A Vampire At Glyndwr University!

The Daily Post is tremendously excited after discovering that a senior lecturer at Glyndwr University is an ‘expert’ on vampires, has published on the subject and even appeared on daytime TV. The Post has got it’s teeth into this story because a PhD student of the lecturer concerned is claiming compensation for ‘work related stress’ and is maintaining that there is a ‘health and safety issue’ at stake. Allegations have been made that after a lecture on vampires, a student cut themselves and licked the cut to taste the blood.

I’ll declare an interest in this story now. The lecturer concerned is Dr Emyr Williams and I know Emyr very well. I became friends with him when were both doing our PhDs at Bangor University and I remained close friends with him for years although I haven’t seen him recently because I was forced to leave north Wales after extreme harassment from the paedophiles’ friends. Dr Emyr Williams is not and never has been a ‘vampire’, as the lurid story in the Post speculates. Emyr is a psychologist of religion and his first degree was in theology. His PhD was actually on the beliefs and attitudes of people attending Bangor Cathedral, but Emyr is very bright, very inquiring and he also became interested in the beliefs of people who follow alternative spritualities -and yes, there are people in the UK who claim to be vampires. Emyr is now one of the leading authorities on this. That has nothing to do with being a vampire. Glyndwr University were very keen to employ Emyr – the institution is seriously short on high achieving academics and they bit his arm off when he showed an interest in working there. Emyr is also a whizz at stats, which very few academics are unless they are actually statisticians. This means that Emyr can spot bad research when he sees it or research that is trying to mislead and there is a lot of that about. As for ‘work related stress’ – if there is work related stress at Glyndwr and from what I used to hear there was always plenty of that, it will not be emanating from Emyr. He shows a concern for the well-being of his students and colleagues way beyond that usually found in universities. Indeed that is how I became such good friends with Emyr. Whilst the paedophiles’ friends harassed and threatened me, spread vicious rumours about me, rang up my PhD supervisor and dripped poison into his ear, drove cars in my direction very fast very carelessly and then had me arrested because the Chair of the North West Wales NHS Trust Elfed Roberts was ‘fed up’ of my complaints about the mental health services and was cross because I had pink hair and had called his ludicrous car a penismobile, Emyr was the best friend that one could have had. He could see exactly what was going on and like the Hergest Whistleblower and a few others who stood by me, reassured me that the appalling behaviour of these people said nothing about me.

It speaks volumes about Glyndwr that it is Emyr who has found himself at the centre of a storm there. Glyndwr University is a troubled institution and it has been for years. There are a number of other academics there who like Emyr are high performing both in terms of their research and their teaching, but Glyndwr has found itself at the bottom of the league tables ever since it was created but they don’t have enough staff like Emyr. Glyndwr has tried to construct itself as an institution which is vocationally based, but there are massive problems with that claim as well. I don’t know anything about the engineering side of Glyndwr, but I do know about the ‘health and social care’ side – we’re back to the paedophiles’ friends again. The institution is teaming with ‘experts’ in health and social care who have previously worked in or been very well aware of the practices of the dreadful ‘services’ in north Wales and their penchant for neglecting and abusing patients. But none of them will say a word. My post ‘Last Man Standing’ details the background of Dr Wulf Livingstone, a senior lecturer in social work there – Livingstone knows so much about the misconduct of the ‘services’ that he probably should make his way to the police station and give a statement. A few years ago Glyndwr was running a ‘substance abuse’ course for people who wanted to work with drug users. Except that it seemed that people with the backgrounds and skills necessary for that work were being turned down for places – whilst places were offered to people who were drug users themselves. Why are we not surprised? The ‘substance abuse’ business in north Wales is dominated by CAIS, the ‘charity’ run by the paedophiles’ friends Dafydd and Lucille and some of their ‘peer support workers’ are dealing to their ‘clients’. As Brown observed, no-one in north Wales would want a drugs worker who could actually do the job properly, because they’d see straight through CAIS and get more than a few of them arrested.

Glyndwr University has a history from which it has not escaped. It was previously known as NEWI, the North East Wales Institute and before that, Cartrefle College. Read the biographies of the paedophiles and their friends as described in the Waterhouse Report – again and again they had ‘trained’ at Cartrefle College. The thugs on the ground battering and sexually assaulting the kids in care in north Wales had qualifications from Cartrefle College but their managers frequently had qualifications from Bangor University, Liverpool University or Salford College of Technology. The lawyers and judges who protected them all were often graduates of Aberystwyth and the Top Doctors sitting on the heap of shit were frequently graduates of Liverpool Medical School. There was a very obvious pattern. Somebody was employed at Cartrefle College giving qualifications to that bunch of monsters – and that somebody will have been subsumed into NEWI when it was formed and then into Glyndwr University. Even if they are now retired, it will be the usual phenomenon – they’ll still be in touch with former students and associates who will not yet have retired, they’ll be pulling the strings and back-scratching and everyone will be quietly reminded of exactly how many reputations and careers will go tits-up or indeed how many now elderly people could die in prison if the vow of silence is broken. What happened in children’s homes in north Wales is now receding into history, a lot of the politicians and judges involved are dead and those we know and love are fully aware that if they can keep the lid on it for another ten years or so they’ll be home and dry. Pensions and reputations intact. Of course nearly all the kids who were in the homes and the patients of the paedophiles’ prisons – the North Wales Hospital and Garth Angharad – are now dead, having met unfortunate premature deaths.

People living and working in north Wales have long since been fascinated by the tales of madness and serious mismanagement that leaked out of Glyndwr University. The centre of the most florid stories was Professor Mike Scott, the former Vice-Chancellor. People looked on in wonder and asked each other how much longer the chaos could be allowed to continue – staff told stories of Mike Scott giving crazed lectures to the staff en masse, of Scott telling barefaced lies and of rumours that the University was known to be virtually bankrupt but Scott nonetheless was spending like a drunken sailor on bizarre plans. One of the most notorious was Mike Scott’s plan to establish a ‘corridor of knowledge’ – he purchased some sheds along the side of a road in Wrexham in pursuit of this plan, but somehow it never really got off the ground. One of the Biggest Mysteries in north Wales also involves Mike Scott – whilst it was widely alleged that Glyndwr was flat on it’s back breathing it’s last financially, Mike Scott purchased the Racecourse which was next to the University for nearly two million quid – no-one could work out HOW. Allegations of financial corruption flew…He paid a lot of money for the sheds as well. Even people who only fleetingly met Mike Scott never forgot him – someone who shook hands with him described it as like shaking hands ‘with a wet fish’. But then I discovered that Scott had previous. Before being given his own university to destroy, he had been a PVC at De Montfort University – and had really screwed up there. Whilst Scott was at De Montfort he announced plans to establish an ‘axis of knowledge’ passing through three countries (I think the countries involved were England, Wales and Ireland), a bit like Hitler’s expansionist plans a few decades ago. People marvelled at how, after the DMU years, Scott was ever actually given any sort of job at NEWI, let alone given responsibility for running the place. It was alleged that NEWI was such a train wreck that the Welsh Gov’t were desperate for it to ‘merge’ with another institution, but no other college would touch them with a barge pole. Whilst he was wreaking havoc in Wrexham, there was another truly fascinating anecdote circulating about Mike Scott. Some of the older staff at Bangor University claimed to know the man who failed Mike Scott’s PhD in times past. I was told that Scott had done a PhD in English years ago, but he failed his viva and had to resubmit, which is why so many at Bangor looked on in horror at what he was allowed to do in Wrexham.

I know that readers will be fully aware that much of this can be interpreted as academics sneering at other institutions and their alleged follies and of course an awful lot of that goes on. Brown always used to say ‘when you work in a university you hear the most appalling things about people and you must never believe a word of it. But you must never be naïve enough not to listen’. But the reason that there was so much interest in what was going on in Wrexham was that someone somewhere was allowing this to happen – and public money was being squandered on a very large scale. Where was the accountability?

So what about the governance of Glyndwr University? Let’s take a look.

The current Chancellor of Glyndwr University is Trefor Jones CBE; he took up the post in Jan 2016. Trevor is described as having a ‘long and distinguished relationship with NEWI’ – he was their Chair. Trefor Jones was the Lord Lieutenant of Clwyd 2001-2012. He took his duties seriously – when HM the Queen and went to visit Flint, Trefor met her at Flint station! (Flint station is a dreadfully grotty place, I’m gobsmacked that Her Maj ever agreed to alight there.) Readers will understand why my interest was piqued when I saw that Trefor had been appointed to this post – this blog is full of the names of the paedophiles’ friends who ended up as Lord Lieutenants or Deputy Lieutenants. So who is Trefor?

Trefor Jones grew up in Rhyl and started his working life as an apprentice at what is now called Airbus at Broughton. He eventually became Chair and CEO of Pilkington Optronics. In 2000 Pilkington won a contract worth millions to supply the Royal Netherlands Army. I note that the new Vice-Chancellor of Glyndwr, Professor Maria Hinfelaar, is described as a ‘Dutch national’. Now that could well be of no significance – but continue reading this post.

Trefor has many varied interests. He was or is Chairman of the North Wales Area Committee; was or is the Chair of Celtec; was or is a member of the Welsh Industrial Development Advisory Board; was or is the Chair of the North Wales Economic Forum; was the Deputy Chair of the WDA (see post ‘Corruption Bay Special’ for background on the infamous WDA); he was or is the Chair of Clwyd Justices Advisory Committee; he has just stepped down from his role as Chair of St Kentigerns Hospice. Now perhaps he is, as the local media reassures us, simply a man who has dedicated his life to public service in north Wales. But guess what else Trefor was? He was a member of Clwyd Health Authority. So Trevor knew that Dafydd and Gwynne the lobotomist of the North Wales Hospital were unlawfully banging people up who crossed the paths of the paedophile gang. Trefor will have been one of the people who ignored the numerous complaints about patients being assaulted, sexually abused and fleeced of their money. He was part of the Health Authority that did not investigate complaints about those matters. As a member of that Health Authority he will have known the other people named on this blog who as members of both the Health Authority and Clwyd Social Services were directly involved in concealing the abuse in children’s homes in Clwyd. After the abolition of Clwyd Health Authority, Trefor continued with an NHS role – he was Vice-Chairman of Conwy and Denbighshire NHS Trust. So he will have had domain over those notoriously dreadful wards for the elderly in Ysbyty Glan Clwyd then.

Trefor had fingers in many pies and was at the top of one of the biggest businesses in north Wales. He is someone who could have spoken up about the wrongdoing. But he didn’t.

More about those pies. When Trefor was appointed Lord Lieutenant, the Clerk to the Lord Lieutenant Colin Everett – who doubled up as CEO of Flintshire County Council – announced in Jan 2009 that Tefor had appointed numerous Deputy Lieutenants. Among them were Judge Roger Dutton, Lady Susan Langford, Michael Peters and Professor Mike Scott. Lady Susan Langford is President of St Kentigerns, the hospice of which Trefor has just stopped being Chairman! Lady Susan’s husband, Lord Geoffrey Langford, is a Patron of St Kentigerns. Michael Peters I believe is better known as Mike Peters, the rock star from the band The Alarm. Mike Peters and his wife Jules are probably the most effective PR people that Ysbyty Glan Clwyd has. Mike Peters famously developed testicular cancer and has spent the years since raising money and extolling the wonders of the hospital which saved his life. Presumably the Top Doctors didn’t tell Mike that testicular cancer has a very low mortality rate and that nearly all patients survive, even if they are treated in a hospital with a reputation as bad as Ysbyty Glan Clwyd. A recent press release informed us that Jules has now been diagnosed with breast cancer. I think that someone ought to tell her just how big the problems are in YGC and give her the chance to be treated elsewhere, because breast cancer has a much higher mortality rate than testicular cancer. As for Professor Michael Scott – well we know all about him…

So who sits on the governing body of Glyndwr University? I had a look at the University website and the Governor’s Register of Interests 2016/17 and this is what I discovered. The governors include:

Celia Jenkins. In 2013 Celia was the High Sheriff of Clwyd. She was originally from Cheshire – the stomping ground of Sir Peter Morrison MP and all those who kept quiet about him molesting children (see post ‘    ‘). Celia is the Deputy Chair of the North East Wales Magistrates Bench, the Chair of the North East Wales Magistrates Panel, a member of the Wrexham Youth Justice Management Board, a member of the Lord Chancellor’s Committee for Clwyd and a member of the Executive Committee of the League of Friends Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Foundation Hospital. Celia’s spouse is a member of the Council of Chester University and a Board Member of the Llangollen International Eisteddfod. Previous posts have mentioned people involved in the abuse of children in north Wales who trained at Chester College – which became Chester University – and the paedophiles’ friends who were or are involved with the Llangollen International Eisteddfod, including the daddy of the biggest cover-up, Sir Ronald Waterhouse.

