‘The Reality Is, There Is No Problem’

My post ‘Everywoman?’ and the comments that follow it refer to the clique of utterly dreadful people who have occupied senior positions in health and social care in Wales for many years now. This bunch have spent their whole careers playing musical chairs – when they stuff up so badly that they just have to go, they pop up somewhere else in a very similar role, very often at a more senior level. The word ‘incestuous’ really is the only description applicable. Posts ‘It’s A Piece Of Cake’ and ‘I Know Nuzzing…’ detailed how it was this process of recycling incompetent or downright dangerous staff and managers that led to North Wales Child Abuse Scandal of the 70s, 80s and 90s. The Waterhouse Inquiry was supposed to have been the turning point. Of course it wasn’t, because although Ronnie Waterhouse admitted that terrible abuse of children in care had happened and that a paedophile ring was at work in north Wales and Cheshire, he concealed the extent of it and the links with public figures as far away as London, as well as evidence of links to abusers of children in Europe. Waterhouse also ignored the links between the organised abuse of children in north Wales and organised crime involving child porn and hard drugs. Hardly anyone resigned or retired even after Waterhouse – a few of the senior managers simply moved to other regions of the country and continued working, everyone else was bound by a code of silence and carried on in their own sweet way, mostly in north Wales. They continue to live and work there.

So how did Wales’s health and social care sector respond after the public inquiry into the biggest child abuse scandal that there had ever been in the UK? They remained in very deep denial.

The Waterhouse Report was published in 2000. In March 2001 the ‘Guardian’ published a feature on the crisis in the social care sector in Wales. It stated that ‘low morale, poor pay’ and the fear of involvement in ‘departmental failure’ made it difficult to attract social care staff to Wales and that the Waterhouse Report and critical reviews into local authority social services departments were ‘contributing to the problem’. No, it was the presence of a paedophile gang who’s mycelia spread throughout Wales that made it difficult to attract staff. Gwynedd and Clwyd Social Services had been dogged by scandal and allegations of abuse for years. The ‘services’ were so notorious that one social worker whose comments were published who desperately  wanted to escape from the sector in north Wales was quoted as saying ‘I’ve worked for Clwyd. No-one’s going to have me’.

So what comment did Hugh Gardner, the Chair of the Association of Directors of Social Services in Wales, make to the ‘Guardian’? Hugh stated that ‘Waterhouse has not helped…a feeling that there’s a special problem surrounding the integrity of people working in residential care in Wales. The reality is, there’s no problem, but public perception is damaging for morale’.

‘The reality is, there’s no problem’. A vicious paedophile ring had been in operation in the children’s homes in north Wales for at least 30 years – children had been raped, buggered, starved, beaten, used as forced labour and the children’s homes had doubled up as brothels. When the children hit their mid-teens they were trafficked to London and Brighton for sex work. So many former residents of the children’s homes were found dead as young adults that very few are now still alive. Five were killed in one arson attack in 1992. Every agency and organisation in Wales had colluded with the abuse – those kids had tried and tried to raise the alarm but no-one responded, except for Alison Taylor the Gwynedd social worker who blew the whistle and who was then sacked.

The response of the social care establishment in Wales to the crisis in social care was to establish a task and finish group in the Assembly, with the remit to look at recruitment and retention. This group was to be Chaired by Graham Williams, the Chief Inspector of the Social Services Inspectorate of Wales. Another member of the task and finish group was Rhian Huws Williams, the head of CCETSW Cymru (Central Council for the Education and Training of Social Workers) – for the low-down on Rhian Huws Williams, see post ‘Still Lost In Care’. Dominic Macaskill from UNISON, many of whose members work in social care, contributed to the debate – Dominic thought that the main problem was the ‘serious social deprivation’ in Wales. Mario Kraft from Care Forum Wales also sat on the group – he saw the group as a ‘chance to grapple with the recruitment and retention issues’. Mario observed that the outlook for the private sector as well was ‘bleak’.

At this time the Minister for Health and Social Services in Wales was Jane Hutt – a former social worker – a ‘family friend’ of Rhodri Morgan and his wife. Rhodri Morgan was First Minister. Rhodri’s wife Julie is a former social worker. Rhodri’s special advisor was Mark Drakeford – who had worked as a social worker in Dyfed, when they had a problem with abuse in their children’s services. All these people had been involved with social care in Wales BEFORE the Waterhouse Inquiry. They had been in place whilst the abuse was happening – and abuse wasn’t just happening in north Wales. The biggest scandal occurred there, it was particularly dreadful, but there were problems in health and social care right across Wales.

BBC News Wales in 2002 reported that ‘elderly care was in crisis’ – Hugh Gardner, the Vice-Chair of the Association of Directors of Social Services Cymru, maintained that more money was needed.

In Dec 2004 BBC News Wales reported that Hugh Gardner was to be awarded an OBE. A few others did even better. Dr Michael Shooter, a psychiatrist from the Abergavenny area – who was mentioned in a comment in response to one of my blog posts recently – was to be given a CBE, as was Janet Chaplin (the Assistant Chief Probation Officer of the South Wales Probation Service), along with Richard Blair (Director of the Wales Local Gov’t Association aka WLGA), Andrew Cozens (the former President of the Association of Directors of Social Services) and Gloria Mills (the Director of Equal Opportunities at UNISON).

A nice collection of gongs in return for complete failure there.

 

Did the Assembly task and finish group of 2001 manage to improve matters? It would seem not. ‘Community Care’ in Jan 2005 reported on the dire state of health and social care services in Wales. Chris Davies, the Director of Cardiff Social Services, commented that the Welsh health and social care services were performing worse than their English counterparts but ‘no-one can quite put their finger on why’. Immediately after the publication of the damning Jillings Report in 1996 concerning the abuse of children in care in Clwyd, Clwyd County Council was abolished. John Jevons, the Director of Clwyd Social Services, left Clwyd and took up the position of Director of Social Services in Cardiff.

