The Great And The Good

As promised I’ll provide brief reviews of those Top Doctors and their associates who have popped up in the media today. The first one that I heard was Cathy Warwick, Chief Exec of the Royal College of Midwives on the ‘Today’ programme this morning. As well as awakening to the Mental Health Crisis which has been with us for years, the UK has now awoken from it’s slumber regarding the Maternity Care Crisis. It has been revealed that during 2016 nearly half of the maternity units in England temporarily shut down at some point as a result of a ‘bed shortage’. Some of the media reports have attributed the problems to ‘women choosing to give birth at a later age’ thus increasing the number of complex deliveries, or ‘a higher number of obese mothers’. So it’s the patients’ fault then, I thought that perhaps it might be, they’re all old and fat. Now and then the real reason for the problem has been mentioned – the NHS is short of thousands of midwives. Discussions have been held about the possible reasons – such as pay or the loss of training bursaries. The one factor not mentioned is that good midwives won’t work in an NHS where women and babies are regularly put at risk or where the midwives are scapegoated for cock-ups that are beyond their control – I actually know midwives who have left midwifery who have not hesitated to state that these were the reasons why they left their jobs.

So Cathy was wheeled out to comment on Radio 4. She didn’t admit the real reasons why midwives are fast becoming an endangered species either. But then she is very much part of the problem. Cathy Warwick has led the RCM since 2008 and knows exactly how dreadful some maternity care is. Not only has she never spoken out about this, but when James Titcombe, a former advisor to the CQC, was a little too critical of the state of maternity services for her liking, she wrote to the Chief Exec of the CQC and asked them if they could persuade James to be ‘less antagonistic’ on social media. James ended up resigning from his post as a result of the relentless pressure that he was subjected to by the midwifery establishment.

James Titcombe had good reason to be blunt about the danger that women and babies are regularly placed in – his own baby died as a result of negligence at Furness Hospital. Not only that, but after James was faced with a less than honest response following his son’s death, he did a bit of digging and found that many other babies had died at that hospital and that there had been a major cover-up regarding the dreadful conduct of a small number of midwives. James faced extreme hostility and efforts to silence him after he had been appointed to his role with the CQC and at one point a midwife even sent out a tweet about it being difficult to disagree with a ‘grieving and angry man’ who was blaming a whole profession for his loss. James had every right to be angry and of course he was grieving, his baby had died. Furthermore he wasn’t blaming a whole profession for his loss, he had simply very skilfully demonstrated that the ‘whole profession’ closes ranks and risks patient safety and that it is a considerably dishonest profession. In 2015 James commented that the National Review of Maternity Care failed to examine the current quality and variation in safety on maternity wards. Anyone want to admit that he was correct?

Not only has Cathy Warwick failed to speak out regarding the many problems in NHS maternity services, but she’s kept very quiet about the systematic way in which independent midwives have been prevented from practicing. A number of them such as Beatrice Carla were subjected to high profile show trials at the hands of the NMC and were driven out of the profession in that way, but because a few dared to persist their insurance was then withdrawn and midwives are legally unable to practice without insurance, so it was curtains for them. It is unlawful for women to give birth unaided in the UK, so unless one is very wealthy indeed and books oneself into somewhere like the Portland Hospital – which provides lovely grub and rooms as good as the best hotels but has presided over some major clinical disasters itself – it’s off down to the local NHS Unit for everyone now, even if the one nearest to you is lethal. The only way around this is for a woman to lie about her delivery due date and give birth ‘accidentally’ at home. Which is actually what some women are resorting to if they’ve previously had a really bad experience in hospital.

This is no way to treat women is it. The biggest laugh of all is that whilst risking women’s and babies safety, Cathy Warwick maintained that as a feminist she would make an ‘executive decision’ on behalf of the RCM to support the abolition of any time limits on abortion – members were not balloted. Hundreds of furious RCM members who had conscientious objections to abortion protested but Cathy ignored them.

Cathy rakes in a good deal more than the average midwife – in excess of £100k pa. She was awarded an honorary doctorate by that hallowed institution St George’s Hospital Medical School in 2007.

 

Then Radio 4 inflicted a Top Doctor upon it’s listeners on ‘The World At One’ – John Ashton, who was fuming away about the health of ‘northerners’ and maintaining that what was needed was more funding for public health in the north. Ashton’s angry near-rant followed clips of interviews with a number of northern men who all showed a healthy disrespect towards the BBC journalist when he quizzed them about their smoking habits and diets. Ashton banged on about the sins of Public Health England in spending far more per head of population in the south than they do in the north and also got in a mention of the ‘male identity crisis’ as well. The male identity crisis is not something that is going to be solved by the Gov’t giving more money to bodies like Public Health England or indeed by Public Health England upping their budget for the north. There is massive inequality between the south and the north but Public Health England is not the sort of body which will address the sort of inequality that needs addressing. John Ashton sounded so furious that I thought that it would be worth googling him because I hadn’t come across his name before.

Professor John Ashton has passed through the hands of a few institutions that have been named on this blog as concealing the wrongdoing of the Top Doctors – the University of Southampton, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the University of Liverpool Medical School. Ashton is the former Director of Public Health for Cumbria – well the NHS had a few problems in Cumbria didn’t it John, which were of course concealed. Such as all those babies who died in Furness Hospital, one of whom was James Titcombe’s son. It was also the NHS in Cumbria which appointed William Bingley to a senior role in the regional Trust – the William Bingley who colluded with the criminal activities of the Top Doctors in north Wales whilst he held senior positions with MIND and the Mental Health Act Commission. Bingley ended up resigning from the Trust after his business activities and associated conflicts of interest were made embarrassingly public. He ended up with a Chair in Mental Health Law and Ethics at the University of Cumbria, so he didn’t go far.

John Ashton might have known about Dr Dafydd Alun Jones and the paedophiles’ friends in north Wales himself. In 1986 John Ashton was employed as a Senior Lecturer in Liverpool Medical School. It was in 1987 that Dafydd told me that if I dropped my complaint against him he’d have a word with his friend who was a Professor in Liverpool Medical School and he’d get me a place there. In the summer of 1984 I had been told by a friend of Sonia Maxwell, the daughter of Terry Maxwell the Clinical Director of Ysbyty Gwynedd, that Sonia had been offered a place to study medicine at Liverpool regardless of her A level results before she had even applied ‘because they know her dad’. Ashton himself whilst he worked in Liverpool in 1986 established a pioneering needle exchange scheme for addicts. So I presume that Ashton knew the pioneering psychiatrist Dr John Marks from Liverpool who achieved impressive results regarding the reduction of harm among drug users, who in the early 1990s wanted to go to north Wales to work. Whose appointment was blocked by Gwynedd Health Authority because they wanted to give the contract for ‘substance misuse services’ to Dafydd. Which indeed they did (see post ‘The Evolution Of A Drugs Baron?’)

John Ashton originally trained as a psychiatrist. He has also worked in family planning and reproductive medicine. He’ll know all about the fertility treatment scams which have been discussed on this blog then.

In Feb 2007 the Manchester Evening News reported that Ashton was quitting his NHS post because he was fed-up with Gov’t reorganisations of the NHS and ‘red tape’. He stated that he was contemplating a career in politics.

He obviously changed his mind because between 2013-2016 John Ashton was President of the Faculty of Public Health. He was suspended from his post at one point after sending out a tweet referring to a group of people as ‘cunts’. I think that they had disagreed with him over something.

In July 2014 Ashton pledged his support for a change in the law to allow doctors to act in cases of ‘assisted dying’. The suicide statistics for north Wales suggest that Dafydd et al have been helping people on their way for years.

John Ashton has been very robust in his support of some other Top Doctors. In 2012 he took on the UK media after an article appeared in the ‘Independent’ stating that Clare Gerada, the Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners, had a vested interest in opposing the Gov’ts NHS reforms. Ashton charged into battle on her behalf, robustly defending her and later accused the Dept of Health of trying to gag him, saying that he had felt ‘bullied’. He should have just sent them all a tweet calling them cunts.

Who was the oppressed woman whom Ashton valiantly defended? Clare Gerada was the Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners between 2010-2013. She is a London based GP with interests in mental health and substance abuse. So she’ll know how crap the mental health services are then. Not that she’ll have ever publicly admitted it – because she’s one of the lot who trained in psychiatry at the Maudsley! In the 1980s – when the Maudsley’s finest alumnus Dafydd was concealing the paedophile ring and illegally imprisoning people in the North Wales Hospital Denbigh. But Clare will already have been schooled in the art of keeping quiet in the face of people doing unscrupulous things – she studied medicine at UCL. In 1992 Clare began working as a GP in Lambeth – the Lambeth that, like north Wales, ran children’s services teaming with paedophiles. The Lambeth who – until the 1990s – was also sending children in it’s care to children’s homes in north Wales where they were abused. Did you really not ever notice any of this Clare?

In April 2016 Clare was elected to the Council of the BMA. Clare is also a member and honorary fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

In Sept 2016 Clare was named as one of the Lib Dems new ‘Beveridge’ group of advisors – although she had been a lifelong supporter of the Labour Party until the EU Referendum. Perhaps she was one of these people who threw a hissy fit because they thought that Jeremy Corbyn wasn’t enthusiastic enough about the bankers club which is the EU.

Clare is a convenor of the cross party political group ‘More United’. I suspect that the only unity that Clare shows is with that of other Top Doctors.

There is a nice photo of Clare on her wiki entry. She is carefully posed – in a similar position to that famous pose adopted by Helen Mirren when she was photographed a few years ago to demonstrate that the over-65s can still look wonderful in a bikini. Clare isn’t wearing a bikini though, she’s wearing a boring but very expensive dress and for some reason is clutching an equally boring designer handbag in such a way as to ensure that it is featured in the frame. Clare must have spent ages getting that photo right, it even looks as though it was professionally done in a studio. The caption above the photo reads ‘Lady Clare Wessely’. Because that’s who she is – she’s married to a Sir!

The Sir to whom Clare is married is another Top Doctor, Professor Sir Simon Wessely, the Professor of Psychological Medicine at Kings College London and the Director of the Kings Centre for Military Health Research. If I presented ‘Woman’s Hour’ I’d call Clare and Simon a ‘power couple’.

Sir Simon is also an Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist at Kings College Hospital and at the Maudsley! Indeed he studied at the Maudsley in the mid-1980s. And at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He is a Civilian Consultant Advisor in psychiatry to the British Army.

He was knighted in 2013 for his services to military healthcare and to psychological medicine. In 2014 Simon was appointed President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Yet the mental health services are such a mess…

In an interview with the ‘Lancet’ in 2007 regarding the controversy over Wessely’s position concerning Gulf War syndrome and chronic fatigue syndrome, Wessely excused himself by saying that he was ‘keen to get published’. So what else did he publish in a hurry without thinking about it? He maintained however that regarding chronic fatigue syndrome, he was subjected to ‘a relentless, vicious, vile campaign designed to hurt and intimidate’. Never mind Simon, at least you weren’t illegally imprisoned, fitted up for crimes that you never committed, hounded out of jobs, subjected to an organised slander and discovered two attempts to set fire to your house, which is what happened to me after I complained about Dafydd and the Top Doctors. Of course most of the people who gave evidence against the paedophile ring that Dafydd et al concealed were found dead. That is what constitutes a relentless, vicious, vile campaign designed to hurt and intimidate, not a bit of criticism of some rather sub-standard research and ill-advised public comments.

Simon Wessely is a member of the Gov’ts Mental Health Taskforce, that one Chaired by Paul Farmer – who’s known all about the wrongdoing of Dafydd et al for at least ten years. Ever since I wrote to him about it.

Wessely was instrumental in setting up the Committee on Acute Psychiatric Care investigating out of area psychiatric placements which was Chaired by Lord Crisp, the man whom Blair put in charge of the NHS at one point. Crisp resigned from his position running the NHS when he realised that he (Crisp) didn’t actually know what was going on. Acute psychiatric care is now so bad that some NHS organisations have placed patients in France because they were unable to find placements anywhere in the UK.

When Wessely ascended the throne at the Royal College he stated that his priorities would include improving the image of psychiatry and psychiatrists, improving recruitment to the speciality and ensuring excellence in education and training. He’s done brilliantly there hadn’t he, no doubt he’ll be elevated to the peerage soon and Lady Clare can purchase a new outfit for the occasion.

Health Services Journal named Simon as one of the ‘Top 100 Clinicians’ in 2014. But then HSJ named Katrina Percy as CEO of the year. Katrina Percy was CEO of Southern Health which oversaw the deaths of hundreds of patients with mental health problems and learning difficulties, one of those deaths being of Connor Sparrowhawk. The Top Doctor responsible for Connor’s ‘care’ at Southern Health is currently facing a GMC tribunal. Yesterday she admitted 28 ‘failings’ in relation to Connor’s care.

In Feb 2017 BBC News online reported that had been a 50% increase in unexpected mental health deaths – including those due to suicide, neglect and misadventure – in three years. The Dept of Health maintained that the increase was due to ‘changes in recording and investigating deaths’. Perhaps that meant that the DoH had stopped lying about the situation. Simon announced that the ‘services are about to get worse’. The services were so bad by then that they couldn’t get much worse – perhaps Simon meant that the horrible truth could not be concealed any longer. Marjorie Wallace (see post ‘One Dangerous Fucker’) was gobsmacked that the DoH had started admitting the dire state of affairs as well – she  claimed to be ‘shocked’ by the figures.

 

Another guest on the ‘Today’ programme this morning was the barrister who is acting for the 17 year old girl who was the subject of Sir James Munby’s comments that society will have blood on it’s hands if a place in a suitable mental health unit cannot be found for her. The barrister described the girl’s current living conditions – alone in a cell, with only a mattress. As I have explained previously these are exactly the conditions to which some patients in mental health units are subjected – there is no guarantee that the treatment of that young woman is going to change in any way with a move from custody to ‘psychiatric care’. Her barrister also explained that at present, the way in which that young woman is restrained is by people ‘sitting on her’. The journalist conducting the interview was horrified. I’m sorry to burst her bubble, but ‘sitting on people’ in order to ‘restrain’ them happens in mental health care settings as well – and it is the Angels who do it. There was for many years a notorious dreadful building in Bangor called Neuadd Deiniol that was laughingly described as a home for people with mental health problems. The care was dreadful, one man choked to death in there and his body wasn’t discovered for a few hours – although he was being ‘observed’ every twenty minutes of course – and the only people who worked there for any length of time were people who couldn’t get a job anywhere else. At one point virtually all the patients there were Dafydd’s but after a while Neuadd Deiniol extended it’s welcome to patients of other Top Doctors as well. I got it straight from the horses mouth – I encountered a rather weird woman who was employed there as a nurse in charge and she cheerily recounted how they had to ‘sit on’ patients. A care assistant – who was no paragon of good practice herself – witnessed the conversation and challenged the Angel, saying that there were never any circumstances in which one should sit on a patient. The Angel was baffled and reiterated ooh no, you’ve got to.