Barrie Jones. Barrie is the Editorial Director of NWW media – he joined the ‘family owned Board of Directors’ in 2010. This is the North Wales Weekly News Group, which published illustrious local titles including the North Wales Weekly News and Wrexham Leader. Barrie worked for those newpapers back in the 80s. When those papers had a penchant for printing flattering articles about Dr Dafydd Alun Jones rather than what was really happening inside of the North Wales Hospital. I very much doubt that the victims of the paedophiles’ were given much of a voice in those titles either. Barrie is involved with the journalism course at Glyndwr!

Gill Kreft. Gill is married to the well-known Mario Kreft and they own the Pendine Park empire, a substantial business involving care homes for the elderly and those with dementia. Gill is listed as a Director and shareholder of a number of the businesses that she and Mario run. She is also a Director of DBS Disclosures Services Ltd, a Director of Gwarchod Properties Ltd and a Trustee of the Social Care Institute of Excellence. The Social Care Institute of Excellence is now a standing joke in the wake of recent revelations as to the reality of much ‘social care’ in the UK. Gill also has a role with the Academy of Care Practitioners Ltd and Care Forum Wales.

Gill’s husband is very high profile in Wales and appears in the media regularly raising concerns regarding the lack of funding for social care. He certainly sounds much more compus mentis than many other people involved in that area of business in north Wales, although I don’t know anyone who’s ever worked for him so I don’t know what the reality is. His business is certainly very substantial and seems to be expanding rapidly, in spite of his pleas of living on the breadline and being unable to afford to pay his staff anything higher than the legal minimum. I note that Gill lists her interests as opera and exotic travel, such a viewing mountain gorillas. Opera and luxury holidays to the Virunga National Park don’t come cheap. I doubt that the care assistants at Pendine Park can afford such pastimes.

Rebecca Maxwell. Corporate Director of the Economy and Public Realm at Denbighshire County Council. In 2003 was Head of Children’s Services for Stirling Council. Prior to this, Rebecca had a ‘thirteen year career in the NHS in a variety of strategic and operational roles in England and Scotland’. Advisor to the North Wales Economic Ambition Board.

Paul McGrady. Has lived in Wrexham since 1977 – he was there when the paedophile gang in the Wrexham children’s homes was doing it’s worst than. Paul works at Wrexham County Borough Council as an accountant. That’s the Wrexham County Borough Council who were involved in the fiddle that I have previously blogged about which ensured that Dafydd and Lucille’s charity CAIS landed the contract for ‘service user involvement’ across the whole of north Wales then. Paul has previous – in 2005 he was Head of Finance and Assests for Denbighshire County Council. Denbighshire County Council has featured on the blog previously regarding irregularities in the funds – on some occasions the funds weren’t there. In 2015 Paul was appointed a Director of CCG, the ‘social landlord’ that was formed when the housing stock of Gwynedd County Council was transferred. The CCG who continues to employ the same staff who fiddled and embezzled when they were employed by the housing dept in Gwynedd County Council (see post ‘News Round-Up, March 24 2017’), the CCG that is the subject of constant serious complaints and media exposes.

Judy Owen. Judy is a Trustee/Director of St Kentigerns Hospice – that’s right, the hospice from which Trefor has just stepped down as Chairman! Judy joined Pilkington P.E. Ltd in 1973 and progressed to the role of site accountant. So she was an employee of Trefor’s then – and was responsible for the dosh. In 1999 she left Pilkington to work for Euro DPC at Llanberis, where she became finance director. I used to live near Euro DPC and they became a legend. When they first opened their doors in 1991 or 1992, they placed big adverts in the local papers telling local people how many ‘opportunities’ would be available. The employment situation in the area was dire, so everyone – including me – beat a path to their door. What a shock we had. The ‘international biotech company’ who had told the world that there would be well-paid managerial and scientific jobs in Llanberis was indeed seeking managers and scientists, but they had no intention of paying managers and scientists professional salaries, at least if those managers and scientists were local. I was offered the grand sum of £6000 pa after replying to an advert for scientists with postgrad qualifications and experience and the son of someone else I know was offered a similar pittance when he applied for a managerial position. When I asked why they were offering their scientists and technicians such poor pay they cheerily told me that the ‘market rate’ in Gwynedd dictated the salaries on offer. Euro DPC also had a plant in Oxford – where people doing exactly the same jobs as in Llanberis were paid very much more. I knew of one person who moved from Gwynedd to Oxford to do exactly the same job for much higher pay. Because Euro DPC paid sheepshaggers less. I that bet Euro DPC received ‘funding’ from the WDA to set that plant up in Llanberis as well. Do you want to tell us what was going on in that company Judy? Euro DPC played fast and loose with Health and Safety as well. One of the students that I did teacher training with in 2000/01 was partially blind. She’d been a chemist at Euro DPC in Llanberis, there’d been an accident and chemicals had got into her eye – there was no first aider on the premises and a manager refused to take her to Ysbyty Gwynedd for a check up. She suffered damage to her sight.

Phil Storrow. Phil is Head of a Dept at Glyndwr. He used to work at British Aerospace, just like Trefor. Phil is also a Director of Optic Glyndwr Ltd and of Glyndwr Innovations Ltd. So he is a Head of Dept at Glyndwr, a Director of two businesses owned by the University and a member of the University’s governing body – having previously worked for a company that the University’s Chancellor is associated with. Phil is also a Trustee of the Chester Childbirth Appeal. I don’t know what that is all about – although no doubt Trefor Jones will be involved somewhere – but the Countess of Chester Hospital has received an awful lot of bad publicity recently after it was revealed that the care was shite and a number of babies died unnecessarily. But then the maternity care at that hospital was not what it should have been for many years, but no-one piped up.

David Subbachi. Yet another Magistrate – David has sat on the Wrexham and Denbigh Benches for twenty years and was Chair of the Denbigh Bench. He is a former member of the Lord Chancellor’s Advisory Committee for North Wales on the selection and recruitment of Magistrates and a member of the Welsh Bench Chair’s Forum as well as the National Council for Magistrates’ Association. David’s career was spent as a civil servant in the Valuation Office Agency. He is a governor of Ysgol Morgan Llwyd Wrexham and a former governor of St Mary’s RC School, Wrexham. David’s wife is Chair of Offa Community Council.

Vincent Ryan. He was born and educated in Wrexham, but he won’t have been one of the kids who grew up in a children’s home there. He has a law degree from Cardiff University and in 1981 joined Allington Hughes Solicitors, becoming a partner with the firm in 1988. He stayed until 2009. So he was a local lawyer both whilst the paedophile ring raged and throughout the Waterhouse cover-up then. Which explains why he’s the Chair of Trustees of the Wrexham Diocesan Protection Management Committee. Vincent is an employment judge at employment tribunals.

Brian Everett. Brian has spent his career in UCU (Universities and Colleges Union). He is an employment judge in employment tribunals as well. Brian is a Director of Bevere H Consulting and the Chair of Wrexham RC Diocesan Safeguarding Commission. He is also a Trustee of the CAB. As is Lucille Hughes, the woman who was named in the Waterhouse Report as knowing that a paedophile ring was operating in the social services but failed to act, whilst she was Director of Gwynedd Social Services. Brian is Trustee and Chair of the Charles Lloyd Foundation.

Neil Ashbridge.  Neil is a non-executive Director of Cartrefi Conwy and Vice-Chair of Disability Wales. He is a member of the Liverpool Cathedral Finance Committee; a member of Liverpool Hope University’s Executive Advisory Board; a member of Oxford University’s Business Economy Project Advisory Board; a member of the Welsh Industrial Development Advisory Board; a Director of the Board of West Cheshire and North Wales Chamber of Commerce; the Chair of Liverpool Chamber of Commerce.

Professor Sandra Jowett. Sandra is Vice-Chair of the National Open College Network; a non-executive Director of Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust; an Emeritus Professor at the University of Cumbria. Her son works for KPMG, London.

Tim Mitchell. Tim is a Director of McLintocks, Wrexham; a Director of the recently formed North Wales Crusaders Rugby League team, based at Glyndwr University Racecourse Stadium; the Hon Sec of the Chester and North Wales Society of Chartered Accountants.

Askar Sheibani. A Director of Deeside Business Forum Ltd; Group CEO Comtek Network Systems Ltd; a member of the Alyn and Deeside Constituency Labour Party.

Dr Colin Stuhlfelder. Colin is a Senior Lecturer in the Built Environment at Glyndwr University. He is also a Board member of Riverside Mersey North Housing Provider.

Emma Perrin. Emma’s spouse works at Airbus Operations at Broughton. Trefor’s former employers.

 

Well, there we have it. Perhaps I ought to open a competition for readers to see who can spot the highest number of conflicts of interest among that lot – before anyone does yet more research on the organisations that I’ve mentioned. The over-riding impression is of a group of people many of whom have worked for or with Trefor Jones or are involved in charitable causes or local authorities with which he has connections and who are in a position to do favours for or benefit from Glyndwr University. Many of whom are involved in the criminal justice system, which must be a dream for the paedophiles’ friends who are still cluttering up the region.

One further point about the organs of government at Glyndwr University. They have a senior member of staff, James Dawson – who has a famous brother-in-law. Dawson’s brother-in-law is John McTernan, the Rottweiler and former Director of Political Operations for Tony Blair! I have blogged about how Dawson left his previous job at Bangor University under a cloud after trying to steal a number of computers. One of which was mine, with lots and lots of info on it concerning the wrongdoing of the north Wales mental health services and how Blair’s Gov’t was keeping that as well as many other mental health scandals quiet (see post ‘When Showbiz Meets Politics’).

 

Having had a taste of what Trefor Jones got up to in his roles as Lord Lieutenant and Chancellor of Glyndwr University, I thought that I’d check out what might have been going on at St Kentigerns Hospice, where he was Chairman until literally a few days ago. I prioritised identifying who are Trustees and Patrons.

Trustees include:

Lady Susan Langford, the President. I have provided details re Susan earlier.

Judy Owen, Treasurer. That’s the Judy described earlier – who used to work as the accountant for Trefor’s company and then worked as the finance director for the dodgy Euro DPC.

Professor Mari Lloyd Williams. Mari is a Top Doctor specialising in palliative care who works at the University of Liverpool North West Cancer Centre. She has served on the fitness to practice and professional conduct committees of the GMC; on the HEFCW (Higher Education Funding Council for Wales) and UKHEAC committees 2006-12; was appointed by the Welsh Assembly Gov’t to the Review of Governance in HE in Wales; was a member of the Advisory Group under Chair Sir Adrian Webb into the Future of Higher Education in North East Wales; Chairs the Tenovus Cancer Charity Psychosocial Grants Committee. With all those connections to healthcare research and HE, presumably Mari could help Glyndwr University out if she wanted to. She’s also been in a position to decide what fate should befall the dreadful Top Doctors of north Wales should the GMC ever decide to place any of them in front of a Tribunal.

David Gozzard. David is a retired Consultant Haematologist from Ysbyty Glan Clwyd, a position that he achieved in 1988. He was Clinical Director of Pathology and was Medical Director of the Conwy and Denbighshire NHS Trust – Trefor was Vice-Chairman! After the Conwy and Denbighshire NHS Trust evolved into the North Wales NHS Trust – yet another reorganisation in a desperate attempt to stop the regional NHS killing people and it’s staff/managers siphoning off NHS funds – David became Medical Director of the new organisation. David was also Chair of the North Wales Medical Committee 2001-04.