Our old friend Hugh Gardner also popped up in ‘Community Care’, Jan 2005. It was mentioned that Hugh was the former Director of Social Services for Swansea. Hugh did admit that there was a problem now – the problem was that the Welsh Assembly hadn’t given them enough money.

Swansea Social Services were declared to be not fit for purpose and were put into special measures after the murder of baby Aaron Gilbert in May 2005.

Jon Skone, the Secretary of the Association of Directors of Social Services Wales, was also involved in trying to suggest a remedy to the problem according to ‘Community Care’. Skone began life as a social worker in Neath in the early 80s. The boys from Bryn Estyn who complained about being molested were sent to an even worse place if they didn’t shut up – Neath Farm School. Neath Farm School got a mention in the Waterhouse Report as being so brutal that boys preferred to be beaten and abused at Bryn Estyn than risk being sent there. Skone was a a community development worker in West Glamorgan County Council in the mid-80s, principal social services officer (learning disabilities) for South Glamorgan County Council, 1987-92, Assistant Director, Policy, Planning and Strategic Development for Dyfed County Council 1992-96, Head of Community Care, Pembrokeshire County Council 1996-2000 and was appointed Director of Social Care and Housing for Pembrokeshire County Council in 2000. Jon Skone climbed yet higher. In 2010 Skone received much publicity when he was appointed Director of Social Services in Pembrokeshire AND Director of Hywel Dda Health Board, responsible for the management of Withybush Hospital, the first person in the UK to hold such a double appointment. Skone worked with Trevor Purt at Hywel Dda. Purt left Hywel Dda after public protests regarding the state of the health services and became CEO of the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board – where he subsequently resigned after the Tawel Fan scandal which involved the ‘institutional abuse’ of mental health patients.

Skone’s own honeymoon didn’t last long. Skone resigned in 2012 when a child abuse scandal blew up in Pembrokeshire. Not the scandal which involved the paedophile ring in Dyfed/Pembrokeshire, that was another scandal. Skone resigned after children’s care services were described as ‘Victorian’ in a highly critical report which followed an investigation after children were found to be kept in ‘padded time-out rooms’ aka padded cells. Skone then set himself up as a management consultant, advising on social care, health and housing. In 2013 Jon Skone was appointed to the Board of the Care Council for Wales. Skone is also a member of Alder Advice, a collective of advisors to the social care, housing and healthcare sectors.

‘Community Care’ reported that Meryl Gravell, lead member for Social Services at WLGA (Wales Local Gov’t Association) maintained that most services were good but that there was a lack of money. Meryl Gravell is famous on the blogsphere in Wales, the blog Jac O The North is particularly keen on following her adventures and alleged conflicts of interest. Meryl hit the nation’s mainstream media in Feb 2012 after she described staff of Carmarthenshire Council – of which she was leader – and protesters campaigning to stop the proposed closure of the A&E Dept of the Prince Philip Hospital in Llanelli as ‘rabble’. She also implied that the Council’s staff were a bunch of lazy gits. Meryl stood down as leader in 2013 after a coalition of Labour and Independent Councillors got together and achieved domination on the Council.

Dear old Graham Williams – who was still the Chief Inspector of the Welsh Social  Services Inspectorate – mentioned the importance of the ‘dissemination of best practice’.

‘Community Care’ commented that this was ‘perhaps the last chance for Wales’s much maligned care sector to begin to recover its reputation’.

 

By 2005, health and social care services in Wales were supposed to be ‘working together’. Jane Hutt was removed from the role of Minister of Health and Social Services in 2005 in the face of the NHS continuing to sink like a stone and a row about excessively long waiting lists. (Hutt popped up again in 2007 as Minister for Children.) Somebody just as bad, a GP, Dr Brian Gibbons, was now in the role. See post ‘Politicians – And Their Responses’ for the background on the lethal Gibbons, who wrote me a letter simply stating ‘this correspondence is closed’ when I told him that I had evidence of serious criminal conduct on the part of staff and managers in the north Wales NHS and social services.

I have discovered a 2005 document, a ‘Concordant Between Bodies Inspecting, Regulating and Auditing Health and Social Care Services in Wales’. The signatures on this concordant are instructive. They include:

Dr Peter Higson of Health Inspectorate Wales (HIW); Graham Williams of Social Services Inspectorate Wales; Rob Pickford of Care Standards Inspectorate Wales; Gren Kershaw of the Welsh Risk Pool; Terry Rose of HSE; Anna Walker of the Healthcare Commission; Chris Heginbotham of the Mental Health Act Commission; Michael Ponton of NHS Confederation Wales; Peter Jones of the CHCs; Steve Thomas of WLGA. The signatures on the foreword of the Concordant are those of the then two biggest wigs in Wales’s Health and Social Care system, dear old Dr Brian Gibbons and Ann Lloyd, the Head of the Health and Social Care Dept, Chief Exec NHS Wales.

Ann Lloyd CBE has not featured on this blog until now, but she certainly has much to answer for. Lloyd was Chief Exec of NHS Wales 2001-09. So all those deaths and assaults at the Hergest Unit happened on her watch, as did the framing of patients by the staff for crimes that they had not committed – as well as the failure to investigate patients complaints. Ann Lloyd stated that ‘we must never have a mid-Staffs here’ [in Wales]. So that’s what the huge cover-up and harassment and wrongful imprisonment of patients was all about then – Ann didn’t want a mid-Staffs. You had one Ann, by anyone’s standards there was a mid-Staffs in north Wales and now you’ve got this blog to deal with. Ann served under successive Health Ministers Hutt, Gibbons and Edwina Hart. I have detailed previously how Edwina Hart really did try and sort out the NHS in north Wales but was hounded out of her post by the BMA and the paedophiles’ friends. I was also told that the civil service were being as obstructive to Edwina as possible – I wonder if one of those doing the obstructing was Ann Lloyd?