 

As mentioned in previous posts I have suspected that once more the BMA are on a course of action in which they are going to scream and scream until they’re sick. It’s been confirmed by an article in Mail online today. The BMA have organised a ballot of ‘senior GPs’ across England regarding the possible suspension of new patient registrations. In other words, if the GPs vote yes, surgeries will refuse to take on any new patients. Which means that no-one will be able to change doctors, or register with a new practice when they move house or find a new doctor if their doctor retires or dies. Richard Vautrey of the BMA suggested a ban on new registrations as a form of industrial action in protest at ‘the lack of funding for surgeries’. It is reported that the Top Doctors are ‘angry’ at, among other things, the prospect of weekend opening. There is of course still quite a lot of funding for surgeries and for the salaries of Top Doctors. In fact GPs are still benefiting from the notorious out of hours contract that the BMA negotiated in 2004 which means that they can opt out of evening and weekend responsibilities but still earn in excess of £100k pa.

But did Top Doctors who worked as GPs offer a better service before they became as ‘angry’ as they are at present? This blog has posted much about a number of GPs who have conducted themselves appallingly, such as Dr D.G.E. Wood and Dr K. Shah who assisted Dafydd et al in their criminal activities. But even GPs in positions further removed from Dafydd and his mates were capable of some pretty dreadful things. My post ‘A Trade In People – Between London And North Wales’ described how a group of Top Doctors, assisted by some crooked lawyers, swindled a vulnerable brother and sister from London out of their inheritance and relocated them to north Wales after their mother had died in suspicious circumstances in Warlingham Park Hospital, although they had never even visited Wales previously. The financial swindle was perpetuated by Top Doctors in London, as was the most serious abuse and neglect to which these this family had been subjected, but the full details of their history was known to the GPs at Bethesda surgery. Those GPs also witnessed the serious poverty that they were living in and the dreadful neglect towards them by the Arfon Community Mental Health Team. They were not the only patients who were neglected by that surgery, the village was alive with anecdotes of very poor practice and not only with respect to vulnerable mental health patients. I attributed nearly all of this to the general level of poor care offered by that surgery, although there was one GP there who was noticeably better than the others.

There was one GP in that practice though who was quite competent when he wanted to be – when treating his friends for example – but who seemed to be incredibly negligent or ‘make mistakes’ in certain other circumstances. I witnessed him completely blank someone when they reported a case of sexual abuse to him for example – neither did he ever follow that report up. He also seemed to want to exert an astonishing level of control over the brother of the vulnerable family from London. He refused to refer this man for specialist care when he requested it, he told the man ‘not to bother’ when the man expressed an interest in voluntary work and intriguingly when this man had a short-lived sexual relationship with another woman who lived in the village, he virtually demanded full details of their sexual activity. His interest in the details of this man’s life were inexplicable – the GP wasn’t ever interested in providing him with a better level of care, or better living conditions and the sexual relationship that he was so interested in was consensual, between adults and non-exploitative. Neither was an unplanned pregnancy an issue because of the age of the woman involved. A couple of years after this, the same GP was involved in the death of a patient, a young man, S.

S had an older brother, J. J was notorious locally. He was in care as a child, developed drug and mental health problems by his mid-teens and ended up in the notorious Risley Remand Centre for burglary. I was friends with one of his foster parents who not only told me about the violence and abuse to which J had been subjected when he was young but also told me of the beatings and abuse that he and other young men suffered whilst in Risley Remand Centre. My friend did try and challenge the authorities regarding what was happening but she realised that the prison service was a law unto itself and she got nowhere. When J was released from Risley Remand Centre, he resumed his lifestyle of hard drug use, petty crime and dossing down in other peoples houses when they allowed him to. My friend continued to keep in contact with him. However S, his younger brother, was much more stable. He never became involved in crime or drug use and at the time that he died he was actually performing very well at a local FE college. Despite the differences between them S and J were on good terms and communicated regularly.

Then something happened to J that really concerned my friend. He was referred to Dr Dafydd Alun Jones. J began telling my friend some very bizarre things about his encounters with Dafydd. Dafydd told J that he loved him. (A number of other patients also reported that Dafydd had told them that he loved them.) J then appeared on a TV programme telling a few porkies in support of Dafydd when there was an attempt to force Dafydd into retirement in the mid 1990s. My friend asked J why he had gone on TV saying those things and he replied that he’d been paid to do so. Although J had a drug problem, Dafydd did what he was notorious for doing – he supplied J with any drugs that J requested. Whilst all this was happening J could be seen in Bangor openly selling hard drugs to school children. A number of people reported this to the police but no action was taken.

My friend then moved away from Bethesda and I didn’t hear any further details of J’s interactions with Dafydd although I was aware that J was still ‘Dafydd’s patient’. A few months after my friend left the village, there was a huge pubic scene in the GPs surgery. S and J’s mother was screaming abuse at one of the GPs and calling him a murderer. It transpired that S had died the night before – he was 18. He had been taken ill at home and the family were concerned that he had meningitis. They had rung Bethesda surgery and a GP had visited and stated that he ‘didn’t think’ that it was meningitis, it was just flu. S’s condition deteriorated and a few hours later they rang the surgery again. This time a different GP arrived – the GP who took such a close interest in the activities of the man from London. Again S’s parents expressed their concern that S might have meningitis. The GP told them quite categorically that S did not have meningitis, told them to give S paracetamol and not to call the GP again. Later that evening S started to lose his vision. His dad drove him to Ysbyty Gwynedd. By the time they had got out of the car S told his dad that he could no longer see. S died a few hours later. He had meningitis.

S’s death caused a huge amount of bad feeling in Bethesda, he was a popular young man. His mum made a complaint and attempted to have an investigation into her son’s case opened but got nowhere. The GP who had told her husband that S didn’t have meningitis, to give him paracetamol and not to call them out again told third parties that S’s mother’s distress was due to guilt ‘because the wrong son had died’. At the time I just put S’s death down to yet another monumental cock-up on the part of Bethesda surgery. But something was brought to my attention this morning. That is, that S was yet someone else who will have known what Dafydd was up to – because J will have told him – who would be a credible witness but who died as a result of a ‘mistake’ on the part of the NHS in north Wales. J is still alive. But J is like all those witnesses who gave evidence at the Waterhouse Inquiry – he has a history of drug abuse and mental health problems as well as a criminal record and people who didn’t know him would never believe a word that he said. The GP whose actions led to the death of his brother retired last year, although he’s only in his late 50s. He told some people that I know that he was fed up of working and could afford to retire so he would.

So was Dr Gareth Jones a truly incompetent GP who didn’t notice the terrible abuse and fleecing of a vulnerable family at the hands of a circle of crooked professional people and who just had an inexplicable desire to exercise control over this family – and a few years later made a disastrous mistake when someone who had been a witness to Dafydd’s wrongdoing developed the symptoms of meningitis? Or was something even more unpleasant happening?

 

The ‘Today’ programme doesn’t just provide Top Doctors with air-time, it does of course have a daily slot set aside for people with theological interests. So imagine my surprise when the person introduced as the presenter for Thought For The Day this morning was Rabbi Laura Janner-Krausner, Greville Janner’s daughter! This morning Laura was talking about ‘healthy holiness’, but of course the last time that I heard Laura on the ‘Today’ programme she was spitting blood in the direction of those people who claimed that her father had molested them when they were children in care in Leicestershire – Laura’s insistence that it is the easiest thing in the world to falsely convict an innocent peer for child sexual abuse prompted my post ‘It’s A Piece Of Cake’. Laura memorably said of Greville that ‘he was great and he was good’, which why she and the extended Janner clan were going to defend his name and silence those who had dared make allegations against him. (She didn’t manage to explain why the CPS admitted that there was enough evidence to prosecute Janner as long ago as the early 90s but for some reason they didn’t or that his own lawyer fully expected him to be charged with child abuse, which is why they had George Carman on speed dial.)

As well as being a lawyer and a politician, when he was younger Greville wrote a few books. I found one in a second hand bookshop some weeks ago. It looked a rather boring book called ‘Janner’s Complete Letterwriter’, but in the light of Laura’s insistence that the author was ‘Great and Good’ in the face of many other people maintaining that he was a lying child molester who used his mates in high places to keep himself out of trouble, I thought that I’d buy the book and read Greville’s advice re writing letters.

Greville’s book isn’t simply a guide to correct grammar and style. The stated aim of ‘Janner’s Complete Letterwriter’ is to show the reader how to achieve want they want. Greville seems to have made an in-depth study in Getting What You Want. He dispenses advice on how to write letters that will enable one to maximise profits, to fire staff without any comeback, to insult and upset people without using insulting or abusive words, to ingratiate oneself to people who are in a position to do one favours, to flatter, to praise and to appeal for money from very rich people.

‘Janner’s Complete Letterwriter’ commiserates with the reader that one of the drawbacks of hurting someone by letter is that one isn’t there to watch the ‘enemy’ read it, although he does explain that if one later hears that the recipient of one’s letter has been seen moaning and groaning in the bankruptcy courts, the letter has obviously hit home. He helpfully supplies some examples of ‘final, rude, rebuffs’. He explains that if one is ‘attacked by a commercial loud mouth look for his business groin: take aim and fire hard’, that through ‘calculated coolness you can make the other man feel like a worm’, that ‘some lies are forgivable’, that ‘the letterwriter needs to know how best to disguise the truth’, that ‘sometimes the truth is just too horrible to tell’, that ‘courts of law are not courts of morals and justice is sometimes cruel’, that ‘if lies must be told at least tell them well’, that ‘the lying letter is as much a fact of business life as the lying witness is a regular occupant of the witness-box’, that ‘when the lie is a large one, you have two alternatives: you may either build up to it by a series of minor fibs, or you can shout the big fib from the start’ and that ‘the fact of course is fiction’. Greville chooses some interesting sub-headings for his chapters – ‘irony and sarcasm’, ‘at the expense of others’, ‘the sting in the tail’ are just a few examples.

‘Janner’s Complete Letterwriter’ is a masterclass into how to deceive, intimidate and manipulate without anyone being able to describe exactly how one is doing so. When branching off briefly into advice regarding how to conduct oneself in person, Janner explains that it’s most important to always smile, even if you are knowingly inflicting damage upon someone. One of the children who alleged that Janner had abused him made a reference to ‘the smiling man’.

In the introduction to his book Greville thanks his son ‘Daniel Janner, BA (Cantab), barrister’ for his help in preparing the book. That’s Laura’s brother, who since his father’s death has threatened to sue the arse of those who made allegations against his dad if they dare repeat them.

 

 

More Summer Reading!

I’ve been digging around in book shops recently and I managed to pick up a second hand book which might be of interest to readers of this blog.

‘NHS plc’ was published in 2004 and was written by Allyson Pollock. I read quite a lot of Pollock’s work some years ago and what always struck me was that although Pollock undoubtedly knows exactly what goes on in the NHS, she was rather mealy mouthed when it came to admitting the full horror of it all. I always attributed this to Pollock being a policy advisor and therefore maintaining a discreet silence regarding patients’ being maimed and killed – I also was under the impression that Pollock had a background in social policy and such researchers very often do have trouble admitting just how much blood there is on the carpet. But I discovered yesterday that Pollock is actually a Top Doctor – she’s a Consultant in Public Health Medicine and has been since 1986. Since Jan 2017, Pollock has been Director of the Institute of Health and Society at Newcastle University. Prior to that she was Head of the Public Health Policy Unit at UCL and Director of Research and Development at UCL Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Pollock set up and directed the Centre for International Public Health Policy at Edinburgh University (2005-11). Before then she was Professor of Public Health Research and Policy at Barts and London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary, University of London. Her earlier career is not mentioned on her wiki entry – but guess what can be discovered if one reads ‘NHS plc’? That Allyson previously worked at Sin City – St George’s Hospital Medical School! She mentions that she worked there ‘before’ New Labour’s 1997 election victory. As she has been a consultant since 1986, presumably she was a consultant at St George’s. So she was there at some point in the 90s then – when the madness and malpractice that I have detailed on this blog prevailed there (see post ‘St George’s Hospital Medical School, 1989/1990’), under the ‘leadership’ of the dreadful Sir William Asscher…

Allyson Pollock is best known for her work on the gradual privatisation of the NHS with the associated imposition of a ‘business culture’ and the introduction of ‘new public management’ techniques. Her work on this is very, very good. I have never been able to fault her analysis of what this process has resulted in or her historical detail of the steps by which it has taken place. But reading ‘NHS plc’, it is clear why Pollock’s work never details the chaos and tragedy that is happening in the NHS, although she obviously loathes the privatisation agenda and could add considerable weight to her argument if she was prepared to go public on the excesses of the NHS. It is because Pollock is only telling half the story. The bit that Allyson Pollock just won’t mention is the contribution of the Top Doctors themselves to the mess.

Throughout ‘NHS plc’, Pollock paints a picture of a medical establishment that always does and has always done the best for NHS patients and which has been forced off course by the privatisation agenda – an agenda which Pollock suggests that nearly all Top Doctors have fought against for noble reasons. She does name the occasional sinner, the odd Top Doctor who has encouraged and personally benefited from privatisation, such as the odious Dr Chai Patel. Pollock describes Patel as a ‘millionaire doctor’. He is far from the only one Allyson as you well know. Patel of course notoriously ran a huge chain of private ‘care homes’ which were eventually exposed as being riddled with the most dreadful abuse and neglect of patients – it was this that forced him to step down from his role as a Dept of Health advisor on the care of the elderly. Among Patel’s business interests was his acquisition and expansion of the ‘Priory Group’. That is the Priory Group that currently employs two of Allyson’s former colleagues from St George’s and the associated psychiatric unit Springfield Hospital, Dr Robin Jacobson and Dr Adrienne Key! Likewise Allyson names a few of the biggest scandals that there have been in the NHS – scandals so big that she can’t avoid naming them, such as the Bristol Children’s Heart Surgery Scandal or Harold Shipman. There is not a mention of the fact that actually the NHS for a very long time has been dogged by scandals in which patients suffered greatly and were known to be suffering but no-one acted. According to ‘NHS plc’ the problems only began when Thatcher’s administration began privatising the NHS, a process which escalated under New Labour. It is New Labour into whom Allyson really puts the boot – she hates them.

