The Cradle of Filth

One of the first people whom I approached over the wrongdoing of the north Wales mental health services was Lord Wyn Roberts. He wasn’t Lord back then, he was just Wyn Roberts. When I approached Wyn, the mental health services had behaved pretty dreadfully, but I didn’t realise that the wrongdoing would simply escalate after I made representation about it. Of course I didn’t get anywhere at all with dear old Wyn and comments subsequently made to me by various mental health professionals in north Wales made it clear that they were very certain of his support and that I’d acquired quite a reputation for myself because I had dared approach him. I was soon wondering whether he was a personal friend of Dr Dafydd Alun Jones and whether Wyn Roberts was one of Dafydd’s ‘powerful friends’ to whom I was constantly hearing references.

Wyn Roberts was Conservative MP for Conwy, 1970-97. He was the Tories ‘man in Wales’ for decades and the one of the Great Mysteries of North Wales was the failure of Thatcher to ever appoint him Secretary of State for Wales. Despite his shameless toadying and successful concealing of the shit-pit that was Dafydd and the paedophiles’ friends, she never did. Roberts was appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Welsh Office in 1979 and Minister of State at the Welsh Office in 1987, where he remained until 1994. He picked up a knighthood in 1990 and a peerage in 1997. Roberts was at the Welsh Office throughout the paedophile years and throughout the investigations into the abuse of children in north Wales and the subsequent cover-ups. He was there when Mary Wynch was unlawfully arrested, incarcerated and fleeced of her property by Dafydd and the paedophiles’ friends, he was there throughout the years that Alison Taylor desperately blew the whistle repeatedly, he was there when I was repeatedly arrested, illegally incarcerated, harassed, threated, assaulted etc. Roberts was in office when witnesses were found dead and he was there in 1992 when five witnesses to the North Wales Child Abuse Scandal were killed in an arson attack (see post ‘The Silence of the Welsh Lambs’). Wyn Roberts was there throughout the whole fucking lot.

Why Roberts knew that there was very serious misconduct in Gwynedd Health Authority. My post ‘A Visit To Gwynedd Archives’ mentions how Roberts’s contributions to questions in the House regarding Gwynedd Health Authority are recorded in Hansard in 1989. There was chaos in Gwynedd Health Authority – the Health Authority was bankrupt, the level of ‘service’ was completely unacceptable, the Welsh Office had sent in a hit squad to try to rescue the Authority and David Hunt, then a junior Minister in the Welsh Office, had personally written to Noreen Edwards, the Chairman of Gwynedd Health Authority. What no-one did at any time was investigate patients’ complaints let alone dismiss or prosecute any of the people who had abused patients and broken the law, although there was documentary evidence of criminal activities.

Wyn Roberts was born in 1930 and was from Llansadwrn on Anglesey. His mother was a teacher and his father was a Methodist Minister. The family were described as being ‘vaguely Liberal’. Wyn Roberts stated that his earliest memory was of being breast fed by his mother. Which for a man of his generation and background was a rather odd thing to say in public. Roberts went to school in Beaumaris and won a scholarship to Harrow in 1944. The official biography of Wyn maintains that although he could write English ‘excellently’, his spoken English until he went to Harrow was not good. I don’t believe this – because Wyn Roberts later constructed himself as a defender of the Welsh language in the face of hostile colleagues in the Anglocentric Tory Party, such a claim would have served him very well in north Wales. Welsh was the language of most people in north west Wales at the time, but Wyn Roberts’s family were members of the educated middle-classes. They may well have spoken Welsh at home, but Roberts will have been able to speak English and speak it well – Roberts’s parents would not have expected him to work in a quarry or on a farm, they would have wanted a professional career for him and they would have known that he would have needed his English. Indeed when Roberts was at school, teaching in schools in north Wales was still through the medium of English – it was this which caused so much resentment and led to the Welsh language campaigns of the 1960s, 70s and 80s.

Whilst carrying out his national service, Roberts served in the Intelligence Corps and was involved in the Cold War tapping of the Russian HQ in Vienna, ‘Operation Silver’. He later claimed that the operation involved counter-espionage and he was approached possibly by Kim Philby to switch sides. Researchers into organised sexual abuse in the UK have constantly pointed to links with the security services which were used to protect abusers. The security services also seemed to have recruited huge numbers of clever gay men from Oxbridge, at a time when being gay was very difficult, made one vulnerable to blackmail and was also conflated with paedophilia – which enabled paedophiles to then shelter under the umbrella of the gay rights movement in the 1960s. It wasn’t going to end happily was it.

Roberts was a graduate of University College Oxford himself. His early career was in the media. He worked as a sub-editor on the Liverpool Daily Post 1952-54 and then as a TV news assistant with the BBC. In 1957 Roberts joined TWW (Television Wales and West) as a producer of news, special events and Welsh language programmes. In 1968 the regional franchise was transferred to Harlech TV (which later became HTV), founded by Lord David Harlech (see post ’95 Glorious Years!’ for details of Lord Harlech and the many unfortunate things that happened to him and his family). Roberts attributed the switch in franchise simply to successful political lobbying, although he retained his job and worked for Harlech TV. Wyn’s claim to fame as a young man was that his work brought him into contact with the likes of Shirley Bassey and Richard Burton.

I can find no explanation of why Roberts, from a ‘vaguely Liberal’ family (as Welsh speaking middle-class nonconformists in north Wales at that time, it would have been highly likely that the family would be Liberal), who had only shown ‘mild political interests’ as a student stood as a Tory Parliamentary candidate, but in 1970 he did. The Tories were delighted to have a well-known Welsh speaker to stand as a candidate in Wales. The ‘Welsh issue’ was a problem – the natives over there were rebelling, there were language protests and there had even been bombs planted by ‘Welsh extremists’ – and support for Plaid was gathering momentum after the election of Gwynfor Evans the first Plaid MP in Carmarthen in 1966. Conwy was a marginal seat – Roberts won it for the Tories and helped Heath into Gov’t.

Between 1970-74, Roberts was PPS to Peter Thomas, Secretary of State for Wales. The paedophile gang was in full swing at this time, John Allen’s empire of children’s homes – the Bryn Alyn Community – in which children were being horrifically abused and trafficked into prostitution was growing and Gwynne and Dafydd out at the North Wales Hospital Denbigh were abusing patients like there was no tomorrow. Bryn Estyn was still categorised as an approved school and was run directly by the Home Office – it functioned as a brothel.

 

Peter Thomas became Lord Gwydir in 1987. He was from Llanwrst and his father was a solicitor who was a Liberal. Like Wyn Roberts, Thomas was that rare thing, a Tory who spoke Welsh. Thomas went to Jesus College, Oxford – a college known for it’s Welsh links – and joined the Conservative Association at Oxford. After WWII Thomas became a barrister, working on the corrupt Chester and Wales Circuit. Thomas was along there with the best of those who have featured on this blog. He was Deputy Chair of the Cheshire Quarter Sessions from 1966, the Deputy Chair of the Denbighshire Quarter Sessions from 1968 and served in both of these offices until 1970. Thomas was a Crown Court Recorder between 1974-88. He also became an arbitrator of the Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce, Paris. (Thomas was a keen European.) Thomas continued his career in law whilst he was active in politics.

Thomas was elected as MP for Conwy in 1951. He was PPS to Sir Harry Hylton-Foster, the Solicitor General 1954-59. Thomas was a member of the Council of Europe 1957-59 and Parliamentary Secretary in the Minister of Labour, 1959-61. It was Thomas who sponsored the private members bill which became the Eisteddfod Act in 1959, allowing the National Eisteddfod to receive funding from public monies. This will have been perceived as an obscure minority interest by Thomas’s colleagues in England, but it will have earned him a great many Brownie points among many influential Welsh speakers in Wales. Wyn himself was made a member of the Gorsedd of the Bards in 1966 – a number of paedophiles’ friends are also members.

Thomas was appointed Under-Secretary of State at the Foreign Office in 1961 – he went to Moscow with Lord Home in 1963 to sign the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. (Thomas was appointed Minister of State for Foreign Affairs in 1963.) Whilst he was at the Foreign Office Thomas lied to MPs concerning a spy who was arrested in Hungary, denying any connection with the British Intelligence Services. The Tories lost the General Election in 1964 and in 1966 Thomas lost Conwy to the Labour candidate, namely Ednyfed Hudson Davies. Thomas returned to Parliament at the General Election in 1970 as the MP for Hendon South, a seat that he held until he retired from the Commons in 1987.

Like Wyn Roberts, Peter Thomas flagged up his Welshness when Wales was seething with fury towards England after the drowning of the village of Capel Celyn in 1965 to provide a reservoir to supply Liverpool with water and the Aberfan disaster. Thomas was the first Welshman to become Chair of the Tory Party (1970-72). It was Thomas who established the Welsh Water Authority – which was later privatised. He was Secretary of State for Wales throughout the whole of Heath’s premiership during which there was violent activism in Wales and the campaign by Cymdeithas involving the removal of English language road signs. Interestingly enough, in his capacity as a QC, Peter Thomas had defended John Jenkins, a ‘Welsh extremist’, who was charged with causing 18 explosions.

Thomas was President of the Conservative Friends of Israel.

As well as failing to deal with and remaining silent about the abuse of children and mental health patients in north Wales, Thomas was obviously involved in other skulduggery. He was ‘helpful’ in the 1972 and 74 miners’ strikes and served on the Select Committee which investigated John Poulson, later admitting that he should have cross-examined Reginald Maudling regarding his disclaimer of remuneration from Poulson. (Maudling was Home Secretary who became embroiled in scandal as a result of his business links with Poulson and subsequently resigned.) Once in the Lords, Thomas backed Nicholas Edwardes’s Bill which gave the green light to the development of Cardiff Bay, a development which cost the taxpayer many millions of pounds and made Nicholas Edwardes aka Lord Crickhowell and some of his friends and business associates very rich (see post ‘Corruption Bay Special’).

In 1947 Thomas married Tessa Dean, the daughter of Lady Mercy Greville. Mercy’s mother, the Countess of Warwick, had been a campaigning socialist as well as the long-term mistress of Edward, Prince of Wales, who later became King Edward VII.

Thomas was the first Conservative politician to occupy the position of Secretary of State for Wales. His predecessor had been the notorious George Thomas aka Lord Tonypandy who later became Speaker. Thomas was someone else who ignored the abuse of vulnerable people, even in the wake of the Ely Hospital Scandal. Wales is currently trying to forget that George Thomas ever existed what with that police investigation  into allegations that he abused young boys himself. The Secretary of State for Wales who succeeded Peter Thomas was John Morris aka Lord Aberavon, another Welsh lawyer who continued the fine old tradition of leading the Welsh Office whilst it concealed the north Wales paedophile ring and the criminal misconduct of Dafydd and Gwynne.

Regular readers will know that when it has been necessary to conceal the wrongdoing of the paedophiles and their friends, alliances and friendships across political divides were made. Bear this in mind as you read the details that follow regarding one of Peter Thomas’s good friends, Cledwyn Hughes, later Lord Cledwyn.

Cledwyn Hughes’s father David left school at twelve to work in the Dinorwic slate quarry, as his forebears did. However in his early 20s, David Hughes – known as Harri – became a Calvinist Methodist preacher in Holyhead. (Cledwyn Hughes later preached in the chapels on Anglesey, even when he was a Cabinet Minister.) Harri was a Liberal, a fervent supporter of Lloyd George and his daughter Lady Megan Lloyd George, who in 1929 became the MP for Anglesey. Cledwyn went to Holyhead Grammar School and then read law at University College Aberystwyth, where he was Chair of the Liberal Society. In 1937 Cledwyn graduated and began work as an articled clerk to a solicitor in Holyhead. He had a change of heart politically as a result of him gaining knowledge about the social conditions of many and in 1938 he joined the Labour Party. In 1940 he qualified as a solicitor. In 1945 whilst he was still in the Air Force Cledwyn stood as the Labour candidate for Anglesey against Lady Megan, although this caused his father much unhappiness. He was demobbed in 1946 and became acting clerk to Holyhead District Council. Between 1946-53, Cledwyn was a member of Anglesey County Council. This is ancient history now, but Cledwyn remained on very good terms with Anglesey County Council throughout his years in Parliament. He remained in the Commons until 1979 and then joined the Lords where he remained until his death in 2001.

So Cledwyn was mates with Anglesey County Council until 2001. Anglesey was the site of some of the most serious abuse of children in care, both in children’s homes and in foster care. One of the children’s homes involved was in Holyhead. Anglesey County Council has been riddled with serious corruption for years, it is a standing joke in north Wales. There have been police investigations into Councillors and at least one Councillor went to prison. One Councillor who faced criminal charges violently attacked a journalist and cameraman when they tried to interview him, smashing the camera. I’m not aware that he was prosecuted. Other Councillors on Anglesey became millionaires after giving each other planning permission for developments. It is so bad on Anglesey that people would comment that the Councillors go to prison and sit on the Council again when they were released. It was alleged that the Director of Social Services on Anglesey some years ago had been caught by the police having sex in his car in a public place, but yet again there was never any talk of charges. Anglesey County Council is truly famous and has of course featured in Private Eye’s Rotten Boroughs column a number of times. Some years ago I enquired of a local man with an excellent knowledge of the shenanigans on Anglesey ‘which ones are the corrupt Councillors?’ and I was told ‘they all are, there aren’t any honest ones’. And to add to the fun they all absolutely hated each other.

In 1950 Cledwyn challenged Megan at the polls again but lost – then in 1951 he stood against her again and won, becoming MP for Anglesey.

During his years in the Commons, Cledwyn worked to bring employment to Anglesey – he played a key role in securing the development of the nuclear power station at Wylfa and also in attracting Rio Tinto to establish the Anglesey Aluminium plant. Cledwyn supported the Parliament for Wales Campaign and was involved in a petition to support this, but the campaign failed – Cledwyn was strongly opposed by some of his own Labour colleagues, especially those from constituencies in south Wales. Cledwyn was successful in his efforts to secure the establishment of a post of Secretary of State for Wales.

In 1964, Cledwyn was appointed Minister of State for Commonwealth Relations in Wilson’s Labour Gov’t and between 1966-68 he was appointed Secretary of State for Wales himself. Under him – as Minister of State  – until 1967 was the dreadful George Thomas.

Cledwyn was Secretary of State for Wales at the time of the disaster at Aberfan in 1966. He always maintained that Aberfan was the worst event of his life. Wilson gave Cledwyn military-style powers regarding Aberfan and it was Cledwyn who set up the public inquiry into the disaster. It was revealed that Lord Robens, Chairman of the National Coal Board, misled Cledwyn regarding the frequency of the tip inspections. Later on George Thomas in his capacity as Secretary of State for Wales was responsible for the dirty deed which resulted in a sizeable proportion of the money raised by the Aberfan Disaster Memorial Fund being forcibly used to fund the clearing of the remaining tips.

Cledwyn is described as having been responsible for the development of the Welsh Office and the creation of its civil service structure. The structure containing all those corrupt civil servants who concealed criminal activities in the social services and the health service. Cledwyn is also credited with securing the arrival of the Royal Mint at Llantrisant in 1967, which was perceived to have enhanced the status of the Welsh Office.

In 1968 Harold Wilson moved Cledwyn from the Welsh Office to MAFF – Cledwyn was known to be disappointed to have to leave the paedophiles’ friends at the Welsh Office behind. Cledwyn had been involved with the preparations for the 1969 Investiture of Prince Charles which had resulted in him writing a monthly letter to Charles (who was then at Cambridge) regarding matters in Wales. George Thomas, a man who was investigated for child abuse himself – as was his good friend Leo Abse – was appointed Secretary of State in Cledwyn’s place.

Cledwyn was a supporter and admirer of the way in which powers over agriculture in Wales were transferred to the paedophiles’ friends at the Welsh Office. Cledwyn favoured extending the Welsh Office’s powers over health as well. Clearly Dafydd et al were not receiving enough support from the Welsh Office’s corrupt lawyer Andrew Park and the corrupt Medical Ombudsman Professor Robert Owen, both of whom concealed their criminal misconduct in 1988.

In 1969 Cledwyn established the Waterhouse Committee on rabies – led by dear old Sir Ronnie Waterhouse, who talents were utilised again in 1996 when William Hague appointed him to lead the cover-up into the North Wales Child Abuse Scandal.

It is documented that at the 1970 General Election there were ‘scenes’ as Cledwyn was heavily criticised by Plaid, but I don’t know what the scenes and criticism were all about. It certainly won’t have been a demo about institutionalised corruption in the Welsh Office.

In 1974 Cledwyn became Chair of the Parliamentary Labour Party and in 1976 Harold Wilson’s sudden resignation left Cledwyn needing to organise the election of Wilson’s successor.

Cledwyn was close to both Roy Jenkins and James Callaghan. Cledwyn had known Callaghan since 1949 when they had met at the home of Glenys Kinnock’s parents in Holyhead no less. After Callaghan was elected as PM he recommended Cledwyn for the award of Companion of Honour! Pity about all those kids who were abused and then banged up in the North Wales Hospital Denbigh wasn’t it Glenys…

In March 1977 Cledwyn was involved in the negotiations which led to the formation of the Lib Lab pact. The following year Cledwyn supported three Plaid MPs to support Callaghan’s Gov’t when it needed propping up, in return for a commitment to legislate for compensation to be awarded for former quarry workers with silicosis.

The compensation for silicosis business dragged on for a very long time – most of the quarrymen were dead or nearly dead by the time that the Gov’t stumped up. When I was living in a quarrying village near Bethesda in the 1990s, Dafydd Wigley was regularly appearing in the media as a result of his campaign to get the Gov’t to cough up for the quarrymen as promised. So why didn’t Dafydd Wigley have a quiet word in a few Westminster ears and tell them to pay the dying quarrymen or he’d go public on the paedophile gang? Because most of Wigley’s colleagues in Plaid had ignored or concealed the paedophile gang as well. Dafydd Wigley’s own powerbase and constituency office was in Caernarfon, cheek by jowl with the HQ of the Plaid-dominated Gwynedd County Council and the offices of the Social Services. Wigley could have gone next door and performed a citizen’s arrest on Lucille Hughes (the Director of Social Services and Dafydd Alun Jones’s mistress) and her partners in crime if he’d really wanted…

In 1977 Cledwyn led a Parliamentary delegation to the Soviet Union and in 1978 he was despatched to Rhodesia as a special envoy for talks with Ian Smith concerning the handing over of power to the black majority. Cledwyn didn’t get very far. Neither did he manage to persuade Joshua Nkomo to give up the armed struggle.

Cledwyn was enormously disappointed in 1979 after Wales voted against devolution. One person who campaigned against devolution was a Neil Kinnock, son-in-law of the folk in whose house Cledwyn met his mate Jim Callaghan. Cledwyn stood down as MP for Anglesey a few weeks later. Keith Best, the Tory who subsequently concealed the wrongdoing in north Wales along with his boss Wyn Roberts, succeeded Cledwyn.

Not to worry, in 1979 Cledwyn was given a peerage.

In 1981 Cledwyn became Deputy Labour leader in the Lords and then in 1982, Leader. He remained Labour leader in the Lords until 1992. Neil Kinnock was leader of the Labour Party between 1983-92 and for most of that time Cledwyn retained ‘a strong working relationship’ with Kinnock. As everybody kept quiet about Dafydd and the paedophiles.

Cledwyn obtained funding from the Tory Gov’t to merge University College Cardiff with UWIST to form Cardiff University and in 1981 he played a leading part in persuading Willie Whitelaw to change policy concerning the establishment of S4C, the Welsh language TV channel, thus influencing Gwynfor Evans to abandon his hunger strike.

Now however did Cledwyn persuade a Tory Gov’t led by Thatcher who’s aide Sir Peter Morrison was abusing boys in care in north Wales to do all that???

Cledwyn was President of University College Aberystwyth (which later became Aberystwyth University) between 1976-85 – the building that houses their School of Business is named after him. In 1985 he became Pro-Chancellor of the University of Wales and then President of the UCNW (which later became Bangor University) in 1995.

Cledwyn died in 2001 in Ysbyty Glan Clwyd, a hospital which had been ruined as a result of mismanagement and corruption by the paedophiles’ friends. One of his obituaries stated that he was ‘an efficient administrator…with a considerable talent for story telling’.