Having been Clinical Director of Pathology in Ysbyty Glan Clwyd, David might be able to clear up a long-standing puzzle. In the summer of 1991 I had one of my many Bizarre Experiences. I had moved back to north Wales to live and I applied for a job in the path labs of Ysbyty Glan Clwyd. I was called for interview and faced a panel of three people. One man was someone from IT who was obviously the brightest on the panel but was the most junior in the hierarchy in terms of jobs, the other was a senior person from the lab staff – could it have been David Gozzard? – and the other was a most extraordinary man, even by the standards of north Wales, a Top Doctor called Binns-Smith. I should have realised that I was in for a fun time, because before I was called in for the interview I was sat in a waiting area near to some workmen who were working on the ceiling. An enormous man with a huge belly, no jacket, open-necked shirt and no tie emerged from an office nearby and started bellowing at the men working on the ceiling, hurling insults about the ‘average British workman’ no less. I presumed that he must have been their foreman, particularly as he was in possession of the stereotypical builder’s bum as his trousers started to descend whilst he yelled at the workmen. Then I noticed that not only were his trousers descending, but his flies were undone so in total quite an expanse of ancient white Y fronts were on display. He turned to me and asked if I was waiting for interview – this man it transpired was Dr Binns-Smith, head of pathology ay Ysbyty Glan Clwyd.

I followed Binns-Smith into the interview room with him still bellowing about British workmen. As I sat down, one of the others on the ‘panel’ gave me a very strained smile and simply said ‘portent’. Binns-Smith didn’t respond, but then introduced me to the IT man, making a joke about him being so lowly in the workforce but of course ‘everybody calls him the boss’. Binns-Smith commented that he had noted from my CV that I had a postgrad degree from and had worked in the London medical schools. He then launched into a rant about how his son had applied for a place in the London medical schools but had been rejected by all of them and the trouble was that medical schools were full of ‘cabbage patch socialism’ (whatever that is) and that his son’s teachers had advised him to apply for other courses after clearing but he wasn’t having his son doing an ‘arty farty’ course. This man was clearly both mad and offensive and was obviously embarrassing the other ‘interviewers’ who sat there without saying a word. I did wonder what his son was like – could he perhaps actually keep his trousers up, unlike his father? Was he as obnoxious as dad, or was he truly oppressed, having been told by his father to apply for medicine when he wasn’t able to gain the high grades needed? After about ten minutes of this, I decided that I really didn’t want to work for this lunatic, so I told Binns-Smith that I was leaving. As I walked out, I heard him bellowing at the other two men ‘gentlemen, this interview is over’. I expected the mother of all insulting letters afterwards, but I never heard another thing. I asked around, but no-one I knew was acquainted with Binns-Smith. Unlike Dafydd who regularly hit the media, I never saw any references to Binns-Smith in the local papers either. I have tried googling him since then, but nothing. Some years after my encounter with him, I did of course start hearing stories that Ysbyty Glan Clwyd was every bit as dangerous, corrupt and mismanaged as Ysbyty Gwynedd and that people were being misdiagnosed and dying when they shouldn’t have been. In the light of who was running their pathology dept I cannot say that I was surprised. Binns-Smith wasn’t the average British workman but he was only marginally worse than the average north Wales Top Doctor. If David Gozzard gets to read this blog and fancies meeting up, I’d dearly love to hear the many anecdotes that I know will have circulated around Ysbyty Glan Clwyd about that man.

St Kentigerns Hospice has a number of Patrons, one of whom is Colonel Lord Geoffrey Langford, Susan’s husband!  Lord Langford was identified as being 100 years old in an article about him a few years ago, so I’d be surprised if he was still alive. He spent his career in the British Army and inherited the family seat at Rhuddlan from a member of his extended family who had died without children. He married a number of times, the last time in 1975 to Susan. Who was then Susan Denham from Wrexham. I presume that Susan is quite a bit younger than Colonel Lord. Colonel Lord’s heir was listed as being his son, Owain Grenville Rowley-Conwy, who married a Joanna Featherstone. I presume that Owain is now Lord Langley. I note that after Trefor Jones finished his stint as Lord Lieutenant of Clwyd, the next Lord Lieutenant was someone Featherstone. It just has to be one of Joanna’s relatives doesn’t it.

One recent media article reporting that Trefor Jones was standing down as Chair of St Kentigerns after seven years mentioned that St Kentigerns was ‘saved’ solely by Trefor a few years ago when it faced bankruptcy. There were no details of how Trefor raised the money needed to save it – which will have been considerable. Trefor won’t have had it in his piggy bank. Perhaps Judy Owens – the Treasurer of St Kentigens, the former accountant of Trefor’s company and the former finance director of Euro DPC – might like to tell us.

 

I’m going to terrify readers a bit more now. Whilst I was searching for info on Trefor – I’ve only carried out a very brief search, God knows how much else I’d find if I spent a few days on it – I cam across Trefor’s name in Hansard no less. Trefor’s name appears in a document that was prepared in March 2008 and submitted to the Welsh Affairs Committee when the Committee were considering the provision of cross-border health services for Wales. The document is entitled ‘Memorandum Submitted By Huw Thomas And Colleagues’ beneath which are the words ‘submission from a group of retired people who have played a prominent role in the NHS and public life in North Wales’. The document is a lengthy, furious response to the proposals by Edwina Hart, the then Minister for Health, to redirect elective neurosurgery patients away from The Walton Centre in Liverpool to the Morriston Hospital in Swansea. I hadn’t seen this document before, but I remember that row very well. It happened as the Top Doctors and their associates in north Wales were doing their utmost to bring Edwina down. They really loathed her. The charge from the GPs was led by Dr Eamonn Jessup, who at the time was displaying a Facebook group on his Facebook page entitled ‘higher pay for doctors’. Dr Richard Tranter, lately of the Hergest Unit, was telling his patients that Edwina wanted patients referred to the Morriston because it was near her constituency. Tranter was also telling his patients to write to their AMs and MPs to complain about the NHS. Did Tranter ever tell patients to do this some years previously when the Hergest Unit were framing patients who had complained and presided over one of the highest suicide rates in the UK? No, he only did it when the Top Doctors began their co-ordinated campaign against Edwina.

The ‘memorandum’ bangs on at great length, presenting what it believes is a clinical case for continuing to refer patients to The Walton Centre. I note that the memorandum isn’t only fighting on behalf of The Walton Centre – it is also angrily maintaining that patients should not be referred to Cardiff and that referrals from north Wales should continue to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Broadgreen Cardio-Thoracic Centre, Manchester Royal Infirmary Cardiac Centre and Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Gobowen (spinal injuries and specialist orthopaedics).

Now there are a great many arguments for and against sending patients from north Wales to either the north west of England or to Cardiff or Swansea for complex specialist treatment. But what I’m interested in is who signed that ‘memorandum’ along with Trefor. Because I recognised a lot of those names. Many of them are names that can be found on the early medical records of mine that my lawyer had to go to the High Court to extract. They are the names of people whom I had never met and in many cases whom I did not know existed – but they were all part of the effort to have me either banged up in a secure hospital on the grounds of my ‘dangerousness’ which was predicated entirely on statements made by Dr Dafydd Alun Jones and Dr Tony Francis (Dr X) which they knew were untrue, or prosecuted for offences which they knew that I had not committed. Many of the names were also advising on how not to investigate my complaints concerning the criminal activities of Dr Dafydd Alun Jones, Dr Tony Francis and the staff of Gwynedd Social Services. Francis, Jones and Gwynedd Social Services were at the time facilitating and concealing the paedophile ring. I also recognised some of the names from archive material dating from the late 80s – they were the names of the people who were running Gwynedd Health Authority so badly that the Health Authority was bankrupt, the Welsh Office had sent a hit squad in and David Hunt, the Secretary of State for Wales, was writing letters to them himself.

The following names were the names that I recognised:

Dr Cedric Davies, former Director of Public Health Medicine, Gwynedd Health Authority. Cedric was on very chummy terms with Tony Francis and was part of a plot to incarcerate me in the Caswell Clinic in south Wales – although I was living and working in London.

Noreen Edwards, former Chairman of Gwynedd Health Authority. Noreen was cc’d into most letters about me. David Hunt wrote to Noreen Edwards regarding the ‘crisis’ in Gwynedd Health Authority – which had been caused by her and her mates.

Professor Robert Owen, former Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Hospital Gobowen and Professor of Orthopaedics at Liverpool University. Robert Owen was the Medical Ombudsman for the Welsh Office who organised the cover-up led by Professor Robert Bluglass after I complained about the criminal conduct of Dafydd et al (see post ‘Enter Professor Robert Bluglass CBE’). I now have documents demonstrating that doctors who were not part of my complaint and whom I was no longer being ‘treated’ by were communicating with Robert Owen without my knowledge, outside the parameters of the ‘investigation’ and were communicating with him about this at his home in Colwyn Bay. (By the way on an earlier post I stated that Robert Owen was a surgeon and prof at Cardiff – I had always presumed that, because I met him in Cardiff and of course the letters from him had a Cardiff address on them, although it was obviously the Welsh Office’s address. The info in this post concerning Owen’s affiliations to Liverpool University and the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Hospital was supplied by Owen himself in the ‘memorandum’.)

Dr David Roberts, former Consultant in Public Health Medicine, Gwynedd Health Authority. David Roberts was cc’d into letters about me.

Hilary Stevens, former Chairman, Conwy and Denbighshire NHS Trust. I used to see Hilary in action when she was a member of the Betsi Board when the Betsi was first formed. She certainly wasn’t as mad or as obnoxious as many of those we know and love, but Hilary obviously didn’t have a grip on the Conwy and Denbighshire NHS Trust. Was this because Hilary was a normal human being who was unable to control a load of criminals, some of whom had concealed a paedophile ring? Or was Hilary a smiling devil with better social skills than the rest of them?

Professor Eric Sunderland, former Vice-Chancellor of Bangor University and Lord Lieutenant of Gwynedd. Professor Sunderland always struck me as being very establishment but not barking mad or corrupt. But he did run a University full of the paedophiles’ friends with Gwynne the lobotomist working in the Student Health Centre. Perhaps Eric was someone else who was surrounded by monsters whom he couldn’t control. Either way, he can’t have been completely Of Them because he never received a knighthood. Which everybody expected him to. I was told that Eric and his wife were deeply hurt by this lack of recognition and that Professor Sunderland Not Being Given A K was another north Wales conundrum. He should have taken it as a compliment – he obviously wasn’t friendly enough with the paedophiles’ friends. And if he’d been a child molester himself, he’d have been given a peerage and admitted into the highest echelons, along with Greville Janner.

Huw Thomas, former Chief Executive of Gwynedd Health Authority. Huw wrote me inane – and in the end rude – letters and failed to investigate the most serious of complaints. He was also writing the paedophiles’ friends letters about me – he was much friendlier to them than he was to me. Huw was Chief Exec of Gwynedd Health Authority at the time of the ‘crisis’ when David Hunt had words with Noreen.

The signatures of people unknown to me are:

Dr Pat Barry, former Consultant Anaesthetist, Ysbyty Gwynedd.

Mr Michael Crumplin, former Consultant Surgeon, Ysbyty Maelor.

Mr Chris Davies, former Consultant Surgeon, Ysbyty Glan Clwyd.

Dr Harry Edwards, former Consultant Anaesthetist, Ysbyty Gwynedd, Chair of Welsh Medical Committee.

Dr Ellen Emslie, former Consultant Dermatologist, Ysbyty Glan Clwyd.

Annwen Carey Evans, former High Sheriff, Gwynedd.

D.B. Carey Evans (no position given – presumably a nobody who was simply related to the High Sheriff, which was obviously quite enough to turn them into a somebody.)

Elizabeth Colwyn Foulkes.

Sir William Gladstone, former Lord Lieutenant of Clwyd.

Dr Jeffrey Green, former Consultant Cardiologist, Ysbyty Gwynedd.

Michael Griffiths, former Chairman, Clwyd Health Authority and Chairman, Conwy and Denbighshire NHS Trust.

Dr Idris Humphries, former GP and Chairman of Welsh General Medical Service’s Committee.

Mr O.M. Jonathon, former Consultant Surgeon, Ysbyty Glan Clwyd.

Professor David Jones, former Chief Nursing Officer, Gwynedd Health Authority and Professor of Nursing, Sheffield University.