Whilst Allyson highlights the idiocies that that Tories imposed upon the NHS in the name of the ‘internal market’, she makes no mention of why they were able to convince voters at the time that this might be a good idea. It was actually because there was a great deal of dissatisfaction with the NHS. I can remember the debates very well – the allegations made again and again were of Top Doctors who were so fucking arrogant that they would not listen to patients or respond to their needs. It wasn’t simply a case of affluent patients wanting a private room or special treatment, although that was indeed Margaret Thatcher’s personal interpretation. There had been for example massive dissatisfaction among women concerning the way in which many of them had been treated whilst giving birth, which led to practitioners like Michele Odent establishing private practices to which middle class women swarmed. There was the emergence of ME and the Top Doctors’ complete refusal to accept that this might have a physical cause – seriously ill people were dismissed as suffering from ‘Yuppie Flu’. People with an interest in alternative medicine also fumed at the way in which they were mocked and belittled by Top Doctors. I’m of the opinion that much ‘alternative medicine’ is indeed ineffective, but if one is a Top Doctor faced with anxious patients enquiring about such matters, taking the piss out of them to their faces is not the best way to proceed. The London surgeon Michael Baum was interviewed on TV regarding alternative medicine and he explained that patients enquiring about this were usually middle aged women wearing ethnic weave clothes who read the ‘Guardian’. That’s the sort of observation that is best made to one’s friends in private, not made on prime time TV – it caused massive offence and actually did him a lot of damage (which was unfortunate, because some of Baum’s opinions are worth listening to). I remember an episode of ‘Any Questions’ in which the biggest cheer from the audience was given to a Tory MP who when talking about the Tories reforms of the NHS, had robustly said of hospital consultants ‘they’re not God, they’re just guys doing a job’. People had really had a bellyful of the Top Doctors by the mid to late 1980s and that feeling was exactly what the Tories utilised to sell the voters their agenda for the NHS. Allyson mentions that ‘some’ hospital consultants were ‘downright arrogant’, that they were not ‘directly accountable to anyone’ and that team working was ‘often poor’, but she does not get anywhere near to admitting the extend of the greed, the bullying, the autocracy, the abuse of their positions and the overall preservation of their own vested interests that did – and still does – go on.

The attitude of the Top Doctors to patients was exemplified by the ‘reviews’ that the Top Doctors who fancied themselves as thespians used to put on themselves in medical schools at Christmas. Those stage shows were essentially a series of sketches in which the Top Doctors patted themselves on the back and sneered at patients for all being a bit ignorant or neurotic. I attended two such Christmas Reviews whilst I worked at St Georges – they were virtually identical and basically served to consolidate what someone the other day termed the ‘professional superglue’ that causes NHS staff to close ranks in the face of malpractice or patient harm.

Allyson mentions the concession to accept ‘pay beds’ that Bevan made when establishing the NHS. Bevan of course admitted that he was forced into doing this in order to get the Top Doctors to accept the idea of the NHS. (The Top Doctors REALLY objected to the idea of the NHS.) Pollock I note doesn’t quote Bevan’s most famous words – that in order to overcome the Top Doctors’ objections to the NHS he would ‘stuff their mouths with gold’. Allyson tactfully states that Bevan had accepted the existence of pay beds ‘in order to secure consultants’ participation in the new free health care system’. Pollock mentions that in 1975 Barbara Castle abolished pay beds – and my God wasn’t that one of her biggest battles – but her decision was later reversed and ‘by the 1980s pay beds were justified as an income earner for hospitals’. I don’t remember the Top Doctors objecting to their re-introduction Allyson – in fact when you and I were working at St George’s there was plenty of private practice going on. To be fair, some of the Top Doctors doing it were re-investing their earnings into their research programmes and of course there was a limit placed on the amount that medical academics were allowed to earn through private practice. Which was why so many Top Doctors didn’t want academic posts… Some of Allyson’s non-academic colleagues at St George’s were known to be very rich indeed as a result of their private practices.

Again and again Allyson portrays these very wealthy people with interests in private practice who ignored the wrongdoing of their colleagues as selfless barefoot doctors. She maintains that when ‘concerned NHS staff’ critiqued public-private partnerships they were dismissed by Gov’t as ‘self-interested’. However did anyone come to that conclusion? So who were the concerned NHS staff that Allyson was talking about? The cleaners? The canteen staff or the porters? The Angels perhaps? No, it was the BMA and the NHS Consultants’ Association.

There are plenty of clues in Allyson’s book as to what the beef of the Top Doctors really was. It was not that the Top Doctors were taking a principled stand against privatisation. It was a power battle. The Tories wanted to flatten the BMA in the way that they had flattened the NUM because the BMA were causing havoc behind the scenes and that’s what much of the obsession with imposing a business culture and managerialist practices on the NHS was all about. Unfortunately the Tories tried to fight the Top Doctors by giving huge power to an equally toxic group of people – NHS senior managers. The Tories were well aware of the damage that the likes of Dr Dafydd Alun Jones and Gwynne the lobotomist were inflicting upon the NHS and it’s patients, but their solution was to give as much power to the likes of Alun Davies and Martin Jones. It was not a good idea and for years now a full-on battle has raged between these two groups who are substantially made up of shites. Top Doctors who do have integrity are not going to be told what to do by Martin which is why so many of them are now leaving the NHS and good managers aren’t attracted to working in the NHS because most of the other managers there are like Martin. A few years ago I was friends with a newly qualified law graduate who landed himself a job in the management offices of Ysbyty Gwynedd. He memorably described Martin and co as ‘corrupt as fuck and thick as shit’. Of course, when the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board was first established, they had an excellent CEO, Mary Burrows, who was very bright and genuinely committed to improving the dire state of the NHS in north Wales. Mary was effectively hounded out by the Top Doctors and Martin et al. The last thing that a bunch of unscrupulous, abusive Top Doctors lining their own pockets want is a high calibre senior manager. Which is why you don’t tend to find such creatures in the NHS.

Allyson writes of the battle that the BMA had with Ken Clarke regarding GP fundholding and describes how the BMA were ‘defeated’ and ‘would never again challenge the Gov’t on matters of principle’. Allyson is being somewhat economical with the truth here. The BMA continued to fight Gov’ts tooth and nail, but they adopted a new tactic. Instead of presenting themselves as Top Doctors Who Knew Best overtly confronting the Gov’t, they constructed themselves as People Who Cared About The Disadvantaged – which is exactly the way in which Allyson presents herself! ‘NHS plc’ is full of warm words for the BMA – except towards the end of the book, in which Allyson accuses them of selling out, upon the appointment of a particular Chief Exec. Allyson wrote that book in 2004. In 2007 the BMA famously screwed the Gov’t over regarding the negotiation of the GP out of hours contract which was so favourable to the Top Doctors that one of the BMA negotiators described it as ‘a bit of a laugh’. It was this that led to enormous problems concerning GP out of hours provision. But Allyson’s heart must have melted at some point because in 2014 she was appointed as a Member of the BMA’s Council! She is still there.

Pollock’s own attempts to categorise herself as a barefoot doctor are interesting. She mentions going to dinner with a merchant banker before the election of New Labour to discuss PFIs (I wonder why Allyson was doing that?) and describes how the dinner was held in the ‘bank’s private dining room’ with ‘black coated waiters’ who ‘served lunch that lasted almost three hours’. Allyson compares that dining room with the ‘hospital canteen’ at St Georges and how she ‘could not help thinking of the rows of terraced houses in the impoverished community of Tooting from which St George’s mainly female, mainly black ancillary workforce was drawn’.

I remember those rows of terraces in Tooting as well – I lived in one of them. As indeed did many of the female, black workers of St Georges. So what did the Top Doctors of St Georges think about those workers and the other people who lived in those terraces? Well, one Top Doctor described the midwives as being ‘really thick especially the black ones’. Another Top Doctor told one of the researchers about a ‘really scummy family who live in Garrett Lane’ (Garrett Lane was one of the most deprived parts of Tooting.) A medical student was ostracised because he lived in a shared house in Garrett Lane. It wasn’t only living in Garrett Lane that made one persona non-grata – I attended a departmental meal in a restaurant in Wimbledon during which the wife of a senior registrar refused to speak to a junior doctor after she was told that the junior doctor lived in Brixton. Many of the Top Doctors at St Georges lived in Wimbledon or Clapham or further afield in affluent areas. I only knew of one Top Doctor who lived in Tooting who, as a result of having a number of young children from a series of broken relationships, didn’t have the sort of disposable income that his colleagues had and could only afford to buy in Tooting. He resented living there – although his house was a good deal better than everyone else’s – and he complained at length about the lifestyle enjoyed by another Top Doctor from Kings, who was sufficiently loaded that she was having a house built to her own specifications with a matching bathroom for each bedroom. That was Professor Linda Cardosa – I didn’t ever see her house which caused so much envy, but if any readers did do e mail me and tell me all about it. Should anyone ever see Prof Cardosa on a BMA protest supporting a pay claim I suggest that they ignore her.

As for merchant bankers – the brother of one of the researchers in the dept in which I worked at St Georges was a merchant banker. One of his bonuses was bigger than the annual salary of his sister’s boss. This caused much gnashing of teeth, but no-one used it as evidence that merchant bankers should be paid less – they used it as evidence that they should be paid as much as merchant bankers. As for the merchant banker’s sister – she grumbled at length about her own salary although it later emerged that some sort of ‘special arrangement’ had been made for her so she was earning much more than all the other researchers anyway. Not that she needed a higher salary than everyone else – she drove a Mercedes, but ‘only an old one’ which her father had given her and when she had enough of living in the inner city her parents allowed her to live rent free in the cottage on their estate in Surrey which had previously been inhabited by the gardener. I’m only surprised that mum and dad didn’t supply her with a butler as well.

Not all of my former colleagues at St Georges were as spoiled, as fuckwitted, as snobbish and as shallow as this, but one didn’t have to work too hard to find people who were. There were a lot of them cluttering up the place. The source of their discontent was the fact that so many of them did come privileged backgrounds and they had friends and family who were earning even more than Top Doctors did. So many Top Doctors, despite being among the most highly paid people in the UK, managed to convince themselves that they were very hard done by indeed. It is this phenomenon that propels the BMA and it’s campaigns. The notion of ‘public service’ does not enter into the equation.

In ‘NHS plc’ Pollock is also very critical of NHS organisations selling off buildings and land – the ‘NHS estate’ – to raise money. Such sales are often a very bad deal for the NHS and are effectively fleecing the tax-payer, but the example which Pollock provides is yet another reflection of Pollock’s sleight of hand. She refers to the proposed sale of Springfield Hospital and the accompanying proposed deal with a private care company. Springfield Hospital was an appalling place, in a dreadful state of repair with completely inadequate facilities. It was in no way suitable to be housing mental health patients in the late 20th century. The care was dreadful, abuses of patients were rampant (see post ‘Some Very Eminent Psychiatrists From London…’) and eventually there was a public inquiry after a series of murders there. I do not know what the facilities and care standards at the establishment where it was proposed to transfer the patents to were like, but no-one could defend Springfield Hospital. This example reminded me of the articles that ‘New Statesman’ ran back in the 80s concerning the closure of institutions like the North Wales Hospital Denbigh. Those articles accused Thatcher of selling off the ‘homes’ of patients – I really don’t think that the readers of the ‘New Statesman’ would have wanted a home like Denbigh. Of course, the first Health Minister to propose closing the asylums was Enoch Powell – after visiting Denbigh, which appalled him. Pollock compliments Powell for his ‘political inspiration’ behind the 1962 Hospital Building Plan, but she doesn’t mention a word about him wanting to close institutions like Denbigh and Springfield.

Again and again Pollock lays the blame for notorious NHS shortcomings on privatisation. She rightly mocks the deals that were done with celebrities like Lloyd Grossman which resulted in private companies being contracted to provide hospital food that turned out to be awful. But hospital food was known to be awful before privatisation – it was, like British Rail sandwiches, a byword for dreadful food. Whilst I was imprisoned in the North Wales Hospital Denbigh by Dafydd Alun Jones Brown worried about my diet – because he knew how bad the food was in institutions like that. In Denbigh most patients lived on chips – the fare was so grim that chips were usually the most edible thing on the ‘menu’. One patient at Denbigh who was actually receiving regular visitors – unlike most people who had simply been illegally imprisoned and abandoned in there – got her daughter to bring her meals in. Things were no better in Springfield in 1991 where Pollock’s fellow Top Doctors worked. One inpatient was a young South Asian woman who, for religious reasons, was being given meals that differed from everyone else’s (they certainly couldn’t have managed that at Denbigh). So Springfield could therefore tick the ‘catering for a multicultural community’ box – but this young woman was delivered a meal each day which no choice offered or no say in what it was. On one occasion a meal was delivered which for dietary reasons she could not eat (one of the ingredients upset her stomach). She explained this to the vile abusive ward manager – an Australian called Stephanie whose standard method of communication was to shout and swear at patients – and was simply told ‘you’ve got to have it, these meals are costing us a fortune’. The young Asian woman went without dinner that day. This was before there had been any implementation of the idea of privatising NHS catering.