 

To return to Wyn Roberts now. In 1974 the Tories lost the General Election, Peter Thomas lost his position as Secretary of State for Wales and Roberts became an opposition spokesperson for Wales, along with Nicholas Edwardes, until 1979 when the Thatcher was elected as PM. Wyn Roberts was then appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Welsh Office and Nicholas Edwardes, later Lord Crickhowell, was appointed Secretary of State for Wales. In 1987 Roberts was appointed Minister of State at the Welsh Office under the new Secretary of State for Wales, Peter Walker. Walker remained in that post until 1990 when he stepped down of his own accord – the year that Wyn Roberts picked up his knighthood.

 

Peter Walker was the Tory MP for Worcester, 1961-92. He retired from the Commons and picked up his peerage in 1992 ie. the year after I was bullied out of my job at St George’s Hospital Medical School after an attempt to frame me for serious offences by the mental health services in north Wales; the year after my close friend who knew what had happened to me in north Wales and who wanted to make a film about it was unfairly dismissed from the Royal Television Society and had her career in the media ruined; the year that her partner was being hounded out of his job at the BBC. It was in April 1992 that five witnesses to the North Wales Paedophile Ring were killed in an arson attack.

Walker had shown an interest in a political career at a very young age. In 1946 when he was 14 he spoke at a Conservative Conference and was invited to meet Leo Amery, who had plotted the overthrow of Lloyd George’s Coalition in 1922. Amery told Walker to become financially independent before entering the Commons, because it would stop him having to be compromised ‘if resignation were necessary’. Obviously an occupational hazard that one must plan for.

Walker followed Amery’s advice and went into the insurance business, soon forming a partnership with the future MP for Taunton Edward Du Cann, who when I was a kid in Somerset was widely alleged to have been a crook. When Du Cann was older he resigned from a company just before it collapsed owing millions and was later investigated for matters relating to his taxes. Walker also invested in property companies and formed a City partnership with Jim Slater, Slater Walker Securities.

Walker worked on JFK’s Primary election campaign team and was PPS to Selwyn Lloyd when Lloyd was Lord Privy Seal. Walker and Lloyd remained close friends – Lloyd was godfather to one of Walker’s sons.

In 1965 Walker organised Heath’s leadership campaign and under Heath was appointed Minister for Housing and Local Gov’t. In 1970 Walker was proud to be the world’s first Environment Minister. He was Secretary of State for Energy, 1983-87, playing an ‘important role’ in opposing the miners’ strike. During the miners’ strike, Walker maintained private links with Norman Willis, the General Secretary of the TUC, which sounds like the basis for something underhand.

As Secretary of State for Wales, Walker ‘easily won’ crucial financial battles with John Major, the then Chief Secretary to the Treasury. Walker also ‘pioneered a Valley’s initiative, attracted major investment from Bosch and Toyota and gave the go-ahead for the second Severn Bridge’. The building of Corruption Bay went ahead on Walker’s watch.

Walker was Chair of the Carlton Club and a founder of the Tory Reform Group. He has held Directorships with: Rothschilds; Tate and Lyle; Dalgety and British Gas. Walker was the Chairman of Thornton and Co.

Walker’s son Robin followed in his footsteps as MP for Worcester.

Walker was a great champion of the hospice movement and was the Patron of St Richards Hospice in Worcester which was founded in 1984. I have always been a little mystified as to why, in north Wales, the hospices are log jammed with the paedophiles’ friends – I have previously blogged about those associated with St David’s Hospice in Llandudno and St Kentigerns at St Asaph. I presumed that it was a function of so many of the paedophiles’ friends being involved with health and social care, but I’m wondering if there was a bigger problem after reading an extract from Hansard, March 2000. The extract is the transcript of a speech that Walker made to the Lords in which he pleads for NHS funding for hospices and includes the responses of other members of the Lords.

In the Lords debate, a number of Top Doctors are warmly mentioned, including Professor David Clark and Professor Karol Sikora. David Clark was mentioned in a comment by a correspondent to this blog some weeks ago. Karol Sikora is a cancer specialist who for some years now has robustly promoted the privatisation of the NHS and is a leading light in a pressure group with other Top Doctors lobbying for this. Yet in 2000 the Lords involved in a debate about hospice funding were using figures supplied by Sikora as a basis for arguing for NHS funding for hospices. Sikora worked at Hammersmith Hospital in the late 1980s when I was a postgraduate there, although he seemed to have a big bust up with his former colleagues from Hammersmith a few years ago. For details of the research fraud and misconduct that was happening at Hammersmith, see post ‘A Cause Close To Our Hearts’. The impression that I have always gained of Sikora is that he is primarily concerned with becoming very rich. He is a wealthy man already but I think that he wants more – his rationale for privatising the NHS is frequently wrapped up in arguments that Top Doctors can then be paid what they are truly worth. In one article in a broadsheet he argued that people should be paid on the basis of how essential their contribution is to society and therefore doctors should be paid more than anyone else. NHS consultants earn approx. £100k basic – people like Sikora who undertake private work earn much, much more. Food is even more essential for life than hi-tech oncology – so I await Sikora to begin lobbying for dinner ladies who feed the nations’ children and subsistence farmers in developing countries to be paid more than he is.

Another Top Doctor who gets a mention in Hansard during Walker’s debate is Vicky Clement-Jones. Vicky Clement-Jones was a Top Doctor from Barts who in the mid-80s developed ovarian cancer herself and died, whilst still only in her 30s. Before she died, Vicky and some others whom she knew founded a charity called Cancer BACUP. It gained an enormous amount of publicity and also undertook a massive amount of fundraising. BACUP made a lot of noise about being the vehicle to beat cancer, particularly ovarian cancer, which had a frighteningly high mortality rate. Vicky Clement-Jones donated her own tissue to cancer research and I remember attending a lecture which featured her cell lines. The death of Vicky Clement-Jones was undoubtedly very sad but I am intrigued by the way in which Cancer BACUP received such a high profile and the discourse that accompanied it. Vicky Clement-Jones herself was an outstanding researcher as well as a Top Doctor – she had done very very well whilst she was at Cambridge and by the time that she set that charity up she was at Barts with years of research and clinical work under her belt. She will have known as well as I do that what holds cancer research – or indeed any branch of health and social care research – back is not the lack of donations to charity or people like Vicky donating cell lines, it is research fraud, bad science and the vested interest of pharmaceutical companies, the medical establishment and the blinkered views of policy makers. The literature produced by BACUP is very similar to the literature produced by present day cancer charities – it is all about ‘fighting cancer’, ‘inspirational people’, ‘fund raising so scientists can find out more’ etc etc. Vicky would have been too intelligent to believe that this was going to lead anywhere. Yet it was full speed ahead for BACUP.

Vicky died and health outcomes for many cancers in the UK today are not that much better than they were when Vicky established BACUP. Ovarian cancer still has a very high mortality rate and is usually not diagnosed until the prognosis is poor. In spite of all the fighting, the surviving, the screening etc etc. I would dearly love to know the full story behind BACUP and why Vicky allowed herself to be used in a way that she must have known would not lead to improvements in outcomes for cancer patients. I note from past BACUP documents that BACUP was given a lot of free PR when Professor Anthony Clare interviewed Vicky Clement-Jones on ‘In The Psychiatrist’s Chair’ and through their links with Rob Buckman. Rob Buckman was a high profile media Top Doctor who was a cousin of Barbara Amiel, wife of Conrad Black who owned the Telegraph. Amiel and Black both ended up going to prison for white-collar crime involving large sums of money. Rob Buckman left the UK for America and died a few years ago ‘in his sleep for an unknown reason’. Which sounds rather unlikely, particularly as he wasn’t even that old.

However I learnt something from Hansard, namely that a leading light in BACUP was one Lord Tim Clement-Jones, Vicky’s widower. It was Tim who was repeating Karol Sikora’s demands for money from the NHS for hospices. Tim also mentioned Professor Mike Richards, the then National Cancer Care Director and refers to a joint statement from the BMA and the RCN.

Tim Clement-Jones is a solicitor and was the head of legal services at LWT, 1980-93. He became a Trustee and Director of Cancer BACUP in 1986; was Co-Secretary of Woolworths Ltd which later became Kingfisher plc between 1986-95; was Chair of the Liberal Party 1986-88; was Chair of Crime Concern, 1991-95; was Treasurer of the Lib Dems, 2005-10; is the honorary President of Ambitious About Autism – and was Chair of the Trustees for 7 years; the London Managing Partner of DLA Piper UK LLP and Chair of their China and Middle East desks; a member of UCL’s Council; a Trustee of the Barbican Centre; an Ambassador of the Law Society; an Ambassador of Barts Charity.

In 1998 Tim was made a life peer.

LWT, the Liberal Party and the Law Society are well aware of the wrongdoing of the Top Doctors and the problem of organised child sexual abuse, including the paedophile ring that operated in north Wales when Peter Walker and his colleagues at the Welsh Office concealed such matters. As for Kingfisher plc – in the early 1990s, Kingfisher plc held the contract for cleaning a number of shops in Bangor and some of the depts in Bangor University. The cleaners were grossly exploited and were supervised by regional supervisors who were also grossly exploited and were pressurised from above to exploit the cleaners. No-one worked for Kingfisher plc for more than two months, not even the supervisors. The pay was as low as Kingfisher could possibly get away with – which in Gwynedd in the early 1990s was very low indeed – and the supervisors were required to travel across Gwynedd to various locations to carry out spot checks and generally harass the cleaners. The supervisors didn’t get a fuel allowance so they could have well been taking home even less than the cleaners. I bet Tim wasn’t getting up at 4am to polish supermarket floors were you Tim – you were too busy caring about cancer survivors and providing a bit of PR for the Top Doctors…

Someone who contributed to the debate in the Lords led by Peter Walker was another person who was an enthusiastic supporter of the hospice movement, Baroness Jean McFarlane. Jean McFarlane was a crossbencher who would have known all about the practices of the Top Doctors and the paedophiles’ friends – she was a nurse from Cardiff. Jean did her initial training at Barts and then returned to Cardiff and worked as a health visitor. She was Vice-President of the League of Nurses at Barts – so what with her and Tim it looks rather as though this debate in the Lords was a bit of lobbying from Barts in particular, as well as the wider medical establishment. In the 1960s Jean had been part of the RCN research programme ‘Study of Nursing Care’. In 1974 she was appointed to the first Chair of Nursing in an English university, namely at Manchester – she remained in this position until 1989. McFarlane served on the Royal Commission on the NHS 1976-79, under Sir Alec Merrison, a nuclear physicist. She wrote ‘A Guide to the Practice of Nursing Using the Nursing Process’. I suspect that Jean McFarlane was at the forefront of those Angels who left the ward as soon as they could to wield power in higher places and spout rubbish about things like the ‘nursing process’ (the succeeding generation replaced that concept with ‘nursing science’ because that sounds even better if you’re trying to pass yourself off as a professor), rather than admit that things were going terribly, terribly wrong at the coalface, thus beginning the process of deep denial in the NHS which led us to Mid-Staffs or indeed to north Wales.

Jean was a committed Christian and was a member of the general synod of the Church of England, 1990-94. She had a particular interest in the hospice movement and until 2008 was Vice-President of St Anne’s Hospice, Heald Green, Cheshire.

Another supporter of the hospice movement who contributed to Walker’s debate was Lord Billy Blease. Billy Blease was a trade unionist from N Ireland who was given a peerage in 1978. He was a member of the IBA (Independent Broadcasting Authority) 1974-79 and the Labour spokesperson on N Ireland in the Lords 1979-82. In 1997 Tony Blair appointed him to the British-Irish Parliamentary Body.

Another contributer was Lord Eric Varley, who was the NUM sponsored Labour MP for Chesterfield, 1964-84. Varley was PPS to PM Harold Wilson 1968-69 and was appointed Secretary of State for Energy in 1974.  In 1976 in his capacity as Secretary of State for Industry, Varley wanted to shut the car company Chrysler down, but the Cabinet forced an increase in the subsidy to keep it open. Varley appointed Michael Edwardes as Chairman of British Leyland. There followed an entrenched battle between Michael Edwardes and the trade union leader Red Robbo aka Derek Robinson, who died very recently. The Mail online helpfully reminded it’s readers just how terrible Red Robbo was, how he was a communist and even stood as such as a Parliamentary candidate on a number of occasions, but they forgot to mention that there was a great deal of dissatisfaction with Michael Edwardes at the time. Edwardes was being paid an absolute fortune, made thousands and thousands of workers redundant, yet allegations of mismanagement and incompetence swirled around him and not just from Red Robbo and the people who were made redundant.

Varley led Denis Healey’s campaign for the Labour Party leadership in 1980. In 1983 he was appointed Chair of Coalite plc. He resigned his seat at Chesterfield – he was succeeded by Tony Benn – and was made a life peer in 1990.

Eric Varley’s name was in the media again very recently. He was known to have been very friendly with the Labour MP Gerald Kaufman and it was revealed that Kaufman left absolutely everything in his will to Eric Varley – an expensive property in St John’s Wood, all his dosh, absolutely everything. Varley though died seven years ago – Kaufman had made the will when Varley was still alive and hadn’t updated it. As with a lot of politicians who remain in the Commons into old age, the media have for the last few years been rather kinder to Kaufman than they used to be. We have been reminded that it was Kaufman who called the Labour manifesto of 1983 ‘the longest suicide note in history’ and Kaufman has been portrayed as a voice of reason during the years of the loony left and Michael Foot. Which is interesting because I remember Kaufman insulting people, upsetting them, really pissing everyone off and being considered an oily git who couldn’t be trusted. Harriet Harman likes to believe that she was attacked in her capacity as a feminist by wags who referred to her as Harriet Harperson, but Private Eye took the piss out of one Gerald Kaufperson long before anyone bothered to have a go at Harriet. So Kaufperson himself was at the heart of the 1970s and 80s Labour Party when the London boroughs were rife with paedophiles abusing the kids in their care.

 

Another Lord contributing was Lord Barney Heyhoe. Barney Heyhoe was where the action was whilst Dafydd and the paedophiles were breaking the law and abusing patients and children in care in north Wales – he was a Minister in the DHSS 1985-86, acting as Secretary of State Norman Fowler’s deputy and was responsible for the public education programme about AIDS. Barney Heyhoe praised the Sue Ryder Foundation during the Lords debate – that Foundation stands accused of mistreating people who have been in its care.

Heyhoe began working for the Conservative Research Department as Heath became leader of the Tory Party in the mid-60s – the Conservative Research Department where Matthew Parris once worked and in which Parris alleged was a senior male member of staff who would go out and about in London on buses looking for much younger men to pick up. Parris also alleged that the department was organising staff holidays to a location in Europe called the ‘Villa of Shame’, at which ‘boys’ were supplied. Heyhoe was a Tory MP between 1970-92. He was Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State responsible for the Army 1979-81 and Minister of State for the civil service 1981-85.

He was a friend of Nicholas Scott whom Ann Widdecombe alleged had one hell of an alcohol problem, the consequences of which were concealed by his friends and colleagues.

Heyhoe was made a life peer in 1992 – like a few others who were involved in concealing the North Wales Child Abuse Scandal. Between 1993-95 Heyhoe Chaired the Guys and St Thomas’s NHS Trust. It was at that time that Guys and St Thomas’s accepted as a medical student a young man from Gwynedd who had experienced severe mental health problems – but more worryingly had carried out seriously violent attacks on his dog, a neighbour’s cat and his own girlfriend, who later left him and refused him access to their baby on the grounds of the baby’s safety. After being accepted as a student at Guys and Tommys but before taking up his place this man worked as a porter in Ysbyty Gwynedd. He was caught on a number of occasions having sex with ancillary staff on the premises during work hours. Not only was there no action taken against him, but after he qualified – although he had a serious breakdown whilst he was at Guys and Tommys – the North West Wales NHS Trust employed him as a psychiatrist. A number of people complained about him, including me. I raised my concerns with the GMC. Keith Thomson, the Chief Exec of the NW Wales NHS Trust wrote to the GMC telling them that I had made ‘outrageous allegations’ about Trust staff. The GMC took no action. Some two years later I told that the psychiatrist in question had finally been stopped practicing after assaulting his wife so seriously that she was sectioned as a result of her own distress. His two children had been taken into care by Gwynedd Social Services on the grounds of severe neglect. When I made representations about this man to the GMC I made representations about his clinical director as well. The GMC took no action. Earlier this year my lawyers forwarded me a copy of a document that had been found in the possession of the GMC purporting to be a letter from me in relation to this complaint – the letter was a forgery (see post ‘The General Medical Council And Yet Another Forged Document’).

If Barney is still alive would he like to tell us what was going on at Guys and Tommys when he Chaired that Trust?

Hansard records that Earl Howe mentioned that the NHS is based on ‘human dignity’. I was so gobsmacked when I read that, that I thought I’d better find out who Earl Howe is.

Earl Howe also goes under the name of Frederick Curzon. He is a Conservative peer – one of the hereditary ones who clung on after Blair’s rather half-hearted attempt at Lords reform in 1999 – and is at present Minister of State for Defence as well as Deputy Leader in the Lords. After Earl Howe graduated in 1973 he joined Barclays Bank and worked in senior positions both in London and overseas. He then ran the family farm – Seagraves Farm Co – and estate in Buckinghamshire. In 1991 Earl Howe was appointed as a Whip. In 1992 he was appointed Parliamentary Secretary at MAFF and between 1995-97 he was Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the MoD.

Earl Howe was opposition spokesman in the Lords for health and social services, 1997-2010. His special interests include penal affairs and he is a member of All Party Groups on penal affairs, abuse investigations, adoption and mental health. So perhaps Earl Howe can explain why he was debating with Peter Walker in 2000 who had run the Welsh Office whilst it concealed the abuse of children in care and of mental health patients from which a number of miscarriages of justice resulted – yet never asked Walker why he concealed organised crime and whether his receipt of a peerage was related to that. I note that Earl Howe was opposition spokesman on health and social services 1997-2010. That spans the period of the cover-up that was the Waterhouse Inquiry which was orchestrated by Earl Howe’s colleague in the Lords William Hague as well as the following years in which witnesses to the wrongdoing such as me who had managed to survive were ruthlessly harassed, threatened and repeatedly arrested by the people whom Hague had ensured were never held to account let alone brought to justice. Could you have a word with William about it all please Earl Howe? Because by the time that you had finished being opposition spokesman having not spoken very much at all about some very serious matters, William was swanning off around the world as Foreign Secretary, meeting the likes of Hilary Clinton. As one of your interests is ‘abuse investigations’ and Lord Hague is now spearheading the clean up of Westminster perhaps you’d like to launch an investigation into Lord Hague. As well as his wife – who worked as a civil servant in the Welsh Office whilst it concealed organised crime, including the sexual abuse of minors and mental health patients.

Another contributor to Walker’s debate was the then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Lord Hunt of King’s Heath. That is Philip Hunt, a Labour Co-Operative peer. Hunt probably knows more about the wrongdoing in the NHS than anyone else in the Lords – he has spent his whole career at the heart of the wrongdoing, for the last few decades at the most senior level.

Philip Hunt graduated from Leeds University in 1970 and began working for the NHS in 1972 when he landed a job as a works study officer for the Oxford Region Hospital Board. In 1974 he began working as a hospital administrator for the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre. Hunt was the first Secretary of the Edgware and Hendon Community Health Council in 1975 – the CHCs were an early incarnation of ‘service user involvement’, bodies that were dominated by NHS professionals and managers who ensured that the lid was kept on failure, scandal and neglect whilst claiming to be the ‘voice of the patients’. Hunt remained at the CHC until 1978 – it must have done him a great deal of good because it was immediately after this that Hunt hit the big time. In 1978 he was appointed the Assistant Director of the National Association of Health Authorities (NAHA), the body that represented those running the dysfunctional corrupt organisations that were leading the NHS into such trouble – including Gwynedd and Clwyd Health Authorities. Between 1984-90 Philip Hunt was Director of the NAHA. So he was representing the idiots running Gwynedd Health Authority whilst they were involved in criminal activities relating to their part in facilitating a paedophile gang, were bankrupting the organisation, were receiving letters from David Hunt the Secretary of State for Wales, whilst a hit squad had been sent in from the Welsh Office in a vain attempt to deal with the fuckwittery , whilst the fuckwittery was being discussed in the House. Clwyd Health Authority were conducting themselves in exactly the same way as was whichever Health Authority was responsible for running St George’s Hospital Medical School. Philip Hunt then became Director of the National Association of Health Authorities and Trusts (NAHAT), the succeeding body to the NAHA, in 1990. In 1993 Hunt received an OBE for ‘services to the NHS’.