When Ann ‘retired’, she stated that ‘mental health [services] need a good going over’. She also believed that ‘services are more accountable and transparent’. The services need a police investigation Ann but you and Gibbons didn’t even respond to patients complaints. At this time the Chief Exec of the Gwynedd CHC was Glanville Owen, who didn’t investigate patients complaints either. Glanville was the Deputy Director of Gwynedd Social Services responsible for children’s homes when the paedophile gang were busy in those homes.

Ann didn’t completely disappear when she left the Welsh NHS full of criminals abusing patients. She became a Commissioner for Health and Social Services in London and spent two days a week there. I suspect that the dead hand of Ann Lloyd is still touching NHS Wales though. I have found a document dated May 2017 which was the minutes of the Welsh Health Specialised Services Committee. The Chair was an Ann Lloyd and the Vice-Chair was Lyn Meadows. Meadows is a member of the Betsi Board and the former corrupt dishonest Director of HR at Bangor University. Before that she was a senior manager of the Welsh Ambulance Service, which was a catastrophe. She was described to me as an ‘evil cow’, a manipulative bully who promoted someone to a managerial post who later ended up in prison for a savage attack on his wife. In a previous life Lyn Meadows was a non-executive director of an NHS organisation on the Wirral. She was named in Hansard and on Frank Field’s blog as having colluded with a fraud with some Top Doctors. More info about Meadows can be found by using the search facility on this blog, I’ve mentioned her often.

In the financial year 2003-04 Ann Lloyd’s salary was given as £125-130k.

When Ann retired, Sir Paul Williams became the Chief Exec of NHS Wales. Paul had been the Chief Exec of Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University NHS Trust – which was somewhat scandal ridden itself. Williams had started his career as a clerk in the Welsh NHS and worked his way up over the next 40 years. Details of Paul’s career can be found among the comments that follow my post ‘Wheels Within Wheels Or Flies Drawn To The Same Incestuously Corrupt Shithouse?’ Upon Ann’s retirement, Paul stated that NHS Wales now had opportunities which ‘will be the envy of other healthcare systems’.

OK Paul, that must be why eight years later we have some of the worst health outcomes in Europe and more than one NHS Board in Wales is technically bankrupt.

What about the others who signed the Concordat? Well Peter Higson who was Chief Exec of HIW is well-known to readers of this blog – he concealed the paedophile ring whilst he was the manager of the North Wales Hospital Denbigh, ignored abuse of patients and criminal misconduct and he’s now the Chair of the Betsi. Which is in special measures because of institutional abuse in its mental health services.

Graham Williams was still Graham in denial. Rob Pickford of Care Standards Inspectorate Wales started out as a social worker in the Rhondda. He became a child protection officer for Mid-Glamorgan Social Services and then occupied management positions in social services in the Rhondda. Following this he was Assistant Director for Adult Services for Bridgend County Borough Council. Rob just rocketed upwards – he became Director of Social Services for Bridgend and at some point took over Graham Williams’ former remit of Chief Inspector of Care and Social Services. Dear old Graham became Director of NHS, Mid and West Wales Region and then retired. Rob went on to become Director of Social Services, Children and Families in the Welsh Gov’t. In 2013 he was appointed visiting Professor at the University of South Wales and an honorary research fellow at Cardiff University. Rob maintains that his career has been spent ‘supporting people to deliver citizen centred services’. (Higson used to claim on his profile on the HIW website that his career had been dedicated to making life better for the citizen.) Latterly Rob Pickford could be found on the website of the Big Lottery Fund – he is listed as a Wales Committee member, alongside other equally duplicitous people. Rob is also Chair of the Wildlife Trust for south and west Wales.

Gren Kershaw of the Welsh Risk Pool is known to readers of this blog (see post ‘How Much Do Staff Surveys Really Tell Us?’). He was the senior manager of the North Wales Hospital Denbigh in its final days and the CEO of the Conwy and Denbighshire NHS Trust, 1991-2008. He then took control at the Welsh Risk Pool, where he worked with John Bowles and Patricia Gaskell. Bowles was risk manager at Ysbyty Gwynedd whilst patients were assaulted by staff and died and Gaskell was the hospital solicitor who covered up for and failed to take action against Hergest staff who assaulted patients. Whilst Gren was CEO of Conwy and Denbighshire NHS Trust he was responsible for Ysbyty Glan Clwyd. There was cover-up after cover-up following serious complaints and the elderly wards were so bad that staff at Glan Clwyd warned their friends not to let their relatives be admitted there. In 2005, Peter Higson in his capacity as CEO of HIW wrote a report on Gren’s mental health services – which included the infamous elderly mentally ill wards – describing them as ‘good and still improving’. Higson and Gren were old mates from their days concealing the paedophile gang at the North Wales Hospital. Gren isn’t Welsh – until the 80s he was an NHS manager in Jimmy Savile’s stomping ground in Yorkshire. After ‘retiring’ from the NHS, Gren set up a management consultancy.

Gren co-authored an article with an Annette Bartley for ‘Asian Hospital and Healthcare Management’ entitled ‘Effective Leadership For Patient Safety – Lessons From Safer Patient Initiative’. Bartley was described as Head of Modernisation, North Wales NHS (Central Division) – which was the later name of the Conwy and Denbighshire NHS Trust; it gained such a dreadful reputation that a rebranding exercise was undertaken. Annette Bartley was an Angel – presumably one who had spent all or most of her career in north Wales. Bartley became a fellow of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and even spent a year in Boston which was funded by them. She then returned to Gren and north Wales. She did of course set up her own management consultancy. Bartley died in 2016 and a tribute was written to her by the Point of Care Foundation on The Health Foundation’s website. It stated that Annette was a nurse until 2007, but then became a quality advisor, that she had a ‘passion for excellence’ and was ‘an experienced nurse and capable service improver in north Wales’. She was also obviously a very good liar. We are told that Annette had a little anecdote – ‘when the organisation hit a barrier to progress, it brought inspiration and new energy to enable change’.