Mr David Jones, former Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, Ysbyty Gwynedd and Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital, London.

Dorothy Keddie, former Assistant Director of Nursing, North Wales Health Authority.

Mr Hywel Oliver, former Consultant Surgeon, Ysbyty Gwynedd.

Bill Owen, former Director of Finance, Gwynedd Health Authority.

Dr J. Gwyn Thomas, former GP and Chairman of Welsh Branch of Royal College of General Practitioners and Provost of Merseyside and North Wales Faculty of the Royal College of General Practitioners.

Dr Mari Thomas, former GP and Chairman of MENCAP Wales.

I do not know the above named, but I know from the positions that they were so proud to have held that they, variously, bankrupted a Health Authority, worked as leading Top Doctors in hospitals with appalling track records where serious mistakes were made which led to patients being maimed or killed, worked in a region where learning disabled people lived in dreadful conditions and were referred to as ‘cabbages’ by the managers of the ‘services’ supposedly caring for them, obstructed any attempts to improve services and declared all out war on patients who dared complain.

All of this lot who signed the ‘memorandum’ knew that terrible things were happening in the surgical depts of the local hospitals. They probably knew that the paediatrics dept of Ysbyty Gwynedd had such a dreadful reputation that there was an arrangement among local doctors that their own children would not be admitted there. Many of this lot also knew that there was a madman running the region’s psychiatric hospital, that he was sexually exploiting patients, that he was unlawfully incarcerating anyone who crossed the path of him or his criminal associates – of which there were many – and that some of those illegally incarcerated were literally never seen again. Oh and a lot of them will have known that a paedophile gang was operating in the children’s homes and that when the kids weren’t being beaten, starved or forced to work as free labour, they were being raped and buggered. This motley crew destroyed the fabric of north Wales – how did they believe that they had the right to send this foolish rubbish to Parliament and demand that they be listened to?

So why were this bunch of moribund old gits so desperate to get rid of Edwina and continue to send patients to hospitals where they had connections? Was it that they feared losing control of the vice-like grip that they had over the region and  – as with the employment of new staff from elsewhere  – they dreaded anyone uncovering evidence pointing to what they had done? Myself, I keep pondering on a truly nightmare scenario. I witnessed patients who were undoubtedly left to die after complaining about this shower – it was very obviously supposed to have happened to me as well. A number of us who refused to keep quiet have existed for years whilst being completely unable to access ANY medical treatment for any medical problem, no matter how painful or life threatening. We have found vicious rumours spread around the region about us and we found ourselves turfed out of jobs in bizarre circumstances. When we investigated, a member of the Cylch was always involved. People with businesses found themselves going out of business, even if they had previously been highly successful.

Some years ago, just before this almighty row erupted between Edwina and the paedophiles’ friends which hinged upon The Walton Centre, I knew of two people in north Wales who both developed brain tumours at about the same time. One was married to someone who was known to have had a bellyful of the paedophiles’ friends and would dearly have liked to see them brought down. The paedophiles’ friends themselves were doing everything that they could to shaft this person. The other person was a former social worker who had worked in this role when the paedophile gang were on the loose and undoubtedly knew what was happening. Both of these people were referred to Walton. The former social worker was operated on, made a slow but good recovery and still socialises with the paedophiles’ friends in retirement. The spouse of the person who was being targeted by the paedophiles’ friends was told that their tumour was inoperable and they subsequently died. Maybe that tumour was inoperable – but how would anyone ever know? I was told many things for many years – but once my lawyer obtained my medical records I discovered criminal conduct that shocked even me, I discovered that Top Doctors whom I always rated as being better than their colleagues and whom I liked and thought that I got on with well were ruthlessly using the fact that I trusted them to extract information about me and even people close to me in order to do as much damage to us as they could. I also found that the only two people who had actually dared stick their necks out to protect me had lost their jobs within months – after one was prosecuted and convicted of an indecent assault.

These people were involved in serious organised crime for years. And Edwina Hart knew all about – because I told her what was happening to me, as did a few other people. No wonder she wanted to put these fuckers out of action and stop them referring patients to their mates.

So to all the relatives of the people that they killed – have this blog as a free gift. I’ll name every single person whom I know was involved. Even those who spent time supping with HM the Queen. In fact, particularly those who spent time supping with HM the Queen.

The story dominating the news reports on the radio today has been the announcement that Alison Saunders (the DPP) is ordering the CPS to  prosecute trolls who send hate mail to others on social media. Female MPs in particular are waxing lyrical about this and Luciana Berger has been wheeled out on every news bulletin to tell us all how many nasty messages she gets and how they affected her mental health. I know that public figures -especially women – can be targeted by some deeply unpleasant people. Jess Phillips went public months ago on some of the online messages that she was receiving and read a few of them out – graphic descriptions of the various sexual tortures to which these sad bastards wanted to subject her. It is deeply, deeply unpleasant and it is not acceptable. But just look at what those we know and love have got away with and Alison Saunders and previous DPPs did nothing. In spite of the fact that back in the 90s, thousands and thousands of witness statements were taken and hundreds of people were identified as having abused children in care in north Wales. As for Luciana and her mental health – at one point Luciana was Jeremy Corbyn’s spokesperson on mental health. I was seriously underwhelmed by her complete failure to speak out about what actually happens to people in the mental health system. They die Luciana. Particularly if they have grown up in care and start talking about what happened to them.

 

There would seem to be many vampires in north Wales, particularly at Glyndwr University. But Dr Emyr Williams is not one of them. Emyr is a high achieving academic, someone who does not put himself first constantly and is a man of integrity. What on earth would north Wales want with one of them, it is hardly surprising that the writs are flying and the Daily Post is in overdrive.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

Brief News Round-Up, April 11 2017

Two reports relevant to the material presented on this blog have appeared in the Welsh media today.

BBC News Wales is reporting on the inquest of Toni Robinson, 65, from Northampton who died in the sea at Moelfre in October 2016. Pathologist Mark Lord declared that the cause of death was drowning. The coroner at Mrs Robinson’s inquest was Dewi Pritchard Jones, who has featured on this blog regularly as a result of the extraordinary conclusions that he arrives at even in the face of deaths that are frankly suspicious. Dewi also works very hard to ensure that he doesn’t return verdicts of suicide, even in cases where the evidence overwhelmingly points to this. In Mrs Robinson’s case, he returned a verdict of accidental death. However, as usual, the inquest involved wild speculation. Dewi concluded that Mrs Robinson drowned after falling into the sea trying to rescue her pet dog. No evidence was mentioned at all that pointed to this, there wasn’t even a reference to a mildly damp dog being discovered, yet alone a dog in the sea anywhere near Mrs Robinson. However Dewi did admit that he didn’t have much evidence to suggest such a conclusion. He commented ‘my guess – you can’t put it any stronger – based on weak evidence…’ Judging from the BBC report Dewi didn’t have any evidence let alone weak evidence. But then Dewi very obviously resorts to guesswork at inquests. However, even Dewi’s guesswork at this inquest did not surpass his guesswork at the inquest of Merfyn Hughes, a retired social worker, who’s body was found in someone else’s garden concealed from view 30 feet below an embankment. Mr Hughes’s body had no injuries. Dewi concluded that Mr Hughes had fallen down the embankment into the hidden spot in the garden and decided to take a nap, subsequently dying of hypothermia. For full details of this mind-blowing inquest into Mr Hughes death – which a lot of people felt was so suspicious that foul play could have been involved – please see my post ‘A Particularly Worrying Death’.

The second relevant news item today is yet another huge spread in the Daily Post online concerning an ‘investigation’ into the problem of the use of synthetic cannabinoids in Wrexham, again centring on people – especially homeless people – using Black Mamba and Spice. I’m a little cynical about this particular moral panic, because much of the evidence seems a little shaky. Once more we are told about ‘users’ standing like ‘statues’ or walking around like ‘zombies’, there are tales of cigarette butts being found which ‘look as though’ they might have Mamba in them and of ‘daylight drug deals’ (the reality being that the Daily Post reporter saw money changing hands and ‘what looked like a wrap’ being passed between the two people involved. It could have been anything and money changes hands constantly in Wrexham town centre – it’s called shopping). Wrexham Council have commented that they are working with agencies to combat the problem. Well that will be CAIS, as featured many times before on this blog, who recently received £4.9 million for providing ‘substance misuse services’ in north Wales (please see post ‘So This Is What £4.9 Million Buys’). If Wrexham really is drowning in a sea of Black Mamba and Spice may I suggest that somebody stops giving CAIS millions of pounds of taxpayers money.

The Commissioning of ‘Parabl’ – and Yet More History

MPrevious posts on this blog have covered ‘Parabl’, a ‘talking therapies partnership’ operating across north Wales which is a joint enterprise between MIND and CAIS (please see ‘Newly Discovered – ‘Parabl’). Parabl’s remit is to provide ‘talking treatments’, including Mindfulness and Computerised CBT to people with ‘mild to moderate’ mental health difficulties. I have had a number of e mails from readers all telling me the same thing – that after being refused treatment from the mental health services in north Wales because they were not considered to be ill enough to warrant support, they then tried Parabl, only to be refused a service on the grounds that their difficulties were ‘too severe’. So there seems to be a lot of people falling between two stools who cannot get any care. One regular correspondent who is well networked is questioning to whom Parabl are actually offering a service – he has asked around and has not found anyone whom they have agreed to treat, everyone was subjected to the same tick-box ‘telephone assessment’ and was then turned down.

After reading my post ‘The Story Behind £1.5 Million’ which details the fix that was the ‘commissioning process’ by which the contract for ‘service user/carer involvement’ in north Wales was handed to CAIS/Hafal, a reader e mailed and asked me if I could find out anything about how ‘Parabl’ was offered a contract and what the sum of money involved was. I have today received a response to my FoI requests to the Betsi regarding these matters. I haven’t received enough information to build up a full picture – as ever crucial questions go unanswered – but I do have information which may be of interest to readers.

Parabl was commissioned directly by the ‘mental health service of the Health Board’ (ie. the Betsi)- so unlike the contract given to CAIS/Hafal for ‘service user/carer involvement’, Wrexham County Borough Council was not allowed to unilaterally make the decision as to who was commissioned. Only two organisations bid for the contract, that was Parabl and Cruse. Parabl are being paid £75,000 per quarter for their ‘service’ and during the first year of the contract they were paid an extra £15,000 pa on top of this. The FoI response describes the ‘services’ being provided as ‘including but not restricted to’: ‘comprehensive assessment and agreed planned interventions with an individual; self-help – bibliotherapy, mental health promotion and education; individual guided self-help programmes based on CBT principles; group based therapy- structured and evidence based, such as CBT; individual therapy – counselling, solution focussed therapy and support’.

I have also received a copy of the ‘Invitation To Tender’ document. It is mentioned that the ‘service must be of consistently high quality’ (well there’s a clause that will have been breached), driven by the Mental Health Measure (Wales) 2010, community based and provides an opportunity for integration between the statutory sector and the Third Sector. So the gravy train cometh – the Third Sector is dominated by people with close connections to the statutory sector or even people who have previously spent most of their careers in the statutory sector (eg. the Board of CAIS, which is nearly entirely comprised of people who worked in or still do work in the statutory sector, some of whom left under a very big cloud indeed; or people such as Robin Holden, a former Denbigh nurse who went on to work as a Hergest Unit manager who has now reconstructed himself as a ‘MIND executive’). So the ‘integration’ between the two sectors should be very easily achieved – there is substantial traffic between the two sectors and everyone will have a mate or a relative employed in the other sector. The ITT states that the service will ‘refer or signpost to specialist services’, such as CAIS for substance abuse services or Stepping Stones or RASA for survivors of sexual abuse. So whoever landed the contract was obliged to refer to dear old CAIS then. As for Stepping Stones and RASA – Stepping Stones is a Third Sector organisation based in Wrexham and RASA is based in Merseyside.