A new vehicle to represent the crooks and conmen running the NHS was conjured up in 1996 – the NHS Confederation. Philip Hunt was its first Chief Executive. He’ll have known the MP Jess Phillips’s mum then (see post ‘Everywoman?’). In 1997 Hunt received a peerage and was appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the Department of Health. Being a man of principle he resigned in March 2003 over the invasion of Iraq. He didn’t resign from the House of course, although he was one of Tony’s cronies, a New Labour peer, so he was able to return to Gov’t in May 2005 when he was appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the DWP. In Jan 2007 he became Minister of State at the Department of Health with responsibility for NHS reform. In July of the same year he became Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the Ministry of Justice and in 2008 Hunt was appointed Minister of State at DEFRA AND at DECC (Dept for Energy and Climate Change). Oh, he was Deputy Leader of the Lords as well.

Following Ed Miliband’s appointment as leader of the Labour Party, Hunt became Labour’s spokesperson on Home Affairs. In Sept 2011 Hunt contributed to the publication ‘What Next For Labour? Ideas For A New Generation’.

Hunt has occupied many other positions as well. He was: a member of Oxford City Council 1973-79; a member of Oxfordshire Health Authority 1975-77; a member of Birmingham City Council 1980-82; Co-Chair of the Association for Public Health 1994-98; President of the Family Planning Association 1997-98; Joint Chair of the All Party Primary Care and Public Health Group 1997-98; Vice-Chair of the All Party Group on AIDS; Chair of the National Patient Safety Agency 2004-05; President of the Health Care Supplies Association 2010-present; President of the Royal Society of Public Health 2010-present.

In July 1999 Tony Blair made Hunt Health Minister in the Lords.

Between April 2011-2014 Hunt was Chair of the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust. That was the Trust which employed the breast surgeon Ian Paterson who was recently imprisoned for performing unnecessary operations on dozens of people for financial gain.

Philip Hunt will know the details behind scores of NHS scandals and tragedies, he will know that organised child sexual abuse was endemic in the children’s services, he will know that the psychiatric system was being used to conceal this and he will have been at the very centre of this in Birmingham. The reason that Hunt ended up in Gov’t was that he kept quiet about it all.

I mentioned that Blair made Hunt Lords’ Health Minister in July 1999. Before Blair carried out his reshuffle, Baroness Hayman was Lords’ Health Minister.

Helene Valerie Hayman has a CV nearly as shameful as Philip Hunt. Hayman studied law at Newnham College, Cambridge. After graduating in 1969 she worked for Shelter. Between 1971-74 Hayman was involved with the Social Services in the Borough of Camden. So she’ll have been screwing up there alongside Tessa Jowell (see post ‘Tower Hamlets, Paul Boateng and Tessa Jowell’). In 1974 Hayman was appointed the Deputy Director of the National Council for One Parent Families. The NCCL – which was at the time associated with PIE and ‘paedophiles’ rights’ – was associated with that organisation. Sue Slipman was involved with both the NCCL and the National Council for One Parent Families – Slipman later also occupied senior positions in the NHS, including the Chair of one Trust, although I note that information about that has disappeared from the internet, presumably because someone is feeling unusually embarrassed about the appointment.

Between 1974-79 Hayman was elected as the MP for Welwyn and Hatfield. Hayman was a member of Bloomsbury Health Authority (later Bloomsbury and Islington Health Authority) 1985-92 and was Vice-Chair from 1988 onwards. She was a member of the ethics committee of the Royal College of Gynaecologists 1982-97; of the ethics committee of UCL and UCH 1987-97; a member of the Council of UCL 1992-97 and the Chair of Whittington Hospital NHS Trust.

After such sterling service to bodies and institutions which had variously colluded with organised child sexual abuse and the abuse and neglect of mental health patients, ignored the horrors of the St David’s laundry in Gwynedd (see post ‘Every Sperm Is Sacred, Especially In Scotland’) and colluded with some highly questionable research and very poor practice, Hayman picked up her reward in 1996 – a peerage.

Hayman’s party continued. She became a junior Minister in the Dept of the Environment, Transport and Regions and in the Department of Health. In 1999 she was appointed Minister of State at the MAFF. She was Chair of Cancer Research UK 2001-05. For details of misconduct and research fraud among people involved with that charity (which was previously known as the Cancer Research Campaign) see post ‘A Cause Close To Our Hearts’. Hayman was a Trustee of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew 2002-06; a Trustee of the Tropical Health and Education Trust 2005-06. She was a member of the Lords Select Committee on Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill Bill, 2004-05. In 2005 Hayman became Chair of the Human Tissue Authority and she was a member of the HFEA 2005-06.

Hayman ended up as Lord Speaker, something which she had probably been aspiring to for years.

 

The Secretary of State for Wales who followed Peter Walker was David Hunt, now Lord Hunt. It was on David Hunt’s watch that the attempts to silence people who had crossed paths with Dafydd and the paedophiles escalated – Hunt was in post between 1990-93 and it was then that I and my friends who knew what had happened to me in north Wales found ourselves hounded out of jobs, our careers ruined, threatened, repeatedly arrested, violently attacked in the street by assailants etc as detailed in previous posts. Hunt was Secretary of State when allegations that children in care in north Wales had been abused by a paedophile ring connected to Westminster and that a cover-up involving people at the highest echelons of society was underway began appearing in the UK media. Hunt was Secretary of State when the five witnesses to the abuse in north Wales were killed in an arson attack (see post ‘The Silence of the Welsh Lambs’).

Interestingly enough, Wyn Roberts’s obituaries make no reference to Hunt or to Wyn’s relationship with him. It is as if Hunt had never been his boss. What all Wyn’s obituaries did bang on about though was Wyn’s huge triumph in persuading Thatcher’s Gov’t to establish a Welsh language TV channel and – the real biggie – to draw up a Welsh Language Act. The Welsh Language Act 1993 resulted. Thatcher and her Gov’t were utterly unsympathetic to the idea of Welsh language rights and certainly did not want this Act. But Wyn with his magik persuaded old Thatch that it was a good idea and lo and behold a Welsh Language Act emerged. Now how do readers think that Wyn persuaded a woman who employed as one of her closet aides a man who was molesting children in care in north Wales to pass a Welsh Language Act???

Thus Wyn Roberts has been written into Welsh history as a ‘friend of Wales’, ‘the greatest living Welshman’, ‘a rare and valuable asset for the Conservative Party’ and ‘the protector of the language’, on the back of a truly shameful trade off between him and his masters in a Gov’t who were orchestrating a massive cover-up of the serious abuse of children in care and mental health patients. A cover-up which resulted in the framing and wrongful imprisonment of innocent people – and the deaths of many more.

All for the sake of a fucking Welsh Language Act – which wasn’t even very good, didn’t actually protect the rights of Welsh speakers as it should and was simply followed by calls for a better Act. This was sold to Wales as a triumph. The Welsh language continued to die – as did the people who knew about the scandal that enabled Roberts to get that Act through. This wasn’t the end of the problems – because there were so many people who knew what had been concealed. They all had to be bought off – or if they couldn’t be bought off with a peerage or a job that they didn’t deserve and couldn’t do – they had to be silenced by threats, intimidation or even death. As for the worm Wyn – he was rewarded with a peerage in 1997 and hung around like a particularly dreadful stench literally until the day that the old bastard died in 2013. Wyn’s obituaries proudly remembered that such was Wyn’s ‘influence’ that David Cameron was still consulting Wyn on devolution when Cameron became leader of the Tory Party.

In the immediate aftermath of his death, the tributes to Wyn Roberts on the BBC News were led by Cameron, who remembered Roberts as ‘a devoted public servant and a tireless ambassador for Wales’, ‘one of the kindest and most compassionate colleagues I had the pleasure to work with’ and made reference to his ‘gentle nature’. Cameron – people were raped, beaten, buggered, stitched up in Court, sent to Risley Remand Centre where they were then found dead, killed in car accidents, killed in arson attacks and your devoted public servant with a gentle nature knew all about it.

David Jones, a creep of a solicitor from Llandudno who was Cameron’s Secretary of State for Wales at the time of Roberts’s death, joined in the tributes. Roberts was ‘an extraordinary man’ who did ‘more for Welsh cultural life than any man of his generation’, was ‘very kind, extremely wise with a tremendous sense of humour’, ‘a kind friend and a wise counsellor’. David Jones knew all about the abuses and the miscarriages of justice, he worked in the Courts in north Wales where it was all going on (see post ‘The Rt Hon David Jones MP’). Perhaps he just had a good laugh at it all, along with Wyn who had such a tremendous sense of humour.

Andrew R.T. Davies, the leader of the Tories in Wales talked of this ‘very sad day’ and Roberts’s ‘impact’ upon Wales – yes, the legacy of the paedophile ring which he protected has virtually destroyed the nation.

Lord Crickhowell, Wyn’s boss who made millions out of Corruption Bay, chipped in calling Roberts ‘my advisor and my guru’ who made a ‘great contribution to the health service in Wales’ and was ‘an indispensable number two to me’. Crickhowell is a millionaire – the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board in north Wales is Chaired by Dr Peter Higson, one of the paedophiles’ friends and is currently in special measures after undercover filming on Tawel Fan ward revealed abuse of mental health patients, who had untreated fractures and were crawling around on the floor – which was covered with faeces and urine – whilst they were naked.

Lord Barry Jones, former Labour MP for Alyn and Deeside, (see comments following my post ‘Wheels Within Wheels Or Flies Drawn To The Same Incestuously Corrupt Shithouse?’ for the lowdown on Lord Baz and his wife) commented that Wyn Roberts ‘built more roads than the Romans’. Yes Wyn was always happy to get involved with the roads. In the early 1990s I was loosely involved with a campaign to stop a huge road being built through the oak woodland behind Bethesda – Wyn spent many happy hours corresponding with the campaign group, met with them all, they thought that he was great ‘especially for a Tory’. The group contained a high proportion of hippyish environmentalists who couldn’t believe that they were being so well-received by an agent of Thatch. Well they weren’t complaining about organised crime within the social services and NHS. The Bethesda by-pass was shelved and an alternative strategy was pursued and then Wyn became a Green Hero as well. I never met Roberts although the other campaigners did – but if I had he’d never have known who I was. Because he had barely condescended to reply to me let alone meet me a few years earlier when I raised the matter of the wrongdoing of the paedophiles’ friends with him…

Elfyn Llwyd, a barrister who was for many years the Plaid MP for Meirionydd – a good friend of the paedophiles’ friends himself and oh so passionate about the Welsh language – remarked that Roberts’s death had resulted in a ‘big loss to us as a nation’.

Huw Jones, the then Chair of the S4C authority described Wyn as ‘a guardian angel’ with ‘mischief in his eye’. Was it Wyn who threw the petrol bomb into the party which resulted in the deaths of the five witnesses Huw??? What a scamp!

Huw might know quite a bit about people who have mischief in their eyes. In 2012 Huw was appointed Chair of the rather troubled S4C by Jeremy Hunt, who was then Culture Secretary under the Con Dem Coalition. Prior to that Huw was Chief Exec of S4C 1995-05, so he will have had a lot to do with the chaos and troubles at S4C. The UK.Gov website told us that Huw’s appointment as Chair of S4C was ‘made on merit, following a fair, open, transparent process’. Huw is described as a ‘prominent figure in Welsh language music and media since the late 60s’ and in the early 80s was ‘instrumental as an entrepreneur and TV producer in the establishment of a vibrant media industry in north west Wales’. Huw was MD of the record company Sain until 1981 and in 1981 co-founded Teledu-r and Tir Glas in Caernarfon.

I’ll translate Huw’s achievements for readers in England who won’t be aware of the context. This all means that Huw is a former colleague of Dafydd Iwan, a folk-singer and language activist who was a leading light in Sain. Folk-singing and language activism are not at all problematic but Dafydd Iwan for many years was a Councillor and then the leader of Gwynedd County Council – the Gwynedd County Council who’s Social Services Dept allowed a paedophile gang to operate in it’s children’s homes. Gwynedd County Council also employed a corrupt lawyer, Ron Evans, who along with his boss the County Secretary and Solicitor H. Ellis Hughes, actively colluded with the paedophiles’ colleagues in Gwynedd Social Services to frame people who had dared complain (see post ‘Some Big Legal Names Enter The Arena’). Dafydd Iwan is a big admirer of Dr Dafydd Alun Jones and wrote a song ‘in tribute’ to him.

Dafydd Iwan’s brother Alun Ffred is the former Plaid AM for Arfon.

Huw Jones might also know another musician who’s career began in the music scene in north west Wales and who became a very big name – Gruff Rhys of the Super Furry Animals. Gruff Rhys’s dad was Ioan Bowen Rees, another self-appointed guardian of the Welsh language and culture. Bowen Rees was for years the Chief Executive of Gwynedd County Council – whilst the paedophile ring raged within and the Social Services, Ron Evans and H. Ellis Hughes stitched up complainants (see post ‘I Know Nuzzing…’).

As Huw was involved with S4C at the dawn of time, perhaps he can explain why in 1984-85 I was being told by teenagers who lived in the Menai Bridge area who aspired to a career in the media that if your mum or dad worked for S4C you’d get a job, but it was a lot more difficult if you ‘didn’t know anyone at S4C’.

For a number of years now S4C has been on its arse, with plummeting viewing figures and at least one very senior executive disappeared from the company overnight with no explanation.

Huw is or was: Chair of Portmeirion Ltd; Deputy Chair of the Wales Employment and Skills Board; a member of the Welsh Language Board; a member of the RSPB Council; Vice-Chair of Nant Gwrtheyrn Language Learning Centre; a fellow of the Royal Television Society.

Huw lives near Caernarfon. Along with a great many other well-paid people who identify as protecting the language and culture and who knew all about that paedophile ring.

After Wyn died, Meri Huws the Welsh Language Commissioner said that she’d ‘always remember the significant contribution’ that Roberts made to the Welsh language. Meri Huws worked as a social worker in Caernarfon. For more details of Meri’s rise to the top – including an account of how she was alleged to have acquired the moniker of ‘the crack of doom’ in the National Assembly of Wales – see post ‘Let Me Enlighten Lord Gnome…’.

Derek Bellis, a ‘veteran journalist and friend’ of Wyn’s told BBC Wales that Roberts was ‘very kind gentle and humourous with ‘no ego at all’ (Wyn was some sort of Zen master then). Best of all: ‘no toff was Wyn – he was a man of the people’. So that’s what he was doing sitting in the Lords after a lifetime concealing a vicious paedophile ring who’s prime targets were the children of the dispossessed.

Lest anyone on the planet believe that the Welsh Language Act was actually worth the destruction of the lives of numerous people, I’ll just let you know where I learnt my first few words of Welsh and a bit of history about the quarrymen of north Wales. It was from another patient, when I had been illegally incarcerated in the North Wales Hospital Denbigh by Dafydd, along with a few other folk who had been targeted by the paedophiles friends. Most of the victims of the paedophiles’ friends spoke WELSH! But they didn’t have parents who were Councillors or Top Doctors or managers of Social Services or Chief Executives of S4C or senior figures in Plaid.

I have never encountered such a heap of hypocritical horse-shit as that which has emanated from these utter fools who ignored something terrible, who kept a monstrous Tory Gov’t in power – a Gov’t which inflicted massive damage upon Wales, some of whose members used the children’s homes in north Wales as brothels. YOU FUCKING IDIOTS – JUST LOOK WHAT YOU DID.

Dylan Jones-Evans, a Tory and an ‘entrepreneur’ who has been serially dismissed from a number of universities, told the Daily Post that Wyn was ‘a wonderful man and politician whose legacy will continue for years to come’. You’re dead right there Dylan, thanks to Wyn, Wales’s Councils are rotten boroughs, the Assembly is full of politicians who ignored what Wyn was ignoring as well and the NHS and social services are log jammed with corrupt fuckwits who have no idea how to do their jobs properly even if they wanted to. The nation is virtually bankrupt but Lord Crickhowell and other chums of Wyn’s made a fortune out of Corruption Bay. And Thatcher went on and on and on – which was after all, why those witnesses just had to be silenced.

After Roberts had pegged out, Carwyn announced that he was ‘saddened’.

What was I doing when I heard that the viper with mischief in his eye had snuffed it? I was sitting in the Heddfan Unit in Wrexham Maelor Hospital having been sectioned because a neurological problem had been ignored/misdiagnosed and I was also maintaining that the mental health services were corrupt and had concealed a paedophile ring. Documents that are now in my possession compiled by the appalling Dr Raj Sambhi show that Raj Sambhi stated in the wake of my allegations that I was ‘psychotic’ and ‘very seriously ill’. Whilst I was in that Unit the Tawel Fan scandal exploded and the Betsi Board was placed in special measures – because of the institutional abuse of mental health patients. And Operation Pallial – the police investigation into the abuse of children in north Wales – was re-opened and John Allen, the former owner of the Bryn Alyn Community, was arrested, charged and convicted of the sexual abuse of children in care in north Wales. I sat in that Unit for many more months being told by Sambhi that I was mad.

Well Carwyn I did eventually get out after my life had been destroyed all over again by the paedophiles’ friends – I am not in the least bit ‘saddened’ that Wyn Roberts is dead, I’m up for a belated celebration. If you care to join me, we’ll open a bottle of champagne, pop over to his grave and dance on it. S4C can film us and Dafydd Iwan can give us a rendering of ‘Yma O Hyd’ while we dance. We’ll leave it to the Defenders Of The Language and Nation to explain to the world why we are doing it.

 

The wrongdoing of Dafydd and the paedophiles didn’t stop after the Welsh Language Act. Of course it didn’t, they were connected to organised crime.

John Redwood was appointed Secretary of State for Wales in 1993. He was a disaster on many levels. By the time that Redwood was in post, the police investigations into the abuse of children in north Wales had begun – investigations led by the North Wales Police, who had colluded with the abuse and who employed a senior police officer, Gordon Anglesea, who was one of the abusers himself. Then came the Jillings investigation and subsequent Report – the Report that was so damning that it was heavily redacted and pulped anyway, on the grounds that what had happened was so bad that the Council’s insurers would withdraw cover if anyone got to read the report. To date, no-one – except for the Council’s insurers and lawyers, including Michael Beloff QC, the lawyer who advised the insurance company – has ever read an unredacted copy of the Jillings Report. The day in 1996 after the Jillings Report was handed over to the Council, Clwyd County Council who had run the children’s homes that were the subject of the Jillings Report no longer existed anyway, so the organisation per se couldn’t be sued – it disappeared in a local Gov’t reorganisation. For the full story of Jillings and the aftermath, see post ‘It’s A Piece Of Cake…’

Something odd went on at a Gov’t level  during the Jillings investigation, but before the damning Report was completed. Redwood was removed as Secretary of State in June 1995 and was replaced by David Hunt – who stayed in the post for a matter of days, between 26 June and 5 July. What was happening at this time? The North Wales Hospital Denbigh was closing – after huge resistance from Dafydd and the paedophiles’ friends. After all what was going to happen to the people out there who’d been hidden away for donkeys years, illegally imprisoned? No-one ever knew. Would you like to tell us what you found when you finally went into that place Lord Hunt? Did you find the underground chamber where it was alleged that the staff kept patients who were a bit of a nuisance – the cellar where they threatened to put me?

As Denbigh closed, Dafydd was given the contract to provide ‘substance abuse services’ for north Wales (see post ‘The Evolution of a Drugs Baron?’).

On 13 July 1995 Sir Peter Morrison, the former Tory MP for Chester and aide of Thatcher’s who was abusing children from children’s homes in north Wales, was found dead at his home in London. He was a good deal too young to have died of old age – it was concluded that he had ‘fallen’. Yes, I think he had, but not quite in the way that those who claimed that was the cause of his death had meant.

After David Hunt made his brief reappearance as Secretary of State, a new Secretary of State was appointed – a William Hague! Hague took up his post eight days before Morrison was found dead and remained until 1997 when Blair was elected PM.

It was of course Hague who orchestrated the huge cover-up of the North Wales Child Abuse Scandal, the Waterhouse Inquiry. New readers can read the full details in the posts that I have written about that Inquiry. Lord Hague appeared on the BBC a couple of days ago stating that Westminster now had to become accountable. So perhaps he can now tell us why he appointed Sir Ronald Waterhouse to lead that Inquiry – a man who came from and grew up in the region where the paedophile ring operated for decades, a man who was a colleague and personal friend of so many of the people who occupied senior positions in the organisations which colluded with and concealed the abuse. Hague’s wife Ffion worked as a civil servant in the Welsh Office when it was concealing the abuse. Ffion has since worked for S4C! The Hagues now live in a mansion on the outskirts of Welshpool – if they lived in north Wales Ffion would probably be sitting on the Betsi Board and Gwynedd County Council just to keep everyone quiet.