I can understand that the goons in north Wales all swallowed Annette’s nonsense because like her they’d never dare admit what was happening in their organisation which had hit a barrier to progress, but how did she manage to convince anyone in BOSTON that she was a ‘an experienced improver’?? They’d only needed to have paid a visit to the shambles that was Ysbyty Glan Clwyd…

 

Anna Walker was the Chief Exec of the Healthcare Commission, 2004-09, until it was subsumed by the CQC after one scandal too many. Walker was a Whitehall civil servant who had worked for the DTI, DEFRA and had been the Director-General at Oftel. Anna was supposed to be all about being a hard taskmaster and inspecting/regulating the NHS in order to effect improvement (she should have just asked the Great Improver Annette for advice) – she didn’t have much joy with the NHS in north Wales. Anna was the daughter of Lord Butterworth, the first Vice-Chancellor of Warwick University and was in the same class as Princess Ann at Benenden. Anna’s husband is Tim Walker, who was the Director-General of the HSE. The HSE that only very, very rarely took the NHS to task, no matter how many times they killed patients. One of Tim’s underlings at the HSE co-signed the Concordat with Anna. Between 2009-16, Anna was the Chair of Young Epilepsy. At about the time that Anna became Chief Exec of the Healthcare Commission, a young woman with epilepsy ended up in a vegetative state after being admitted to Ysbyty Gwynedd. It was a bank holiday and there was no senior doctor on call because Keith Thomson, the CEO of the North West Wales NHS Trust, had refused to pay for senior doctors to cover at weekends and bank holidays. No-one on duty knew how much medication to give her and they got it wrong. She ended up severely brain damaged. Thomson wasn’t sacked and no-one was prosecuted. Thomson did resign in 2005 – hours after my lawyers had him summoned before a High Court judge in Cardiff and ordered him to hand over my medical records which he had been refusing to. Not that Thomson actually retired, although he told the local paper this – Thomson went off quietly to Pembrokeshire and joined the senior management of the NHS Trust down there! He stood down from that post suddenly for unexplained reasons, but was kind enough to tell them all that he’d remain as an advisor to the Board.

Chris Heginbotham of the Mental Health Act Commission – the MHA Commission that failed to investigate abuses of patients in north Wales, lied to patients and had a very chummy relationship over a period of many years with NHS senior managers in north Wales – was formerly Chief Exec at MIND. Heginbotham worked closely with William Bingley, the legal director of MIND whilst Heginbotham was Chief Exec – who also went on to lead the MHA Commission – who admitted to me that he knew the extent of the criminal activities of Dr Dafydd Alun Jones. For more details of Heginbotham’s activities, see post ‘MIND Are Out For Mental Health – But Never For Themselves Of Course’.

Michael Ponton was appointed as Director of the NHS Confederation Wales in 2004. He began working for the NHS in Cardiff in 1962 and moved to England in 1968, where he worked at St Mary’s Hospital Paddington and Leicester General Hospital. In 1974 he returned to Wales as manager of the Morriston Hospital, Swansea. After spending 16 years in senior management roles with West Glamorgan Health Authority, Ponton returned to Morrison in 1985 to manage the revamped hospital. In 1990 he became Managing Director of East Dyfed and Pembrokeshire Health Authorities. In 1996 Ponton was appointed as Chief Exec of Health Promotion Wales. In 1999 he arrived at the newly established Welsh Assembly Gov’t as the senior civil servant supporting the Chief Medical Officer, Dr Ruth Hall, on Health Promotion and Public Health.

Dr Ruth Hall was or still is a member of NICE’s Public Health Advisory Committee, is on the Board of Governors of the Public Policy Institute for Wales and is Joint Chair of the Mid-Wales Healthcare Collaborative. Healthcare services in mid-Wales are notoriously virtually non-existent and two days ago the children’s services in Powys died a death. Ruth penned an entertaining piece for the University of South Wales’s website, entitled ‘Riding The Wave of Success’, in which she urged everyone to ‘enjoy the wave of reflected glory. This particularly applies to the NHS…’

Michael Ponton led the Assembly Strategy ‘Improving Health in Wales’ – he was Director of Health Policy and Development in the Assembly’s Health and Social Services Dept. In 2010 when he retired Ponton became a visiting Professor at the University of South Wales. He was or is a Trustee of Age Concern Cymru as well as Help the Aged in Wales.

 

A Report on the Implementation and Progress of the Concordat 2005-07 followed a few years later. The signatures on this Report were pretty much the same as the signatures on the Concordat, but there were a few new additions, including that of Dr Finlay Scott, Chief Exec of the GMC. At the time, Finlay was busy trying to explain why Harold Shipman had been allowed to continue practicing although there had been concerns expressed about him many years previously after he was convicted of a drugs offence.

Another new signature was that of Jeremy Colman, the Auditor General for Wales. Jeremy was a civil servant who had worked as the Private Secretary to successive holders of the post of head of the Home Office’s civil service and in the Treasury. Colman had played a leading role in the privatisation of British Airways and the British Airports Authority. In 1988 Colman was Director of investment bank County NatWest. He then became a partner in Price Waterhouse – he was based in Prague, as head of Corporate Finance. Colman joined the National Audit Office in 1993 and was responsible for PFIs and public-private partnerships for 12 years. Colman became head of the Wales Audit Office (WAO) in 2005. He resigned in 2010 after an internal investigation found child porn on his computer. An investigation by South Wales Police followed – Colman was later found guilty of fifteen separate offences of possessing indecent images and was jailed. The only surprise is that he hasn’t turned up on the Board of the Care Council for Wales.

