Vulnerable Adults – Who’s Abusing Them, Who’s Protecting Them?


BBC News Wales is reporting a rise of 11% in the number of investigations into alleged abuse of vulnerable adults in Wales last year http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-39065134

This news report covers a variety of angles and mentions neglect as well as physical, emotional, financial and sexual abuse. Age Cymru as well as Welsh Women’s Aid are quoted and Welsh Women’s Aid boast that they are currently delivering training to health and other public sector professionals to help them identify ‘vulnerable women’ who are at risk of or experiencing abuse’, to enable these women to be ‘signposted’ to specialist services for help. A Welsh Govt spokesperson commented that it would ‘explore the data with partners’ to establish why there has been a rise in numbers. They added that they ‘must remain vigilant and ensure measures are taken to prevent abuse and neglect’. They also mention that the Social Services and Well-Being (Wales) Act ‘strengthens arrangements to safeguard children and vulnerable adults’.

There’s the ever-present elephant in the room here – what happens when it is health and welfare staff doing the abusing rather than the protecting? The Welsh Govt mentioned safeguarding children – have they forgotten that the biggest child abuse scandal ever to hit Wales was the north Wales child abuse scandal that involved a paedophile ring being run through and concealed by Gwynedd and Clwyd Social Services? And that the mental health services in north Wales were happy to section and discredit some of those children who complained of abuse when they got older? Can I also recommend that someone from the Welsh Govt reads this blog and the account of what happened to me at the hands of the north Wales mental health services for thirty years – I was of course classed as a ‘vulnerable adult’. Oh hang on, the Welsh Govt don’t need to read the blog – I wrote to them repeatedly telling them what was happening to me and I still have the e mails to prove it. The Welsh Legal Services also had access to all the documentation that I am now using to write my story – documentation that details again and again the mountain of evidence demonstrating that there was serious abuse of patients in the north Wales mental health services dating as far back as 1985. Perhaps the Welsh Govt’s legal advisors didn’t understand the complexities of medical negligence cases? Well that’s a little odd, because who was the Welsh Govt’s Counsel General between 2011-2016, when my documentation was made available to them and when the threats and harassment from Martin Jones et al at the Betsi were raining down on me like there was no tomorrow? None other than Theodore Huckle QC, who had previously been a medical negligence specialist… Were the Welsh Govt perhaps having to deal with a particularly tricky situation at the time of Theodore’s appointment that might have pivoted around medical negligence? (Presumably Carwyn and Theodore forgot that the person involved in that case really enjoyed research and writing!)

There are only two brief acknowledgements in the BBC report that health and welfare staff may be the ones abusing the vulnerable adults rather than protecting them. It was admitted that regarding people who had been victims in their own homes, ‘staff’ were most likely to be responsible for the abuse and the spokesman for Age Cymru mentioned that abuse could take place in ‘care’ settings. Of course, the most high profile case of elder abuse in Wales since the Ely Hospital scandal in the 1960s was at Tawel Fan, a ward at the Ablett Unit at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd, run by the Betsi. No-one has yet been disciplined or held to account for that and it was reported only a few weeks ago that staff at the Betsi were refusing to co-operate with the external investigation being conducted by Donna Ockenden into events at Tawel Fan. And Darren Millar is the only politician who does not mince his words regarding the horror of this scandal. Events at Tawel Fan came to light through the actions of a whistleblower who made an undercover recording in 2013 – when Theo Huckle was still Counsel General and by then fully aware that there was some gross malpractice happening in the mental health services in north Wales…

Interestingly enough, during the run-up to the last Welsh Assembly election, Carwyn faced an audience in Llangollen (where I was living at the time) and was bombarded with angry questions regarding the state of the NHS in north Wales. He looked a bit sheepish and eventually mentioned that the Betsi was put into special measures in the wake of Tawel Fan and that when the Welsh Govt knew there was a problem they had ‘acted’. You certainly did act Carwyn – you knew there was one hell of a problem because of what you were told was happening to me in 2011, so you appointed Theodore to give you legal advice. Meanwhile, the abuse and deaths continued and still seem to be continuing…