‘A Culture of Steady and Sustained Improvement’???

Once more the Betsi website is offering up entertainment for those of us taking an interest in the NHS. The NHS Chief Exec for Wales Dr Andrew Goodall is reported as having released his ‘Annual Quality Statement for NHS Wales 2016’ http://www.wales.nhs.uk/sitesplus/861/news/44525

When I saw the word ‘quality’ I did wonder how Goodall was going to square this with what is actually happening in the NHS in Wales – no-one wants to work here, four Health Boards are effectively bankrupt and are talking about slashing services because the Welsh Govt can no longer afford to bail them out, the mental health services are exterminating people with deaths reported weekly, there has been yet another mental health failure in Wales so substantial that it has received coverage in the London-based media (the murder of Cerys Yemm and subsequent death of her murderer Michael Williams after the police tasered him), the Betsi is still in special measures and there is talk of more Health Boards following suit, millions of pounds have been diverted into the pockets of CAIS whilst the drug problem becomes ever more obvious and out of control, there is large scale fraud going on in the name of ‘healthcare research’, the Medical School at Cardiff is in crisis and those are just a few of the more obvious failings.

But Goodall is claiming that there is ‘a culture of steady and sustained improvement’ no less – presumably that why so many healthcare professionals have been caught out telling porkies in so many inquests recently. So I was interested to see what examples of wonderful practice in NHS Wales that Goodall was actually going to point to in order to demonstrate this ‘culture’. He mentions ‘vastly improved ambulance times’ – er, would these be the same ambulances which failed to respond at all to a man who had a machete driven into his head in an armed robbery and to a number of other seriously ill patients some of whom actually died as a result of the vastly improved ambulance response times? The same ambulances whose response times consistently failed to hit any targets that had been aspired to over a period of so many years that Vaughan Gething decided that the best way of resolving the problem was to recategorise all the response time targets in the hope that the ambulances would now look as though they were performing rather better?

Another ‘innovative improvement’ that Goodall boasts about is ‘early intervention in psychosis for 15 to 24 yr olds’. Ah yes – would this encompass the ‘psychosocial early intervention in psychosis’ as pioneered in north Wales some years ago? The psychosocial early intervention that Dr Mike Jackson of Bangor University, who was leading the team pioneering it, admitted to me didn’t work? But I bet Mike didn’t publish anything about it not working – no, it will have been written up as yet another roaring success coming out of the region where so many mental health patients are actually dying. Mike was so disappointed with his results that he described it all as ‘a real bummer’. No Mike, the real bummer is you and your colleagues watching patients being abused and neglected and constantly publishing research that you know is fraudulent – because you want more of that lovely dosh from the Welsh Gov’t to keep you in jobs that you are actually not very good at, therefore you’ve all become experts in ‘service user led research’ and anything that does not involve pharmaceutical companies who have now acquired a truly dreadful reputation. I am also thinking of those other experts in ‘service user led research’ such as Professors Catherine Robinson and Rob Poole – my post ‘He’s Not The Messiah, He’s A Very Naughty Boy’ describes how Catherine actually treated a ‘service user’ whom she worked with and Rob Poole has been described to me by three different patients as a highly abusive practitioner. I see that Poole’s grandiose and narcisstic blog (keep putting all those photos of yourself on there Rob, as someone who doesn’t bother to turn up for appointments with your patients it’ll help them know what you actually look like) recently featured a discussion which Rob held with himself regarding the merits or otherwise of Professor Richard Bentall. Now most of what Bentall has to say has actually been said by a lot of other people, but he does tend to say it to psychiatrists who get very angry with him – furthermore Richard Bentall supplied evidence demonstrating that the odious Raj Persaud was a shameless lying plagiarist, finally exposing him and I will be forever grateful to Richard Bentall for that. However, my most recent memory of Richard Bentall dates back some five years ago or so, when someone in Bangor University’s School of Psychology cc’d an e mail to someone whom I knew by mistake – and this person forwarded the e mail to me, because they knew that I was taking an interest in what was being presented as ‘mental health research’ in north Wales. I seem to remember that the e mail was actually from Richard Bentall – or it might have been from someone else and cc’d to Richard Bentall. But it involved a lot of mental health researchers based in Bangor/north Wales and was discussing the complete failure to recruit enough participants for yet another Oxford University/Bangor University clinical trial for mindfulness in depression. The researchers had repeatedly advertised and had also secured a slot on Welsh news, stressing the booming success of their work and asking mental health patients to volunteer to participate in the clinical trial. But they still could not get their numbers up. I knew this from other sources. But I was most interested to receive a copy of this e mail involving Richard Bentall and other high profile names which admitted that it was now almost ‘impossible’ to recruit patients from north Wales to participate in mental health research. Of course it was – they had all been treated so badly by the mental health services, including some of the very people carrying out this ‘research’, that no way were they going to volunteer to help that bunch of bastards. Patients were not only put at risk by neglectful and abusive ‘care’ but they were very often put at risk during the research process. I was present at a conference in Cardiff discussing ethical problems in research when a delegate made a comment about a research trial that she knew was going on in Bangor investigating a new treatment for depression that involved patients with a history of serious and recurrent depression – this delegate had been horrified to discover that this trial had NO strategy at all for patients who became depressed again or even suicidal during the trial. Think about this – not only was this trial therefore putting patients at risk, but it meant that patients who became depressed were not being identified as such, which would of course lead to the inevitable conclusion that the treatment being trialled was successful. The person leading this trial was one Dr Richard Tranter, a psychiatrist at the Hergest Unit. There was someone else presenting with me at this conference who was the person who actually responded to the delegate’s comments – she just smiled and said ‘it’s worrying isn’t it’. That person was Professor Catherine Robinson – who then co-authored a volume with Richard Tranter. Catherine is also the co-director of the ‘Centre for Mental Health and Society’ – the other co-director is one Rob Poole. Catherine is named as the ‘Academic Lead’ for the ‘Service Carer and Research Partnership’ of the National Centre for Mental Health, Cardiff. So if the ‘service users’ themselves have enough sense not to allow abusive practitioners in north Wales to use them for their ‘mental health research’, where is the data coming from? By the way, I have received a few e mails from ‘service users’ concerned at the activities of the National Centre for Mental Health Wales…