After Colman resigned, Huw Vaughan Thomas was appointed as head of the WAO. Huw Vaughan Thomas was the former Chief Exec of Gwynedd County Council, whilst Gwynedd Social Services was host to the paedophile ring and was subject to police investigations. Vaughan Thomas refused to meet Alison Taylor, the social worker who blew the whistle on the paedophile ring, who was subsequently sacked. Vaughan Thomas is involved with numerous worthy causes – full details of Huw’s glorious career and extensive network can be read in my post ‘I Know Nuzzing…’

If any reader knows who sat on the panel that appointed Huw Vaughan Thomas to the WAO, I’d certainly like to hear from them. Huw is still in that post.

 

In the midst of all this, in March 2005 ‘Community Care’ ran an article on Rhodri Morgan’s ‘vision’ for public services in Wales – a vision that was conjured up by his advisor Mark Drakeford. The vision involved rejecting the consumerist model of services that had been adopted in England – all part of Rhodri’s famous placing of ‘clear red water’ between Wales and England. I am completely sympathetic to such ideas – but as we have seen, they cannot be successfully implemented if the whole system is full of corrupt, abusive people who are never removed from their jobs and who are immediately given another senior role if they condescend to resign in the face of major scandal. Flattering words were said in ‘Community Care’ regarding the ‘new way’ of sharing staff and resources. A number of key figures were mentioned, including Paul Elliott, spokesperson for Wales UNISON and David Halse, head of Childcare Commissioning at Pembrokeshire. David was head of Children’s Services in Pembrokeshire, working under Jon Skone.

In Jan 2006, ‘Children and Young People Now’ carried an article on the serious problems in children’s social care services in Wales. One Graham Williams – who was still  Chief Inspector – commented that ‘improving the performance of children’s services must be given immediate priority’. Everyone chipped in as usual. A Sally Ellis was named as the Association of Directors of Social Services lead on children’s services in Wales. Sally Ellis was a Corporate Director in Denbighshire County Council, between 2001-14. The Denbighshire County Council which had problems in all of its ‘services’ and whose education service famously imploded. Sally was, among other things, Director of Social Services for Denbighshire and is described as having held ‘many posts in local gov’t’. What’s the betting that at one point Sally will have been a social worker in north Wales as the paedophile gang raged and the mental health patients were neglected and abused? Sally was also the Director for Modernisation over at Denbighshire – and was or is the local gov’t representative on the Betsi Board! She Chaired the Strategic Improvement Steering Group which dispensed advice to the Health and Social Services Minister in Wales on social care improvement. Sally is also listed on the website of the Public Services Staff Commission as a Commissioner, who provides ‘advice to Welsh Gov’t Ministers and public service organisations’. She also provided advice to the National Institute of Care and Support.

Sally Ellis is a volunteer advisor to Denbighshire CAB. Lucille Hughes, the Director of Gwynedd Social Services who was named in the Waterhouse Report as colluding with the paedophile gang who operated in north Wales, is a senior manager of CAB. Ellis is also Vice-Chair of North Wales Housing aka the North Wales Housing Association. The North Wales Housing Association began the Bangor branch of their empire by fleecing a vulnerable psychiatric patient. They are known for housing drug dealers who intimidate the more vulnerable residents – complaints from the vulnerable residents are ignored. In the 1990s, North Wales Housing used to run a homeless hostel in Bangor. I knew a young woman who was ‘housed’ there. She struck up a close friendship with a young man who was also a resident and one night went along to his room and got into bed with him. He was dead. He had died of an overdose of drugs that he’d been sold whilst he was in the hostel. They young woman who found him was taken to the Hergest Unit and sectioned. Her clothes were removed – and never returned – and she was given a police forensic jump suit to wear. She was detained in the Hergest Unit until after the funeral and the inquest of her dead friend. She was never interviewed about her friend’s death by anyone. There was no investigation into the death. The manager of the hostel on duty the night that the young man died later became Chief Exec of North Wales Housing.

In July 2007, an article appeared in Wales Online explaining that the cost of negligence in the Welsh NHS was going through the roof. Spencer Collier, a solicitor handling such claims, observed that it was ‘the same basic and simple mistakes which keep occurring….very, very simple year one medical school stuff’. Gren Kershaw’s own documents from the Welsh Risk Pool also showed that the same mistakes were being made repeatedly. A Welsh Assembly spokesperson responded by saying that ‘the NHS Redress Measure that has been published today will further encourage a learning culture in the NHS’. At about this time, one of my colleagues at Bangor University was ‘leading a project’ with dear old Gren and the Welsh Risk Pool. Brown and me used to be greatly entertained by this person’s description of the NHS as a ‘learning organisation’. Within two years the project had gone tits up in a major way due to her mismanagement, the two PhD students associated with it didn’t get PhDs, there was talk of the funding body demanding the dosh back from the University and the person who believed that the NHS was a learning organisation was sacked. She later set up a ‘coaching and mentoring business’ and was recently commissioned by the Betsi to ‘train’ their senior doctors. Some months ago, at a Betsi Board meeting whilst yet another disaster was being discussed, the Vice-Chair of the Board, Margaret Hanson, talked about ’embedding the learning’. Margaret is a former social worker who is married to David Hanson, who also worked in the care sector before he became an MP in Wales.

The learning just goes on and on – as do the deaths, the scandals and the abuse.

 

Another major player between 2006-12 was Tony Jewell, Wales’s Chief Medical Officer. Jewell always looked as though he led a very good life, he was rather tanned and seemed to be in possession of some very expensive teeth. He was a public health specialist and I never worked out whether he was a good advert for his own speciality or whether he was just wealthy enough to afford a very comfortable lifestyle. Many years ago Tony Jewell worked as a GP in inner London for 10 years and was a member of Tower Hamlets Area Health Authority for six years, specifically as the union rep. So he will have known the fuckwits that ran that borough and that they were sending their kids in care on placement to north Wales – where they were abused. Jewell was Secretary to the Support Wendy Savage campaign, so he’ll have known many of the folk mentioned in my post ‘Little Things Hitting Each Other’. Jewell was a Council member of the Socialist Health Organisation, but resigned when he was appointed CMO for Wales. Yorkshire Television produced a documentary on Jewell’s work in the 80s. In the late 1980s Yorkshire Television also filmed Alison Taylor for a planned documentary on child abuse in north Wales children’s homes – but it was suddenly stopped. Jewell was involved in the Inquiry into the death of David ‘Rocky’ Bennett. Rocky was a mental health patient who suffocated whilst being ‘restrained’ by an inexplicably high number of people who were paid ‘to help’. Tony Jewell was President of the UK Association of Directors of Public Health, 2002-06.