North Wales has never recovered from the North Wales Child Abuse Scandal. It has never gone away, although nearly everyone who was a kid in care or a patient in the North Wales Hospital has by now been found dead. Numerous people knew the extent of the wrongdoing and a lot of them know who did what and where the bodies are buried. A lot of those people are sitting in the Senedd, in the Commons or like Hague, are in the Lords. The scandal has plagued every Secretary of State for Wales ever since.

I suspect that one of those Secretaries didn’t have much first hand knowledge –  Cheryl Gillan was an MP for Buckinghamshire. The others all know something, probably a great deal.

Ron Davies, who ended up in hot water himself after he was caught cruising on Clapham Common in Oct 1998 – an incident which was repackaged for the media with the help of Alastair Campbell – and then caught again ‘looking for badgers’ in 2003 at another well-known cruising spot, will know a great deal, enough to make a police statement.

Ron Davies was elected as a Councillor in Caerphilly in 1969. In 1974 he was elected to Rhymney Valley District Council. Ron was educated at Cardiff University, worked as a teacher for two years and then took over Neil Kinnock’s post as a WEA tutor-organiser in 1970 when Kinnock became an MP. Between 1974-83 Ron worked as an FE advisor for Mid-Glamorgan Education Authority. In 1983 he was elected the Labour MP for Caerphilly.

Ron was the Labour Party’s spokesman for Wales, 1992-97 – as the investigations and inquiries into the paedophile ring were launched. In 1997 Blair appointed him Secretary of State for Wales.

Ron became a member of the Gorsedd of the Bards in 1998.

Ron Davies was considered to be the ‘architect of devolution’ in Wales and he led the negotiations in preparation for the National Assembly. The negotiations which involved those corrupt civil servants from the Welsh Office who had concealed the paedophile ring, as well as the many ‘advisors’, including Ioan Bowen Rees, the former Chief Executive of Gwynedd County Council. Ron absolutely assumed that he would become First Minister of Wales, but it all fell apart for him just before he was about to become First Minister when he was caught on Clapham Common.

Although nobody ever got to the bottom of what went on at Clapham Common, Ron made a number of statements in the aftermath, variously claiming to have been abused as a child, to be bisexual and then to be receiving psychiatric help as a result of his compulsion to seek out risky situations. There wasn’t much rallying around Ron – a lot of people quietly crawled out of the woodwork and commented that he was a very unpleasant man, had done terrible things to a lot of people for many years and had a very big problem with women.

Hey Ron, have you ever wondered why your cruising on Clapham Common ended in a disaster after old Blair confirmed that you’d be made First Minister, but just before it actually happened?? I bet you’d gone out cruising with no problems hundreds of times – but then you got mugged just before the big day.

Ron has taken a rather erratic politic journey since then. He stood down from Parliament in 2001, left the Labour Party in 2004 and joined Forward Wales. He stood as an Independent between 2009-10 and then joined Plaid. His attempts at getting re-elected have not been successful. Since 2008 Ron has been a Councillor on Caerphilly County Borough Council. Which is currently embroiled in an enormous scandal, which dates back some years.

Ron’s ex-wife Christina was elected as the MP for Neath in 2015. Christina was one of those who was part of the mass resignation in an attempt to bring Jeremy Corbyn down, but when it didn’t work she had a change of heart and she’s now part of Jezza’s front bench team again. Christina  has previously been a member of the Welsh Executive Committee of the Labour Party. Christina’s wiki entry is gobsmackingly brief for a barrister who was married to someone so notorious for so many years and who will know a great deal about the shenanigans. Christina’s wiki tells us a lot about her time as head girl at school and her sporting interests. I am sure there are many more interesting things that Christina has been involved with.

Alun Michael who succeeded Ron Davies as Secretary of State for Wales and who was then imposed on Wales as First Minister by Blair -after Blair failed in his attempt to impose Ron on everyone – came from Anglesey and went to school in Colwyn Bay. After graduating from Keele University in 1966, Alun Michael worked as a reporter on the South Wales Echo until 1971, then was employed as a youth and community worker until 1987. In 1972 he was appointed as a Magistrate, Chairing the Juvenile Bench in Cardiff. Michael was a City of Cardiff Councillor between 1973-89 – so he’ll have been down there with a few others who kept schtum about the organised abuse of children and those who carefully cultivated the ground in readiness for the bonanza for the few that was the development of Corruption Bay. In 1987 Michael was elected for the seat that Jim Callaghan had just vacated, Cardiff South and Penarth. Alun Michael is now South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner. Of course he knows nuzzing.

I received an e mail some time ago alleging that Paul Murphy – who was Secretary of State for Wales 1999-02 when the Waterhouse Report was submitted to his office, but who had very little to say about it other than how glad to was to have been reassured that no public figures had been involved in the abuse of children – had been involved in some dreadful things.

 

After Wyn Roberts stood down as MP for Conwy, Betty Williams succeeded him. The Betty Williams who had me thrown out of Tesco whilst she was campaigning in there because I tried to speak to her about the abuse of mental health patients at the Hergest Unit. Williams also ignored a letter from at least one other patient complaining of abuse at the hands of the staff of the Hergest Unit. The Hergest Unit had one of the highest suicide rates in England and Wales. Betty Williams was previously the Mayor of Arfon and a Gwynedd County Councillor. She grew up and lives near Caernarfon. Of course she knew what went on.

There is another person who will have known what went on – the Labour MP for Conwy 1966-70, who held the seat before Wyn Roberts, Ednyfed Hudson Davies. Hudson Davies was educated at University College Swansea and  Balliol College, Oxford. After losing Conwy in 1970, he re-surfaced in 1979 when he was elected for Caerphilly. In 1981 Hudson Davies defected to the SDP – to join Dr Death and the gang, many of whom knew about the abuse of children by Westminster figures. He lost his seat in 1983 – to one Ron Davies…

Ednyfed is now Chair of a museum trust in the New Forest.

 

I don’t know why Thatcher never made Wyn Roberts Secretary of State for Wales, he played a key role in keeping her in her job and probably helped keep a few people dear to her out of prison as well. I suspect that neither Thatcher nor those around her actually had a shred of respect for the worm who did their bidding. After all Wales and the people within didn’t matter – they were there to make the likes of Nicholas Edwardes very rich and supply children for the paedophiles of Westminster…

 

 

 

 

News Round Up, June 8 2017

I’ve written a lot recently on this blog regarding the con that is CAIS, the Third sector organisation providing ‘substance misuse’ services. Previous posts have detailed the dodgy commissioning processes by which CAIS have received millions in funding from the Welsh Gov’t to provide services, including ‘service user involvement’ (see post ‘The Story Behind £1.5 Million’), the huge contracts that they have been handed by the DWP despite their very limited success regarding ‘outcomes’, the scam that they seem to have operated to persuade George Osborne to cough up a lot of money (please see post ‘George Osborne Enters The Picture’) and the very questionable histories of many of the CAIS Trustees. I’ve also documented the burgeoning drug problem in parts of north Wales which suggests that CAIS are failing spectacularly in providing ‘services’. CAIS have now moved into the homelessness business, eg. providing ‘supported accommodation’. Again, a quick walk around Wrexham would suggest that CAIS are having bugger all effect in this domain. So I was certainly interested to read in the Daily Post online that a very angry lawyer in Wrexham has demanded that Wrexham Council should ‘get a grip’ on the drugs and homelessness problem – that’s the Wrexham Council that seems to have been tying itself in knots to ensure that the contracts for the ‘services’ to address drugs and homelessness are given to CAIS. The lawyer concerned, Mark Davies, has a client, Craig Nikolic, who has just been imprisoned. Mr Nikolic was imprisoned after he was found ‘asleep in Lord Street with his sleeping bag next to him’. Lord Street is the street in Wrexham where the homeless have been hanging out because it’s near the bus station, so they can go in there out of the rain (although it doesn’t provide much in terms of shelter, it’s usually freezing cold in there and the rain does get in), go to the loo, have a wash etc. Because they don’t have a home in which to do that. Mr Nikolic is a heroin addict and after being released from prison on an early release scheme he was ordered not to enter Wrexham town centre. But as his lawyer pointed out, he was homeless, so if he didn’t enter the town centre he had nowhere to wash etc. So he risked it and has been caught and returned to prison. The account of Mr Nikolic’s recent encounters with the Courts and law is fascinating because it makes it clear that this man is repeatedly ending up in prison because he doesn’t have anywhere to live. He is being punished far more harshly for his destitution than he has been for possession of illegal drugs. But then simply being very poor does now lead to people being criminalised. As if to rub in the dismal performance of CAIS where ‘tackling drugs’ is concerned, there have also been media reports of a recent major drugs bust in Llandudno with a number of dealers being arrested and the North Wales Police issuing a statement saying that they expected to make more arrests very soon – this has come hot on the heels of accounts of turf wars between drug dealers in the region, some of which have resulted in murders.

In my post ‘George Osborne Enters The Picture’ I mentioned that a recent initiative of CAIS has been the establishment of a place in Cardiff called the ‘Living Room’. I was puzzled to discover that the Living Room was providing ‘after care’ and ‘sociopsychological support’ to Cardiff GPs and questioned why highly paid Top Doctors were receiving the services of a charity when their own patients usually cannot access such support. I have now been given further information about the Living Room. I have been told that the distressed GPs receiving ‘services’ are actually Top Doctors with addiction problems and are encountering difficulties because, for example, they have lost their driving licences. Now alcohol problems are very common in medical practitioners and drug problems are not unknown, and of course doctors with such problems deserve help and support (although the irony is that certainly in north Wales the Top Doctors loathe people with drug and alcohol problems and usually refuse to treat them; that is how CAIS picked up the remit for providing ‘services’ (please see post ‘The Evolution Of A Drugs Baron’). However CAIS is Chaired by Dr Dafydd Alun Jones and is still very much a reflection of all that he holds dear and follows the model of business that he has followed for decades. And Dafydd has form for ‘helping’ people who have ended up coming unstuck as a result of their addiction problems. This ‘help’ usually simply involves extracting people out of the shit that their addiction has landed them in (at a price of course) rather than tacking the addiction. A nurse who had formerly worked at Dafydd’s ‘nursing home’ for veterans suffering from PTSD, Ty Gwyn, told me that there were very few veterans in Ty Gwyn, but there were a lot of people with addiction problems who had ended up being prosecuted so they had checked into Dafydd’s facility for a few weeks and in return Dafydd would write them a favourable Court report, although he had virtually not seen them at all whilst they had been patients at Ty Gwyn. I was also told by another person that Dafydd’s ‘medical reports’ were equally useful to people who had encountered problems with driving licences and their insurance. Indeed Dafydd is so good at helping people who are in danger of losing their licence as a result of drinking and driving that he attempted to rescue his own son when he appeared in Court on a drink driving charge. The Court were given a real tear-jerker, a story of how Dafydd’s son worked as Dafydd’s chauffeur, enabling Dafydd to pursue his heroic line of work with of course veterans (Dafydd has found that invoking the image of distressed soldiers works wonders), that Dafydd did much of this work free of charge no less and if his son lost his licence the patients would Suffer. The Court didn’t buy it – Dafydd is notorious in north Wales, to be fair to them the more honest local magistrates stopped believing anything that he said years ago – and his son lost his licence. It transpired that this chauffeur who spent his time assisting his dad patch up veterans was actually a student at Aberystwyth University. I seem to remember that it was on this occasion that someone in Court remarked that it was odd that Dafydd had obtained Legal Aid, being a highly paid very wealthy man. But as ever, no-one investigated further. Dafydd bending the rules to selflessly help patients has a long and noble history – sometime in the mid 1990s, a photo of him appeared on the front page of the Daily Post under the headline ‘He Saved A Life – And Got A Fine’. The reality was that Dafydd had been caught exceeding the speed limit somewhere along the north Wales coast – in a big way as well, it was something like 50mph in a 20mph zone – and when he was caught he claimed that he was on his way to rescue a suicidal patient who was standing on the Menai Bridge waiting to jump. It didn’t occur to him to call an ambulance then.

A Story Of Our Time appeared in the media yesterday. Jacqueline Grayson, the manager of ‘Treflys’, a care home in Llandudno, was summoned to a fitness to practice disciplinary hearing by Social Care Wales for sharing Facebook posts that the ‘presenting officer’ for Social Care Wales alleged were ‘anti-Islamic’ and ‘discriminatory’. Social Care Wales seem to have very little understanding of what Islamophobia and discrimination are. Ms Grayson had shared among a group of Facebook friends posts discussing whether the wearing of burkhas should be banned in public areas. Discussions regarding the wearing of full face veils or not are held among many Muslims. Mrs Grayson’s other sin was to share a Facebook post involving a golliwog. Yes, the golliwog originated as an offensive parody of a black person, but most people who were children in the sixties only knew the golly as a toy or a badge that could be acquired by collecting pictures of gollies from Robertsons jam jars. It seems that was the reference that Ms Grayson was making on Facebook. So Social Care Wales doesn’t know the difference between recent cultural history and racism so serious that it questions a social care professional’s fitness to practice. A number of people defended Ms Grayson at the hearing. One was a Romanian colleague who described Ms Grayson as being ‘amazing’ with staff and residents alike. Another one was a Mr Bhusan Ramnath, the proprietor of the care home and Ms’ Grayson’s employer. His wife was a Muslim and he was supporting Ms Grayson. The panel heard that there was no evidence that Ms Grayson had treated any Muslim resident in any way differently to any other resident. The panel concluded that Ms Grayson’s fitness to practice was not impaired but nonetheless her crime was serious that she was reprimanded.

So in a field – the care of elderly people – where bad practice and even abuse is endemic, Social Care Wales have gone to the trouble and effort to haul Ms Grayson up in front of them on the basis of some laughable evidence that did not in any way reflect on her capacity as the manager of a care home. There had been no complaint at all regarding her practice, just a ‘whistleblower’ – who was not identified – who spotted some Facebook posts that she had shared among her Facebook ‘friends’. Llandudno is only a few miles down the road from Ysbyty Glan Clwyd. It was at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd that four years ago elderly patients in Tawel Fan ward were sworn at by staff, barricaded into their beds with items of furniture and left to crawl around naked on a floor that was covered in urine and faeces whilst staff discussed their sex lives. One patient was found to have an untreated fractured arm. No member of staff has been disciplined or prosecuted – except for the nurse who blew the whistle on all this who was suspended, arrested after being the subject of malicious allegations and also received threatening anonymous letters. She now works in England. The two inquiries into Tawel Fan have yet to be completed – one has been hindered by the staff refusing to co-operate. I know there to be much bad practice in privately owned elderly people’s homes, but what the Betsi, an NHS Health Board, continues to get away with is breath-taking.

The flagship prison at Wrexham, HMP Berwyn, which so delighted local politicians – just imagine, a warehouse with nearly 2000 people banged up inside, mostly people with mental health or addiction problems, how exciting! – has run into yet more problems. It is in breach of a number of it’s planning conditions eg. landscaping, the providing  of two bus shelters and producing certain certificates demonstrating that various standards have been met – and Wrexham Council are threatening action.

The crisis at Bangor University continues and the Vice-Chancellor has stated that the financial situation is so serious there that there will have to be redundancies and even pay cuts. The unions have hit the roof, have stated that staff will be ‘pushed into poverty’ and one of the union reps has suggested that one way of solving the crisis would be to sell the Vice-Chancellor’s house, which was purchased by the University for him. That house has been a running sore ever since it was purchased – I think people are making a mountain out of a molehill, it’s not THAT posh -and furthermore there was more fuming last year when it was revealed that the Vice-Chancellor’s bedroom had received a makeover and that new furniture purchased from Laura Ashley had been installed. The Daily Post even provided a photo of a Laura Ashley inspired bedroom to feed the readers imaginations, although the photo that they provided was the sort of bedroom that a contemporary Barbara Cartland might have favoured, all in pink. I’m not sure that Professor John Hughes would have exactly the same taste, but you never know. It has not occurred to the union rep that even if John Hughes’s residence was flogged, it would only raise about £1 million, if indeed that. It would last me quite a long time, but it wouldn’t keep Bangor University afloat for long, particularly as they are currently footing the salary bill for great swathes of staff in ‘health and social care research’ or ‘psychology/mental health research’ whose output is very questionable indeed (I have detailed some of this dodgy research in previous posts). There are also a lot of younger modestly paid staff working their butts off whilst more senior people rest on their laurels. Among the senior academics, some are wonderful, supporting students and carrying out first class research – but others should not be in their present jobs and everyone knows it. It is true that there are some very badly paid staff at Bangor – they are the cleaners, the catering staff etc. No-one bothers to fight very hard for them – when I worked at Bangor, the people who consistently made the most noise every time they feared that cuts cometh, were the less productive (in some cases frankly bloody lazy) staff on permanent contracts who had been there years. They didn’t REALLY fear their contracts being terminated either – it is very hard to get rid of academics with permanent contracts no matter how bad they are. In reality, it is the better staff on short-term contracts who get the chop if belts have to be tightened because the useless old farts fight tooth n nail to hang on to their very comfortable existence. This is going on in every university in the UK and it is a very big problem, it’s not just a disease that affects Bangor. However union reps at Bangor do seem to have a history of developing strange obsessions with the way that they imagine Vice-Chancellors are spending money. When I worked there, at one point the UCU rep, one Eileen Tilley, was frothing at the mouth about the money that the VC was alleged to have spent on his office desk – how on earth did she know how much he’d paid for it? I very much doubt that he’d showed her the receipt. When I made comments to this effect, she changed tactic and complained about the style of the desk that he’d purchased. Que??? (It had too much glass in it apparently so it wasn’t suitable.) Tilley continued to make extraordinary allegations – which I suspected were in the realms of fantasy – regarding the VC’s office furniture and I got somewhat pissed off with her, because whilst she was making these allegations she was actually colluding with the truly vile Lyn Meadows, the Director of HR (Meadows is now a member of the Betsi Board), who was breaking employment law regularly and bullying and harassing people. The next allegation was that the VC had hired a chauffeur. No-one actually had any evidence that this had happened and I searched high and low for the said chauffeur and never found him/her. I think that the real story was that discussions were underway regarding the possibility of a chauffeur that would be made available to a number of senior managers – but the backstabbing Tilley was busy making plans for the revolution on the basis of the chauffeur. So I conducted an experiment and told her that I knew all about it, that it wasn’t a real chauffeur, it was a security man dressed up in a special uniform. And a few days later my lie came back to me on the grapevine, so it rather confirmed that none of these people actually knew what they were talking about. The irony was that while the revolutionaries on ‘only’ £40-50k pa grumbled and fumed about glass desks and chauffeurs, me and my ilk were doing their teaching and a good deal more research than them as well for far less. And because we were on short-term contracts we often had no salary at all. I’d have done the sodding chauffeur’s job myself quite happily at that time, at least it would have been a stable income.

Yet another scandal involving the abuse of learning disabled people has hit the London-based media today. An organisation called the ‘Atlas Project Team’ who owned two homes in Devon – which were ‘isolated farmhouses’ has been prosecuted. The founder of the ‘Atlas Project Team’, a Paul Hewitt, has been fined £12,500 with £105,000 costs. Paul Hewitt is described as ‘a well known figure in mental health who helped formulate national policies on caring for people with learning disabilities in the community’. Well that’s pretty much par for the course – this blog has named scores of ‘experts in mental health’ or ‘service user representatives’ who have either colluded with or ignored the most dreadful abuses. It’s how one becomes an expert in those fields. Jolyon Marshall, the Director of Atlas, has been jailed for 28 months for conspiracy to falsely imprison and perverting the course of justice. A number of other managers and staff have received suspended jail terms or other non-custodial sentences. This case has been running for six years, but reporting restrictions have only just been lifted. The fascinating feature of this case is that a number of people have been prosecuted for doing what is almost standard practice in hospitals and ‘homes’ for people with learning disabilities and mental health problems, namely locking people in what are euphemistically called ‘quiet rooms’ but what in reality are bare rooms with no bathroom facilities or furnishings except for a mattress on the floor. I am delighted to see someone prosecuted for this and I look forward to hundreds more prosecutions, because this is going on in just about every facility for the mentally ill/learning disabled across the UK. And the rationale for confining people to such seclusion rooms is also very shaky, as it was with Atlas. The prosecuting barrister Andrew Langdon QC stated that a ‘view was taken that residents had somehow learned to behave badly. That behaviour had to be unlearned. If they were kept in their long enough they would learn their lesson and change their behaviour’. This philosophy underpinned all ‘care’ on Taliesin ward in the Hergest Unit and I heard staff articulate this view constantly. Patients were not distressed, they were not ill, they were bad and locking them in a seclusion room (or of course having them arrested) was the answer. Indeed, now that Jolyon Marshall has gone to prison for conspiracy to falsely imprison and perverting the course of justice I look forward to a few arrests of Hergest staff and NHS managers because that is exactly what they did to me – and to a lot of other people.