Pollock writes some scathing passages about the dreadful neglect of the elderly in the private sector – again this is endemic and she is quite right to draw attention to what is going on. But this was happening before NHS privatisation was on the agenda. As far back as the 1970s I knew of a notorious nursing home in the Somerset town in which I went to school. It was owned and run by a nurse who had been sacked from Taunton hospital and it employed schoolgirls as ‘nurses’ (my friend worked there – at 15 years of age she was passed off as a ‘nurse’). Every Top Doctor in Bridgwater knew about that home – they’d have never allowed their own relatives to end up there but no-one put a stop to it. When I went to university in Bangor in 1981 I found out about a very similar establishment in Menai Bridge. The man who owned the nursing home was a drunk and the ‘matron’ in charge was a nurse who had been sacked by the C&A Hospital in Bangor – after she was found having sex with a male patient in his bed on the ward. This was common knowledge, as was the neglect to which the residents were subjected – Dr D.G.E. Wood had some patients there and visited regularly. No-one had the place closed down. Furthermore Chai Patel is not to the only Top Doctor who owned care homes with questionable standards. Brig-y-Nant in Bethesda was owned by Top Doctor Dr K. Shah, a mate of Dafydd’s (see post ‘Hippocratic Oath or Hypocritic Oaf?’ for details of my encounter with Shah). Shah’s wife ‘managed’ Brig y Nant and I heard allegations from one former care assistant that not only were ‘difficult’ elderly residents dumped in baths of cold water, but when injuries were sustained, one doctor would always be called to deal with the problem – a Dr K. Shah.

Something else that Allyson attributes to NHS privatisation is the silencing of whistleblowers and the appearance of dodgy publications in the BMJ. I can kill two birds with one stone here. Back in the 1980s I remember reading an article that a particularly courageous doctor had penned for the BMJ. He was a GP from Devon and he wrote an account of how he had been called out to visit a patient in a nursing home and had arrived to find residents tied to their chairs with pairs of nylon tights and what he described as a ‘sloppy’ young woman on duty. He attended to his patient and as he prepared to leave he was stopped by an old lady who asked him if he was a doctor. When he said yes, the old lady pulled her skirt up and showed him severe, extensive scalding over her thighs. The old lady told him that someone had poured a kettle of hot water over her legs. This nursing home was owned by a local Top Doctor. A few days later the GP heard that the old lady who had been scalded had died. He was so worried about standards at this home that he contacted the coroner regarding his concerns. The coroner told him that there were no concerns at all regarding the home. The GP discovered that the coroner was a business partner of the Top Doctor who owned the home. The GP contacted the GMC and was told to take a running jump. So he penned an article for the BMJ to let the world now exactly what was possible on Planet Care Home. Was this caring and diligent GP supported in his efforts to expose this scandal? Not at all. In the next issue of the BMJ there were a number of letters published from other Top Doctors, all pompously declaring that the BMJ was not the place to air allegations about one’s colleagues. But that was not the worst thing that appeared in the BMJ in the 80s. On one occasion they debated Homosexuality. One old bigot wrote in and stated quite categorically that homosexuality does not exist ‘in the animal kingdom’ and that it is most definitely a perversion of Man. I’ve got news for that particular high-flier – homosexuality DOES exist in the animal kingdom as any zoologist will confirm. Such was the shite that the BMJ felt able to publish in days gone by.

As for whistleblowing – Allyson’s off in fairyland regarding this: ‘formerly doctors could and did speak out in the interests of their patients’ and ‘in the past doctors were free to speak out – in fact they were under a moral obligation to do so – if they felt it was in the interests of their patients’. Of course Allyson – that is why, for many, many years pre-NHS privatisation, Dr Dafydd Alun Jones et al were able to break the law, sexually exploit patients, sell drugs to addicts, lie on oath, illegally imprison people in Denbigh, conceal a paedophile ring and threaten and bribe people with many, many people knowing and no-one blew the whistle on any of it. In fact your own colleagues at St Georges and Springfield knew of at least some of what was going on and documented it – but told each other that I was ‘extremely dangerous’ and should be referred to the forensic services ‘for containment’ after I spoke to them about it. Other people who knew what Dafydd and co were up to included Dr James Earp from Leicester (see post ‘An Expert From England’), Professor Robert Bluglass (see post ‘Enter Professor Robert Bluglass CBE…’), The Medical Ombudsman for Wales Professor Robert Owen, Dr Chris Mawson (see post ‘Doctors Who Disappeared From The Medical Register’) and Dr Chris Hunter (see post ‘The Night of the (Dr Chris) Hunter’). Dr Mawson and Dr Earp did not, unlike the others, suggest that I should be banged up without trial in a secure hospital, but not one of them raised the alarm regarding what was going on.

‘NHS plc’ also takes aim at the various inspection regimes that have been introduced in recent years, such as the CHI (Commission for Health Improvement). Pollock describes such inspectorates as ‘ineffectual’ and mentions that the review teams are ‘inevitably less qualified and less experienced than the hospital staff they were inspecting’. Which is true and it is insulting to good hospital staff. But those inspectorates have been a Godsend to Top Doctors who aren’t doing what they should be doing – such as in Mid-Staffs. Or indeed in north Wales. Dangerous troubled services have passed inspections with flying colours. But it has always been thus – the Mental Health Act Commission were actively colluding with Dafydd and Dr Tony Francis (Dr X) in north Wales to conceal their criminal activity before privatisation was underway.

There is a glaring contradiction in Pollock’s writing, in that among her attempts to portray Top Doctors as helpless pawns in the face of power-crazed Gov’ts there are actually plenty of indications that she knows just how powerful swathes of the medical establishment are, including her own colleagues and the institutions in which she herself has spent her career as a senior member of staff. She clearly explains how the London teaching hospitals and medical schools are invested with prestige and status enabling them to attract high calibre staff, which in turn gives them huge influence even over Gov’t policy – just like Allyson and her Public Policy Units based in those medical schools have sometimes enjoyed.

Allyson mentions the idea to close Guys and St Tommy’s that was put forward some years ago – but she admits that the notion pretty soon died a death because of course Tommy’s is the hospital that serves Parliament. No, no-one’s going to shut down the most elite joint in town with plenty of friends in the Palace of Westminster. Allyson also mentions the enormous power and influence that Great Ormond Street Hospital has, due it’s legacy from J.M. Barrie and it’s very successful fundraising arm. She explains that in 2000, Camden and Islington Health Authority along with the Medical Director at UCL Hospitals Trust, planned to integrate all paediatric services across the area, but that GOSH disagreed with this plan, ‘was in a powerful position to put it’s own priorities before patients needs or planning’ and was successful in ‘silencing debate’.

Yet elsewhere in her book, Pollock holds up GOSH and it’s satellite hospital Queen Elizabeth Hospital for Children as being all that is best about the NHS. Queen Elizabeth Hospital was linked to GOSH and a number of consultants at GOSH had shared appointments with Queen Elizabeth. Allyson explains how Queen Elizabeth served the severely disadvantaged area of Hackney where some of the poorest children in the UK lived. She states that Queen Elizabeth was a ‘model of how a hospital in a severely deprived inner city area should be run’, that it was ‘accessible, open and caring with exceptional expertise’ providing a ‘superb service to needy children’. My post ‘Ian Brockington’s Mischief’ mentions that Dr Robin Skynner, who had links with Top Doctors who were concealing child sexual abuse, was the Physician in Charge of the Dept of Psychiatry at Queen Elizabeth between 1965-70.

As for GOSH – that was the hospital that employed the negligent doctor who contributed to the death of Peter Connelly in the ‘Baby P’ case a few years. GOSH has also just been at the centre of the Charlie Gard storm. And I doubt that either of those cases had much to do with privatisation.

Another inconsistency in Pollock’s book concerns Richard Smith, the former editor of the BMJ. He’s mentioned in Pollock’s acknowledgements section as one of the people who have ‘inspired’ her. Yet Smith is named elsewhere in the book as a baddie who jumped ship in 2004 and joined United Healthcare as CEO.

There are clues in the text as to what irks Pollock so much about New Labour as well as the root of some of her inconsistencies. Pollock seems to get to meet some very grand people. Not only did she dine with a merchant banker whilst her heart remained with the St Georges canteen in downtown Tooting, but she had an audience with Geoffrey Robinson in his capacity as Blair’s Paymaster General who afterwards invited her for a drink on the terrace of the House of Commons – although obviously she really wished that she was having a cup of char at a cleaner’s house in Garrett Lane – and she even met Gordon Brown when he was Chancellor. She described them as being on a ‘charm offensive’ and wanted to be ‘seen to be listening’. Pollock also thought very highly of Blair’s first Secretary of State for Health (1997-99) Frank Dobson – ‘a well-liked and competent Minister’. Not many other people shared that opinion – Dobson was widely perceived to be well-meaning but a bit gullible and dim (‘Private Eye’ named him ‘Dobbo’). The NHS continued to go pear-shaped and Dobbo’s scalp was demanded. There was another perceived problem with Dobbo as well – he rolled over for the Top Doctors…

Now although the Top Doctors are a very conservative bunch, they really didn’t like Thatcher and she didn’t like them. Thatcher loathed the professions (as well as academics) and very much saw them as being conspiracies against the layman. So the Top Doctors were most glad to see the back of Thatcher – I remember loud cheering breaking out in St George’s when she resigned. But the Top Doctors are not a bunch of lefties no matter what the Daily Mail says about them. However I suspect that when Blair was elected, Allyson and her fellow Public Policy/Public Health specialists may well have thought that their boat had come in. A Labour Gov’t that wasn’t socialist, with an authoritarian streak, wedded to the notion that Policy Experts should tell the plebs how to live. Which is probably why Allyson broke a leg in her efforts to meet Blair’s Ministers. A similar phenomenon occurred among HE specialists committed to widening participation – Blair maintained that he was going to pursue this policy and educational sociologists all got very excited, but of course he didn’t listen to any of them and a lot of them ended up very miffed. I suspect that Allyson fell into the same trap. Indeed, she makes it clear in her book that she feels that New Labour discredited and intimidated it’s critics, including her. Which they probably did – but then the Top Doctors discredited and intimidated those of us who discovered that their colleagues in north Wales were concealing a paedophile ring. At least Blair didn’t try to frame Allyson for serious crimes or state that she would end up in an institution for the ‘criminally insane’ as dear old Dafydd and Bluglass did with respect to me.

For all her griping though, Allyson knows that the Top Doctors can pack a punch if they are able to successfully construct themselves as the defenders of the NHS in the face of Bastards In Government. She reminds us of the lesson that no politician has ever forgotten – the election of Top Doctor Dr Richard Taylor in Kidderminster, who unseated the Labour MP David Locke. Taylor of course did this by running on a ticket of opposing hospital closures. Pollock mentions another similar event as well – the election of retired Top Doctor Dr Jean Turner in Glasgow in the wake of plans to close Stobhill Hospital. Pollock states that the Gov’ts announcement in 2003 that there would be no closures of smaller local hospitals after the election of Taylor and Turner was ‘a notable acknowledgement of the power of popular mobilisation’.

No Allyson, it was an acknowledgement of how bloody-minded the BMA are – they were fighting ALL hospital closures, including hospitals which were unsafe and harming or killing patients. They didn’t admit that any hospitals were doing this and they didn’t even work behind the scenes to raise standards – they did what they have always done and told the Gov’t ‘touch us and we’ll brain you’. Which indeed they did.

As all good Top Doctors do when they wish to ram home their arguments, Allyson makes references to popular media images of Top Doctors. We are told that the ‘frantic atmosphere in ‘Holby City’ is quite typical of the acute hospital today’. Which is rather like saying that the ‘Carry On’ films with Hattie Jacques giving terrified weedy men bed-baths and Barbara Windsor wearing an Anne Summers style nurse’s uniform whilst her bra flies off were an accurate depiction of life in an NHS hospital in the 60s. There is one big difference between Holby City and ‘an acute hospital today’ – in Holby City the staff never make mistakes and the complex cutting edge surgery is always successful, unless it’s an utterly hopeless case and the patient’s chance of life was unfathomably slim anyway. And from the episodes that I’ve seen, a lot of the surgeons are proud of their upwardly mobile journey from their disadvantaged childhoods – in one episode a female surgeon called Jac even revealed that she’d grown up in care and had been sexually abused. Er, no, as we know from the fate of the kids who grew up in care in north Wales, Jac would not be a heart surgeon, she’d be banged up in Denbigh with everyone calling her a dangerous liar. That is if she hadn’t actually been found dead in suspicious circumstances after having given evidence against the paedophiles that were employed in her children’s home.

Pollock also makes reference to a film called ‘As Good As It Gets’, which she appreciates because it makes some barbed points about US privatised healthcare. It stars Jack Nicholson. As of course did ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest’. Which was a film that one of Pollock’s colleagues at St George’s, the occupational health physician Nicky Mitchell-Heggs, had a real problem with. Mitchell-Heggs had previously been a psychiatrist and maintained that ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest’ set out to deceive because it was modelled on an asylum from the 50s but pretended that such places were still in existence. Which of course they weren’t. Indeed not Nicky – at Denbigh the patients didn’t wear uniforms and there was no piped music. But all the other ingredients were there – a lobotomist, Nurse Rached aka Janice Davies, sane people imprisoned and drugged up because they had dared challenge corrupt Top Doctors and staff terrorising and blackmailing vulnerable people by threatening to release confidential info about them. Except that Denbigh also had a psychopathic psychiatrist sexually abusing the patients who was also concealing the paedophile ring that his mistress facilitated. And those were the two people from whom Mitchell-Heggs and her colleagues were taking evidence regarding my ‘dangerousness’ so she must have known that they were there…. Mitchell-Heggs’s online profile describes her interests as theatre, opera and ski-ing! It’s those self-sacrificing Top Doctors again who fight tooth and nail for the NHS. I also seem to remember reading that both Mitchell-Heggs and her husband now run private practices.

In the initial pages of ‘NHS plc’ Pollock explains that she isn’t able to cover everything in a volume of that length, so there are some areas that she hasn’t commented upon. Such as mental health and learning disability services. Which is just as well considering how bloody shameful these ‘services’ are and were when she wrote that book. She also mentions that she doesn’t cover groups of staff such as cleaners, canteen workers, security officers and porters. In other words those staff who are treated and paid appallingly, whose presence is generally ignored by the Top Doctors and who are actually the very staff who have suffered most as a result of NHS privatisation.