Whilst CMO, Tony Jewell created Public Health appointments in every Health Board in Wales. I knew one of the people who landed one of those appointments in the North West Wales NHS Trust. He was a capable senior doctor who had won prizes for his work whilst he was working in London. After working for the North West Wales NHS Trust for a year he began to describe the serious misconduct among his colleagues that he was witnessing. He alleged that he was being bullied in the workplace, became clinically depressed and ended up having a breakdown. He left Tony Jewell’s flagship job and moved to another part of the country to work as a GP – after a leading light in the BMA ensured that nobody got to hear about what had happened to this doctor in Gwynedd. The doctor who had the breakdown also knew about the research fraud that was mindfulness and noticed that the ‘mindfulness practitioners’ in Bangor University were behaving appallingly.

Tony Jewell established NISCHR (National Institute for Social Care and Health Research) in Wales, an organisation that dishes out funding to people who know exactly how bad the social care and mental health services are in Wales, but who never publish a word about it preferring to pursue simplistic surveys and box ticking exercises instead.

Some years ago there was a terrifyingly embarrassing cluster of suicides in Bridgend, which no-one ever managed to get to the bottom of. I always wondered about that particular mystery, but I have now discovered that Jewell ‘defused’ the problem by conjuring up the All Wales Response To Suicide Prevention. Not that it’s prevented any suicides, people are still dropping like lemmings, but at least no-one talks about it anymore, because there’s now a Strategy. The learning will have been embedded.

Tony Jewell retired in 2012, tanned, healthy and still in possession of those splendid teeth. The rest of Wales was on its arse, I’d been hounded out of Gwynedd by the paedophiles’ friends and the nation’s health outcomes were shameful. By this time Lesley Griffiths was Minister for Health and Social Services. Griffiths had been a member of Wrexham Council whilst the paedophile ring raged in the children’s services in Wrexham (see post ‘History Repeats Itself, First As Tragedy, Second As Farce’) – all the Councillors except Malcolm King refused to make a nuisance of themselves about this minor matter. Mark Drakeford was appointed as Minister for Health and Social Services after Griffiths – the Drakeford who was once a social worker in Dyfed where children in care were abused, the Drakeford who was Rhodri’s advisor a few years previously – you get the picture. Drakeford was in post when the Tawel Fan scandal blew up and covered him in crap. Tawel Fan ward provided care for EMI patients in Ysbyty Glan Clwyd – Gren Kershaw’s former empire, that beacon of ‘improvement’ that so impressed quality assessors in Boston. The EMI services in Gren’s empire also managed to receive an award for being the best team in the UK from the Royal College of Psychiatrists the year before the horrible truth hit the headlines re Tawel Fan.

After Tony Jewell retired, Dr Ruth Hussey was appointed as CMO for Wales. Ruth Hussey is Peter Higson’s sister. Ruth Hussey picked up an honorary Fellowship from Bangor University – Peter Higson is a member of the Council at Bangor University.

 

Regular readers will know that although I am very rude about the nest of corrupt vipers that have wrecked the public services in Wales, I always maintain that they have been propped up by even worse equally corrupt incestuous vipers from England. So let’s look at who oversaw this complete mess at the highest level and started the ball rolling from the earliest days of the creation of the Assembly, by simply re-employing and indeed promoting the fucking idiots who had caused so much damage previously.

It was Sir Jon Shortridge, who was Permanent Secretary in the Welsh Office from 1999 and who became Permanent Secretary of the National Assembly for Wales when it was created in May 1999. Shortridge’s predecessor was Rachel Lomax, who has a great deal of explaining to do re the cover-up that was the Waterhouse Inquiry. Further details pertaining to Rachel can be read in my post ‘So Who Was It Exactly Who Appointed The Corrupt Old Bugger?’

Shortridge joined the Welsh Office in 1984. In 1987 he became Private Secretary to Secretaries of State for Wales Nicholas Edwardes aka Lord Crickhowell and then Peter Walker. So Shortridge will have been au fait – and perhaps even organising – the Welsh Office’s cover-up of the abuse of both children in care and mental health patients as detailed in previous posts, by the use of corrupt lawyer Andrew Park and the corrupt Medical Ombudsman, Professor Robert Owen. It was also the Welsh Office’s Social Services Inspectorate that failed to carry out regular inspections of the children’s homes in north Wales, even though they were being told by Alison Taylor that abuse was rampant and some ‘care workers’ from the homes had been convicted of assaults on children. In addition, Alison and me were writing to Ministers in the Welsh Office telling them that there was criminal activity in the social services and mental health services in north Wales. Shortridge will also have been party to the development of Cardiff Bay and the way in which this was used to transfer many millions of taxpayers money to Nicholas Edwardes and his friends and business partners (see post ‘Corruption Bay Special’). In fact between 1988-92 Shortridge was head of the Welsh Office Finance Division, so he’ll have been the person who waved that particular massive scam through. There was a great deal of unhappiness with the Welsh Office in Wales, with allegations of corruption, mismanagement and decisions being taken that were anything but helpful to Wales. In 1995 a Senior Managerial Review of the Welsh Office was undertaken – by Jon Shortridge. Then in 1997, Shortridge was appointed Director of Economic Affairs, responsible for establishing the National Assembly of Wales.