Andrea Sutcliffe, Chief Inspector of CQC, admitted that they ‘should have acted earlier’ over Atlas and admits that concerns had been raised. So once more, the CQC stood by whilst people were abused. But what do we expect – Sir Robert Francis QC is a leading light in the CQC. The Robert Francis QC who, whilst working as a barrister for the MDU, tried to have me imprisoned for ‘harassment’ – because I was writing many letters maintaining that people working in the mental health services in north Wales had illegally imprisoned me and had committed perjury (please see post ‘The Sordid Role of Sir Robert Francis QC’).

Perhaps someone would also like to begin mounting prosecutions in the face of another near universal practice in mental health, that of ‘not stimulating’ people who are deemed to be psychotic. This is going on in the Hergest unit and in the Heddfan Unit and in reality it means providing patients with an environment as bare as possible – not even pictures on the walls. Because patients might become ‘stimulated’. (I really don’t think that there’s much chance of that, as they’re parked in front the TV all day and loaded up with anti-psychotics.) In fact Taliesin ward in Hergest was so keen not to stimulate patients that the staff didn’t talk to them – and they told the patient’s families not to talk to them either. I know this because I knew the mother of a teenaged boy who became seriously unwell and spent a long time on Taliesin ward not being talked to, on the orders of the ‘experts’ who ran that place and presided over the constant suicides there. The staff did communicate with me whilst I was a patient in there though – indeed they shouted at me, they swore at me and on one occasion four of them assaulted me. Presumably it’s only talking to people or looking at pictures that causes over-stimulation.

Jan Tregalles, the Chief Exec of Mencap, and Vivien Cooper, the Chief Exec of the Challenging Behaviour Foundation, put out a joint statement stating that Atlas offered ‘specialist care’ that cost up to £4000/week per person and that ‘poor commissioning’ from numerous local authorities and ‘weak inspection’ allowed an abusive culture to develop and sustain itself. Have they only just noticed? Bloggers like Mark Neary, Finola Moss and Sara Ryan have been trying to expose this for years. Indeed Sara Ryan seems to feel about Mencap the way that I feel about MIND – she has always termed them ‘Mencrap’. Mark Neary’s adult son Stephen was removed from his care for a year simply due to the fuckwittedness of their local authority and had Mark not been able to engage in a full scale battle through the Courts he would have lost Stephen for ever. Finola Moss had a similar experience with her daughter. Finola has taken a big interest in the huge amounts of money that are now being made by the private ‘care’ sector for housing learning disabled people in unsuitable, frequently abusive facilities, as well as in the constant supply of ‘expert witnesses’ and dishonest health and care professionals who are prepared to lie in Court in the face of carers complaining and simply accuse those carers of abuse themselves. The really great thing about most of these cases is that because they involve the Court of Protection, no-one can even publish what’s happening – until the learning disabled person dies in the ‘care’ of the ‘provider’. Mark Neary’s blog is doing an excellent job of exposing how this naked abuse and cruelty – and sheer idiocy – is disguised by the language of ’empowerment’, ‘independent living’, ‘service user involvement’ and associated hogwash.

 

 

Failings In Care – But Another Narrative Verdict

The media have reported that a narrative verdict has been returned by John Gittins, the coroner who carried out the inquest on Sgt Lee Johnson who hung himself whilst a patient at the Heddfan Unit, Wrexham Maelor. Yet another narrative verdict in the face of what everyone acknowledges was the suicide of someone who was in the care of the Betsi mental health services. If anyone ever did have any doubts about what has been going on in north Wales, this case makes it crystal clear – inquest verdicts are being manipulated to conceal the size of the problem that is the mental health services in north Wales. It is only two years since Danielle Robinson hung herself in the Heddfan Unit. We were told then that ‘lessons had been learned’ – they haven’t. Anyone familiar with the physical layout of the Heddfan Unit will know how easy it is for staff to check on patients, the building has been designed for that. So how are people managing to hang themselves? Hanging is not a quick or easy method of killing oneself – and a key element of health and safety requirements of mental health units is the identification and removal of ligature points.

Another factor was introduced into the explanation for the death of Sgt Johnson – he had been drinking whilst in the Heddfan Unit and it was known that drink made him suicidal, but staff commented that he was reluctant to discuss this. I noted in my previous post ‘It’s Yet Another Inquest Into Yet Another Death’ that the standard response of the mental health services in north Wales to people with drink problems is to refuse to treat them and refer them to CAIS, a charity shot through with failure and dodgy practice. So that will probably have been why Sgt Johnson was reluctant to discuss this – Sgt Johnson and his wife were/are police officers and Sgt Johnson’s wife mentioned in the inquest that they had previously had dealings with Heddfan professionally. So they will have known about the attitude towards patients with drink problems (it is the police who are called upon to throw the patients with alcohol problems out of the hospitals). I also mentioned in my previous post that the acute mental health units run by the Betsi actually breathalyse patients and searches their rooms if they are suspected of drinking. Unbelievably, John Gittins commented at the inquest that this policy is effective but needs to be made more robust. No this policy is almost certainly what led to Sgt Johnson’s death – the policy on alcohol is so rigid and draconian that people with alcohol problems feel unable to discuss this and resort to sneaking in alcohol if their problem is that bad. The Betsi are carrying out their own version of Prohibition – it didn’t work in the U.S. in the 1920s and it’s not working in north Wales now. The only choice that people with alcohol problems have is to knock on the door of CAIS, an organisation with some of the sleaziest people in north Wales on it’s Board, including a number who concealed a paedophile gang (please see post ‘The Evolution Of A Drugs Baron?’) But wasn’t it concluded that Prohibition failed because it pushed the alcohol trade into the embrace of gangsters?

I notice that once more Dr Stuart Porter, the man who was memorably described to me as sporting a pair of ‘wanker’s glasses’ by a less than impressed patient – who was refused treatment by Porter et al although he was seriously depressed – has been wheeled out as the public face of the Betsi and was referred to as the ‘interim clinical director’. Porter’s previous stomping ground was the Ablett Unit – the Unit that released a patient with no aftercare maintaining that he was ‘feigning illness in order to secure accommodation’. That patient was actually seriously ill and went on to decapitate someone (please see post ‘Homicide Committed By Patient At Ablett Unit’). It was of course the Ablett Unit that hosted the infamous Tawel Fan ward, where elderly mentally ill patients were left to crawl around naked on a floor covered in urine and faeces whilst  nurses swore at them and discussed their sex lives. One of those patients was found to have an untreated broken arm. It was Tawel Fan that led to the Betsi being placed in special measures. So with Porter and his glasses at the helm it’s obvious that the mental health services are heading for the stars…

There is however a long and glorious history of people in the public domain colluding with the appalling mental health services in north Wales. I was reading parts of the Waterhouse Report yesterday in preparation for a future post and I was gobsmacked to read that Rob Evans, the senior manager of Gwynedd Social Services responsible for mental health services, had given evidence to the Waterhouse Inquiry and described the community mental health services as among the best in Europe. He was talking about the Arfon Community Mental Health Team there. Who perjured themselves in order to obtain High Court injunctions against people who complained about them, who perjured themselves again in order to try and have those people imprisoned for breaking the injunctions, who assaulted patients in the team’s office in Bangor and who threatened to assault patients in their own homes. The Arfon Team had done all these things by the time that Evans made that comment to the inquiry and what’s more Evans knew it. Furthermore, not long before Evans was called to give that evidence, he had been responsible for investigating a complaint of mine regarding the constant harassment and aggression that I was receiving from the Arfon Team. The complaint remained unresolved and the aggro towards me from the Arfon Team continued. I now have documents in my possession written by Rob Evans regarding my complaint. He had asked Keith Fearns, the psychopath who was the ‘leader’ of the Arfon Team, ‘what he wanted done’ with me. Fearns had replied ‘lock her up’. Evans had told Fearns that wasn’t possible. Fearns had repeated ‘lock her up’. Evans noted that the situation was unresolvable and that he was leaving his post imminently so he did not intend to pursue this matter further. The best in Europe? Before Evans had been appointed Director of Mental Health, he had been involved in child care. When Evans met me to hold a futile discussion regarding the problem that was Fearns and his gang of thugs, Evans kept stressing that ‘social work practice’ changes with time and what was acceptable at one point may not be acceptable in the future (what relevance this had to social workers lying in court and assaulting their clients I do not know). As an example Evans said that when he used to place children in children’s homes he used to take away their shoes to stop them running away ‘but you’re not allowed to do that now’. When the former residents of the north Wales children’s homes gave evidence at the trials of the men who had sexually abused them, one of them stated that he had tried to run away after being sexually molested. So someone took his shoes away to stop him. I think at the very least, Rob Evans should now be prosecuted for lying to the Waterhouse Inquiry. (Another thing that I remember Rob saying to me was that some children hated him for placing them in the children’s homes but he knew that he’d done the right thing because their parents ‘should look after their kids properly’. Rob thought that they weren’t doing this so he handed their kids over to a paedophile gang. Nice work Rob.) The Waterhouse Report also mentions that Rob Evans’s employment prospects were limited and that he wasn’t a Welsh speaker. So what did Rob do when he stopped being Director of Mental Health for Gwynedd? He became Director of Community Services for Anglesey! The last time that I saw the dreadful Rob he accused me of ‘arrassin’ him because I dared question him about the documents that he compiled about me after he met Fearns in the wake of my complaint. So I ‘arrased him. Well he handed fresh meat over to a fucking paedophile ring.

Rob was not alone in believing that an abusive service imprisoning it’s clients and driving them to suicide was leading the field on a European level. As the closure of the North Wales Hospital Denbigh loomed, Dr Dafydd Alun Jones made regular appearances in the local media and was described as ‘Europe’s leading forensic psychiatrist’. He wasn’t even a forensic psychiatrist. But he was banging up people who had complained about the abuse in the children’s services and mental health services.

What was it about the paedophile’s friends that made them obsessed with their status as Europe’s leading? Couldn’t they have just gone for gold and announced themselves as global leaders? Or were there better facilitators of a paedophile gang somewhere on another continent?

 

It’s Yet Another Inquest Into Yet Another Death

BBC News Wales are reporting on the inquest at Ruthin of Lee Johnson, 45, a police sergeant with West Mercia Police, who was found hanged in the Heddfan Unit, Wrexham Maelor, whilst he was a voluntary patient there. Emma Evans, clinical psychologist, told the inquest that Sgt Johnson had discussed his mother’s suicide, his difficult childhood and his experiences in the RAF and the police. It was said that Sgt Johnson had had some ‘horrible experiences’ at work and was under investigation for alleged misconduct. Dr Evans commented that Sgt Johnson had a drink problem and often felt suicidal under the influence of alcohol, but was reluctant to discuss this. Sgt Johnson’s wife Barbara, who is an officer with the North Wales Police, told the inquest that she presumed that the Heddfan Unit would be a place of safety. Consultant psychiatrist Nafia Hussein described Sgt Johnson as a ‘model patient’ who was quite happy to be in hospital and to engage with anything that he thought might help. Dr Hussein commented that Sgt Johnson was very open about discussing harming himself. Dr Evans last session with Sgt Johnson had been the day before he died and she commented that it was clear to her that ‘it wasn’t going to be resolved overnight’.

It needs to be asked exactly how Sgt Johnson managed to hang himself whilst an inpatient. I know the layout of the Heddfan Unit and it is not difficult for staff to keep an eye on patients. It is quite a new unit and the building was supposed to make it a flagship unit – the physical conditions there are very good. Yet Sgt Johnson is not the first person who has died there. It’s also worth remarking on his reluctance to discuss his alcohol problem. The north Wales mental health services have a very punitive attitude to people with drink problems – if someone is found to have a drink problem they are usually flatly refused treatment and referred to dear old CAIS instead. The problem is particularly bad at the Hergest Unit, where there seems to be a pathological hatred of people with drink problems. There are shades of the same attitude at Heddfan. When I was a patient there some three years ago, a number of patients were livid because after one of the nurses suspected that one of the group had been drinking – none of them had and no-one worked out why they had been accused – the rooms of all the patients in that friendship circle were searched and patients were breathalysed. Yes, a group of hospital patients were actually breathalysed and were told that if they didn’t agree to this the police would be called and they’d be forcibly thrown out of the unit. It is highly likely that Sgt Johnson had got wind of this dreadful view of people with alcohol problems and feared being refused treatment.

The mental health services run by the Betsi show absolutely no ability at all to learn from previous disasters – no, the learning has not been embedded – or even observe and listen to patients to gain some understanding of how they feel. Their view of patients has not changed for years – they are viewed as subhuman, devoid of feelings and can only be ‘managed’ by coercion and crude manipulation. Sgt Johnson, in case they hadn’t noticed, was a grown-up and probably had considerably more experience than the staff did of dealing with people in distress – after all, it is usually the police who attend to people with mental health problems in north Wales because the mental health services are so unhelpful. And the inpatient units in north Wales regularly call in the police to throw distressed patients out (the Hergest has a track record of calling the police to taser patients). So where was Sgt Johnson supposed to turn when he couldn’t cope? No wonder he couldn’t discuss his drinking, he probably feared that one of his wife’s colleagues would be summoned and requested to blast a few thousand volts through him. Yes, that has happened to at least one patient in the Hergest Unit.

There’s still another week of the election campaign to go. So Plaid have got seven more days to continue to promise to build a medical school on the foundations of the ‘excellence’ to be found at the Betsi. And all local politicians have seven more days to not mention a word about the two inquests over the past 48 hours on mental health patients in north Wales who have hung themselves whilst on the receiving end of the excellence of the Top Doctors. And of course to entertain the whinging from the Top Doctors regarding ‘pay restraint’ – by my calculations a 1% rise on £100,000k is pretty good going. Better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. Or indeed a few thousand volts through you when you’re so distressed that you’ve ended up in a psychiatric unit.

How Much Do Staff Surveys Really Tell Us?

I’m indebted to a reader from Bangor who has sent me this – as Cyril Fletcher would have said on ‘That’s Life’ in the 1970s, only at this point Fletcher would have made reference to a newspaper cutting with innuendo before the camera cut to Esther banging on about child abuse (and she really couldn’t ever remember that woman who popped up recently in the press informing us that she’d told Esther all about Savile years ago). However my reader has sent me a link to the North Wales Chronicle, which on May 14 published the results of a Betsi staff ‘survey’. Like many such surveys, one only has to have one brief read of the ‘results’ to conclude that it is flaky. The results are presented as a triumph for the Betsi Board – the staff ‘have a higher opinion of their bosses than they did three years ago’ (except that we are then told that a comparison is being made to the same type of survey conducted in 2013, which is more than three years ago). However, despite having a ‘higher opinion’ of their bosses, on all the following categories the staff have ‘far less confidence’ than in 2013: managers listening to employees, involving them in decisions, encouraging them to suggest ways of improving the service and managing change. Which pretty much sums up the role of the managers – so in what way did staff have a ‘higher opinion’ of them? We are not told. We are told however that 3,252 staff responded to the survey. That is a very small proportion of Betsi staff. I read a few weeks ago that they employ 6000 staff in their mental health division alone. So on that basis alone, statistically this survey is meaningless (although it is meaningless in other ways as well, because of the way in which the questions are phrased). Interestingly enough, the survey revealed that 82% of respondents stated that they were encouraged to report errors or incidents. This is not backed up by evidence. This blog hears again and again from staff confirming that the most appalling failings are being concealed and that managers do not want to hear ‘bad news’. The Tawel Fan scandal was revealed by a nurse who made an undercover recording – she did this because she tried to raise a concern internally about a member of staff assaulting a patient but was ignored. After she blew the whistle she was suspended, maliciously reported to the police which resulted in her being arrested but never charged and received anonymous threats. She now works in England. No member of staff reported any of the failings or abuses that I and other patients witnessed when I spent months – completely unnecessarily – in the Heddfan Unit. (Neither was my subsequent complaint investigated properly.) In recent inquests on patients who have died whilst in the ‘care’ of the Betsi, staff have lied in an attempt to conceal failings. Furthermore, a look at the Ombudsman’s website reveals that many complaints have been upheld against the Betsi. None of this would be happening if staff really were encouraged to report errors and incidents. The survey entertainingly tells us that 88% of staff are ‘happy to go the extra mile at work when required’. So 12% of them aren’t – is this not worrying in a care setting where ‘going the extra mile’ might be needed in a life-saving situation? So what if you’re the patient who has the unexpected heart attack when one of the 12% is just going off duty, putting their coat on and leaving? (I did once see a patient having an unexpected heart attack in the Hergest Unit. He keeled over and was in very great trouble. The consultant psychiatrist on duty watched, he actually watched. He then ordered a junior psychiatrist to carry out CPR – and the junior psychiatrist wasn’t sure how to do it. It was a nurse who was summoned by another patient who knew what to do, did it and almost certainly saved the man’s life. As she did her bit, the two psychiatrists strolled off. I presume they were both part of the 12%). Now for another 12%! It is of course the 12% of respondents who claim to have experienced ‘physical violence’ at work from ‘patients, service users, relatives or members of the public’. I do not believe this figure. If it were true, people who have spent time in hospitals – like me and correspondents to this blog – would all have witnessed a number of physical assaults on staff. We haven’t. I have only ever witnessed one ‘assault’ on a member of staff and that was when a confused, psychotic man threw a book at the dreadful Raj Sambhi. And even that might have been avoided if Sambhi had any communication skills. I have asked other patients and they too have never witnessed patients/families/the public assaulting staff – we have all witnessed staff being sworn at and sometimes spoken to very rudely, but not assaulted. However a number of us have been assaulted ourselves (usually in the Hergest Unit) or witnessed other patients being assaulted by staff. A number of us have experienced staff claiming that we had assaulted them when we didn’t. My own medical records contain letters from the Top Doctors own lawyers telling them that they had to stop documenting in affidavits that I had assaulted them because there was no evidence that I had (it didn’t stop the Top Doctors though, they just ignored their own legal advice). When Keith Thomson ad Martin Jones were running the North West Wales NHS Trust, florid allegations were constantly made about patients ‘attacking’ and ‘assaulting’ staff. This was routine if a patient had made a complaint. The system was particularly effective because the RCN ‘rep’ who was responsible for collecting these ‘statistics’ and giving lurid press interviews was a former Hergest nurse who was unable to work through disability but was offered the job as the RCN rep as a deal. He continued to receive a salary in return for concealing the mountain of shite at the Hergest and maintaining that the place was full of nutters launching assaults on the staff. I knew one of this man’s colleagues who was invalided out of nursing with exactly the same physical problem – Thomson and Martin refused to let him stay on. But then he and his wife, who was also a psychiatric nurse, had been honest enough to raise concerns about the standard of care at the Hergest Unit and had stated that the Unit was dangerous. The survey tells us that 17% of staff had experienced ‘harassment or bullying or abuse at work from patients/relatives/members of the public’. This tells us nothing – the Betsi construct patients writing repeated letters of complaint if their complaints aren’t dealt with as ‘harassment’ and psychotic patients swearing as ‘abuse’. Requests from patients that staff ignore are constructed as ‘bullying’ if patients repeat the requests. ‘Harassment’, ‘bullying’ and ‘abuse’ are very much in the eye of the beholder and the NHS uses very elastic definitions of these. However, the survey did state that 30% of staff are unwell due to work-related stress – which, if true, is an extraordinarily high number.