At the beginning of her book, Pollock gives a long list of acknowledgments and names the people who have ‘inspired’ her. They include Dr Richard Taylor, ‘all members of the NHS Consultants Association’, ‘members of the Medical Practitioners Union’, ‘Brian Potter formerly of the Scottish BMA’, ‘Sir Sandy Macara at the BMA’ and Richard Horton of the ‘Lancet’. She mentions ‘many others’ to have come ‘to the aid’ of the Public Policy Unit which she was directing when she wrote ‘NHS plc’. Pollock pays tribute to the ‘special stalwarts of the NHS including Charles Webster, the former official historian of the NHS’. I mention on the front page of this blog that a number of people have written ‘histories’ of psychiatry in north Wales. These histories are at their best highly sanitised and at their worst have about as much historical accuracy as a Barbara Cartland novel. One of those ‘histories’ was written by a Bangor University lecturer called David Hirst and I’m fairly sure that it was his book that was co-authored or assisted in some way by an ‘NHS historian’ called Charles someone. I’m fairly sure that it was Charles Webster. I’ve been googling to try and clarify this but all traces of that book have vanished from the internet. I wonder why – after all it was proudly on display in Bangor University for years, so it definitely exists….However I note that David has co-authored with a number of the Top Doctors from the Hergest Unit! He arrived in Bangor to begin his work in ‘social policy’ in 1973 – Christ almighty, Gwynne and Dafydd were in full swing then, they will have been lobotomising and subjecting people to ‘aversion therapy’ if they dared to be gay til the cows came home. And of course Bryn Estyn was still under the direct management of the Home Office and the systematic sexual abuse of the boys there will have been well-embedded by then. Fancy publishing anything about that lot then David?

Pollock makes several mentions in her book of a man who has acquired superhero status in the eyes of any Top Doctor who wants to pledge their commitment to the NHS – Julian Tudor Hart. Tudor Hart is very elderly now, but he is one of the few Top Doctors still practising who was practising before the establishment of the NHS. He has written about just how grim things were in those days – Tudor Hart worked in south Wales among people experiencing very great poverty and hardship. I am interested in Tudor Hart, because although I do completely accept his account of how dreadful it was to fall ill or have an accident before the establishment of the NHS, he does seem somewhat blind to some of what goes on in the NHS. He is an intelligent man and a keen scholar, so like Allyson Pollock he will know. And being a man of his age from Wales, he will know what Gwynne the lobotomist and Dafydd got up to as well. Tudor Hart has been very rude about Ivan Illich and sees Illich as someone who simply plays to an audience of privileged middle class rebels, which is pretty much what the psychiatric establishment used to say about Thomas Szasz. There is truth in that argument – one had to be affluent to afford sessions with Thomas Szasz – but it ignores why the work of people like Illich and Szasz caught the imagination of so many. It was because of what folk like Gwynne the lobotomist and Dafydd were actually doing to them – people didn’t find it very helpful. There is also another factor about Tudor Hart that I cannot forget. He worked in the same practice as Dr Brian Gibbons, the former Health Minister for Wales. Who when I told him that I had evidence of the Top Doctors and managers in the Hergest Unit participating in criminal activities wrote me a letter saying ‘this correspondence is closed’. At the time the Hergest Unit had the second highest suicide rate for women in England and Wales.

I can only conclude that Allyson Pollock is one of the most articulate, useful PR mouthpieces that the Top Doctors possess and that she, along with the rest of the Top Doctors, are not very happy that Gov’ts are no longer commissioning their ‘research’ and seeking their ‘opinion’ on which to base policy.

As Corporal Jones of ‘Dad’s Army’ fame might have said – ‘It’s the Top Doctors. They don’t like it up ’em’.

 

There is one Top Doctor in particular who certainly doesn’t like it up ‘im – David Healy. I’ve been interested to note that since I reviewed his appearance on ‘Panorama’ the other day and observed that the voices of patients were noticeably absent from that programme and that whilst the Top Doctors scrap amongst themselves global capitalism continues to screw up healthcare, Healy has retweeted a couple of things. One was from a patient claiming to have ‘lived experience’ – the use of that phrase alone suggests that he falls into the category of a ‘professional service user’ (my neighbours don’t talk about ‘lived experience’ when they discuss their the local health services). Another retweet was from someone whom I have corresponded with, Finola Moss. Finola is a blogger who is doing some brilliant work exposing just how much money the Top Doctors who are involved with private psychiatric provision are now making. One company very much in Finola’s sight is Cygnet Healthcare and it was info relating to the billions that Cygnet is now raking in that Healy retweeted. The Medical Director of Cygnet is Robert Kehoe. Kehoe was the ‘expert witness’ who lied in a report about me, Brown, my PhD supervisor and even my lawyer after we had all made representation regarding the criminal activities and negligence of the Hergest Unit. David Healy was one of those named on the documents submitted to Kehoe in evidence. I later discovered that Kehoe’s business partner had a personal connection to Healy’s colleague at the Hergest, Dr Tony Roberts.

The Silence Of The Welsh Lambs

It was reported a few days ago that the Director of the film ‘The Silence of the Lambs’ has died. I’ve never seen the whole film, only short clips from it, but I think that the story features a gruesome psychiatrist who is also a cannibal. When this film was the subject of much commentary after it’s release, I was a patient at the Hergest Unit, seeing Dr X. Dr X was the psychiatrist who unbeknown to me was doing some terrible things behind the scenes, both to me and other patients – interestingly enough Dr X really loved ‘The Silence of the Lambs’ and used to wax lyrical about the mad psychiatrist character. However at least Hannibal Lecter or whatever he was called was fictional – Dr X, his colleagues and their victims were all very real.

I have detailed in previous posts how Dr X advised psychiatrists from London to consult one Lucille Hughes for evidence of my ‘dangerousness’, Lucille Hughes being the Director of Gwynedd Social Services who was named in the Waterhouse Report as knowing that a paedophile ring was operating in the social services but failing to act (I have never met Lucille Hughes, which makes Dr X’s advice to Nigel Eastman and Robin Jacobson even more sinister.) My posts ‘More On Those Prisons For Folk Who Dared Complain’ and ‘Further Information On Garth Angharad Hospital’ describes how a facility in Dolgellau for ‘mentally abnormal offenders’, Garth Angharad – which was owned and managed by a man who also owned residential schools and children’s homes where sexual abuse and cruelty were alleged to have been happening – was used to house some of the people who had complained about being sexually abused in children’s homes in north Wales and how an attempt to close this place down in 1992 was met with an Early Day Motion signed by Elfyn Llwyd and nine other MPs, demanding that this valuable facility remain open. I mentioned that this Early Day Motion was tabled in May 1992, just one month after a dreadful fire in a building in Brighton took place, which killed a number of former residents of north Wales children’s homes and their associates. Now for a bit more on that fire.

In April 1992 a small party was being held in a flat in a building in Brighton. Two men at the party had both been residents of Bryn Alyn, a notorious children’s home in north Wales, one of a complex of children’s homes owned by the notorious John Allen, who was later imprisoned for sexually abusing children in care in north Wales. Some reports allege that John Allen had arranged to meet the party goers at the flat but didn’t turn up. The party goers were well-known among Brighton’s gay community and there were allegations that they were involved in under-age sex/porn/drugs and had knowledge of liaisons with politicians. There seems to have been a great deal of confusion regarding who owned the building in which the fire took place. The flat had no fire escape, despite the local council wanting to contact the owner to recommend that one was installed. It transpired that the freehold of the building was owned by a company registered in the British Virgin Islands and because of it’s offshore status no-one was able to find out the names of the company directors. There were rumours that the notorious property developer Nicholas Hoogstraten leased the building but at the inquest into the five deaths, the East Sussex coroner, Dr Donald Gooding, refused to call Hoogstraten as a witness. (The families of some of the dead walked out of the inquest as a result and later applied for a judicial review of the inquest. At that hearing, Justice Latham ruled that there was a case for a judicial review on the basis that Gooding had acted ‘unreasonably and unlawfully’ in refusing to call Hoogstraten.) Although the inquest returned a verdict of unlawful killing, there was much confusion about many things. A man called Trevor Carrington had allegedly confessed to starting the fire as a ‘prank’. It was alleged that in his confession he stated that he had set fire to a settee in the entrance hall. Yet fire investigators maintained that the fire had not started in the entrance hall – they stated that the fire had started in three different places at once and that more than one person would have been involved. They also suspected that an accelerant such as petrol was used. Just to add to the confusion, although the Home Office acknowledged the fire investigators findings, they refused to review the case. No-one could return to ask Trevor Carrington for more details because two days after his alleged confession he was found dead, after falling into the path of a lorry on a quiet rural road. The dear old police announced that his death was not suspicious and that he had killed himself by throwing himself under the lorry. Trevor Carrington was unemployed yet had taken receipt of 20 thousand pounds into his bank account shortly before he died. He had told a third party that he banked on the Isle of Man and needed to go there to withdraw some cash. Trevor Carrington’s alleged confession was only made to one other person whose reliability was called into question and there is no other record of it. A few days before the fire, a couple who lived in the top floor flat of the building were stopped by a stranger in the street and advised to get out of the flat. In 2002, Hoogstraten was convicted of manslaughter and imprisoned after he paid two thugs to kill a business rival. Once this was made public, some of the relatives of those who died in the fire called for a fresh probe into the fire. That does not seem to have happened. Hoogstraten did not spend that long in prison either – he was released and then left the UK to live in Zimbabwe. He was alleged to be a good mate of the delightful Robert Mugabe. Before Hoogstraten left the UK he was investigated for tax evasion – the planned trial was dropped when information was received that the judge was going to be assassinated if it went ahead.

Some of the relatives of the deceased and some who hadn’t actually died in the fire still insisted on making a nuisance of themselves and continued to cry ‘foul play’. One young man was particularly vocal and maintained that some of the former kids who had been resident in north Wales children’s homes had been murdered. This young man gave evidence against John Allen at Allen’s trial in 1995. Shortly after he gave evidence and days before he was due to receive a substantial sum from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board he was found dead. Another suicide – of course, what else…

It was reported that the ‘gay community’ of Brighton refused to come forward and give information to the police about the fire because of their ‘gay lifestyle’. In a town famous for it’s hospitality towards gay people. Obviously nothing to do with their fear of being found dead after having committed suicide. There were attempts to prod the High Court into reinvestigating the fire but the High Court refused. Probably because of it was ashamed of it’s lifestyle.

This blog has commented previously on the propensity of buildings with connections to the mental health services and children’s services in north Wales to go up in flames – indeed it nearly happened to my own house (please see previous blog posts). Some years after the fire in Brighton, there was another interesting fire, this time in a warehouse in north Wales. The warehouse in question housed the records of the children who had passed through the hands of Bryn Estyn, one of the children’s homes in north Wales where serious sexual and physical abuse of residents had occurred. The fire occurred during the Waterhouse Tribunal – the records were completely destroyed and as a result the Waterhouse Tribunal was unable to trace many of the former residents of Bryn Estyn and request them to give evidence. That fire was declared by the police to be not in the least bit suspicious either.

Fires don’t always destroy buildings and records however. When I lived near Bethesda in the 90s I vaguely knew a young family who lived nearby – they were distinctive because they were two young parents with a very big family, much bigger than is the norm, there were about six or seven children, all quite close together in age. My friend knew the mother of the family and I was told that she took her Catholicism seriously and refused to use contraception. This was eliciting a lot of grief from the local welfare professionals – the mother was alleged to have had a good education but later suffered with mental health problems, as did the father. There was constant disapproval regarding the number of children that these two young people had. The family were certainly short of money and lived in a small very chaotic house but I never witnessed the parents being anything other than very caring towards their children. Years after I left Bethesda, I met the father of this family in my friends café in Llanberis. He had developed a psychotic illness and was living rough in barns and outbuildings around Gwynedd. He remembered me and began a conversation – he had just been kicked out of the Hergest Unit (on what grounds I didn’t know), was clearly quite unwell but chatted away enthusiastically about his children who were now all teenagers and to whom he had remained very close. I last saw him in about 2007 – he had turned up at Bangor University very disorientated and was trying to gatecrash the graduation ceremony, but not in an aggressive way, he just wanted to join in the party. Some time later a former neighbour from Bethesda told me that this man had died. He had gone on a trip to Ireland where for some inexplicable reason someone had set him on fire. He died from his burns. I am not aware that anyone was ever prosecuted for this.

Someone else from the Bangor area was found dead in Ireland as well, some years before the father of the big family in Bethesda, although I’m not sure that this man could fairly be categorised as a lamb. This was Geoffrey Leigh, a rather unscrupulous businessman who ran a property management company called Access Accommodation in Bangor, back in the early 90s. Leigh became notorious for swindling both landlords and tenants and had more than a few enemies. Leigh was then found murdered in Ireland. It was reported on the news that he had emigrated to Ireland days before to ‘start a new life’. Everyone presumed that someone whom he had conned had exacted revenge – but it then became known that Leigh had been murdered by his gay lover, a much younger man whom at one point had been his employee. Things got even more cloudy when it transpired that the gay lover who had murdered Leigh did not go to prison, he was instead put on probation. There was no explanation given in the media for this very light sentence but a few years ago I was told by someone who had worked in the probation service in north Wales that it was considered to be a case of domestic abuse in a same sex relationship – I was told that Leigh had been extremely abusive to his partner and this was taken to be a mitigating circumstance. None of this ever appeared in the local press in north Wales. What did appear was an enormous feature on Geoff Leigh, paying tribute to his work as a DJ for Radio Ysbyty Gwynedd – he used to present their Sunday morning Christian show no less.

Geoff Leigh was not the only man in north Wales who wore his Christianity on his sleeve who came to grief amid allegations of same sex activity. There was the case of the ‘brutal slaying’ of the ‘friendly’ Llanberis vicar, Canon Alun Jones in 1982. Two teenage boys were put on trial for his murder in 1983, at Chester Crown Court (where else – please see previous posts for interesting happenings at Chester Crown Court). The boys maintained that they had not intended to kill Alun Jones, although they had gone to his house to rob him and steal his car in order to run away. One of the boys was sent to borstal, but the other boy, 15 year old Richard Dennick, was given a life sentence and is now residing at Ty Llewellyn, the medium secure psychiatric unit run by the north Wales mental health services. Interestingly enough the boy who ended up receiving a life sentence and then was transferred into the mental health system maintained that he attacked the vicar because the vicar had tried to sexually assault him. There was a panic in 2015 because Richard Dennick managed to escape from Ty Llewellyn – within minutes the police put out warnings about an escaped murderer and the local schools were all closed lest any of the children encountered the escaped madman. It was stated that Richard Dennick was ‘unpredictable’ ‘without his medication’. I can find no record of Richard Dennick attempting to attack children. Richard Dennick’s story has always been that he did not mean to kill Canon Jones and that he only ever attacked Jones because he panicked when he thought that Alun Jones was going to sexually assault him. But whoever could know the truth in this case – after all, Chester Crown Court, the north Wales mental health services and allegations of sexual assault are involved. The press at the time described Alun Jones as allowing local boys to visit the vicarage to ‘play snooker’. Somebody else who grew up near Llanberis and remembers the case described Canon Jones to me as a ‘paedophile’. The judge at Chester who sentenced the 15 year old boy to life imprisonment described the boy as ‘evil’ – he was a Judge William Mars-Jones, later Sir William Mars-Jones. Mars-Jones grew up in Denbighshire, attended Denbigh High School and was of the same vintage as the lobotomist who presided over the North Wales Hospital Denbigh for so many years, Dr T. Gwynne Williams. In his obituaries, Mars-Jones was described as the ‘leader’ of the Chester and North Wales Circuit. Like so many people who have starred on this blog, as well as sitting on the Chester and Wales Circuit, Mars-Jones read law at Aberystwyth University.

