News Round-Up, March 20 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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