I first began to take an interest in ‘staff surveys’ in the NHS in north Wales when I found out what Keith Thomson and Martin Jones were doing in terms of ‘statistics’ in the North West Wales NHS Trust. But then something else happened that caused me to question very closely all ‘staff opinion’. A man called Gren Kershaw, the CEO of the Trust that was responsible for managing Ysbyty Glan Clwyd before the Betsi was formed, was voted by the staff in (I think) a Nursing Times ‘survey’ as ‘best CEO’ of an NHS Trust in the UK. I knew two people at the time who both knew him. One was a researcher at Bangor University who was a former nurse who had been serially sacked from a number of jobs and who was ‘leading’ a project in partnership with the NHS which subsequently imploded. She described Gren as ‘great’. The other person was a PhD student who told me that the ‘elderly wards’ at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd were terrible and that there was a massive cover-up – his sister was a nurse at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd and was advising the wider family not to allow their grandmother to be treated at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd. Then I met someone at a seminar whose elderly terminally ill father had been in Ysbyty Glan Clwyd – she described him being dumped on a commode and left there, ending up crying such was his distress, only to be insulted by the nurses. So she complained – and received aggression herself. This lady removed her father from the ‘care’ of Gren’s empire and he was cared for at home – they were fortunately a family who were able to afford to do this. But then there was evidence visible from space suggesting that all was not well in Grenland, despite his accolade. A retired academic from Bangor University, Professor Clare Wenger, was admitted to a ward for ‘older people’ in Ysbyty Glan Clwyd and was truly horrified by what she saw. Clare Wenger was a specialist in old age care and knew bad practice when she saw it. And she certainly saw it at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd. She compiled a detailed dossier listing all the gross events that she had witnessed and sent it to over 100 academic contacts so appalled was she. She appeared in the Daily Post and on Radio 4. The main thrust of her complaint was that which she had witnessed happening to other patients – extreme neglect. She did complain about the disrespect shown to herself but she took the view that she was a retired professor and could pretty much defend her own corner but the other very vulnerable patients couldn’t. Yet Clare Wenger was roundly abused and derided for daring to question the dear old NHS. Ysbyty Glan Clwyd entered a state of Complete Denial and constructed Clare Wenger as an insufferable snob who wanted ‘special treatment’ and the media followed suit. She was sneeringly referred to as the ‘lady professor’ who should have ‘gone private’. Now even if she had been the snobbiest old cow on earth, what everybody missed was that she wasn’t demanding special treatment for herself, she had been expressing serious concerns about the treatment meted out to the other patients. Nonetheless she was shot down in flames. Which is utterly bizarre, because not only is Clare Wenger an old age specialist but she has directed a number of major research projects concerned with the care and support of older people funded by the EU, the Department For International Development – and the Department of Health. Yes, the Department of Health paid Clare Wenger to lead a longitudinal study that lasted over 20 years looking at the ageing process and informal support. But when she dared raise concern about the abuse and neglect of elderly patients at Ysbyty Gwynedd that she had witnessed at first hand she was blown out of the water. So Clare was a stuck up cow and Gren was applauded in Nursing Times. And a few years later, the scandal at Tawel Fan broke. A ward for the elderly at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd where patients with untreated fractures crawled around naked on a floor covered in faeces and urine whilst nurses swore at them and discussed their sex lives. Probably the very same nurses who had voted Gren Top of The Chief Execs. No wonder they liked him – he shelled out the salaries and ignored complaints whilst they did sod all.

So what’s happened to Gren since the horrible truth about the hospital that he managed for so many years has become very public? He’s set up a management consultancy of course! Gren Kershaw Consulting Ltd. Registered office: 18 Bryntirion Drive, Prestatyn. Current accounts show £78-05k in the bank – that’s down £30.78k on the previous year, so Gren must have hit hard times. Furthermore, a Mr Grenville Robert Davison Kershaw was a company director from 18 March 2009 until 31 December 2015, whereupon he resigned. But on 31 December 2015, one Mrs Elaine Kershaw was appointed company director and she still is at present. If any readers could enlighten me regarding the scam that I suspect that Gren and his wife are operating I’d appreciate it.

As for the serially dismissed ex-nurse who was mates with Gren – well she has set up an ‘executive coaching’ business and her website boasts a rather untruthful CV. The Betsi have commissioned her to provide ‘training’ for the Top Doctors. I think even the Top Doctors would have seen through that ‘training’.

Post-Script: The Mary Wynch Case – The Details

Since writing yesterday’s post about the ruination of Mary Wynch by the mental health services in north Wales and the collusion of this in very high places indeed, there has been a response to my appeal for more information on the Radio 4 play ‘Penrhyn Summer’. I have been sent a few links – the play was actually called ‘The Penrhyn Summer’, was broadcast in 1986 and was written by Alison Leonard. Leonard’s biography is rather different from what I had presumed – she was not a Bangor student of my generation but was born in the 1940s and studied at the University of Edinburgh. However her biographical note states that she spent a number of years working with deprived and disadvantaged children. Did she possibly spend a stint employed in that field in north Wales? Because whoever wrote ‘The Penrhyn Summer’ had a very good local knowledge, far better than could ever be gleaned by a bit of ‘research’ – it would have needed an ethnographer to produce that – or someone who was working and living in north west Wales… I suspect that whoever wrote that play knew the full horrors of children’s service’s in north Wales and like Alison Taylor knew that abuse was endemic, that the North Wales Hospital Denbigh was being used to deal with awkward customers and probably also knew that a paedophile gang was operating in the region. The author also knew that Plaid politicians were articulating a position of ‘defending local people in Welsh communities’, flagging up the wrongs that families like the Pennants had historically inflicted upon the population but were then deciding to drop a few causes and remain silent about a few things once they thought that they might be within sniffing distance of Westminster. Why didn’t the author write about the dreadful abuse in the children’s services and mental health system that she undoubtedly knew about? Well look what happened to Alison Taylor, to Mary Wynch – and to me. And we were just the ones talking about what was happening to us. And what’s the betting that the dear old BBC would never have broadcast material daring to mention some of the horrors? After all, the highest courts in the land were used to pursue Mary and I – and Alison Taylor was sacked and never worked in social work again. The vile ones indeed had friends in high places. I also suspect that Alison Leonard might be a pen name…

I have received an e mail from someone observing that what was happening to Mary, Alison and me was happening during the same period of time and was known to the same Government Ministers. The phrase ‘corrupt as fuck’ was used in this e mail. Which is interesting, because when Dr Dafydd Alun Jones first tried to bribe me into dropping my complaints in 1987, I remarked to Brown – who was listening in to the phone call – ‘how has he got the nerve to try this?’ and Brown responded with ‘because he’ll have done it before and it will have worked’. Indeed banging people up illegally in Denbigh and bribing the well-educated articulate folk who had discovered the extent of your wrongdoing was probably the MO utilised by that lot on a regular basis and was a well-established method of doing business by 1987. My God, I could have been leader of Plaid if only I’d played ball with Dafydd! After all I fancy myself as a bit of a leftie, I’m a Welsh learner and I could even call myself a ‘strong woman’ if I wanted to rehash tripe from women’s magazines…

However, it wasn’t actually the colluding Plaid politicians who had their hands on the real levers of power during the period of time that Alison, Mary and I found ourselves being shafted at every turn. The administrations ultimately responsible for what was happening in the NHS, the Social Services and the Courts in those days were led by Margaret Thatcher and then John Major. Back to Basics anyone? Or indeed Strong and Stable Government! I will soon be writing a post taking a very close look at the Ministers whom I haven’t yet named (please see previous posts for those whom I have named) who were ultimately responsible for the parts of Gov’t that we were having such trouble with…

I mentioned yesterday that my co-researcher had sent me material from Hansard dated 27 April 1995 relating to Mary’s case. There’s a couple of other things of interest that were documented in Hansard on the same date. A Mr Redmond was documented as asking the Secretary of State for Health ‘when she expects to set up a Department of Health inquiry into the dismissal of Mr Michael Murray from his post as Chief Executive of the Foundation Trust at Stafford and when the findings will be made public’. A Mr Malone replied ‘I have no plans to do so’. So John Major’s administration in 1995 knew that there were problems in Stafford then – but ignored them. The sort of disaster that was revealed at Mid-Staffs more than twenty years later doesn’t happen overnight. Regular readers know that one reason why I loathe Andy ‘I’m a man of the people me’ Burnham is, that along with Alan Johnson, he was told by 81 different people that what was happening in Mid-Staffs was so bad that a public inquiry was needed, but this was refused – New Labour had spent much time and energy ingratiating itself to the health and welfare professions and no way were they going to admit that the NHS was killing people and lying about it. But it looks as though the Tories too years previously knew that something was badly wrong in Mid-Staffs and ignored it. The other thing of interest in Hansard was a question asked of the Secretary of State for Health by a Ms Rachel Squire ie. ‘what decision has been taken following discussions with the Royal College of Psychiatrists to begin research into the deaths of psychiatric patients associated with neuroleptic drugs?’ A Mr Bevis replied that ‘it has been agreed in principle that the remit of the confidential inquiry into homicides and suicides by mentally ill people should be extended to cover the deaths of patients associated with neuroleptic drugs. Further discussions will be held about the arrangements for examining these deaths’. Neuroleptic drugs, commonly known as ‘anti-psychotics’, are still being dished out liberally by psychiatrists although it has been known for years that they are associated with serious side-effects and sometimes death. This is the ‘medication’ that patients often ‘stop taking’ to the chagrin of psychiatrists and newspaper journalists. Under the Mental Health Act, patients can be forcibly injected with these drugs and this blog has previously cited many examples of this, including me when the dreadful Raj Sambhi sectioned me in the Heddfan Unit because I maintained that there was neglect and abuse happening in the mental health services in north Wales and that a paedophile ring had operated in the region. If a patient is placed on a Community Treatment Order, (CTO), which are now very widely used, they can be given these drugs forcibly in the comfort of their own homes. One psychiatrist who argued most forcefully for the introduction of CTOs was one Professor Tom Burns of the University of Oxford. Burns previously worked at St Georges Hospital Medical School and was the first psychiatrist that I was coerced into seeing by Nicky Mitchell-Heggs, the occupational physician at St Georges when I worked there. When I told Burns what was happening in north Wales, Burns admitted that there was a problem in psychiatry because it attracted ‘disturbed people’, that he was not ‘naive’ and that he knew the sort of thing that I was describing in north Wales does go on. Yet I have a copy of a letter that Burns later wrote Mitchell-Heggs saying that he thought that I might have a ‘paranoid personality disorder’ and that he didn’t think that he ‘had anything to offer’ (please see previous posts). No because he had realised that there was barrel of shit up there and by then he probably already had his eyes on a Chair at Oxford and a CBE, both of which he subsequently acquired. More recently Tom appeared at a conference admitting that CTOs had not ‘helped’ in the way that he had expected.

 

 

Those Who Care Are Concerned

Yesterday the Guardian reported that NHS staff were quitting ‘because pay was so poor’ – it was alleged that some NHS staff were using food banks and that some were working stacking shelves in supermarkets. This was attributed to the recent policy of limiting pay awards in the NHS to 1% and it was claimed that this was ‘damaging the NHS’. It was reported that in particular, people with mental health problems were experiencing delays and setbacks. This story emanated from claims made by an organisation called ‘NHS Providers’ which was described as representing almost all of England’s Hospitals, Mental Health Trusts and Ambulance Trusts, their spokesman being the Chief Executive, Chris Hopson. Hopson also turned up on Radio 4’s Today programme with his tale of woe, where again the alleged deleterious effect on mental health care in particular was commented upon. It was said that in recent months, the Medical Royal Colleges, the Health Trade Unions and health charities such as Cancer Research UK have all highlighted the effects on patient care of shortages of doctors, nurses, GPs and paramedics. Various representatives of the Medical Royal Colleges have previously been outed on this blog as having taken part in the neglect and abuse of patients – for example the delightful Professor Rob Poole of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. I have also provided details of very bad behaviour – and research fraud – among leading lights in the Cancer Research Campaign, now known as Cancer Research UK. One of the people who starred was Nicholas Wright, who has picked up a knighthood. Furthermore, if doctors and GPs are either stacking shelves in supermarkets or using food banks they will be doing this for reasons other than being short of money – consultants and GPs all hit about 100k pa and many of them earn an awful lot more. Junior doctors and nurses do not earn as much as that but do not actually fall within the category of the ‘low paid’ – now a lot of them are leaving the NHS but talk to them about their reasons for doing this. It is nothing to do with pay. As I have stated repeatedly on this blog it is nearly always because they have standards which they feel are being compromised by the dysfunction, chaos, bullying and poor patient care that pervades so much of the NHS. The traditional get out clause of junior doctors to avoid the bullying and bullshit that rained down upon them was of course to enter General Practice, where they would in the end be self-employed and have some degree of control over their lives. But there were still hazards to be negotiated – one of the most conscientious medical students that I knew when I was young was sacked from his first post in General Practice. He remarked wryly that the main priority of the senior partner in the practice was the state of the carpet tiles and that medicine was far too much of a conservative profession to allow any trainee to disagree. This man was no firebrand – his ambition at school was to practice medicine for a while and then become a Conservative MP. He is now a hospital consultant and interestingly enough a Conservative Councillor who enjoys writing to the Daily Telegraph and Private Eye. His patients also report that he is a very good doctor – but he managed to get sacked. As for nurses – for years, nurses have been leaving nursing for other jobs if they cannot stomach what they are witnessing at work. They frequently move into teaching or lecturing, but some are so desperate to not remain in nursing that they do take up roles outside of the professions. The first person in this category that I encountered was a nurse who in 1984 was working as a waitress – she preferred to do that than participate in what was happening at Ysbyty Gwynedd which was where she had previously been employed. I have since met many more like her. Not one left nursing because of the pay – indeed if you are a nurse it is quite possible to end up on a very high salary if you go into NHS management and many of them do, particularly those with absolutely no principles at all (I’m thinking of one Grace Lewis-Parry here…). There are some very poorly paid people working in the NHS who may well be using food banks or working in a second job as well, particularly if they are the only wage earner in a family with children, but they are healthcare assistants, porters, cleaners, canteen staff and receptionists. They are treated like dirt although they are often playing a key role and I really don’t think that Mr Hopson the CEO from NHS Providers was thinking of them – he certainly didn’t mention them. Another person contributed to the debate as well, declaring the 1% pay restraint policy ‘stupid’ – that was Norman Lamb, the LibDem MP. Norman Lamb in recent months became well-known for his support for Sara Ryan and her family – Sara is the mother of Connor Sparrowhawk, the young man with learning disabilities and epilepsy who died as a result of neglect, along with hundreds of other patients, whilst in the care of Southern Health. Blame was attributed to Katrina Percy, the CEO, along with the rest of a deceitful dysfunctional Trust Board and a lying psychiatrist who simply moved to Ireland to practice after her cock-ups resulted in Connor’s death. Come on Norman, you know damn well that the death of Connor – and all the other patients – were nothing at all to do with pay restraint. The whole bloody lot of those responsible were on enormous salaries. Connor’s mum was a modestly paid academic and on her twitter feed frequently commented that she would have been sacked long ago if she’d been as bad at her job as Katrina Percy and co were – furthermore Connor’s mum had managed to look after Connor herself for most of his life without him dying. That only happened when she left him in the care of ‘professionals’.

One of the final item’s on the Today programme was another mental health related report, featuring interviews with both the CEO of the Mental Health Foundation and a ‘service user’ called Kerry. The report centred around people sectioned under the Mental Health Act being detained in police cells and Kerry was introduced as someone who had endured that experience. Kerry was actually pretty brilliant, she was very articulate, very frank about the horrors and serious deficiencies of the mental health system – but Nick Robinson the interviewer cut her off mid-flow. Because she’d already spoken and they’d run out of time. But the reason that they’d run out of time was that Nick had allotted so much of the time to the CEO of the Mental Health Foundation – who obviously was going to speak for service users, rather than the one very competent service user being allowed to reveal to the nation just how bad the whole system is. I noticed that in the Mail Online yesterday the Mental Health Foundation was also expressing concern about the Serious Problem of Women Drinking Prosecco At Lunchtime. Now if an elderly male Methodist Minister who was temperance wrote an article expressing similar concerns, he’d be publicly pilloried at worst, a figure of fun at best. But if it’s a ‘mental health charity’ no-one comments on how ridiculous and condescending it is. The Mental Health Foundation also stated that ‘1 in 3’ people will suffer from mental health problems – my God, the figure has gone up, the dreadful Paul Farmer and MIND always claimed it was ‘1 in 4’! We’re all going mad, especially women – the only solution is for the Gov’t to part with millions in the direction of the Mental Health Foundation and MIND, appoint them all to Gov’t Advisory Committees and then give them gongs. Meanwhile they will remain completely silent about the serious neglect and abuse of people who really are mentally ill (far fewer than ‘1 in 4’, which is of course why they can be so shamefully treated without an outcry) by the mental health services themselves – people like Kerry, whose opinions mattered less than those of the CEO of the Mental Health Foundation…. And just to show how effective Radio 4 is at raising awareness and combatting stigma, directly after the Today programme Andrew Marr hosted Start The Week and one of his guests described how he’d written a book about a conman who had swindled him who was a ‘bipolar maniac’ who spent huge quantities of money shamelessly. It’s called acute mania, a serious illness which should not be conflated with criminality and a lot fewer than ‘1 in 4’ or ‘1 in 3’ experience it.

All these dire predictions of the consequences of the UK Gov’t not giving mental health professionals even more money than they get already (God knows what they’re doing with it, one look at the state of the nation’s mental health system makes it quite clear that it certainly isn’t being used to benefit patients) has come at a very opportune time. A few days ago I was sent an excellent PhD thesis written by Dr Vicky Long, completed some years ago whilst she was at the University of Warwick and I have been working my way through it. The thesis is entitled ‘Challenging The Public Representation of Mental Illness, 1870-1970’ and it provides much evidence for a number of things that I’ve noticed myself during my various encounters with the UK’s caring sharing mental health services. Particularly interesting is Chapter Two of Vicky’s thesis, which consists of a detailed analysis of how mental health patients were represented within the literature produced by the National Asylum Workers Union. This is a good deal more relevant to present day concerns than non-historical/sociological geeks might imagine. NAWU later evolved into MHIWU (Mental Hospital and Institutional Workers Union), which in turn evolved into COHSE (Confederation of Health Service Employees), whose successor was UNISON, one of the most powerful players in today’s trade union movement, let alone simply within the NHS arena.

Vicky’s analysis very clearly demonstrates that this Union skilfully controlled how ‘mental patients’ were represented in the wider media, which in turn dictated how they were perceived by the general public and that the union nearly always did this in order to improve the pay and conditions of the ‘attendants’ ie. mental health nurses, rather than to improve the care and treatment of patients. Vicky’s analysis and the material that she presents from the late 1920s onwards is striking – we think of this era as being ancient history where mental health care is concerned, but the attitudes and even some of the language still exists in mental health ‘care’ today. As I read Vicky’s chapter, memories of scenarios and phrases used by staff that I had witnessed and heard at the North Wales Hospital Denbigh and at Ysbyty Gwynedd came back to me.

Vicky analysed in detail the journal of the NAWU as this was the forum for representations of mental illness among asylum attendants. The NAWU was formed in 1910 as a reaction to the poor working conditions of the attendants and it focused on the gulf between the privileges and pay enjoyed by the asylum Medical Superintendents (Gwynne Williams the lobotomist and Dafydd Alun Jones in the case of the North Wales Hospital, although of course they were Medical Superintendents later on in the century) and the very poor pay and conditions of the attendants. Very early on in the NAWU’s history, it seems that the working conditions of the attendants were so bad that they did actually have a lot of fellow feeling for the ‘lunatics’. However this didn’t last. Vicky’s analysis highlights other phenomena that can still be seen among mental health professionals – battles between different unions, the influence of gender and fights over status between nurses and social workers. The NAWU journal was strongly socialist and working class and viewed membership of the rival Asylum Workers Union as an act of class betrayal. The whole thrust of Vicky’s argument is that the living conditions of the patients were only scrutinised when the situation of the staff improved.