It was when Richard Dennick escaped from Ty Llewellyn in 2015 that I became well-acquainted with the case of the murder of the Llanberis vicar and read the old press reports. I realised then that I had confused the case with another case from Gwynedd, the case of the Rev Emyr Owen from Tywyn in 1985, who was sentenced to four years in prison at Chester Crown Court for mutilating corpses. The case caused the most enormous fuss and it was reported that the Rev Owen had severed penises from three corpses, feeding one penis to the seagulls, burning another one and throwing another into the sea. The Rev Owen was said to have explained his actions by claiming that two Emyrs existed and it was ‘Emyr ddwrg’ (bad Emyr) who had defiled the corpses. Much was made in newspaper reports of Emyr Owen’s penchant for Cuban heels, his ‘bachelor lifestyle’ and the fact that he drove a car displaying pictures of fire-breathing serpents. But like so many criminal trials at Chester involving defendants from north Wales, there are indications that all might not have been as it was reported. The policeman who proudly boasted of catching Emyr Owen, DC Gwyn Roberts, has recently written his memoirs (as policemen from the North Wales Force are prone to doing – a number of them have published books along the lines of ‘murderers and perverts that I have known’). It transpires that Emyr Owen’s habits with corpses only came to light when DC Roberts caught Emyr writing hate mail. Emyr denied writing the hate mail – the hate mail had been sent to the police at Tywyn and to the Chief Constable David Owen – and no-one had any idea who was writing it, until DC Roberts ‘proved’ that it was Emyr after examining ‘6000 samples of handwriting’. That is an awful lot of samples to examine with the naked eye, remember, contrast and compare and later identify as being the handwriting of Emyr. It was alleged that the handwriting was ‘old fashioned’ and that there was a ‘distinctive’ letter T involved. Now someone of Emyr’s generation would have been taught handwriting at school, in a very prescriptive way, which may well have persisted with him into later adulthood. It may have been the case that every child taught handwriting by the teacher who taught Emyr was taught to write a distinctive T. DC Gwyn Roberts did not entertain this idea – because he knew that Emyr Did It. Furthermore once he proved that Emyr had written the hate mail, he then discovered that Emyr had removed the penises from three corpses. No penises were ever found – so how DC Roberts knew that one had been fed to sea gulls, one burnt and another thrown into the sea I do not know. There is also no mention of any corpses without penises being discovered. And guess what – DC Roberts explained that relatives of the defiled corpses were never informed, there was no need to cause upset. So it sounds to me as though there wasn’t any evidence at all produced. Emyr denied defiling corpses until after he was sentenced. Before this however, DC Gwyn Roberts had discovered a whole treasure trove at Emyr’s house – sticky tape, pliers, pornography, negatives of penises arranged on a plate and God knows what else. It was speculated that Emyr could have held Black Masses with all this gear. No-one had ever witnessed him actually doing this, but he could have… Emyr has gone down in the local history of north Wales as ‘Emyr ddwrg’ – but I notice that Emyr only ‘confessed’ to being two people, one of which was Emyr ddwrg, after he was sentenced. Interestingly enough, before being stitched up, or should I say ‘caught defiling corpses’, Emyr Owen had been the High Sheriff’s chaplain, sitting alongside the judge at Caernarfon Crown Court. So if all the allegations of rampant corruption in the North Wales Police and in the Chester and North Wales Circuit at that time were true – including allegations of the police planting incriminating material and compiling false confessions – Emyr may well have known a few things that could have landed a few people in a lot of trouble. And what if the ‘bachelor’ Minister took his religion seriously – which he might have, driving around in a car decorated with fire-breathing serpents, he may have been very zealous – there’s a danger that he might not have been easily persuaded to keep quiet about perjury and corruption. The thing that leaves me most uneasy about this whole case though is the identity of one of the prime movers and shakers, the prosecuting counsel – it was one Huw Daniel. For details of the dreadful Huw Daniel’s activities when he was elevated to Judge Huw Daniel and the account of the forging of a certificate of indictment relating to a case over which he presided, please see my posts ‘Interesting Happenings In The Legal System’, ‘Discussions On The Minibus – And A Revealing Letter’ and ‘Behind The Scenes Regarding Those Legal Happenings’. Ooh, one further thing about Emyr Owen’s trial – it was held so close to Christmas that the court officials didn’t think that there’d be any press coverage. DC Roberts remembers that they all had quite a shock when they realised that the world’s press had got hold of the story. I bet they did – no doubt the plan was for Emyr to be banged up without a word being printed about any of it. The only surprise is that Emyr wasn’t declared a ‘schizophrenic’ and handed over to the lobotomist and Dr Dafydd Alun Jones (although there might have been an attempt at that, remember the clichéd allegations about the two Emyr’s, one good, one bad?) – but a psychiatrist, a Dr William Lawson, testified that Emyr was not psychiatrically ill. If any readers know what prevented Emyr Owen from disappearing into the North Wales Hospital to be drugged into oblivion or sent ‘downstairs’, or indeed being found dead after ‘committing suicide’, please do let me know…

So presumably we can add the names of Richard Dennick and the Rev Emyr Owen as well as the names of Howard Hughes (please see post ‘More On Those Prisons For Folk Who Dared Complain’) and Matthew Hardman (see post ‘Family Annihilation’) to the long list of Welsh lambs that have been well and truly silenced via possible miscarriages of justice.

As Emyr Owen discovered, being a professional person of some standing in the community does not protect one from becoming a Welsh lamb. I have always been interested in what might have precipitated the fall from grace of another two people who were employed in the domain of law and order in north Wales. I have mentioned Sergeant Morgan of Bangor Police Station in my early post ‘Hippocratic Oath Or Hypocritic Oaf?’. On the night on which I was transported to the North Wales Hospital Denbigh and illegally imprisoned there, I heard Sgt Morgan, the custody Sgt on duty at Bangor Police Station, reaching a state of utter panic as he explained to the disgusting Dr K. Shah that I was being detained illegally. Sgt Morgan was ignored. I encountered Sgt Morgan a few months later when the north Wales mental health services were mass producing untruthful statements about me in a vain attempt to have me detained in Risley Remand Centre. I witnessed Sgt Morgan refuse to take a statement from one Janice Davies, a nurse at the North Wales Hospital, because he knew that it was a pack of lies – he was honest enough to tell me that ‘they’re all conspiring against you’. He also refused to allow Dr D.G.E. Wood into the cells to ‘visit’ me and prevented Dr X from sending ‘someone’ down to the police station to section me. In retrospect I suspect that it was only thanks to Sgt Morgan that I did not end up in Risley facing very serious charges. After I finally got home, I did of course make further complaints about the mental health services (they were never investigated). But I fear that I may have caused Sgt Morgan a great deal of difficulty. I had a row with Alun Davies, the manager of the mental health services at Ysbyty Gwynedd, on the phone – and I mentioned that even a policeman in Bangor Police Station had noted that the mental health services were conspiring against me. Davies bellowed down the phone that he’d ‘be making a complaint about that policeman’. Not long after, Sgt Morgan appeared in Court charged with indecently assaulting a teenage girl who had been in custody. The girl had been charged with theft and Sgt Morgan had put his hand in the back pocket of her jeans to ‘search’ her. It was enough to have him prosecuted, convicted and sacked. Now he may well have done what the teenager alleged. But that was nothing compared to what the rest of them were doing…. Now I know just how corrupt Davies et al were, I cannot help suspecting that Sgt Morgan was sacrificed. Time to hear Sgt Morgan’s story I think. Another person who was hung out to dry some ten years ago was John Grant Jones. John Grant Jones was the clerk to the Magistrates at Bangor. I remember him very well because he was there every time that the north Wales mental health services mounted prosecutions against me for ludicrous reasons. John Grant Jones was unfailingly friendly, polite, respectful and always explained procedures to me. So imagine my surprise when, many years later, John Grant Jones hit the headlines of the local press in a very big way. By that time he had reached a senior position in the Association of Justices Chief Executives, but he had been sacked amidst allegations of financial corruption. He stood accused of having fiddled extra money for his pension as well as an honorarium. In what must be a first for north Wales he was stripped of his OBE. John Grant Jones put up a fight and launched a case for unfair dismissal and I think disability discrimination. It was reported in the press that he had become very ill with the stress of what had happened to him and that his illness had then been used as a reason to put the boot in further. John Grant Jones eventually dropped his legal case and no longer works for the Court service in north Wales. I have no idea whether John Grant Jones was fiddling, but as with Sgt Morgan, even if John Grant Jones had been guilty of what he was accused, that was cat’s piss compared to what else was going on. As for taking away his OBE – just look at who in north Wales are hanging onto gongs: Keith Thomson, David Prichard, Peter Higson, D.G.E. Wood, Huw Daniel, Elfed Roberts – it’s a roll call of corrupt professional people who have been involved in the most serious wrongdoing. Time for John Grant Jones to tell us all why he was stuffed over by this bunch of crooks…

Like Sgt Morgan, there is yet another person whom I suspect may have been driven out of their job because they dared express the opinion that some of what was happening in the mental health services was shocking. For a while in the 90s I used to have a very nice GP in Bangor – she was very popular in the area and very well-respected. When I discussed Dr Dafydd Alun Jones with her she was honest enough to describe him as a ‘crook’ and a ‘wicked sick man’ – which is Dafydd in a nutshell really. She disappeared from Bangor some months later and no-one seemed to know why. Whilst browsing through the documents that were returned from my lawyers a few weeks ago I came across a copy of a letter that I’d written to Alun Davies after he had assured me that there were no problems with Dafydd at all. I had quoted this GP – I didn’t mention her by name, but what’s the betting that Davies et al did a bit of research to find out which GP could have made these comments? No wonder doctors won’t come and work in north Wales.

Before I finish this post, I’ll remember just three more lambs who were silenced. One was a man called Philip who had bipolar disorder, whom I first met in the North Wales Hospital Denbigh. I have mentioned previously on the blog that just about everybody who I knew from those days is now dead – as far as I know, Philip was the last to die. I met up with Philip again when I was a patient at the Hergest Unit in about 2002, shortly before the dreadful Dr Tony Roberts did his best to ensure that I died. Like so many patients, Philip did not like either Tony Roberts or Dr David Healy. Whilst I was with him in the Hergest Unit Philip was quite manic and busied himself ruthlessly mocking Healy and Roberts, at one point writing a message up on a blackboard to remind the hospital of one of Healy’s less reputable activities. Some months after being discharged Philip died. ‘A problem with his medication’ I understand… I was told by a third party that it had been a case of sheer gross negligence. Another person whom I knew at the Hergest Unit with bipolar disorder has also fared very badly, although I don’t know if she is actually dead now. This was someone whose illness was very unstable at the best of times, but worsened if she was exposed to distress. At one point her behaviour became really intolerable and she was constantly unpleasant and offensive to everyone. I was told by one of the better nurses that this patient was particularly distressed because her sister had just begun nurse training at the Hergest Unit – the patient herself had been a student nurse before she became so ill that she had to withdraw. So no-one at the Hergest Unit knows the meaning of the expression ‘rubbing salt into the wound’ then. Never mind issues of confidentiality. I last saw this person in Bangor about five years ago. She was living rough and had been destitute for many months. She had spent the last few weeks hitch-hiking around the country and had earlier that morning hitched a lift from Manchester to Bangor with an unknown lorry driver. A lone, vulnerable woman with a severe mental illness who had spent the last twenty years in the embrace of the north Wales mental health services – duty of care anyone? The last lamb to be mentioned here was someone who was in the bed next to me in Seiriol Ward in Ysbyty Gwynedd in 1991. I thought of her as being an old lady, although she was probably about the same age that I am now, mid 50s. The reason that I thought of her as being an old lady was that she acted like one – she spent all day in bed and repeatedly stated her desire to be moved into an old people’s home so that she could die. She was a patient of Dr X and there was no privacy afforded to her at all, ward rounds were conducted by Dr X who would arrive at her bedside, in a dorm shared by loads of other patients, and ask her why she was ‘like this’. She would repeat that she wanted a place in an old folk’s home so that she could die. She had a husband who was clearly going out of his mind with worry who would diligently visit her every evening and a daughter who was probably in her early twenties who was very withdrawn and shy. A series of extraordinary decisions were made. Dr X announced that this lady was behaving like this because life in Seiriol Ward was ‘too comfortable’, so they were going to discharge her. The nurses were then told to prepare this lady’s shy daughter for her mother’s death – literally. And they did. They began to have conversations with her explaining that her mother ‘would not be here for ever’ and how they were going to help her live independently. The lady whose only desire to die was discharged. I understand that she died. What the bloody hell was Seiriol Ward, north Wales’s answer to Dignitas???