After ensuring the corruption was built into the civil service and public services of Wales from the very beginning, Shortridge retired in 2008. Between 2012-15, Sir Jon Shortridge was Chancellor of the poorest performing university in the UK, that institution riddled with problems, Glyndwr University at Wrexham. My post ‘A Vampire At Glyndwr University!’ identifies and details the backgrounds of the numerous people who facilitated, concealed and colluded with those involved in the North Wales Child Abuse Scandal who have held or hold roles governing that institution. I presume that Shortridge is the biggest vampire of the lot.

I have come to expect high levels of fuckwittery from those responsible for running health and care systems – these systems are so dysfunctional that they are designed to ensure that no competent person ever achieves any degree of influence. But under Jon Shortridge, a paedophile was appointed to lead the Wales Audit Office and then after the paedophile was imprisoned, someone who facilitated a paedophile gang was appointed as his successor.

The Westminster Paedophile Ring was alleged to have involved Whitehall civil servants. Children from north Wales children’s homes were trafficked to London for prostitution. Some of the boys from north Wales found themselves visiting apartments at Dolphin Square – the location of the residences of a number of politicians and civil servants.

 

It is good to know that there is ‘no problem’ and that everyone is ‘riding the wave of success’ – and that Jon Shortridge, having presided over this shameful mess that resulted in so many ruined lives and numerous deaths, ended up with a knighthood.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Still Lost In Care

BBC News Wales are reporting on the case of a teenage girl – who cannot be identified – whose mother is maintaining has been put as risk since she was taken into care by a council in Wales, which also cannot be identified http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-39492217

BBC Week In Week Out are screening a programme about the case tonight. It would seem that the girl was not removed from her mother as a result of abuse or neglect, but because her mother asked for help to deal with her daughter’s difficult behaviour whilst she was still at primary school. The girl experienced 17 different foster ‘placements’ in the space of four years and her mother is maintaining that being ‘in care’ has simply resulted in her daughter developing even more problems – her daughter did not attend school for two years and has now been categorised as being at risk of sexual exploitation. Dr Sally Holland, the Children’s Commissioner for Wales, has refused to comment on the case. The BBC are making reference to ‘Sarah’s Report’, compiled twenty years ago concerning the fate of a 12 year old girl who was taken into care by the former South Glamorgan County Council, supposedly for her own protection. Once in the ‘care’ of this local authority, the life of this girl was completely derailed and she became involved in selling sex – at the age of 12 and then continued to do this throughout her teenage years. The BBC have tracked her down to see how she has fared since the damning report about the ‘care’ that she was offered was published. She is homeless, recently out of prison and a crack addict.

There is evidence pouring in from all over the UK that the children’s ‘care’ system was decades ago infiltrated by organised gangs of paedophiles and criminals who have snared ‘looked after children’ into lives of prostitution and drug use and were not above using extreme violence to control these children when they tried to escape the clutches of the criminal gangs. The problem remains today, although the extent of the problem has only recently become clear. There has been much media coverage in recent years regarding the north Wales child abuse scandal, the Islington child abuse scandal, the Leicestershire child abuse scandal and the Lambeth child abuse scandal, all dating back to the 1970s – another such scandal was the Kincorra boys home scandal in Northern Ireland, although that seems to have dropped off the radar now. Running alongside all this are the constant allegations of a ‘Westminster paedophile ring’ involving well-connected politicians and others close to Government who were alleged to be visiting children’s homes to molest the residents. The Public Inquiry currently chaired by Prof Alexis Jay has been charged with getting to the bottom of this and more, although that Inquiry is stumbling from disaster to disaster and a number of ‘survivors’ have declared it a social workers talking shop, walked out and published the names of those whom they claim abused them, many of whom were social workers. Some of the people who were associated with these historical scandals have done very well for themselves – Margaret Hodge was leader of Islington Council when the paedophile ring was running riot in the children’s homes there and is now Dame Margaret Hodge and in the House of Lords. Hodge was married to a judge, Henry Hodge and famously started Tony Blair on his political ‘journey’. Greville Janner was repeatedly alleged to have been abusing boys in Leicestershire and it was recently admitted that the CPS ‘missed’ opportunities to prosecute him for child sexual abuse. Janner ended up in the House of Lords as well. More recently organised sexual exploitation by criminal gangs targeting children ‘in care’ has been revealed in Rotherham, Telford, Oxford and other locations. This problem is not just about a few lacklustre social workers here and there, this is a form of organised crime that has penetrated much of the children’s welfare services across the UK. Furthermore, very few of the social workers and managers who were turning a blind eye to this, or indeed facilitating it, were ever removed from their jobs, yet alone prosecuted. They stayed in the system, climbing higher and higher and many of them are still there – or they are now in positions of even greater influence and power, following careers in public life.

As the BBC story is a Wales story I decided to do a quick google on the woman who was for many years at the pinnacle of the social care profession in Wales, a woman whom I heard much about a few years ago – who was alleged to be quite a problem in that she was completely ineffective in cleaning up social work and social care, one Rhian Huws-Williams, the Chief Executive of the Care Council for Wales. Rhian held this post from 2001 – just after the publication of the Waterhouse Report, which admitted that there had been a paedophile ring operating in the social services in north Wales and that Lucille Hughes, the former Director of Gwynedd Social Services, had known this but failed to respond. It was also alleged that the Waterhouse Report had been a huge cover-up and that hardly any of the people involved in the gang had been held to account. Rhian remained in post until 2014, but has now departed for London and is stating in her Linked In profile that she works for City and Guilds although it is very unclear what she actually does for them. However in 2016 Rhian did manage to pick up an Honorary Fellowship at Bangor University. Throughout Rhian’s tenure as CEO of the Care Council for Wales, social care in Wales was hit by scandal after scandal after scandal. But did anyone really expect anything different? She was someone who had spent her whole career is the social care system, nearly all of it in Wales – she will have worked with and be networked with the very people who were causing the problem. It will have been them who promoted her. Furthermore Rhian did her social work training at Bangor, back in the 70s – when the paedophile ring was operating in Gwynedd. So I think we can take it as a given that Rhian’s training will not have been of the highest calibre and that she could well have made some very worrying contacts along the way.