The usual strategy of the NAWU to obtain improved pay and conditions was to focus on the unpleasantness of the patients. In 1912 there was a reference to the ‘antics of deluded and degraded ‘mental deficients’ and ‘moral perverts’ and nurses are frequently described as having to ‘manage’ difficult patients. Vicky notes that in the main text used for training asylum attendants, the terms ‘nursing’, ‘management’ and ‘control’ of patients are used interchangeably. (My actions in complaining about the north Wales mental health services are referred to on a number of occasions in my medical records as ‘antics’ and the records are dripping with references to the ‘management’ of me, as well as yes, the occasional reference to the need to ‘control’ me. Because I was writing letters of complaint – about criminal conduct on the part of mental health professionals.) In 1929, as part of the description of the job of a mental nurse, it is stated that ‘patients may be unpleasant, abusive, filthy in habits and language, or ungrateful, suspicious, unwilling and resistive….sympathy, kindliness and tact must be abundant to overflowing for the mental patient…’ Again, I have heard many of these words used by mental health professionals to describe patients. I was constantly viewed as a problem for being ‘suspicious’ and ‘unwilling’ – although the staff using such descriptions for me were detaining me illegally in the North Wales Hospital after Dr Dafydd Alun Jones had concocted a ‘deal’ with a corrupt police officer at Bangor Police Station – the nurses had documented all this in detail on my records and had also stated their unhappiness with being dragged into the ‘deal’. Yet I was pathologised for being suspicious of their motives and not wanting to waste my time in their prison. Again and again I have heard staff complain about patients who swear – indeed, at the ‘hearing’ held by Robert Bluglass into the investigation of my complaint about the North Wales Hospital (which didn’t actually cover most of my complaint or the most serious aspects of it), as part of his rationale for labelling me ‘mentally ill’, Jones maintained that I’d used ‘foul and abusive language’ in front of his young children and that anyone who does this is not mentally normal. (How I managed to swear in front of his children I do not know – I did not at the time know that he had children and had certainly never met them. But Jones was not required to provide evidence of any of it – he said that I did it, so obviously I did.) Bluglass agreed that my language was indeed shocking. Bluglass has a daughter Amanda, who fancies herself as an avant garde artist. A few years ago she took to displaying her creations on the internet. One of them was a sampler of a county cottage, below which was embroidered ‘Happy Fucking Holidays’. Interestingly enough, in his final report in which Bluglass avoided commenting on many of the gross things that had happened to me at the hands of Dafydd et al although there was documentary evidence of these things, Bluglass summed up by stating that ‘doctors and others are caring individuals’ – these were people who had illegally imprisoned me, assaulted me, repeatedly lied about me, threatened me and then when that didn’t work tried to bribe me. Oh and they were concealing the activities of a paedophile ring as well. But their goodwill and patience had no bounds…. Another reference from an early edition of the NAWU journal represents patients as ‘alien, foreign, devious and different from normal people’. The SEN in Denbigh who eventually assaulted me, Stephen Rose, at one point described me as ‘scheming and devious’ (it was never explained why) – and in another reference to my alleged ‘abnormality’, on one occasion Jones lost his temper with me (because I didn’t succumb to the threats and bribery) and he yelled at me ‘any normal woman would have some respect’.

Again and again in the NAWU journal severely ill patients are represented as anti-social and violent and this was repeatedly used to justify better wages and conditions In 1928, the journal dealt with allegations that patients were being brutally treated and abused by attendants by alleging that it was the patients who were violently attacking the staff. Arguments were mounted that attendants deserved better pay and conditions not because they were skilled and professional but because they were managing dangerous violent individuals. Accounts are based on conjecture – a ‘seemingly quiet patient’ may suddenly become ‘violent to themselves or others’, ‘another blow’ from a ‘violent patient’ ‘could well have been fatal’. On one occasion a patient less dishonoured than others – a soldier with shell-shock – published in another journal an account of the violence and abuse that he’d witnessed being dealt out by the staff in an asylum. The NAWU responded by stressing the unreliability of patients accounts. This is all very familiar. At the North Wales Hospital and at Ysbyty Gwynedd, again and again I and other patients made representations about staff assaults on ourselves and other patients that we had witnessed. Throughout the course of thirty years the response from the NHS authorities was the same – either it was the patients who had attacked the staff, or the patients ‘had misunderstood’ the situation, or the patients were all mates and were colluding with each other. On the occasion that staff injured me whilst I was a patient in the Hergest Unit, my injuries were not documented and I was not released from a locked ward until the injuries had healed. When I tried to telephone both the police and a friend to report the assault the telephone was disconnected. The assault upon me was never investigated. Despite all the allegations of ‘violent’ patients made by the north Wales mental health services and the constant stream of scare stories and confected statistics regarding ‘attacks’ on staff that the north Wales mental health services have placed in the local media, I have only ever witnessed one assault upon a member of staff, which was when a very psychotic disorientated man detained on a locked ward threw a book at a psychiatrist. That has been the sum of it. Staff are sometimes assaulted by patients, but it is not a regular occurrence. Furthermore, one of the more robust pieces of research that has been done into assaults on staff by patients in psychiatric units – there has been virtually no research conducted into abuse of patients by staff which is extraordinary really, it can only be that it just doesn’t happen! – concluded that in every case, the assault had been precipitated by staff being extremely aggressive or rude to patients. As for ‘quiet’ patients being suddenly ready to launch into terrifying violence – again, another allegation that was levelled at me. When people outside of the mental health services volubly stated that the lurid allegations made about me by mental health staff were inconsistent with what they knew of me, they were told that they ‘didn’t know’ what I was like, or that I had ‘fooled’ them or best of all that I was ‘charismatic’. Only the mental health services could see my black, black heart. But interestingly enough I have recently obtained documents from my lawyer which include letters from the lawyers that the mental health services were using themselves telling them that there was no evidence that I had ever assaulted anyone and that they had to stop saying this in affidavits. Not that it stopped the ludicrous allegations, the psychiatrists concerned then progressed to stating that they thought that I was going to kill them. No evidence at all, although a lot of evidence that they had repeatedly lied about me, even on oath – but nonetheless I could murder the whole lot of them in their beds, they just knew it.

The journal of the NAWU also contains information very reminiscent of the way that psychiatrists today describe patients who allegedly have ‘personality disorders’: ‘…cannot support themselves…cannot resist criminal impulses…not actively dangerous but are a menace to the community…no idea of…social obligations…a danger to women and children…anti-social tendencies and habits of this kind are not be cured…’ or indeed the ‘social failure’ of an individual. This could have all come from a present day psychiatric textbook.

One Claude Bartlett was elected President of the NAWU in 1926 – and he stayed in that post until 1962 no less. Throughout this time he remained a mental charge nurse and with the exception of his time as Chairman of the TUC in 1959, he restricted his activities to the field of health care. Bartlett was one of the most vocal calling for the amalgamation of the health services trade union into COHSE and he was a member of the Royal Commission whose recommendations were incorporated into the Mental Health Act of 1959. In 1959 Bartlett was stating that he was pleased with the large advances made by the Union regarding the representation of mental nurses as professionals. He commented that ‘I often wonder whether some of my trade union colleagues are not trying to break down barriers which have long since ceased to exist. It is a far cry from the lunatic attendant of less than 50 years ago to the trained and qualified psychiatric nurse of today. I am naturally proud to have played some part, small perhaps, in raising a once lowly occupation into a skilled and honoured vocation’. That was in 1959. During the 1990s a nurse at the Hergest Unit who was one of the best staff there, who really was skilled and professional, was regularly ORDERED by Dr X and Dr David Healy to telephone the police to complain about distressed patients. On one of those occasions, it was because a patient had said that he was so suicidal that he felt like chopping a gas pipe. He ended up in Walton prison on remand, although all charges were eventually dropped against him. None of those grandiose, arrogant psychiatrists saw the nurse’s role as ‘a skilled and honoured vocation’. And that nurse did not feel able to challenge any of them, although she saw the consequences of their actions. Interestingly enough the same nurse, after she retired, told me that she never applied for a position as a lecturer in Bangor University’s School of Healthcare Sciences because in north Wales she witnessed the very nurses who did not have good skills with patients applying for jobs there – her perception was that they didn’t actually like looking after patients and weren’t actually very good at it, so they became nurse tutors instead.

In 1959 and the early 1960s, COHSE’s allegedly patient centred view was undermined, suggesting that once more, the main concern of psychiatric nurses was their working conditions. At the 1959 conference, the new Mental Health Bill was debated and a conference resolution expressed concerns that there was inadequate funding for the proposed measures and the hope that mental nurses skills would be utilised in the new community care system. Psychiatric nurses were well aware that other professions might usurp their roles and threaten their careers. COHSE tried to protect nurses by framing themselves as crusaders for the users of the mental health services and leaders of public opinion. Theresa May has of course announced that a new Mental Health Act is to be passed, which will lead to far fewer people being detained against their will and will also enable them to refuse ‘treatment’. This has of course come hot on the heels of scandal after scandal in the UK mental health services, of numerous accounts of neglect and abuse and of course deaths of patients in the care of the mental health services. Have perhaps the mental health professions realised that they are about to be cut out of the picture and made redundant – because patients certainly aren’t going to agree to the shite abusive treatment that is forced upon them at present if they are given a choice – and is that why they are all busy reminding us at the moment of how they only have the concerns of patients at heart? And that the patients are Suffering because mental health professionals aren’t being paid enough? Oh, by the way, in the late 50s/60s when COHSE were worried about their jobs and pay, they organised demonstrations and pickets. Stand by Theresa, there’ll be a March through central London to show us all how much they Care – all the usual culprits will be there, the BMA, the RCN, the Royal Colleges, MIND and Paul bloody Farmer, Peter Beresford and Rachel Perkins and poor old Jeremy Corbyn will be completely taken in by the whole lot of them and will join in, thinking that he’s helping people who Care. Meanwhile psychiatric patients will continue to be tasered whilst sectioned in hospital, suffocated to death whilst being ‘restrained’, prescribed ‘medication’ that harms or even kills them etc etc. In fact I think I heard on the Today programme that a National Health Action Party has been established to field candidates in the forthcoming election. The Top Doctors must be in trouble then, is there a scandal on the way? Has one of them been arrested for doing something that they shouldn’t have, perhaps removing perfectly healthy bits of the body after telling the unsuspecting patient that they had cancer a la Dr Ian Paterson? Or has another Harold Shipman been discovered?

As for Claude Bartlett’s claims in 1959 that asylums and the mental nursing profession had been transformed, well I think that needs to be taken with a very big pinch of salt. After a visit to the North Wales Hospital Denbigh, the Health Minister Enoch Powell was so appalled by what he saw that he is reputed to have told the assembled ‘professionals’ that he would not allow them to do this to people – Powell returned to London and announced the proposed closure of 75,000 psychiatric hospital beds over the next 15 years. (Of course when Powell witnessed something terrible, Gwynne the lobotomist was Medical Superintendent at Denbigh. Presumably Gwynne was so used to imprisoning, neglecting, abusing and indeed killing people that he had become complete immune to the idea that some people would not appreciate what was going on, hence he felt able to proudly throw open the doors of Denbigh to the Health Minster. Obviously the result of years of cap-doffing and toadying from small town society who could rely on the hideous Gwynne to deal with anyone who was a bit of a nuisance to them. COHSE really freaked out at Powell’s proposals and resurrected the spectre of the dangerous patient (they forgot their user-friendly bit) and wanted nurses paid danger money. COHSE were particularly irked with Powell’s proposals to only place psychiatric patients in Rampton, Broadmoor and Moss Side as a last resort. They also maintained that Powell’s policy of discharging patients on prescription would lead to a nation of drug addicts. Once more psychiatric patients were represented as violent criminals and Vicky Long suggests that this stemmed more out of the fear of the threat to the jobs, future and status of the mental nursing profession than any concern over more outpatient care. Again, I saw something similar when I was a patient at the North Wales Hospital in 1986/87. At the time the UK Gov’t were making much noise regarding closing down places like Denbigh and transferring patients into community care. All the nurses at Denbigh were raging about this, stating that the facilities in the community weren’t there (which was to be fair completely true) and that some of the very vulnerable patients would never cope (which again they didn’t). But the same nurses were concealing and colluding with the most appalling wrongdoing on the part of Dafydd Alun Jones et al – they KNEW that patients were in there illegally banged up, never having been assessed by anyone but had simply been arrested because they’d crossed the path of Jones or one of his mates. They KNEW that some of those patients were not ‘schizophrenic’ or ‘deluded’ as was being diligently documented. And one of those nurses, Iola Edwards – who was one of those who expressed such concern regarding the fate of the patients once Denbigh had shut down – actively stopped a young woman from telling me any more, when she heard the young woman begging me to help her and claiming that she had been abducted, held in an attic ‘by a doctor’ with a group of other men and molested. (Would you know anything about this perchance Dafydd, after all your mistress was named in the Waterhouse Report as having colluded with a paedophile ring whilst she was Director of Gwynedd Social Services). That young woman disappeared within hours – Iola Edwards obviously knew what had happened to her and must have been instrumental in flagging up to someone in authority that the young woman had told me what had happened to her, so they got her out of there quick. I bet they didn’t let her go though, or take her to the police. And of course the community care provided after Denbigh eventually shut was dreadful – because it was managed and staffed by the same people who ran and staffed Denbigh. Did anybody really imagine that their values and standards would suddenly change just because someone gave them offices and clinics in a different building?

The NAWU dwelt on some other familiar themes as well. In the 1930s their journal carried reports on the experimental use of leucotomies and ECT and the Government’s Athlone Report stated that ‘medical staff now require highly skilled mental health nurses to assist’. Although the historian of nursing Peter Nolan argues that physical treatments threatened to erode nursing skills by reducing nurses to doctors assistants, COHSE’s predecessor was enthusiastic about the ‘new therapies’. During the 1940s and 50s there was a reconceptualization of the image of the psychiatric patient as that of a client or guest. By 1961 glossy photos showing the luxurious aspects of public hospitals were displayed monthly in the journal and hospitals were described as if they were hotels. But when the Hergest Unit was built at Ysbyty Gwynedd there was much excitement and boasting about the new facilities – of course they were very much better than what had been on offer at Denbigh, but huge cracks soon appeared in the service, which still contained the former staff and managers from Denbigh.

The NAWU also reflected two other ideas concerning psychiatric patients that were expressed by some professionals – that either sterilisation or euthanasia would be a good idea. In 1929 the Gov’t considered sterilising ‘mental defectives’ and they were depicted as an economic threat to sane ratepayers. In 1934 Prof JA Berry, Director of Medical Services at Stoke Colney, Bristol, argued that some in his care should be killed, a ‘kindly euthanasia’ being the ‘only really kindly treatment’. A Dr EGL Goffe, a Kingston physician, suggested no other alternative for ‘idiots’ than the ‘lethal chamber’ as ‘such people should not be a drag on the community…a waste of money and energy keeping them alive…’ Many doctors wrote in favour of sterilisation – however one Dr Neil Montgomery showed an acute awareness of class power abuse issuing from doctor to patient, commenting that it tended to be the poor who should be recommended for sterilisation and at the same time expressed sentiments of duty to the patients which were not expressed by the working class members of the NAWU. (Remind anyone of the current Tory Govt’s new policy that people claiming tax credits for a third child can only do so if they can demonstrate that the child resulted from rape?) In July 1935, the cartoonist for the MHIWU journal (as it had then become) depicted the Board of Control Chairman’s view – a full page image of a physically deformed figure whose featureless ‘shadow’ fell menacingly over Britain. The figure was represented with palms outstretched, recalling the belief expressed in the journal by doctors, judges, Poor Law guardians and the Board of Control that ‘mental defectives’ were socially inefficient and an economic drain on the resources of the ‘normal’ population. Obviously a bunch of shirkers and skivers like all those people that George Osborne seemed to know of…

In 1963 an editorial in the journal commented that if the Lord Chancellor and Lunacy Commissioners were anxious for the welfare of the patients, the very first thing that they should turn their attention to is the conditions of asylum services to attract and retain the best types of men and women. Sounds familiar – here comes a nurses pay claim, just after revelations that patients were being treated dreadfully. By the end of the ‘60s, the situation of the patients had not improved. Barbara Robb’s famous expose of the appalling treatment of the mentally ill in hospitals, ‘Sans Everything: A Case To Answer’, elicited personal attacks on Robb and COHSE complained of a ‘witch-hunt’ atmosphere and parodied Robb’s expose as ‘Knock Everything’. COHSE was not the only body representing psychiatric nurses – the RCN did as well and in 1970 their conference attacked psychiatric nurses conditions of work. The Chairman of their Psychiatric Committee suggested the patients posed the main limitation to nurses work. Once more a dire representation of your average psychiatric patient was constructed, with it being claimed that being spat at, kicked, scratched and bitten was all in a day’s work and that nurses spent much of their times separating patients who were fighting or warding off assaults on themselves.

The journal of the NAWU also reflected the gender battle that took place within it’s own ranks. From the 1920s onwards there was much opposition from male asylum attendants to women nurses working on male wards. Sick patients were portrayed as violent anti-social misfits whose violent and sexually depraved behaviour would only increase at the hands of kindly female nurses – a similar argument was used at the Hergest Unit as the rationale for their callous treatment of those whom they labelled ‘personality disordered’. Indeed, a suicide attempt by one such patient was constructed by Dr Dafydd Alun Jones as being the result of ‘ire’ of all things. Yet Nursing Times, a journal dominated by women, opposed the NAWU, pointing out that ‘not a single complaint of any kind has been made by the female nurses’ – furthermore, a female nurse was quoted as commenting that constructing all ‘mental cases’ as ‘depraved’ was an ‘insult’ to many patients. This depiction of patients as violent and sexually perverted diminished when it was no longer in accordance with the image that the Union was trying to establish. This turnaround confused members – there is written evidence from one male nurse demonstrating that he was puzzled as to how the Union could have ‘forgotten’ what patients were like.

Throughout the twentieth century, the journal of the NAWU repeatedly published articles on themes that are still pursued at present. An article in the 1940s written by a patient, ‘David’, was the first time that the journal has offered any degree of respect to a patient’s account. David was completely uncritical of his treatment and maintained that it could only have been bettered if the asylum staff were paid more. This is startlingly reminiscent of much discourse from present day ‘service user involvement’. Two of the biggest figures in the UK in this field are Peter Beresford and Rachel Perkins. Beresford is a former social worker and this is very obviously still a major part of his identity and Perkins is the former clinical director of Springfield Hospital. Perkins oversaw a disaster, including a number of murders, and Springfield was subjected to damning comments at a subsequent public inquiry. Neither Beresford or Perkins have ever spoken out about serious abuse and neglect in the mental health services, criminal activity on the part of the ‘professionals’ or the problems of dishonest expert witnesses in psychiatry. Their concerns tend to revolve around ‘discrimination’, ‘stigma’ and the need for more funding and higher staff pay. Some years ago I received a series of very angry e mails from someone who had completed a PhD with Beresford, demanding to know why I would not ‘come out’ as an academic who was a ‘service user’, telling me that Peter Beresford could ‘help’ me. I have made it clear in my publications that I do not hide my involvement with the mental health services but I find the ‘service users movement’ for the most part strangely deradicalised, denatured and institutionalised and I explained this to the person who e mailed me. They became angrier and angrier and made it clear that I was some sort of traitor by not joining the merry band who remain silent about serious wrongdoing but who campaign for higher pay for the people involved in this.

Another article in the NAWU journal from the early middle years of the twentieth century concerned the activities of a charity dedicated to the after care of discharged asylum patients, supposedly committed to their economic and social reintegration. The charity’s President had commented that the work of the charity assisted the state by producing good citizens. Does this sound familiar to you Paul Farmer?

Another article published in the 20s stressed the important of asylum attendants completing the Certificate of the Medico-Psychological Association, in order that the work would be seen as highly skilled and professional. Nurses these days are encouraged to go for postgrad education, because nursing is ‘highly skilled’ and ‘professional’. Some years ago I was forwarded an e mail from a ward manager at the Hergest Unit which frankly declared that he didn’t want to do an Masters because he’d found completing a Bachelor’s degree very difficult, but his boss, the nursing manager Lena Henry, had told him that it would make the Hergest Unit look good if he did enrol for a Masters. Meanwhile patients died.

Again, as far back as the 1920s, the NAWU’s journal was maintaining that the general public only saw the worst side of mental hospitals and that if the public were allowed to enter such hospitals they would receive enlightenment. I witnessed two such Tours of North Korea myself, one in the North Wales Hospital Denbigh and one at the newly opened Hergest Unit. Local dignitaries were guided around the best parts of the building by the nicest members of staff. At Denbigh it occurred on Christmas morning when the Mayor and his entourage paid a visit. They were all very friendly, but of course patients clamoured to desperately tell the Mayor et al what was actually happening to them in there. The accompanying nurses used obviously tried and tested techniques to deflect the conversation onto other matters, such as the Christmas presents that the staff had given us that morning – they did give us thoughtful presents and they gave us a good spirited Christmas dinner as well – but a lot of the patients that the Mayor met had been detained illegally, although he wasn’t told that. The nurses did tell me that the Mayor visited the hospital every Christmas morning – ah, so they knew that he would be coming then! When the doors of the newly opened Hergest Unit were thrown open to some local councillors I took the opportunity to tell them that one of the psychiatrists there was having sex with the patients. A sharp-witted nurse interjected with ‘that man does not have any beds in this hospital’. No, but they let him in every Tuesday to hold outpatient’s clinics…

In 1969 COHSE’s journal concerned itself with the struggle for status between psychiatric nurses and psychiatric social workers. The social work profession made it very clear that they considered themselves superior and expressed concern that nurses would ‘muscle in’ on community work. Interestingly enough, I know a psychiatric nurse who trained in the 70s who considers that social work training is too political, concentrates too much on the identity and place in the world of the social worker and does not pay enough attention to the concept of duty to one’s clients. This nurse believed that this was what lay behind so many of the problems that patients experienced with the Arfon Community Mental Health Team – whether she knew that some members of that team were doing the bidding of people who were facilitating a paedophile gang I do not know. I note that Chapter Three of Dr Long’s thesis is concerned with the development of psychiatric social work. I look forward to reading her account of the evolution of the profession of which Hywel Williams was such a proud member.