 

 

 

 

 

 

Behind The Scenes – At The North Wales Hospital Denbigh

My blog posts ‘Hippocratic Oath Or Hypocritic Oaf?’, ‘How I Arrived At Denbigh’, ‘The Case of the Disappearing Clinical Psychologist’ and ‘The Distressed Young Woman Who Vanished’ give some idea of just how seriously and casually the law was being flouted by some people in north Wales with regard to the means by which people were admitted to and detained in the North Wales Hospital Denbigh and also suggest that some pretty monstrous things were happening out there. I had other clues that this was a completely lawless institution regularly hosting some very bizarre happenings whilst I was there. I had been there a number of days before Dr Dafydd Alun Jones condescended to visit me, but when he did it was in the middle of the night – I remember being ‘interviewed’ by him at about midnight. None of the staff on the ward concerned, Bryn Golau, batted an eyelid at Jones doing this. Years later I was told by a former psychiatric social worker who had worked in north Wales that Jones was very obviously floridly manic a lot of the time and would conduct ward rounds in the early hours of the morning. I have also never forgotten another comment from a member of staff made a matter of hours after I’d arrived at Bryn Golau. I had got into a confrontation with another patient – she had attacked me but in a fairly inefficient way, she had seen me writing (I was actually writing an essay for the MSc that I was pursuing at the time as part of my course work) and she had rushed over to me and ripped up all my paperwork. I shoved her off me and unfortunately she fell onto the floor. I then heard a nursing assistant – who was only ever identified as ‘Marion’, but whom I later discovered was quite dim – remark to the charge nurse ‘I think this young lady ought to go downstairs’. The charge nurse said nothing in response to this but he did come over to find out what was going on. I was curious as to what the reference to ‘downstairs’ had meant, but I never heard ‘downstairs’ mentioned again whilst I was there. But a few years later when I was living in a small village near Bethesda, I discovered that a lot of the elderly people there knew Dafydd Alun Jones because he had originated from Bethesda. They would freely talk about his unpleasantness and how grim Denbigh was. I had a friend who spent a lot of his time in the company of an elderly man from Bethesda and he told my friend an awful lot about the abuses that were alleged to go on at Denbigh. One day my friend told me that the old man had talked of a cellar-like place at Denbigh where patients were locked in and left, in the manner of some Gothic horror – staff referred to the cellar as ‘downstairs’…

There were a number of nurses in Bryn Golau who were clearly very unhappy with what was going on and who did seem to be trying to do their best for patients in very restricted circumstances. Two members of staff there – the ward sister, a Janice Davies, and an SEN, Stephen Rose – were abusive and were very obviously colluding with Dafydd Alun Jones. They would lie about patients conduct, attempt to harass and intimidate patients, elicit conflict between patients in order to break up friendships etc. On one occasion Rose assaulted me.

One interesting ritual in Bryn Golau was afternoon tea for the staff. They’d all gather around one big table, out would come the tea-pot and cups and they’d spend the best part of an hour chatting and socialising with each other – sometimes nurses and nursing officers from other parts of the hospital would arrive and join in. Whilst they were having their tea, quite an interesting process would take place – the staff would completely forget that patients were present and might be listening. It seemed that tea time was a forum for general gossip and for discussing the wrongdoing of the medical staff at Denbigh, particularly Dafydd Alun Jones. I heard a lot of interesting things at tea times. Most of the staff neither liked nor trusted Jones but were very obviously cowed by him. There also seemed to be a lot of friction between Denbigh and the psychiatric wards at Ysbyty Gwynedd, with staff having complex allegiances and being at war with each other – staff from Denbigh maintained that the wards at Ysbyty Gwynedd were unsafe and hopeless, whereas staff at Ysbyty Gwynedd levelled the same allegations at Denbigh. (The irony was that the wards and management of both places had both been subject to damning criticism following external investigations and by this time Denbigh had been ear-marked for closure.)

Another interesting thing that happened whilst I was in Denbigh was Jones’s attempt to nobble my solicitor. Fortunately I already knew the solicitor who was representing me regarding the ‘charge’ that I was facing whilst I was in Denbigh – I had previously consulted him when I first encountered problems with the psychiatric services at Ysbyty Gwynedd. However when Jones finally arrived at Denbigh to see me, he felt able to state that he had telephoned my solicitor and was ‘most surprised’ to find that he already knew me. He announced this in front of a group of nurses. So just as Jones turning up to visit patients in the middle of the night was an everyday occurrence, clearly so was him contacting patient’s solicitors without their knowledge or permission. Thank God I actually had an honest solicitor…

When I got out of Denbigh (as described in my blog post ‘The Case of the Disappearing Clinical Psychologist’, this was sudden and unexpected and did not seem to involve discussions with the ward staff, let alone me), I went straight back to London where I was on a postgrad course lest Jones had me arrested on yet another trumped up charge. As soon as I got to London, I contacted the Mental Health Act Commission and made a formal complaint to the authorities at Denbigh regarding what had happened, although I’d already had indications that the Mental Health Act Commission were pretty hopeless – they were by this time supposed to be investigating the circumstances of me being sectioned by a grossly incompetent junior doctor at Ysbyty Gwynedd some months previously, whose English was so bad that he could not understand what I was saying. My first encounter with Dafydd Alun Jones had occurred then – the day after the incompetent had sectioned me, Jones turned up and told me that he would only let me out if I agreed to leave Bangor immediately and that if I returned he’d have me arrested. This alone should have alerted the Mental Health Act Commission to something being very wrong, before I even ended up in Denbigh.

My memory of returning to London and then raising my concerns regarding events in north Wales with the Mental Health Act Commission and the authorities at Denbigh was one of being constantly messed around, with my letters usually being ignored and information being withheld. I do not ever remember any of my complaints being dealt with appropriately, let alone resolved. So it was enlightening to find documents relating to all this among the numerous documents released from my lawyers to me last week.

Among the documents is a letter from me, dated Jan 1987, requesting a copy of my medical records from Denbigh. My request had been turned down flat, with the administrator at Denbigh, a Mr D. Hinchcliffe, stating that the records were ‘legally unavailable’ to me. I knew this to be untrue, because I was being refused copies of my medical records by Ysbyty Gwynedd and had sought legal clarification – the situation was that it was at the discretion of the practitioners who had compiled the records, but any decision had to be made with the best interests of the patient in mind. There is a copy of another letter dated March 1987 that I subsequently wrote to Mr Hinchcliffe at Denbigh explaining this. There is a copy of a letter from Hinchcliffe to me again refusing me a copy of my records but stating that he was ‘currently investigating the points you have raised with the medical staff’. The reproduction of this letter is poor and it is not possible to make out the exact date on it, just ‘1987’.

However, the files recently released contain correspondence between NHS staff compiled at the time that I have not seen before – these documents provide a picture of life and practices behind the scenes at Denbigh. It appears that it was taken as an absolute given that I was not going to have access to my medical notes. There is a letter to Jones from the administrator simply stating that of course Jones wouldn’t want this – it seems that no-one even had to ask him. The administrator then wrote me a letter stating that it wasn’t in my best interests to see my medical records – which was exactly what Ysbyty Gwynedd had done when they discovered that they were allowed this legal get-out clause. Being me, I didn’t go away and wrote further letters and was still requesting a response to my complaint.

But the machine at Denbigh was obviously encountering problems too. There is a copy of a letter written to Dafydd Alun Jones by Laurie V. Wood, the Unit General Manager at Denbigh, dated 24th April 1987. The reproduction is poor, but this seems to be a letter referring to complaints that I and two other patients had made about Jones. The letter states that Jones has not responded to ‘numerous requests both orally and in writing’ and that ‘I really do not want to have to ask our three Health Authority [illegible] to interview you formally about this’. Then there is a copy of a memorandum dated 6th May 1987 written by Kay Hemsley, Assistant Administrator, (please see blog post ‘How I Arrived At Denbigh’ for details of Kay’s other activities regarding my complaint) to Laurie Wood, in which she states that Jones phoned her to say that his responses to the complaints from me and the two other patients were ‘somewhere in the system awaiting typing’ but ‘he gave me the following comments’. There is a reference to one patient whom Jones maintains is ‘no longer in his care’ and he ‘thought that the matter had died down’. There is then a reference to another patient with Jones stating that he hadn’t seen the original letter of complaint, but that he had arranged to see the patient’s mother to discuss it – in Jones’s outpatients clinic. There is then a truly ominous sentence – that at lunch time on that day ‘the mother was admitted to the North Wales Hospital’. So ‘the mother’ couldn’t get a response to her complaint about her son, Jones invited her to an outpatients clinic to discuss it – and then banged her up in Denbigh. Kay then documented Jones’s comment regarding my complaint  – that Jones ‘does not wish to enter into correspondence with this lady. He would be prepared to see her at any clinic but will correspond only with medical practitioners.’ It was then noted that they’d received another letter from me ‘today’. This memo from Kay Hemsley had been stamped ‘7 May 1987 Unit Administrator North Wales Hospital’, so presumably had been received by Mr D. Hinchcliffe. There is a letter to Mr Hinchcliffe from Jones, dated 7th May, in which he states that he won’t communicate with me but that he is willing to see me in outpatients in Ysbyty Gwynedd. Jones continues ‘you must be aware of the complications which arose in relation to her both in the North Wales Hospital and in Bangor and I felt that I had to act as properly as I could with the full anticipation that there might be problems arising but with no intention of being drawn into protracted correspondence with [me]…I will only communicate with our general practitioner’. (The slip Jones makes when he refers to ‘our’ general practitioner is revealing – presumably the man that he is talking about is Dr DGE Wood, my former GP, who had initially referred me to a colleague of Jones’s, T. Gwynne Williams, whom I found out many years later had been the notorious lobotomist at Denbigh. Wood had become very angry when my then partner Brown and I attempted to complain about Williams and stated that we ‘weren’t allowed’ to complain. The files released last week contain documents demonstrating that unbeknown to me, DGE Wood had been colluding with Jones behind the scenes before, during and after I was in Denbigh. Wood was indeed ‘their’ general practitioner.)

There is a copy of a letter to Mr Hinchcliffe from Dafydd Alun Jones dated 14th May 1987 telling him to ‘acknowledge this note [could this be a reference to the recent letter from me that Kay Hemsley had referred to?] and tell [me] that although I am not really going into written correspondence other than with a medical practitioner, I am very willing to see her at my clinic if she should wish it’.

Among the documents released recently is another most interesting letter, but again the reproduction is very poor – it is clearly a letter from someone charged with managing Denbigh and the part of it that can be read says ‘I wrote to Dr DA Jones on ..[illegible] 1987 and Mr Wood wrote on the 29th April and on 8th May 1987..[illegible]…the matter had ‘died down’ and he had ‘nothing to add’…Dr Jones…would be willing to see her in his outpatients clinic at Ysbyty Gwynedd…[my name] is currently residing in London which I am sure Dr Jones is aware of and his invitation to attend his outpatients clinic is somewhat farcical, similarly the administrative changes does not alter the fact that he was the consultant in charge of the case at the time. My concern is that he appears to be neglecting his duty with regard to compliance to complaints procedures…’

There are familiar themes here regarding Jones’s approach to dealing with complaints – firstly, he is obviously stating that he is no longer responsible for my ‘case’ (due to administrative Jones was no longer the consultant covering Anglesey which was where I had lived prior to moving to London) and secondly he thought that this was another matter that had ‘died down’. Presumably Jones worked on the assumption that you ignore all complaints, refuse to correspond with anyone at all about it, claim that ‘the matter had died down’ and if the complainant doesn’t go away you invite them to an outpatients clinic where you section them. But who was the author of this letter who clearly knows exactly what Jones is up to? It is not Laurie Wood because the author mentions writing to Laurie Wood. There was one other manager in the north Wales mental health services at that time responsible for overseeing the services and associated complaints – and that was one Dr Peter Higson, present Chair of the Betsi Board. Other documents previously released to me from Denbigh had Higson’s name on them in relation to Jones not responding to complaints and I think that dear old Higson was the man behind this letter too…

There is another very illuminating document regarding why no aspect of my complaint about Denbigh was ever resolved. That is a copy of a letter to Mr Hinchcliffe from ‘D.K. Jones, Acting Senior Nurse’. This letter states that s/he is ‘unable to comment on the two main issues ie. her request for a copy of her medical notes and the medication she was prescribed…medication is prescribed by medical staff and the nursing staff only administer it.’ The letter goes on to claim that when I was admitted to Bryn Golau on 17 December 1987 ‘she was in quite a disturbed state and despite her very obvious intelligence had little or no insight into her condition. She was placed on Section 35 of the Mental Health Act on 19th December 1986 and regraded to Section 2 on 29th December 1986. She went on leave on 7th January and was officially discharged on 25th January 1987. The letter admitted that ‘she may well have a point regarding the simplistic method of questioning employed when assessing patients – the questions could be more of a flexible nature and tailored to the individual…I am sorry to be of so little help…but her complaints are aimed more at the ‘system’ rather than the nursing she received.’

Now the contents of this letter are completely inconsistent with the contents of the nursing notes made whilst I was in Bryn Golau. I have described in my blog post ‘How I Arrived At Denbigh’ how the nursing notes described in detail the plan that Jones hatched with the police at Bangor in order to have me taken to and then detained at Denbigh and how the nurses noted that they didn’t want to be part of ‘this deal’. Again and again the nursing notes state that there were no grounds for detaining me under the Mental Health Act and that Dr Neil Davies agreed. The nursing notes also detail a phone call from DA Jones in which he stated that he would ‘prefer’ for the nurses to state that I should be detained under the Mental Health Act. The nurses refuse to do this. At no point do the nursing notes state that I was ‘in quite a disturbed state’ with ‘little or no insight into [my] condition’. The nursing notes do however state that although Dr Neil Davies had already stated that there were no grounds to detain me under the Mental Health Act, after talking to a psychiatrist from Ysbyty Gwynedd about whom I had complained, Dr Davies then said that I should be sectioned. The only time the nursing notes even come close to stating that I had any sort of mental health problem was after Jones et al had stitched me up with the police in Bangor, when they make a reference to my ‘paranoia’ about Gwynedd Health Authority and my references to corruption in the north Wales NHS. Of course the nursing notes compiled days previously demonstrate that there was indeed the most appalling corruption going on in the north Wales NHS, indeed it was so bad that the nurses in Bryn Golau didn’t want to be part of ‘this deal’. Regarding the ‘medication’ – I discovered that I had been prescribed huge doses of chlorpromazine, although no-one had diagnosed me as psychotic. (I noticed that nearly everyone in Bry Golau had been given the same prescription, no matter what their alleged diagnosis.) To their credit, the nurses didn’t ever suggest that I should take it – no doubt they noticed that it was completely inappropriate. So the dosing up of absolutely everyone on that ward with a uniform liquid cosh of ‘medication’ that has many debilitating side-effects was never addressed. But there were other aspects to my complaint too – the abusive staff that I named earlier in this post, Janice Davies and Stephen Rose. Their (mis)conduct was never addressed. When I repeatedly raised the matter of Stephen Rose’s constant aggression towards me and his eventual assault, I simply received a letter from Denbigh stating that no other nurses ever noticed anything untoward and Stephen Rose had now left Denbigh to work at Park Lane Hospital. (Park Lane Hospital was a secure hospital in the north west of England that became engulfed in scandal regarding staff assaulting patients and allegations that children were being taken into the hospital in order for paedophiles to gain access to them. One wonders what sort of a reference the authorities at Denbigh gave Rose for him to take up a job at Park Lane.)