Whilst googling Rhian, I came across some information that I hadn’t been aware of. Rhian’s former empire has been replaced by a new body – were Rhian’s failures just too much of an embarrassment to be tolerated any longer? Is that why she has departed for London and a new career in a different direction? The new body is Social Care Wales, described as a ‘Welsh Government sponsored body’. It will of course be responsible for upholding ‘excellence’ – but they would say that wouldn’t they. Even Rhian didn’t say that her remit was to ignore a gang of paedophiles. The website of Social Care Wales has replaced the website of Rhian’s old outfit – that has disappeared off the face of the internet – and is packed with information. I haven’t bothered to read it all, it all looks depressingly familiar with guff about ‘concerns and compliments’ and ‘operational strategy’, but I do take an interest in who ‘leads’ these organisations because that’s where the real clues as what will be happening lie.

The Chair of Social Care Wales is Arwel Ellis Owen. Arwel is a graduate of Aberystwyth and is nothing whatever to do with social care, he has a media background and his profile states that he was Editor of BBC News Wales before moving on to work on Newsnight and Panorama. That will be the Newsnight that suppressed the Jimmy Savile story and the Panorama who never replied to me when I offered them my evidence relating to serious abuse and criminal conduct in the north Wales mental health services. So rather than expose wrongdoing, I very much suspect that Arwel has been appointed to this role in order to bury bad news and ensure that vacuous PR puffs regarding social care in Wales find their way into the media. Other Board members include:

Abigail Harris. Former Director of Bridgend Social Services and former CEO of Vale of Glamorgan Health Board. Well something was going badly wrong in Bridgend because there was that spate of suicides there that no-one ever got to the bottom of and the Vale of Glamorgan Health Board has not been without it’s problems. So Abigail won’t be the sort to blow the whistle if anything horrific emerges.

Aled Roberts. This looks very much like the former LibDem AM from north east Wales who was royally shafted by the dreadful Kirsty Williams. At least he is not boasting of any dodgy connections to the NHS or social services. My only experience of Aled was when I went to see him a few years ago on behalf of one of my friends who was abused by and then refused all care from the Hergest Unit – it was made quite clear by Dr David Healy that this man had been left to kill himself. Aled wrote my friend a letter sympathising but telling my friend that there was very little that he could do. So Aled was either someone else who was quietly assisting the mental health services with their slaughter – or he might just have been a remarkably honest politician.

Carl Cooper. A previous career in the voluntary sector – which as this blog has previously detailed is sadly full of nepotism and cronyism and is networked into the failing statutory sector anyway. Carl is a member of the Advisory Panel to the Welsh Language Commissioner, the illustrious Meri Huws, who has featured on this blog before. Meri does not know what she is doing and will be badly in need of advisors, but the recent concerns expressed about the failures of the Commissioner’s Welsh Language plan suggests that her advisors aren’t much good either. Meri is of course a former Gwynedd social worker. Carl is also a member of Powys Public Service Board and Vice-Chair of Powys Regional Partnership Board. That is the Powys that used to run a Local Health Board that effectively killed a suicidal young woman called Sylvan Money whilst she was in their ‘care’ – Sylvan’s inquest revealed 36 failings, one of which was two staff who were supposed to be observing her going shopping whilst on duty… Not a good omen.

Damien Bridgeman. A former Care Council for Wales Board member. Enough said.

Donna Hutton. A former UNISON rep with responsibility for the social care sector. So she’ll have been dispensing advice to any social care professionals who have ever been in hot water because of, for example, abusing or neglecting clients. Considering how infrequently social care professionals are removed under these circumstances, Donna has obviously done a very good job on their behalf. Donna has also been a Brownie leader. Yes, honestly.

Emma Britton. A ‘qualified independent social worker’ with ‘personal experience of the social care system as a service user’. She may be someone very worthwhile or she may simply be yet another tame service user who’s going to tick all the boxes whilst clients suffer horribly.

Grace Quantock. Rescues puppies. A volunteer with MIND, and Cruse, founder of ‘Healing Boxes CIC’, Trailblazing Wellness (Un) Ltd’, is training as a psychotherapeutic counsellor, also a meditation teacher and teacher of mindful movement. I think that Social Care Wales have surpassed themselves with this particular appointment.

Joanne Kember. A pharmacist from north Wales. The jury’s out on Joanne, some of the pharmacists were a lot better than the doctors in north Wales but some of them were every bit as mediocre and just as much in denial as to the reality of the ‘healthcare’ being provided.

Jane Moore. Forty years experience of working in local authority children’s services. Worked at senior manager level. Recently specialised in looked after children. Oh God.

Kate Hawkins. Care Council for Wales Board member. Another one.

Peter Max. Formerly an accountant, now the Director of an organisation providing community care to people with a mental health (surely he means ‘illness’) diagnosis. links with voluntary sector, Welsh Govt’s Dept of Health and Social Services, the NHS and National Mental Health Partnership. Does not sound too hopeful.

Rhian Watcyn Jones. Former Board member of Care Council for Wales. Yet another one.

Simon Burch. Former Director of Social Services for Monmouthshire and Member of Independent Safeguarding Board. OK…

So the Board of the brand new body that has replaced the catastrophe that was Rhian Huws-Williams is largely made up of people from the previous regime, along with a Brownie leader and a woman who rescues puppies and is Chaired by a man who helped ensure that Jimmy Savile’s activities were never brought into the public domain until he was safely dead and buried. Somehow I don’t rate their chances of taking on the organised crime that now pervades the welfare services too highly. But we’ll never hear about it when they foul up because we’ve got the man from the BBC at the helm to do a bit of media management… And if anyone’s pinning their hopes on a breath of fresh air from the senior management team they’re going to be bitterly disappointed – they’re a load of recycled dross from the NHS and social care system.