Reading Chapter Two of Dr Long’s thesis one can only conclude that very little has changed – unions representing mental health staff in the UK have been very much more concerned with the pay and conditions of their members and have been prepared to denigrate the people that they are paid to care for to achieve this, ruthlessly manipulating public opinion. Was it really All A Very Long Time Ago and that Things Are Different Now? Well when I was in Denbigh a nurse called Bob reminisced about how he used to ‘manage’ the patients in his earlier years – he told me that the nurses had to make the patients more frightened of them than they were of their hallucinations. Bob told me that in 1987 – he may still be alive. As many of the older Denbigh nurses are. It is indeed informative to go on the website of the grandly titled North Wales Hospital Historical Society, which is actually a forum for former staff. There are a number of threads where staff have been chatting to each other – those poorly paid nurses who were constantly in danger from patients are certainly enjoying retirement. They discuss their exotic foreign holidays and one of them has a yacht that he talks about. Whilst I was in the Heddfan Unit a former Denbigh nurse who used to pop in there to do a bit of agency work told me that he owned a property in Florida and he spends his time between there and his place in north Wales. By the way, as mental health workers, all these people were entitled to retire at 55 yrs old with a full pension. Tory Cuts anyone? I know of someone else in north Wales who is both a psychiatric nurse and a psychiatric social worker. This man told me years ago that as a student, he was one of those who exposed the Ely Hospital Scandal – he claimed to have punched a nurse whom he saw assault an elderly man before he mobilised the students. Yet this man sectioned people in Denbigh, he knew about the horrors of Prestwood homes, he knows exactly how bad the mental health services are and he watched highly inappropriate people qualify as social workers when he worked in social work education at Coleg Menai. He has never spoken out about any of it. He now has a leading role in MIND in north Wales. Do you fancy punching a few other people Geoff? Starting with your senior colleagues at MIND who pay your salary and are doing such damage…

Bring on the protests then. Of those who are only protesting because they Care.

 

 

 

Another Death – May 4, 2017

BBC News Wales is reporting the death of Matthew Jones who was found dead in his flat in Rhyl in April, three weeks after being discharged from the Ablett Unit. Matthew suffered from severe depression and alcoholism and three days before he was discharged from the Ablett was on 15 minute observations so high was his risk of self-harm. Matthew’s mum has given an interview to the BBC stating that her son was ‘crying out for help’. She has explained that conditions in the Ablett were dreadful, with Matthew having to sleep on a sofa at one point, furthermore a sofa on which someone had urinated upon which had not been cleaned properly. She has also revealed that at one point Matthew had been housed by the ‘services’ above a pub – a man known to have an alcohol problem. The Betsi are taking refuge in their usual vacuous outpourings, promising an ‘investigation’ and stating that all ‘service users’ are consulted about their ‘care plan’ on admission.

There is not one aspect of this death that is unfamiliar. Again and again mental health patients in north Wales have been found dead shortly after being discharged. Again and again people close to them have maintained that anyone could have identified them as being in deep distress and still in need of help. Again and again days before discharge the patients involved had been assessed as being at high risk of self-harm or suicide. For years now patients and relatives have commented on the dreadful physical state of the Ablett Unit – yet we are constantly reassured that it has been ‘improved’. I visited a friend there some four years ago and even I was gobsmacked – it was completely unsuitable for any inpatient. My friends’s room had no door – it had been ripped off and never replaced. There was a bright light immediately next to where the door had been which remained on throughout the night – my friend was given a bollocking by a night nurse for not being asleep, yet she refused to switch this light off. Matthew reported the presence of a sofa that had been urinated upon – well one of the things that my friend found most intolerable about the Ablett was the failure of anyone to clean up after a particularly disorientated patient who defaecated everywhere. When I went to visit my friend there was nowhere at all for visitors to sit – the only place for the patients themselves to sit was the grand total of two chairs, positioned directly outside of the nurses station, so no privacy there.

As for the housing of Matthew, a man with a serious alcohol problem, above a pub – for years now, it has been a consistent feature of the mental health services to house mental health patients in locations in which they are frankly in danger. The whole of Bethesda witnessed an alcoholic housed next door to a pub some five years ago – he was dead within months. When I first started writing this blog, I received a detailed communication from a member of mental health staff at the Betsi describing the many ways in which patients were being neglected – she too mentioned alcoholic patients housed above, or next door to, pubs. It had happened to one of her own patients although she had personally flagged up the danger involved in the location of this accommodation – her concerns were ignored. I witnessed a vulnerable man with a psychotic illness housed in Bethesda in a house of multiple occupation in which two other residents were dealing in class A drugs. They terrorised this man and within a month he had left the flat – only to be told by the glorious Arfon Community Mental Health Team that he had ‘voluntarily’ left the flat, so they wouldn’t be ‘helping’ him again. Their relationship with him was so poor that he never told them that he’d fled a gang of hardened criminals, although if he had have told them that particular ‘team’ would not have given a damn. I know of another woman with mental health problems and learning disabilities who was housed by the mental health services in a flat in Bangor owned by the North Wales Housing Association – there was even increased rent being paid for her on the grounds that she would receive extra ‘support’ from some sort of warden/disability officer. She too was being terrorised by a drug dealer who lived upstairs from her – this continued until he was arrested and imprisoned after a police raid a few months ago. Her friends knew what was going on and persuaded her to bring the matter to the attention of the ‘officer’ who was supposed to be offering her extra ‘support’ – his response was to reply sarcastically that it was ‘a shame’ that she was being bothered by her neighbour and to then fail to visit her again. Her friends were so worried about her that they advised her to apply to the North Wales Housing Association for a transfer – the ‘support officer’ wouldn’t even advise her on this process. The worst case that I am aware of however was of a man with serious mental health problems who was housed by the Hergest Unit in a shared house with another patient on a notoriously tough council estate. The man whom he shared the house with had Korsakoff’s syndrome, a form of very severe memory loss caused by serious alcoholism – this man had been in hospital for years because he had lost so much memory that he could not even remember that he was in hospital, he would look at his surroundings and try and work out where he was. On the second day of the ‘house share’, the man with Korsakoff’s syndrome put a pie in the oven – and forgot about it, causing a fire in the kitchen. Within three weeks, the other man in the ‘house share’ had been targeted by self-appointed ‘paedophile hunters’ (although he wasn’t a paedophile – he just looked unsavoury and said unacceptable things) and was beaten up. He was then relocated to other unsuitable accommodation and within a few months was found dead in his room, having choked to death. He was supposed to be observed every twenty minutes but somehow his body remained undiscovered for several hours. I know of another mental health patient from the Hergest who was housed on the same estate and had been there a grand total of three weeks before someone threw a brick through her window.

None of this is helped by Hergest staff who tell the neighbours of Hergest patients that they are ‘dangerous psychiatric patients’ – I know of at least five cases in which this has happened. None of the patients concerned were in the least bit ‘dangerous’ and there was absolutely no evidence at all suggesting that they had ever been ‘dangerous’, although a number of them had complained about the mental health services. This happened to me many years ago when I was living near Bethesda – I was ruthlessly harassed by two other people in the village, two charmers called Denise Baker and Malcolm Fox, who it transpired had done this to other people. At the time I just attributed the grief that I was receiving to these two being a pair of sociopaths – which indeed they were – but I was told by another neighbour some years later that the delightful Denise and Malcolm had connections with the local social services and that I had been of mutual interest to them. Indeed a couple of years later, Denise married a social worker and then began working in mental health herself – I was told that she was fired from at least one position after being identified as a danger to the vulnerable women that she was working with. I would be most interested to know how Denise Baker ever landed a job in mental health and how she continued to work in the field for some years – at one point even with Prof Louis Appleby’s ‘flagship’ team at the University of Manchester – when her conduct was so well-known. Appleby was, at the time that he employed Denise Baker, the Government’s Director for Mental Health. Appleby is a very big name indeed – he is a non-executive director of the Care Quality Commission and has led the National Inquiries into suicide as well as into homicides and suicides committed by people with mental health problems. So who on earth was writing references for Denise Baker? And why did Appleby not flag up her unsuitability for healthcare positions, because he undoubtedly knew that she was unsuitable – she landed yet another job after her stint with Appleby. Another thing of interest that I discovered some years after experiencing the dreadful Denise and Malcolm, was that there was a man living in the same village as me who was a close friend of Denise and Malcolm who had served a prison sentence for child sex offences and was on the sex offenders register. The social/mental health services will have known all about that – so why were they, assisted by Baker and Fox, actively circulating rumours regarding my alleged ‘dangerousness’ when a sex offender was afforded complete privacy (which of course he should have been; I’m relating this anecdote to demonstrate that there were some very odd practices at work).

As for the claims of the Betsi that ‘service users’ are ‘consulted’ about their care plans when they are admitted – no they are not. When I was admitted to the Heddfan Unit I made it clear after two days that I did not want the dreadful Raj Sambhi as my consultant. I was ignored. My friends raised their concerns about Sambhi’s attitude and competence. They were ignored. My lawyer wrote three letters over a number of weeks to the Betsi pointing out that there was no therapeutic relationship between Sambi and myself and that we were no longer even communicating. My lawyer was ignored. Then a Mental Health Tribunal no less recommended that Sambhi should be removed as my consultant. They were ignored. Sambhi remained my consultant for months, misdiagnosed me – and no doubt the rest of his patients – loaded me (and everyone else) up with anti-psychotics although his relationship with me and others was so poor that he wasn’t even paying us a visit before wielding the prescription pad. I was not consulted about ANY aspect of my ‘care’ at all, until Sambhi went away for two weeks and a much saner – and nicer – locum turned up, had one conversation with me and observed that I should not be on a locked ward. I was immediately transferred to another ward where I encountered Dr Alberto Salmoiraghi – who consulted me about everything and even took the trouble to meet my friends, the friends who had spent months banging their heads against a brick wall trying to alert the Betsi to what was actually happening on Sambhi’s ward. Sambhi has now been given a role in ‘training and education’ at the Betsi. Dr Alberto has been subjected to racism because he has the temerity to be Italian and was accused of the dysfunctionals at the Hergest Unit of ‘bullying’ them when he suggested that their standards should be raised.

We are now in the middle of an election campaign. Will any local politician have the guts to comment on the death of Matthew Jones? Or will Hywel et al continue their campaign for a medical school in Bangor based on the ‘excellence’ that they maintain infuses the regional NHS? We’ll brace ourselves for all those photo opps with local NHS staff accompanied by text telling us how the culprit is ‘supporting’ the NHS and all that is needed to stop the genocide is a few more billion…

News Round-Up, April 13 2017

The blog has also recently covered the sorry state of perinatal mental healthcare for women (see posts ‘The Sad Story of the Heidi Humphreys Unit’ and ‘Articulate Middle-Class Woman’ ‘Intimidated’ Healthcare Professionals’). It now seems that another middle-class woman – an expert of the ‘Antiques Roadshow’ – has been killed by the public services after suffering postpartum psychosis. Alice Gibson-Watt died days after being ‘restrained’ after she developed ‘delusions so severe’ that she believed that her baby was telepathically communicating with her. There are a number of inconsistencies in the story as there tends to be when a mental health patient has been killed by those who ‘help’. The police officer who ‘restrained’ Alice – she was pinned down by police and strapped down to a stretcher by paramedics – has given a lurid account of Alice screaming and thrashing around. Well she was probably terrified. It was reported that Alice had tried to bite them – well you’d fucking well tied her up hadn’t you, what else could she do, even symbolically? Yet another witness account describes Alice as having had an ‘anxiety attack’ because she feared that the baby had died. After being tied up and terrorised, Alice was taken to the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital where a psychic psychiatrist noted that her conversation seemed normal, but guess what, they knew that there was a psychosis underneath! Now it is incredibly common for new mothers to fear that their baby has died – they are charged with keeping this little creature that they don’t yet know very well alive and babies do weird things like holding their breath, making snuffling noises and turning odd colours. Nearly all new mothers, at some point, have a fleeting fear that the baby has died. Alice’s mistake was to panic too loudly about this. It is also very common for people to believe that they are so in touch with the feelings of someone close to them that they are telepathic. If such an idea is expressed by a mother whom a healthcare worker encounters who has not been labelled psychotic, it is usually taken to be a sign of ‘bonding’. Days after Alice was tied up and carted off to the Chelsea and Westminster, she was found to have a torn liver, which subsequently killed her. Those involved in the ‘restraint’ all maintain that they did nothing at all that could have possibly caused this. The psychic psychiatrist suggested that someone psychotic could have injured themselves and not felt any pain! (Presumably in the same way that black people were believed to be biologically suited to slavery in a way that white people weren’t a few hundred years ago…) So we have a possible scenario of a new mum having a panic attack being assaulted by either a police officer or paramedics so seriously that she sustained a torn liver. As the inquest continues we will no doubt hear a lot more about Alice’s ‘violence’ and superhuman strength as she fought tigress-like – well that liver has got to be explained away somehow…

A recent post on the blog described how babies are dying because midwives frequently are not taught how to read foetal heart monitors – see post ‘News From The Betsi’. Yesterday Jeremy Hunt announced an investigation into Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust after a spate of deaths of babies – because staff didn’t know how to read the foetal heart monitors. The Trust has defended itself by maintaining that their track record regarding this is no worse than other Trusts – which is probably true, this has been a substantial problem for years and as with other circumstances causing patients to regularly die when they shouldn’t it has all been concealed.

Dear old MIND are doing one of their regular impersonations of an organisation concerned about the welfare of people with mental health problems. They have produced a report maintaining that people discharged from psychiatric units are not receiving appropriate follow-up care, which is increasing their risk of suicide. The usual suspects have all climbed on board, Prof Louis Appleby, Norman Lamb, the Care Quality Commission and ‘an opposition spokesperson’. All these people – and MIND itself – have been fully aware of this problem for years. They are also all fully aware that patients, whilst they are in psychiatric units, are sometimes assaulted by staff, wrongly diagnosed, forcibly given medication which sometimes kills them, ‘restrained’ in such a way that they choke to death, or are tasered by the police. Even if they avoid these more extreme hazards, their lives are frequently destroyed by the time that they have left hospital. They have often lost tenancies and are therefore homeless, usually no-one has managed to deal with their finances whilst they are in hospital – remember, if they are sectioned it is very likely that they will not be allowed out to deal with such matters – so they have built up debts and they are pretty much unemployable, because no-one going to employ someone who’s been sectioned or has been in hospital for several months (and it’s not necessarily to do with ‘stigma’, it is simply that employers fear that if the person concerned is that fragile then they won’t be fit for work). We do not hear about any of this from MIND – and it is for these reasons that people tend to kill themselves when they leave hospital. Interestingly enough, after the dreadful Dr Raj Sambhi sectioned me in the Heddfan Unit for the best part of a year on the grounds that I was ‘severely mentally ill’ because I was maintaining that there was neglect and abuse in the north Wales mental health services and that a paedophile ring had operated in the area, when I was finally released – and I had to find my own accommodation as well, but unlike a lot of other patients I had a network of well-heeled middle class friends to help me – I was visited by a vey nice CPN. After obtaining my medical records relating to this recently, I discovered that this CPN had documented that my risk of suicide was ‘high’ because I had realised what ‘I’d lost’ as a result of my very serious illness. Of course, as I have now revealed on this blog, I have been conducting my ethnographic study of the UK mental health services for quite some time now – and had I not been a sociologist preparing for publication but the person that Raj Sambhi et al assumed that I was, yes I’d say it was highly likely that I would have killed myself – because Sambhi had made every effort possible  to completely destroy my life. Indeed, Professor Catherine Robinson et al of Bangor University’s ‘Centre for Mental Health and Society’ thought that he had – which might be why they co-authored with him…

A Letter From Gary Doherty, The CEO of The Betsi

I have received the ‘final response’ from the Betsi’s CEO Gary Doherty regarding my very serious complaint (the full text of my e mails to Gary Doherty and Peter Higson, the Chairman, can be read in previous blog posts). To describe Gary’s letter as inadequate is an understatement. Previous blog posts have described the numerous inaccuracies and serious unsubstantiated allegations documented upon my medical records, the inclusion of confidential information relating to other patients among records sent to me, the passing on of confidential information relating to me to someone in England who has contacted me, the admission by a member of staff at Ysbyty Gwynedd that certain records were removed from my file many years ago without my knowledge and the failure of the Betsi to release over twenty years worth of records to myself.

Gary only fesses up to two crimes. He admits that there is no evidence that I have ever ‘sexually molested a psychiatrist’ or ‘held a nurse hostage’. Gary has apologised for these entries on my records and has told me that this information will be deleted. Gary does not offer an explanation as to how such horrible allegations came to be made about me and there is no mention of an investigation or disciplinary action against the staff who recorded this ‘information’. Gary has failed to deal with any of the other numerous inaccuracies and slanders on my records – indeed he hasn’t even made reference to most of them. I complained about staff of the mental health services alleging that I had assaulted them and was ‘known to assault members of the public’ when this is not true. Gary’s response to this is that ‘there is factual evidence within the notes of a number of aggressive incidents, no inaccuracy recorded’ – this ‘factual evidence’ refers to the lies written by mental health staff. I have no convictions for assault on anyone. But my medical records maintain that I have attempted to stab people, attempted to throttle people, assaulted staff again and again and attacked members of the public. Neither has Gary mentioned why it was recorded that I had ‘absconded’ from the Heddfan Unit when I had been illegally detained there and the ward manager had told me that I was free to go.

It would appear that more than twenty years worth of records concerning me have completely disappeared. Gary tells me that records from the North Wales Hospital Denbigh have been archived and the archives have been searched but no information relating to me was found. He tells me that there are no records from Ysbyty Glan Clwyd. He tells me that records from the Hergest Unit dating from 2002 have been released to me and that a ‘few letters’ dating from 1986 have been found but no ‘detailed notes’. He has sent me a copy of a letter that Martin Jones sent me when he was CEO of the North West Wales NHS Trust admitting that a number of records from my attendances at Ysbyty Gwynedd A&E cannot be found – well of course they can’t, it was admitted to me that they’d been removed from my files. So where have they gone and why were they removed?

So virtually all records relating to me from 1984 to 2002 have disappeared. My request to Gary was partly experimental. It has been common knowledge that for a number of years now I have been stating my intention to one day publish my experiences at the hands of the mental health services and that is why I began this blog. I actually have a copy of the records between 1984 and 2002 that Gary claims don’t exist because in 2005 my lawyers summoned Keith Thomson, the former CEO of the North West Wales NHS Trust, in front of a judge in the High Court and he was forced to hand those records over, something that he had previously refused to do. (However there were a number of documents compiled by a staff whistleblower that Thomson did not hand over – he signed an affidavit testifying that all records had been released so Thomson perjured himself on that occasion.) My lawyer has now returned my records to me – I’ve got the lot and have been using them to write this blog. So why can’t Gary find twenty years worth of records that document staff wrongdoing and law breaking? Have they been unlawfully destroyed? Or is Gary telling porkies?

Gary has made no mention at all of the fact that confidential information about me has been released to someone else. He states that he has found ‘one page’ of information among my records that refers to another patient. Well actually Gary, among the records released to me by the Betsi a few weeks ago, there are at least five pages of information relating to another patient, I’m looking at them now. And among the documents returned from my lawyers – documents that you say don’t exist – there is information relating to 18 other patients. Among the documents that Gary says don’t exist is also the document which alleged that I have been in prison for attacking someone with a knife – in his reply to me Gary simply says that there is no such allegation upon my medical records. There is, but Gary has either lost or destroyed so many of the records that he’s lost or destroyed that particular allegation.

To summarise. The staff at the Betsi will knowingly write the most damaging libellous comments on patients medical records and will refuse to remove them on the grounds that staff lies are ