continue their core business – ‘substance abuse services’ and ‘therapies and interventions’ (please see previous posts regarding CAIS and Parabl for details). CAIS are contracted to provide these by the NHS. CAIS now run something in Cardiff called the Living Room. In one report it states that the Living Room is providing counselling for clergy, ministers of religion and their families and ‘on-going aftercare and psychosocial support’ for GPs in Cardiff no less. So the Top Doctors are securing mental healthcare from this ‘charity’ bankrolled by the taxpayer, whilst their own patients find it nigh-on impossible to obtain care for mental health problems. A number of CAIS initiatives, such as Troop Café, are run as ‘social enterprises’. I am touched to see that although CAIS Social Enterprises Ltd reported a loss in 2014/15, they were nonetheless awarded ‘Conwy Social Enterprise of the Year’ in May 2015.

Readers may be staggered to discover that CAIS, despite having such a hopeless record of delivery, despite such dodgy practices and despite such a lack of expertise, is able to draw down millions in ‘funding’ every year to provide such a plethora of ‘services’. Regular readers will remember how gobsmacked I was when I discovered that CAIS, Chaired by what must be the most abusive, corrupt psychiatrist in the UK, had landed the contract from the Betsi for ‘service user involvement’ (please see posts concerning ‘CANIAD’). But reading the CAIS reports has revealed something even more farcical. CAIS have been running a ‘programme for primary schools’, ‘Don’t Touch – Tell’, to send out ‘keep safe’ messages. Yes, a charity with Trustees who concealed a vicious paedophile gang that operated in north Wales children’s homes for decades causing untold suffering and leading to scores of suspicious deaths, have picked up a contract for ‘safeguarding’ children.

How was any of this ever allowed to happen?

A warning for the future (as if the North Wales Hospital Denbigh and the North Wales Child Abuse Scandal weren’t enough of a warning) – the 2015/16 CAIS report waxes lyrical about the potential for them to pick up more and more contracts and to go into partnership with more and more ‘charities’. They are eyeing up the Royal British Legion and Age Concern, as well as planning on landing more contracts from the DWP. Furthermore I very much doubt that anyone will stop them. The CAIS Trustees have, variously, resigned from previous jobs in the wake of terrible scandals, they’ve been sued, they’ve been named as concealing a paedophile ring – but George Osborne still gave them a million and a half quid. No-one knows what they’ve done with it and there’s bugger all to show for it, but then they weren’t finding anyone jobs yet it didn’t stop the DWP giving them more contracts. I don’t know why Dafydd ever stood as a Plaid candidate. Thatcher’s Gov’t ignored the dreadful abuses that he and Lucille were involved in, Major’s Gov’t covered it all up when the abuses became so public that they couldn’t be ignored any longer and Cameron’s Gov’t covered up the cover up and then gave Dafydd and Lucille millions. What’s Theresa May going to do, give them both peerages? Oh well then they’ll be able to join all the people who were involved in the multiple cover ups who are now in the Lords.

Strong and stable Government anyone?