I know nothing about RASA, but Stepping Stones caught my attention some time ago, because they were offering a service to women and men who had experienced sexual abuse. I noticed this because it was a relatively recent development. For many, many years there was no service in north Wales for men who had been sexually abused. I knew this because I knew men with sexual problems who were being frozen out of all services when there was a suspicion that they had been sexually abused. There were services for women who had been sexually abused and there were actually two very good people who formerly worked at the Hergest Unit who were very skilled in helping women who had experienced sexual violence (not that either of them ever received any recognition – one was the nurse who ran the day centre that was closed down against patient’s wishes and the other was the Hergest whistleblower who was loathed and bullied by nearly everyone because he was making Public Interest Disclosures regarding the abuse and neglect of patients). Other people too offered ‘counselling’ for women and girls who had been or were thought to have been sexually abused, but these other people were doing something rather odd. I heard many reports that they were telling female patients that they ‘knew’ that they’d been sexually abused even when the patients insisted that they hadn’t. The more robust patients had stand-up rows with ‘therapists’ about this – but the more vulnerable patients ended up becoming very confused indeed and began to think that perhaps they had been sexually abused but had ‘repressed’ it. Indeed that’s what they were told had happened by the people who told them that they’d been sexually abused. Furthermore, I knew of situations where mental health professionals and ‘therapists’ were delighted when ‘disclosures’ were made and provided much encouragement and positive feedback. So in some instances there was a great deal of pressure on patients to ‘reveal’ sexual abuse and even to name ‘abusers’. I had been aware for many years that this was going on and my friend Brown and I had always suspected that it was a smokescreen for the sexual exploitation/abuse that was happening to patients at the hands of people employed by the health and social care services themselves. I have documentary evidence that patients who complained of inappropriate conduct on the part of Dr Dafydd Alun Jones were told that this was ‘transference’ and ‘projection’ as a result of sexual abuse in their earlier lives. This was also documented upon patient’s records without their knowledge. I had long since been aware of such fuckwittery happening, but about 15 years ago I came across a case that brought home the possible terrible consequences.

I got to know a family from Gwynedd with four teenaged daughters. The mum was effectively a single parent because her husband was in prison for sexually abusing the daughters. It was well-known locally that the mum had been horrified at events and ‘had no idea’ what her husband had been up to. All the daughters had been ‘counselled’ which is where they had ‘disclosed’ what their dad had done – the family had of course had extensive contact with Gwynedd Social Services and the mental health services. I then got to know the eldest daughter, who had suffered with bulimia and alcohol problems. I got to know her quite well and I never saw anything that suggested that she was deluded or a fantasist. She was bright, had trained as a teacher, but never spoke about her father at all and I never mentioned him to her. However I knew from a friend of her mother’s that the mental health services considered this young woman to be a very big problem indeed. Not because like so many of the rest of us that she had complained about them – she hadn’t. This young woman was a problem because she ‘wouldn’t admit’ that her father had abused her. It appeared that huge pressure had been put on her to make a witness statement against him but she consistently refused, maintaining that he had done no such thing. And this was taken as evidence of how unhinged she was. There was no other aspect of her life that indicated this – until after her dad went to prison, she began to develop eating problems and then hit the bottle. But when I knew her she was functioning very much better than an awful lot of other people that I knew who were suffering greatly – yet the mental health services weren’t coming near them, even when they were begging for a service. I do know however that she was under very great strain because of her job. She was working in a ‘nursing home’ for women who had been sexually abused and were serious self-harmers, a monstrous place where multiple abuses were occurring, an establishment that was part of a chain called Prestwood (please see previous post ‘A Convenient Arrangement With The Private Sector’ to read about the extensive horrors at Prestwood Homes).

This young woman was left to deal with very distressed other young women alone – she witnessed two of them try to kill themselves. But the managers of this home overseeing this regime of extreme abuse discovered that this young woman had bulimia and alcohol problems – they were threatening her that if she ever left their employment they would reveal her problems to future employers. I knew that she was very frightened of them because she told me. She was also being swindled by them – her mum couldn’t understand why she was working such long hours for such a pittance and was keen that she should leave this job. She did eventually escape their clutches but guess what – she never worked again. Her health then did start declining and her alcohol problem became very serious. She was a patient of Dr Richard Tranter’s at the Hergest Unit – she died of organ failure few years ago after being admitted to Ysbyty Gwynedd in a very bad way. I knew her closest friend who told me that Tranter had deemed her ‘untreatable’ – just like so many other patients who have died whilst in the care of the Hergest Unit! However what the ‘services’ don’t know is that this friend had received a letter from this young woman a few days before she died – it was a suicide note. I didn’t read this note, but I do know that everyone in this young woman’s circle of friends all noticed that what was being said about her by the mental health services was not consistent with what they knew of her. And they all speculate that perhaps her dad had been fitted up. But as so often is the case with controversies in the health and welfare services in north Wales, the key witness is dead.
So I’m aware of what can happen to those women on the receiving end of ‘counselling’ for sexual abuse. But as I mentioned, until recently there was no ‘service’ for men. I noticed from Stepping Stones’s website that they were established in 1986 – so presumably they too did not offer a service to men until more recently. It wasn’t only me who noticed that there was no service in north Wales for males who had been sexually abused. It was mentioned in the Jillings Report. The Jillings Report, written in 1996, was of course the first report into the activities of the north Wales paedophile ring – which targeted boys rather than girls. The Jillings Report maintained that the most dreadful abuses – physical, sexual and emotional – had been inflicted upon children in children’s homes in Clwyd in the 70s and 80s. It maintained that senior police officers and politicians may have been involved in perpetrating this abuse and that children who had complained about it were punished for making ‘false allegations’. By the time that Jillings reported, 12 children involved had died. Jillings’s team were subjected to so much aggro during their investigation that they considered resigning – the North Wales Police refused to co-operate with them. The Jillings Report was famously not made public in 1996 on the grounds that the local authorities insurers Municipal Mutual would withdraw cover so damning was the evidence. Some five years ago I had a shock when I realised that someone whom I knew through my academic work was the wife of the lawyer who had advised the local authorities in the wake of the Jillings Report – it was this man who advised them to make no comment on the grounds that what had happened was indefensible and to never release the Report. (He was also the lawyer who colluded with Lucille Hughes, Director of Gwynedd Social Services, over a number of years in a series of attempts to imprison me.) The local authorities had approached this man for advice because he was known to be a very sharp lawyer and they really needed someone to extract them from this barrel of shit. I was interested to learn though that this vile bunch showed no loyalty at all to the man who kept a lot of people out of prison – and who probably put a few innocent people in there as well if they dared challenge Lucille et al. Some years after saving their skins, he developed cancer. Ysbyty Gwynedd failed to diagnose it until he was very ill indeed. Following that he developed serious mental health problems – and was subjected to the same shite, negligent care that the rest of us were. I even recognised the name of one of the lacklustre CPNs that his wife mentioned – it was one of the women who had previously worked for the Arfon Community Mental Health Team and who had lied in Court in an attempt to have me imprisoned. She later went to work for the mental health team on Anglesey which was how she ended up being allocated to the team ‘caring’ for this man. This lawyer never worked again. I never told his wife that when I was young I too had been touched by the bunch of bastards that her husband had defended – and had nearly gone to prison because of the lies that her husband was coaching them all to tell about me. I really liked her and it was clear that she and her husband had been hung out to dry, although I’m not sure that she realised this. She was just baffled as to why the mental health services weren’t doing more for her husband. They were probably leaving him to top himself as was their ‘care plan’ for all the other people who had knowledge of what had been going on…

There was an attempt to destroy all copies of the Jillings Report but readers might remember that some copies later resurfaced in the wake of a BBC FoI request and were finally made public, although the Report was extensively redacted. When I read the Report, not only did I notice that the Report noted that there were no services in north Wales for males who had been sexually abused, but there were references to someone working in the Third Sector who seemed to have had a role in ensuring this. Their name was of course redacted, but from contextual evidence in the Report I have a suspicion that this was the person who was for many years the manager of the MIND centre in Abbey Road, Bangor and who then became a mental health social worker. Throughout her long and glorious career this person was told by ‘clients’ many times of the flagrant abuse that they were experiencing at the hands of the mental health services. She never said a word. I believe that she has now retired – congratulations Alison Greenaway, you’ve lived a lot longer than so many of the people that you were so committed to ‘helping’, as you traipsed among Bethesda’s hippy community impressing your husband’s friends with your good works… As for Stepping Stones, who for so long didn’t provide a service for males who had been sexually abused – well Stepping Stones is based in Wrexham. The same Wrexham that housed the Bryn Estyn children’s home where so many boys were sexually abused  in the 70s and 80s – a number of staff at Bryn Estyn were eventually imprisoned for abusing children in their care.

Back to the ITT for the ‘Parabl’ contract. It states that any ‘queries about procurement’ should be sent to the contact for ‘NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership – Procurement Services’, although my copy has redacted the name and e mail address of this person. However it would appear that their PA/administrator is a Kate Johnston. As part of the commissioning process the organisations bidding were interviewed – I get the impression from the ITT that this was a crucial deciding factor as to who the lucky winners would be. The copy of the ITT that I have been sent redacts the names of the people on the interviewing panel (probably because the Betsi are aware that this blog has previously named the people who rigged a previous ‘procurement process’ in favour of CAIS – please see post ‘The Story Behind £1.5 Million’). However it does give their roles, so perhaps readers might be able to identify the culprits. They are: ‘Category Buyer, Procurement Services, NWSSP’, ‘Partnership Development and Improvement Manager, BCUHB’, ‘Health and Social Care Facilitator, Flintshire Local Voluntary Council, ‘Programme Manager, Primary Care And Psychological Therapies’ (I presume that this is one Sean Clarke, the man who has previously been listed as holding this title and who seems to be a key agent in deciding who lands these lucrative Third Sector contracts. Sean also appears in the literature produced by the very same people that he commissioned, providing ‘positive feedback’ about the service), ‘Manager of Primary Care Counselling Services BCUHB’. And there were of course ‘service users’ on the interviewing panel, just to tick that box. Which is of course the easiest category of all to rig – those vulnerable, powerless service users who are completely dependent upon the ‘service’ that they are alleged to be holding to account. And as in north Wales MIND and CAIS are two producers of tame service users en masse – other service users are elbowed out by MIND and CAIS and of course MIND and CAIS are now the two organisations providing ‘training’ for service users, so it’s pretty much a closed shop. So the service users on this interviewing panel will almost certainly have been supplied by MIND and/or CAIS.

There is also information in the ITT that states that the successful bidder must provide, as part of the ‘service’, mindfulness sessions as approved by NICE. Which Third Sector organisation on a UK wide basis has been instrumental in promoting and indeed lobbying for mindfulness to be approved by NICE? None other than MIND.

So poor old CRUSE didn’t stand a chance when they bid for this contract did they.

I note that amongst the spiel directed at the bidders, the ITT warns them that all the information that they submit as part of their bid is subject to FoI disclosures, even if it is classified as ‘commercially sensitive’. I have blogged about Parabl in response to readers who have e mailed me with concerns asking me to dig further. Those readers are much more au fait with Parabl than I am, because they have actually tried getting a service out of them. So if anyone has any further questions regarding Parabl’s activity that they think could be answered by further FoI requests, please do e mail me with your ideas and I’ll follow it up.

One further observation from the reader who first alerted me to the scam that is Parabl. I have recently had an e mail exchange with him regarding the many aspects of the con that is ‘service user/peer support’. We both concluded that it is a fantastic source of free labour provided by homeless people/people with mental health problems/drug problems for the likes of CAIS. They are all marginalised people trying to regain society’s acceptance, a class of people that sociologist Loic Wacquant described as ‘dishonoured’ – so they’re not going to be blowing the whistle on any wrongdoing at CAIS. My correspondent has drawn my attention to an article from the Daily Mail that must have been manna from heaven to a Daily Mail journalist – it has a headline referring to a ‘Millionaire Gypsy’ who kept ‘Homeless Drug Addicts As Slaves’. He has pointed out that this describes CAIS’s activities. It certainly does. Furthermore, Dr Dafydd Alun Jones, Chair of CAIS, is undoubtedly a millionaire by now but he did come from very humble origins in Bethesda. In a flattering profile of Jones’s early years in a local newspaper some time ago, it was stated that ‘the family originally came from Bethesda but travelled around a lot’. Yes Brown observed, probably every time that the bailiffs moved them on. Surely it is now time for Dafydd and his old sweetheart Lucille Hughes to tie the knot and celebrate with the ultimate Big Fat Gypsy Wedding. Lucille could even buy herself a decent wig for the occasion, along with a totally over the top dress studded with crystals and a 100 foot train. Dafydd was known for his parties at his place in Talwrn, parties to which some very dodgy people were invited, because no professional people wanted to be seen within a mile of him, even those who worked so hard to conceal his criminal activities. Dafydd could hold the biggest piss-up followed by a brawl in a tent that Talwrn has ever witnessed.

 

So This Is What £4.9 Million Buys

The Daily Post is running yet another report on the north Wales drugs ‘crisis’ which seems to have caught the public’s imagination (please see blog posts ‘Normal Service Resumed – News Round-Up, March 8 2017’ and ‘Update, March 9 2017: My Complaint To The Betsi, Wrexham Drug Problem, Anglesey Children’s Services, HMP Berwyn’). The Daily Post is running another interview with the relative of someone in Wrexham who is alleged to be using Black Mamba, this time the mother of a teenaged girl who, it is claimed, has been ‘lost to the streets of Wrexham’. The mother who spoke to the Daily Post maintained that her daughter had complex mental health issues and hit the Black Mamba last year when her baby was removed from her and put into ‘care’. The ‘despairing mum’ stated that her daughter ‘needed sectioning last year but, as there were no available beds at the mental health unit in Wrexham, they let her walk out of the hospital…I’ve asked the police to help but they can’t do anything. As she’s not funding the drug through shoplifting, they can’t arrest her’.

I note that although the emphasis in this story is on the Black Mamba and the problems allegedly stemming from this, once again this would seem to be a story of complete state failure. A teenager with mental health issues has been unable to access mental health care – that is rapidly becoming an everyday story of north Wales folk – and it would seem that no-one will ‘help’ unless she breaks the law and is arrested. There is also another huge elephant in the room here – this teenager has had a baby removed from her care. There is at present a lot of concern about the fate of women who have had children removed from their care and of course there is equal concern about what happens to those children once they have been taken into ‘care’. North Wales has not covered itself in glory in this field in the past – there was a paedophile ring in this region that operated via the children’s services for years.

The Post also reports that Andrew RT Davies, the leader of the Welsh Conservatives, called on Jane Hutt AM, the leader of the House, to convene a summit involving all stakeholders involved in tackling substance misuse. Davies was reported to have said that ‘the Welsh Government’s substance misuse strategy is costing the taxpayer an estimated £50m annually to deliver, but the problems related to alcohol and drugs endure and show no meaningful signs of abating… the shocking images last week of drug users in Wrexham’s bus station epitomise the lethal complacency of Labour ministers in tackling this issue’. (At this point I would suggest that Mr Davies checks his facts – the original ‘shocking images’ that appeared in the Daily Post were not actually of ‘drug users’ in Wrexham bus station and this was admitted in the small print.) Responding to Mr Davies, Ms Hutt said: ‘If we look particularly at North Wales, the Welsh Government provides over £4.9m of the substance misuse action fund to the North Wales area planning board. That’s about commissioning a range of needs-led services delivered by the providers in that region’. Ms Hutt goes on to refer to the ‘multi-agency approach’ that is used, the ‘agencies’ including the North Wales Police, the police and crime commissioner, Wrexham local authority and voluntary sector organisations’.

Mr Davies may erroneously believe that Wrexham bus station is full of comatose people flat out on the floor because they are ‘on drugs’ – try travelling on a bus and changing at Wrexham bus station Mr Davies and you’ll soon find out that this is not true – but he does have a point about the Welsh Govt’s complacency. I’m sure that they WANT to tackle substance abuse, but they need to look at to whom they have given £4.9 million. The ‘voluntary sector organisation’ in question is CAIS, the substance abuse charity established and chaired by Dr Dafydd Alun Jones. Dafydd has long since promoted himself as the one ‘expert’ on drugs that north Wales has and since he assumed this role in the 1990s, the drug problem in north Wales has exploded. Despite their track record of dismal failure, Dafydd and CAIS continue to pick up lucrative contracts for ‘substance misuse services’ and now even for ‘service user involvement’. Readers are encouraged to read my blog post ‘The Story Behind £1.5 Million’ for the background to the very questionable ‘commissioning process’ that led to CAIS landing the contract for ‘service user involvement’ from Wrexham County Borough Council. And now we know that CAIS is receiving the best part of £5 million for providing an utterly hopeless ‘substance abuse service’, I suggest that someone undertakes a full investigation into how so much taxpayers money is finding its way into the coffers of CAIS. I’m also not sure how CAIS manages to charge so much for their lacklustre services – CAIS constantly boasts that it is a service based on ‘volunteers’ and ‘peer support’ (it’s ’empowering’ you see – the ‘service users’ ‘look after each other’, ‘giving something back’ and in return they don’t get paid). So where have the millions that CAIS has received gone?

But just to return to women who have their children removed and the fate of the children who are removed – I mentioned that for many years a paedophile ring operated in north Wales, through the children’s services. After the first investigation into this paedophile ring the Waterhouse Report was published, which named the Director of Gwynedd Social Services, Lucille Hughes, as knowing about this paedophile ring but failing to act. Lucille Hughes is a former partner of Dr Dafydd Alun Jones and now sits on the Board of Trustees for CAIS. Here she is, wearing a very ill-advised wig http://www.cais.co.uk/personel/board/ Surely Lucille can purchase a decent hair-piece and still have change from £5 million. As for one of the other people mentioned by Jane Hutt in the ‘multi-agency’ approach to substance abuse in north Wales, the Police and Crime Commissioner for North Wales, Arfon Jones – well he’s featured on this blog before. Arfon gave evidence in the recent trial of Gordon Anglesea, the former senior policeman who was imprisoned for sexual offences against children in care in north Wales. Arfon was the junior police officer who chauffeured Anglesea to the building in which Anglesea molested his victims. Arfon used to drive Anglesea to this location but was never required to pick him up again. Arfon didn’t ever seem to ask any questions about this arrangement. But then Arfon is a tad incompetent – it was recently revealed that Anglesea’s widow is still receiving £50% of his police pension, although he died as a convicted sex offender. It transpired that this was due to an ‘oversight’ by the Police and Crime Commissioner for North Wales. Another ‘agency’ named by Jane Hutt as playing a role in the ‘multi-agency’ fight against drugs was the North Wales Police. That’s the same North Wales Police that employed Arfon and Anglesea. The North Wales Police employed someone else as well until quite recently – Clive Wolfendale, the former Assistant Chief Constable. Clive is now the CEO for CAIS.

Being a man of many talents, Dafydd also gave evidence as an ‘expert witness’ in many Court cases. In one case in south Wales, Dafydd gave evidence in the case of a solicitor who had raped someone, maintaining that he was suffering from ‘PTSD’. Dafydd’s evidence resulted in this rapist avoiding a prison sentence. After the case it was revealed that this rapist had a long history of doing very unpleasant nasty things to other people. However, Dafydd was sufficiently pleased with his work that as he left the Court, he gave a TV interview stating that he was glad that he had given evidence because if he hadn’t have done this, ‘someone would be in prison who should not have been in prison’. Well as far as I can see Dafydd, there are quite a lot of people in north Wales who should be in prison but are not in prison. There is ample space in HMP Berwyn but what’s the betting that their cells will fill up with people with mental health problems and drug issues?

Update, March 9 2017: My Complaint to the Betsi, Wrexham Drug Problem, Anglesey Children’s Services, HMP Berwyn

Firstly I need to apologise to readers. Someone brought my attention this morning to the fact that whoever it was who hacked into my blog replaced one of my posts with a link to a pornographic video – sorry about that, I was so busy reposting the material that had been removed that I didn’t double check to see if anything had actually been substituted for the hacked posts. I’ve removed the link now so let’s hope the problem doesn’t occur again.

Regular readers will know that I have made a formal complaint to the Betsi regarding their inability to hand over a full copy of my medical records and the mountain of misinformation about me upon the medical records that I have managed to access. I also recently notified them that among the records that they did send me was information relating to someone else. This morning I received correspondence from Gary Doherty, the CEO of the Betsi. Here is the text of Gary’s letter:

I am writing further to your e-mail dated 3rd March 2016 regarding your concerns about your subject access response in which you note it remains incomplete and that the information you have received contains information in relation to another patient.  

I am sorry that this has happened and would like to reassure you that confidentiality and security of information is an issue that the Health Board takes very seriously and we endeavour to investigate them thoroughly, therefore a full investigation of the issues you identified is currently being undertaken by the Mental Health Service and the Information Governance Team.  

Under the Data Protection Act 1998, the Health Board have an obligation to retrieve and secure the information you have received about the other patient, and therefore I would be grateful if you could return it in the prepaid envelope supplied with this letter.  I will ensure I confirm receipt to you upon its return. 

We would also like to confirm that a review of all your previous concerns will be undertaken to ensure a full and thorough final response is issued to you shortly.  In the meantime, should you wish to discuss the above in further detail, please do not hesitate to contact Fleur Evans via e-mail on fleur.evans2@wales.nhs.uk

I will report further events as they happen…

Yesterday I blogged about allegations of drug use in Wrexham bus station (please see blog post ‘Normal service Resumed – News Round-Up, March 8 2017’). Both I and a reader of this blog wondered why such a huge amount of Government cash continues to find its way into the coffers of CAIS, the Third Sector organisation that is now picking up lucrative contracts for providing ‘substance abuse services’, if, after decades of ‘services’ from CAIS, there is a growing drugs problem in north Wales. Since writing yesterday’s post, I discovered the following report on the BBC News Wales website http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-north-east-wales-39178982

So Hugh Jones, ‘lead member for communities and partnership on Wrexham council’, admits that ‘there had been a significant increase in anti-social behaviour in the past two years’. Yet ‘we’re working in partnership with providers such as Cais and the Wallich to ensure people are directed towards recovery so we’re using both the law and the service providers to tackle the problem’. So Wrexham Council has a ‘partnership’ with CAIS – although the drug problem and the (presumably associated) anti-social behaviour problem is increasing. As the Tories once said about Labour, CAIS isn’t working. So why did Wrexham Council work very hard to ensure that CAIS were also given the contract to provide ‘service user/carer involvement’ for the whole of north Wales then, if they’ve completely failed to deliver on substance abuse services after decades of touting themselves about as ‘experts’ in this field? (Please see previous blog post ‘The Story Behind £1.5 Million’ for an account of the extraordinary procurement process which resulted in CAIS being awarded the contract for service user/carer involvement.)

Yesterday’s blog post also mentioned that Anglesey children’s services have been the subject of yet another damning inspection report. I forgot to mention that the father of a girl with learning disabilities from Anglesey came forward to talk to the Daily Post about the abusive behaviour that she had been subjected to whilst in the ‘care’ of Anglesey children’s services, after they had placed her in a residential school in Holywell, Flintshire. Whilst searching for the story for this post, I came across the original BBC News Wales report at the time of the incident http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-north-east-wales-18458803

So a girl of 12 with learning disabilities was locked in a bathroom at night – although Kinsale School, where this had happened, had recently been given the ‘highest accolade’ from Estyn and was awarded Autism Accredited status from the National Autistic Society. I note that two staff were suspended, that Anglesey Council described the allegations as ‘very serious’ and Anglesey Chief Exec Richard Parry Jones maintained that ‘the safeguarding of Anglesey children is our highest priority at all times’. An investigation was launched – and in 2014 North Wales Police reported that they undertook an investigation which involved social services and that no action was taken against either the school or any staff member. I note that the girl who was at the centre of this incident was unable to talk. So with her dad being miles away on Anglesey – who wasn’t even told about the incident when it happened – and her being only 12 years old, with learning difficulties, unable to talk and stuck in a residential school, I doubt that Kinsale School, Anglesey Council and the social services had to work very hard to ensure that no action was taken against any of them. Two and a half years later Anglesey children’s services are now mired in yet another scandal. It’s great being ‘safeguarded’ isn’t it.