So a complaint involving unlawful detention, the flagrant breaking of the law in numerous ways, inappropriate medication and an assault – among other things – was never ever investigated by the authorities at Denbigh despite all the documentary evidence that the staff had themselves compiled. At the time that I made this complaint, another patient, Mary Wynch, was suing Clwyd Health Authority – because Dafydd Alun Jones had unlawfully incarcerated her for a year (please see blog post ‘Making Legal History – The Mary Wynch Case’). And staff were actually documenting that Dafydd Alun Jones was banging the mothers of patients who had complained up in Denbigh. Its quite incredible isn’t it.

As for the Mental Health Act Commission – of course I got nowhere, but that’s par for the course. However, the newly released files do contain a gem of information that has been previously kept well-hidden from me for thirty years. My blog post ‘Hippocratic Oath or Hypocritic Oaf?’ describes a very honest social worker who visited me in Bangor Police Station but refused to play ball with the appalling Dr K. Shah and Dafydd Alun Jones. Her name is mentioned in the files – she was an Ann Williams who worked for Gwynedd Social Services. So Ann Williams could have given evidence to all and sundry involved in this if anyone had really wanted to investigate – but no-one ever referred to her again. The files of course contain further evidence of Jones’s outrageous behaviour. It was recorded that after I was released from Denbigh, Jones had contacted the Student Health Centre in Bangor (although I’d graduated several years previously – but hey, I’d complained about Jones’s lobotomist colleague who had been doing a few shifts up there), he had notified ‘their’ GP, DGE Wood and he had also contacted my tutor in London. How about that for breaching confidence and ethics in one fell swoop? There are also some hints in the newly released documents to other very serious wrongdoing – there’s someone whom I remember played a substantial role in events at Denbigh but it looks as if all references to him have been removed. I will be investigating this further…

Attentive readers will have noticed one obvious loose end regarding this tale. Although he refused point blank to correspond with me regarding my complaint, Jones did kindly offer again and again to meet me in his outpatients clinic at Bangor to discuss my complaint. Of course, I had no idea that when he’d done this to another complainant he’d sectioned her. So what happened to me? Well I made it very clear that I didn’t want an outpatients appointment for clinical reasons, if I went to an outpatients clinic it would be to discuss my complaint. It was made clear to me that this would be the only way my complaint would ever be discussed. So I went to the outpatients clinic – where I was arrested. But that’s a story for a future post – as is the story of how Jones et al in north Wales mobilised some of the biggest names in UK psychiatry at that time to ensure that my complaints regarding the north Wales mental health services were completely silenced…

How I Arrived At Denbigh

My previous blog post ‘Hippocratic Oath or Hypocritic Oaf?’ describes some extraordinary happenings in Bangor Police Station in December 1986. I had been ‘detained’ by the police at the behest of the north Wales psychiatric services but was not arrested or charged with any offence. An unidentified social worker had refused to section me and after this an unscrupulous local GP called Shah had entered the cell and simply bellowed at me ‘are you prepared to go to Denbigh?’. When I said no, I heard him telling the sergeant on duty outside that if they kept me in the cells for longer he’d find a social worker who would section me, despite the sergeant’s near hysterical reaction to this suggestion and him clearly explaining to Shah that this was illegal.

Upon hearing this conversation, as well as other snippets – Shah mentioned the name of Dr Dafydd Alun Jones and how he ‘knew about’ me (I’d met Jones once at this point) – I realised that I was in the clutches of some very unpleasant people who were quite prepared to break the law in order to get me banged up in the North Wales Hospital Denbigh. So when the police asked again if I was prepared to ‘go to hospital’ (I seem to remember that the police implied that it would be Ysbyty Gwynedd where I’d been sectioned overnight some months before – I had by this point complained to the Mental Health Act Commission about this incident and will blog further details soon), rather than risk Shah returning with a corrupt social worker to lock me up in Denbigh for God knows how long, I told the police that I’d agree to go to hospital. I stayed in the cell until quite late at night, until eventually an ambulance turned up and the ambulance personnel cheerily announced that they were taking me to Denbigh. So, like so many other patients who ended up at Denbigh, I was transported there in the middle of the night under cover of darkness. (This is not me ramping up some conspiracy theory – whilst I was in Denbigh I noticed that nearly everyone arrived there in the middle of the night. I think I only remember one person who was taken there during daylight hours.) When I arrived at Denbigh I was delivered to the locked ward, Bryn Golau, which I later found out had a reputation for being even more of a law unto itself than the rest of Denbigh.

On arrival I was met by two nurses who were genuinely very nice and friendly. They made me some supper although it was by now about midnight and they sat and chatted to me. Then a junior doctor turned up to carry out an ‘assessment’. He was hopeless. Like the junior doctor who had previously sectioned me at Ysbyty Gwynedd his English was very poor – psychiatry is a speciality based on communication but north Wales seemed to be full of overseas junior psychiatrists with language problems (I now know of course that north Wales psychiatry had such a dreadful reputation that good graduates wouldn’t work there. It was so obviously a dumping ground for doctors who had blotted their copy book in some way or whose skills were so poor that they couldn’t gain employment elsewhere.) In the end I walked out of the ‘assessment’ after telling this incompetent that he was an idiot – I remember giving up on him when he asked me if I knew where I was and what the year was. I presumed that I would be asked the name of the monarch if I stayed any longer or if I thought that I was Napolean.

I walked out into the corridor and was met by the two friendly nurses, who seemed to fully understand why I had given up on the junior doctor. At this point I asked them if they knew what on earth was going on and they replied that they had been given very little information about me other than that I was ‘dangerous’. (I realise in retrospect that these were two of the braver nurses in Denbigh – they were clearly very worried about what was going on and throughout my stay there one of them constantly encouraged me to make a formal complaint and write to the Mental Health Act Commission.) After talking to them further I eventually went to bed, intending to discharge myself the next day. It was the next day that even stranger things started happening. I was supposedly a voluntary patient but was in a locked ward. Furthermore, when I announced my intentions to discharge myself, no-one would actually let me out. I remember being told at one point – but I can’t remember when exactly – that I had the choice of staying in Denbigh or being charged with assaulting a doctor at Ysbyty Gwynedd. (I had had a confrontation with a doctor in Ysbyty Gwynedd but I hadn’t assaulted him.) I realised then that, as at Bangor Police Station, there were people in this system who seemed to be prepared to do pretty much anything to patients who had complained. By this time Dafydd Alun Jones’s name had been bandied around a good deal and I was told that I was ‘his patient’, but I still hadn’t seen him since the police picked me up at his behest. I was then visited by a Dr Neil Davies who after interviewing me told me that he didn’t see any reason why I should be detained there. So I got ready to leave.

As I was preparing to leave, a message from the ‘hospital authorities’ was relayed to the ward that I had to be taken to Bangor Police Station because the junior doctor in Ysbyty Gwynedd whom I had confronted had made a complaint that I had assaulted him. I remember having a conversation with the charge nurse on the ward who told me that as there had not been a complaint of assault against me before, this suggested that someone had ‘leant on’ the junior doctor concerned. So I was taken to Bangor Police Station by hospital transport where I was charged with assaulting the junior doctor. One of the police officers there advised me to consult the solicitor on duty – and when I did I discovered that I’d met him before, in the CAB in Bangor. He was the first person that I had consulted when I encountered problems with the mental health services at Ysbyty Gwynedd. He explained that a special court had already been convened to section me and return me to Denbigh until the assault charge against me was heard. So I went straight into the Court next door to encounter Dafydd Alun Jones and the magistrates. My solicitor kept repeating that ‘the magistrates know what he (Jones) was like’ and that he (the solicitor) would ring me when I got back to Denbigh. Jones was waving a Bible about in the witness box and declaring his intentions to ‘help’ me, ie. ‘giving oral evidence’. I was then returned to Bryn Golau ward.

Now that is pretty much how I remember the process by which I ended up sectioned in Denbigh with Dafydd Alun Jones as ‘my consultant’, despite me wanting nothing to do with him. Among the thousands of documents released to me by my lawyers a few days ago, there is documentation that I haven’t seen before relating to these events.

Among the documents newly released, there was an ‘internal memorandum’ from Barry Shingles. Shingles was a rather unpopular ‘unit manager’ at Ysbyty Gwynedd who was involved in the administration and the management of the two psychiatric wards that existed there before the Hergest Unit was built. (I was told much more recently that Shingles expected to end up as CEO of the North West Wales NHS Trust, but that he was stabbed in the back by some others managers at the North West Wales NHS Trust (I wonder who they might have been??), became seriously depressed and killed himself.)  The memorandum from Barry Shingles was relaying a telephone message from the Superintendent at Bangor Police Station. The message was that Dafydd Alun Jones ‘did not feel that [my] condition warranted compulsory admission, but that she does pose a threat to the safety of certain individuals and should not be allowed to go free, although this does seem somewhat contradictory’ and so a plan had been put in place to arrest me and then remand me in Denbigh under ‘a Section 35’. Shingles’s memorandum was copied to seven different people, including people at senior managerial and consultant level. So a lot of people were well aware of Jones’s plan of questionable legality to ensure that I was returned to the locked ward again in Denbigh after discharging myself. Among the documents are also some very revealing nursing notes from Denbigh. Someone had written as soon as I had arrived there that I ‘was obviously a very dangerous girl’ (no need to carry out any sort of assessment then). However, some very interesting notes can be read some time after this comment was made. There is a detailed description of the ‘plan’ that had been hatched between Jones and ‘Superintendent Roberts’ at Bangor Police Station to charge me with assault and remand me in Denbigh. The notes record that ‘this has all been arranged between medical staff and Superintendent Roberts. Mr Woods [presumably a reference to Laurie Woods, the manager at Denbigh] and Dr N. Davies were both contacted and informed of up to date events. Staff on the ward…were not at all happy to be part of this deal. Both appreciated this and offered the consolation that we were not involved in the arrangements but felt that it would be better if we could provide transport as already arranged’. Interestingly enough, after I was charged with assault and returned to Denbigh, the nursing notes record that I had ‘a cynical and pessimistic attitude’. I wonder whatever could have brought that on? (Later nursing notes record angrily that the nurses had been put in a ‘very difficult position’.)

I remained in Denbigh until the day of the court case in Bangor scheduled to hear the charge of assault. When I arrived at the Court I was told that the charges against me had been dropped. But I wasn’t released – I was taken back to Denbigh because Jones had sectioned me again the day before the court case.

All this was documented, sent to a whole variety of people at senior level and then played out in open court. And not one person put a stop to it, even though a lot of people obviously did not like what was happening. But the Denbigh notes contain lots of other gems, which I will return to in future blog posts. However, I will just mention one of those gems here. My blog post ‘The Case of the Disappearing Clinical Psychologist’ describes a psychologist who visited me who D. Hinchcliffe, the administrator at Denbigh, claimed to know nothing about when I wrote to him after I finally got out. There is no ‘official’ record of this psychologist visiting me in Denbigh among the records. But among the newly released documents there is a little note from a Kay Helmsley to an unidentified person stating that I was trying to trace a psychologist and she doesn’t know why but she thinks that it might be to do with challenging my diagnosis or following up my complaint. Kay’s note makes reference to her believing that the psychologist in question might be a Nigel Stennet-Cox and that it would be a good idea for someone to ‘persuade’ him not to communicate with me. Their ‘persuading’ obviously worked – I could not trace him until a few years ago, when as described in my post ‘The Case of the Disappearing Psychologist’, I made friends with two people who had been on placements in Denbigh in the 1980s and they told me who he was. I then googled him and found that he was working as a psychologist in Norwich, although I didn’t contact him.

However, sometime after this, Martin Jones’s and Elfed Roberts’s harassment of me – assisted by people from the mental health services in north Wales – became very serious and I started making representation to the Welsh Gov’t about them. Then Edwina Hart announced that she was going to abolish the North West Wales NHS Trust and a lot of people became very obviously very anxious, as I had started to express an interest in publishing what had happened to me at the hands of the mental health services. And Nigel Stennet-Cox suddenly disappeared from the internet. Completely. He has now reappeared. But between then and now, I was of course banged up in the Heddfan Unit by Raj Sambhi and everyone was told how mad I was (please see blog posts ‘A Tale Worthy of Enid Blyton’ and ‘Five Dig Further Into The Heddfan Unit’), including the person who knew that I had been visited by Nigel Stennet-Cox in Denbigh. But then she was busying herself applying for funding from the Betsi with Prof Rob Poole to establish ‘The Centre for Mental Health and Society’ at Bangor University (please see blog post ‘It’s Those Experts From The Betsi Again’). What’s the betting that she warned her old colleague Stennet-Cox that there was an awful lot of trouble up here, that I was making noises regarding publishing my account of what happened at Denbigh and that I remembered him and might contact him? Presumably, once she had told Nigel that I had gone completely mad and was safely incarcerated by Sambhi, Nigel felt able to reappear again. I know its pure speculation, but considering what else the newly released documents have revealed, I wouldn’t put anything past anyone who worked at Denbigh to conceal what was going on there – but that’s the stuff of future blog posts…

Meanwhile – Nigel, you’ve been outed. Fancy going public about what you knew was happening at Denbigh? Sadly the one nurse at Denbigh mentioned above who was helpful and kept persuading me to complain about Jones to the Mental Health Act Commission died some years ago. I taught her daughter, although her daughter doesn’t know that I knew her mum – the family had a distinctive surname and I recognised it. One day when she was remembering her mum just after she had died, she told me that a long time ago before she was born her mum had worked at a hospital in Denbigh that was so terrible that she had left.

Ooh nearly forgot. Just to remind readers who the manager of the north Wales psychiatric services was when all this was happening – Dr Peter Higson, the current Chairman of the Betsi Board…