Lastly, an almighty row has broken out over Hywel Williams’s pet project, the monstrosity of the prison in Wrexham, HMP Berwyn, that was opened a few days ago http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-39208633

A wing has been named Bala and a big notice has been erected in the prison saying ‘Croeso I Bala’, with a picture of Llyn Tegid. The residents of Bala are not happy because they were not consulted and do not want part of a prison named after their town. Furthermore, one of the women from Bala went to Ysgol Berwyn in Bala and is sufficiently outraged to have started a petition to change the name of the wing and is calling for a meeting with Liz Saville Roberts MP. In response an MoJ spokesperson said that ‘the name was chosen to reflect the culture of the area’. The culture of the area?? Crime?? How much crime is there exactly in the Berwyn Mountains or in Bala? Although of course in the wider north Wales region there has been an awful lot of crime committed by people involved in ‘delivering’ the mental health services over the last thirty years – a lot of people have quipped that it should be them inside that prison, although I don’t think Hywel envisaged that when he begged for a prison in north Wales…

 

The Story Behind £1.5 Million

Previous blog posts ‘Service User Involvement in North Wales’ and ‘We Control All The Outcomes’ describe how there is no effective or genuine representation for ‘services users’ and carers in north Wales and indeed never has been. If anyone at any time had ever ‘listened to’ a service user or carer the ‘services’ would simply not be in this state. For years, ‘service user involvement’ was left to completely ineffective bodies like the ‘Independent Advocacy Service’ or the ‘Gwynedd and Ynys Mon Users Forum’ (which were staffed and managed by people who were terrified of the staff and managers of the lethal services whom they were supposed to be holding to account), or Unllais (whom I knew were refusing to make representation regarding the mental health services even when they were being told of the most serious abuses). Until March 2016 Unllais held the contract for service user involvement in north Wales. Considering how hopeless Unllais had been at representing and involving service users, the ending of their contract would have been the most wonderful opportunity for the Betsi to begin some real ‘service user and carer involvement’. Readers will know that this never happened and instead a new nightmare is promised, as the ‘contract’ was subsequently given to CAIS/Hafal, who have now formed another vehicle, CANIAD (please see blog post ‘Introducing Caniad!’). So Dr Dafydd Alun Jones and Lucille Hughes, who sit on the Board of Trustees of CAIS, are now responsible for ‘service user involvement’ in north Wales. We can assume that the outcome from this will therefore be truly grim. Many of my previous blog posts describe the unethical and criminal behaviour of Dafydd Alun Jones – and Lucille Hughes was named in the Waterhouse Report as knowing that a paedophile ring was operating in Gwynedd Social Services whilst she was the Director of these ‘Services’ but that she was failing to act. Dafydd and Lucille are now in their eighties, they have never protected the interests of service users and carers before and I very much doubt that they are going to start now.

As soon as I heard that CAIS/Hafal had landed this ‘contract’ from the Betsi, I was interested to find out exactly how this had happened, particularly as there seems to massive conflicts of interest in many other ‘contracts for services’ being handed out by the Betsi. Blog post ‘A Total Lack of Transparency’ details how the whole process has been shrouded in secrecy.

So I recently put in a FoI request to Wrexham County Borough Council (who were inexplicably allowed by the Betsi to ‘lead’ on this whole travesty) in an attempt to find out exactly how CAIS had landed this contract and the identities of the people involved. Last week I received a reply from Wrexham Council which didn’t answer all my questions but did provide a lot of enlightening information. Wrexham Council told me that I wasn’t allowed to reproduce ‘copyrighted’ information without permission and although I’ve written to them requesting this permission I haven’t received a reply. So I cannot reproduce the wonderful information that I have been provided with in it’s entirety, but I can blog about the salient points within this information.

The first surprise that I got was how much this ‘contract’ was worth. It was worth 1.5 million. That’s right, the Betsi have channelled 1.5 million quid to Dafydd et al for five years worth of ‘service user involvement’. The Betsi are currently nearly bankrupting the Welsh Govt so bad is their financial position. But CAIS have been given 1.5 million. The information given to me also confirmed that a grand total of FOUR unidentified service users were ‘involved’ in this process. And I bet they won’t see much of the 1.5 million that has been handed over – indeed, I was sent a rather simplistic ‘presentation’ allegedly designed by one of the ‘service users’ regarding what ‘involvement’ means to him and he mentioned that he was able to claim his expenses. So he gets his bus fare and the price of a lunchtime sandwich reimbursed and Dafydd et al net 1.5 million.

The information provided told me that there were only two ‘bids’ put in for the ‘tender’, one from Unllais and one from CAIS/Hafal. The fact that ‘service user involvement’ was subject to a ‘tendering’ process alone excludes nearly all service users and carers. How many patients and carers are ever going to ‘bid for a contract’? How many even knew that all this was happening? I didn’t and I actually try to keep aware of what is going on in the mental health services in north Wales. But people on the ‘professional’ networks will have known all about it, because the information sent to me revealed that ‘from January 2014 onwards, the Health Board’s Commissioning Manager…attended all the Local Planning Groups in North Wales’. Well you won’t find many service users and carers in them, but ‘professionals’ know all about these planning groups, who sits on them and when they hold their meetings. It was also mentioned that the Commissioning Manager attended ‘Third Sector’ networks (CAIS is a Third Sector organisation) and Service User and Carer networks. Now in a region that was not blighted by corruption and criminal activity in the mental health services, the Commissioning Manager attending Service User and Carer Networks would be a positive sign. But in north Wales, most ‘service users’ experiences of the ‘services’ are so bad that when they finally wave goodbye to the services (if indeed they ever manage to obtain a service in the first place) they want no more to do with them. They do not join a ‘service user network’. Furthermore, in my experience the ‘service user networks’ in north Wales have always been manipulated or indeed completely controlled by the ‘services’ themselves or the lame third sector organisations such as MIND who have for years colluded with the abuses of the mental health services. And some of the service user groups are run by CAIS. So it’s highly unlikely that any grassroots service user and carer groups would have encountered the Commissioning Manager who was allegedly publicising the commissioning process.

But what if north Wales happened to have a really enterprising group of service users and carers who did know that a commissioning process was happening and who were even prepared to form a group to bid for this contract? Well the information provided to me suggests that they would have found such bidding very difficult indeed. For a start, the information regarding the bidding process and what needs to be done to land the bid successfully is littered with acronyms with are never explained. I have a PhD and a research background in social policy and sociology in the Welsh context and I didn’t know what most of those acronyms meant. But it gets worse. Even if a group of service users had managed to plough through all this and somehow decipher it, at the ‘Meet The Buyer Event’, in the ‘procurement information’, provided by Rachel Glynn-Thomas (‘category manager’) there was a reference to a preference for the bidders to make use of technology – specifically to submit the bid via e procurement, ‘utilising the Bravo Solutions etenderWales software hosted by the Welsh Government’. Well that will be familiar to every service user and carer in Wales won’t it, they’ll use it daily. Service users wanting to bid will have needed a good accountant as well, because they had to complete one of the most taxing spreadsheets that I’ve ever seen, worse even than the spreadsheets that I used to complete when I wrote research bids for the research councils that fund academic research (and I had the University accountant to help me).  Now, even if our hypothetical service user group did contain a social policy expert, an accountant, someone who was familiar with procurement procedures used by the Welsh Govt as well as someone who knew how to install and use the specialised software used by the Welsh Govt for procurement, there was something interesting about when the ‘Meet The Buyer Event’ was held. I don’t remember seeing it being advertised anywhere. But if I was someone who might have been looking out for an opportunity to bid for a Welsh Government contract and was familiar with the procedure of bidding for these contracts, I’d have been looking at the website Sell2Wales. The contract was advertised on Sell2Wales – but not until nearly a month after the ‘Meet The Buyer Event’ had been held. So  anyone attending that ‘Meet The Buyer Event’ (the only opportunity to receive information and ask questions) could have only known about it from an inside contact.

The ‘Meet The Buyer’ event was held in the Boardroom of Optic St Asaph, a location virtually impossible to get to by public transport – so interested service users who did know about it will have needed their own cars to get there. The people making up the panel at the ‘Meet The Buyer’ event included Wyn Thomas (Assistant Director, Community Partnership Development, BCUHB), Vicky Jones (Regional Substance Misuse Commissioning and Development Manager), Jane Jones (Partnership Manager, BCUHB), Rachel Glynn-Thomas (Category Manager, Wrexham Borough County Council) and Sion ap Glynn (Business Support Wales). These are not the sort of people that your average service user would know – but I bet people from CAIS knew them, particularly as CAIS already provide ‘substance misuse services’ on behalf of the Betsi and thus work ‘in partnership’ with them.

There were also two ‘service users’ on this panel, a David Holmes and an Andrea Hughes – however at least one of the powerpoints supplied to me allegedly presented by the ‘service users’ contained a number of highly complex flow charts. I have yet to meet a service user who would ever include such things in a presentation on ‘What Involvement Means To Me’. These managerialist flow charts were also noticeably inconsistent with the rest of the presentation material from the ‘service users’, which pivoted around claiming expenses, supporting others, feeling like a valuable human being, undertaking an entry level education course and no longer being sectioned. I suspect that the managerialist flow charts had been added to those presentations by someone else.

The information supplied to me also suggested that someone might have been expecting a bid from CAIS/Hafal. The information is littered with references to ‘substance misuse services’. Indeed mentions of ‘substance misuse services’ were being prioritised – again and again they were mentioned in the remit after ‘service user involvement’. But there are other rather big clues as well. One slide sent to me in response to my FoI request was a presentation by Jane Jones, Partnership Manager, BCUHB. She certainly seems to gearing up for a partnership with CAIS/Hafal – her presentation states that ‘we would welcome bids from a consortia or partnership but partners must be clear about their partnership arrangements before submitting an application’. No doubt Jane Jones wanted to ensure that any such partnerships contained the word ‘CAIS’ in their ‘arrangements’. The biggest clue however is contained on the slide prepared by Rachel Glynn-Thomas regarding ‘procurement  information’: ‘WCBC [Wrexham County Borough Council] on behalf of the Six North Wales Authorities  represented by the Area Planning Board for Substance Misuse and with the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board…’ So at the very heart of the ‘procurement process’ was the Area Planning Board For Substance Misuse – who are presumably the people who have already commissioned CAIS to provide ‘substance misuse services’ and know them well. Rachel’s slide mentions the need to ensure ‘best value’ and that a marketised commissioning process is the best way of achieving this – ah, so that’s how 1.5 million found its way into the pockets of Dafydd Alun Jones, Lucille Hughes et al…

The dirty deed has now been done, the dosh has gone to CAIS/Hafal and now Dafydd, Lucille and their mates are dictating what ‘service user involvement’ in north Wales looks like. One of the slides sent to me gives some ‘facts and figures’ regarding the region covered by the Betsi. It mentions that there are 1,600 staff employed in the Mental Health Division. So ‘service users’ who dare to complain are faced with 1,600 people sticking together like glue. (It’s tempting to suggest that there are probably more staff employed in the Mental Health Division than patients successfully obtaining a service.) And now they’ve got CAIS to represent their interests against the 1,600 people.

Whilst reading through the information supplied to me in response to my FoI request, any, many questions sprung to mind. But the biggest question of all surely has to be that if CAIS have been given 1.5 million for five years worth of ‘service user involvement’ how much are they raking in for providing all their other ‘services’? As Private Eye would say, I think we should be told…

 

More Concerns Expressed Regarding Mental Health Services

Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg (for readers in England, this is the Welsh Language Society) have expressed concern regarding the limited availability of Welsh language mental health services http://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-wales-news/serious-shortage-mental-health-services-12361094

The mental health services in north Wales are so bad that it’s frequently impossible to get any service at all – and the paucity of care is such that there is very little awareness anyway regarding someone’s socio-cultural and linguistic background.

Cymdeithas concerns have reminded me of an anecdote that I heard some years ago. An elderly man whose first language was Welsh and who felt uncomfortable speaking English was being assessed under the Mental Health Act in north west Wales by a psychiatrist whose first language was not Welsh or English. The social worker attending was fluent in Welsh and was concerned that the psychiatrist was not linguistically competent to assess the elderly man. She tried to raise concerns as to what was going on and telephoned someone (supposedly) in authority. She was simply told ‘there is no Welsh speaking psychiatrist on duty tonight’. The elderly man ended up being detained under the Mental Health Act.

Regarding the ability of mental health staff to speak Welsh, for decades there was a long-standing mystery in north Wales. Gwynedd Social Services had a policy that social workers had to be fluent in Welsh. Keith Fearns, the highly abusive ‘leader’ of the Arfon Community Mental Health Team (please see blog post ‘The Arfon Community Mental Health Team’) was a social worker employed by Gwynedd Social Services. Fearns did not speak Welsh and was not a Welsh learner. No-one worked out how Fearns was managing to evade the policy that Gwynedd Social Services insisted upon in all circumstances. In fact I was told by someone who worked in social work who was deeply concerned about the activities of the Arfon team that none of them could speak Welsh and that if anyone had really wanted to remove these grossly abusive people from their positions, that factor alone could have been used.

I carried out some research in 2005-07 along with a Welsh speaking colleague regarding democracy in ‘service user groups’. At that time it was very obvious that Welsh speakers were virtually unrepresented among ‘service user groups’ in north west Wales. A number of Welsh speakers told us that they had personally felt excluded from the MIND drop-in centre in Bangor (which I think had been renamed the Abbey Road Centre by then but seemed to be still dominated by the same small clique of people) and from the  local ‘service user groups’. I was also aware that two of the ‘Directors’ of the ‘Independent’ Advocacy Service in Gwynedd were actually very hostile to Welsh speakers. Considering that the Betsi’s present model of ‘service user involvement’ has involved a competitive tendering process led by Wrexham County Council that no-one knew about and which involved only four unidentified service users (please see blog post ‘A Total Lack of Transparency’), I very much doubt that much has changed regarding democratic representation in service user groups in the Betsi.

 

A Total Lack of Transparency

In my blog post ‘Introducing Caniad!’ I detailed my concerns regarding the current vehicle for ‘service user involvement’ – ie. yet another organisation behind which Dr Dafydd Alun Jones and Lucille Hughes are lurking. Since discovering that an organisation whose stated interest is in substance abusers has now been given the remit for generic ‘service user involvement’ in the Betsi mental health services, I have tried to find out a little more behind this inexplicable decision. It was admitted that Wrexham Borough Council made the decision to hand this remit over to CAIS, which then formed ‘CANIAD’. So I have tried to use FoI requests to illuminate the logic and processes which led to Wrexham Borough Council making decisions concerning the whole of north Wales, despite most of north Wales having very little demographically in common with Wrexham – how does Wrexham Borough Council represent the interests of a first language Welsh speaker living in rural isolation in Dwyfor Meirionydd? – and why the interests of substance users and people with mental health problems were conflated.

The only thing that has been illuminated by the Betsi’s responses to my FoI requests is the total lack of transparency behind the decision to give the remit to CAIS/CANIAD and the processes involved. One response was:

CAIS/Hafal is a jointly commissioned service between the Health Board and the Area Planning Board for Substance Misuse, and the process was managed by Wrexham County Borough Council (WCBC) managed the process on our joint behalf.  Therefore, you would need to redirect your request to WCBC as all specifications and records of meetings will be held by them.  Under our obligation to advise and assist we have provided the website link to WCBC.

This does not explain why a ‘jointly commissioned service’ for substance misuse was allowed – and will continue to be allowed – to make decisions regarding anyone with any type of mental health problem in north Wales.

Another response to an FoI request was:

CAIS/Hafal is a jointly commissioned service between the Health Board and the Area Planning Board for Substance Misuse, and the process was managed by Wrexham County Borough Council (WCBC).   We can also advise that the contract was awarded following a competitive tender process led by WCBC and that 4 service users were included throughout the decision making process. Therefore, you would need to redirect your request to WCBC as all specifications and records of meetings will be held by them.  Under our obligation to advise and assist we have provided the website link to WCBC.

So Wrexham Council, after being inexplicably allowed to ‘lead’ on this, held a ‘competitive tender process’ involving just four unidentified ‘service users’. How on earth is a ‘competitive tender process’ appropriate to service user involvement? How many ‘service users’, whether inpatients in units managed by the Betsi, or inpatients in units outside Wales after having been sent there by the Betsi, or living in the community using outpatient facilities, knew that a ‘competitive tender process’ was being held? And even if they did know, how were they supposed to show an interest if they wanted to be part of ‘service user involvement’ – form themselves into a business and then submit a tender?

The version of ‘service user involvement’ as described here is completely undemocratic and totally non-transparent. A grand total of FOUR service users were actually involved – and no-one knows who they were or how they were ‘selected’ for consultation. A ‘competitive tendering process’ is the sort of thing that neoliberal administrations decide upon when they wish to outsource vital services as cheaply as possible. I’m only surprised that Capita or Serco didn’t win the ‘contract’. The Betsi’s mental health services are unsafe and catastrophic – now, more than ever, they need feedback and input from as many genuine ‘service users’ and carers as possible.

There is actually a very simple way of contacting such large numbers of people if desired – use the internet (Jeremy Corbyn did it and it proved a highly successful strategy in his first leadership bid). The Betsi have a thing called a website. It’s not very good, is not particularly truthful and a lot of it is out of date. But it is there nonetheless and rather than appointing Wrexham Borough Council and four anonymous service users to lead a competitive tendering process, the Betsi should have used that website to publicise a public engagement process. But of course if they’d have done that, there’d be a danger that they might have to actually engage with people who have to deal with these appalling ‘services’ and they wouldn’t be able to spend the next five years taking important decisions concerning other peoples lives behind closed doors in total secrecy.

My blog post ‘Service User Involvement in North Wales’ describes just how farcical claims that ‘service user involvement’ was taking place were. The latest incarnation of ‘service user involvement’ in north Wales however could perhaps best be described as a sophisticated fraud.

 

 

Introducing ‘Caniad’!

Some months ago I received an e mail from someone I knew telling me that the remit for ‘service user involvement’ in north Wales was going to be handed over to CAIS. CAIS is an addiction charity established and chaired by Dafydd Alun Jones (please see blog posts ‘How No-One Knew About Dr Dafydd Alun Jones’, ‘The Mysterious Silence of MIND’ and ‘A Very Bad PR Man’ for more details on Dafydd Alun Jones). Lucille Hughes sits on the CAIS Board (please see my blog posts ‘Gwynedd Social Services and the North Wales Child Abuse Scandal’ and ‘The Arfon Community Mental Health Team’ for further information on Lucille). Dafydd’s son Dyfrig ap Dafydd also sits on the Board along with a few other notorious people – read what they want you to know about them here (there’s an awful lot missing from their biographies) http://www.cais.co.uk/personel/board/

I was horrified to hear this news about the latest development in ‘service user involvement’ but couldn’t find any information to confirm it. However a few weeks ago I had a meeting with a senior manager from the Betsi who confirmed that this was indeed true. I asked her if she knew that Dafydd Alun Jones and Lucille Hughes were members of the CAIS Board and whether she knew that Jones had described me as ‘attractive and seductive’ and that Lucille Hughes had been named in the Waterhouse Report as knowing about the paedophile ring in children’s homes in north Wales but failing to act. The manager put on that special voice that women who work for the NHS adopt when they are being faced with embarrassing realities and said ‘those are very serious allegations’. I replied that they weren’t allegations they were facts and if she wished I could show her the documentary evidence. I notice that she didn’t take up this offer. However she asked me if I’d like to be involved with CANIAD, the organisation that has been established by CAIS as a vehicle for ‘service user involvement’ and offered to introduce me to the woman appointed to develop CANIAD. I said that although it would certainly be interesting to observe events at CANIAD I very much doubt that I’d be welcome and I have a policy of not being co-opted into anything involving DA Jones. I asked who in the Betsi had been rash enough to give CAIS this contract. The manager replied that it was a decision taken not by the Betsi but by Wrexham Council. So someone at Wrexham Council is doing Dafydd favours. But why was Wrexham Council allowed to make this decision, which affects people right across north Wales, not just in Wrexham? People living in areas like Dwyfor Meirionydd have interests that cannot possibly be represented by Wrexham Council.

A quick flick through back-copies of CAIS newsletters reveal them boasting about landing the contract for CANIAD http://www.cais.co.uk/static/cais/documents/document/cais-newsletter-issue-36-winter-2016.pdf

And now there’s a website for CANIAD http://caniad.org.uk/

I note that as far as CANIAD is concerned, the interests of people with mental health problems have been conflated with the interests of people with addiction problems – yet these are two very different groups of people with very different problems. A friend of mine with mental health problems was ‘referred’ to an organisation called AGRO in Gwynedd by a community psychiatric nurse – this friend has had a lifetime of climbing, fell running and cycling and was sent to AGRO because it claimed to be an organisation ‘assisting recovery through physical activity’. It was a non-starter for him – he discovered that every other client had drug and alcohol problems and that their idea of ‘physical activity’ was rather different to his.

CAIS and CANIAD are dripping with the language of ’empowerment’ – there has been much criticism in academic literature of the way that this term is being used in health and social care. The empowered are not the same as the powerful. Indeed, in current formulations of health and social care policy, ’empowering’ people frequently means responsibilising them and leaving them to cope with retracting welfare services. (The sociologist John Clark was the first person to write about this and did a good job of cutting through the nonsense about ’empowered citizens/service users’. He pointed out that these ’empowered’ people were effectively simply being abandoned by the state.)

I have met clients of CAIS and they didn’t seem particularly empowered to me. I also have had a few conversations with volunteers/peer guides with CAIS. I was told that the volunteers do all the work but are only very, very rarely offered paid positions with CAIS. I was told that whenever CAIS win awards on the basis of the volunteers hard work it is the paid staff and upper echelons of CAIS that receive all the glory and attend all the awards ceremonies and other jollies. And I was told that there is a problem with some volunteers/peer guides dealing in drugs but that has been very carefully kept quiet. (The concept of the ‘peer guide’ is something else that is now being subjected to academic critique. And there has long been discussion regarding whether this sort of citizen action is actually emancipatory or simply a way of denying services to people. I had an interesting discussion with the radical French sociologist Loic Wacquant ages ago about this; Loic seemed to think it was the biggest con-trick ever – ‘yeh, do it yourselves, look after each other, you’ll get no help, no money and no infrastructure’. But at least they’ll be empowered.)

CAIS is expanding and expanding as the statutory services collapse. There is now much talk in the Welsh Gov’t of ‘co-production’ and delivering services in partnership with the third sector. What’s the betting that Dafydd et al have their sights set on all those lucrative contracts that could come their way in the near future?

The other day someone asked me why on earth anyone had allowed Dafydd Alun Jones to take over provision for services for drugs and alcohol. Well I watched it happen back in the 1990s. Dafydd was such an embarrassment that a lot of people were trying to ensure that he retired, although he was desperate not to. At the same time the other psychiatrists in the region were throwing constant hissy fits regarding whom they would or wouldn’t treat. The only people those psychiatrists hated more than patients who made complaint were drug addicts and alcoholics. They were quite happy to let Jones treat them so they didn’t have to. At one point there was talk of a high profile pioneering addiction specialist from Liverpool coming to work at the Hergest Unit, but Gwynedd Health Authority blocked his appointment. They gave the remit to Jones instead – as long as he agreed to ‘retire’. I was also told that part of the deal was that Gwynedd Health Authority would not follow up the numerous complaints that had been made against Jones. So they left the door wide open for him.

So now Jones, Lucille Hughes et al are going to be in a position to not only directly control patient feedback and the design and delivery of services but will also be responsible for ‘training’ others who will also control feedback and service design and delivery. The track record of Jones and Lucille suggest that there will not be a happy outcome from this. I notice that the charity Hafal are a partner with CAIS in this venture, which theoretically could provide a glimmer of hope – Hafal have a record of being rather more honest than the likes of MIND regarding the dreadful state of the mental health services. However I suspect that Hafal will be overwhelmed, outmanoeuvred and duped by CAIS at every turn and by the time that they realise the nature of their ‘partners’, Hafal will have suffered damage.

I see that it is claimed that CANIAD are now up and running and are busy consulting ‘service users’. I’ve seen no trace of them in the area where I live and other ‘service users’ whom I’m in contact with have no idea who CANIAD are. So who exactly are CANIAD busy consulting and training?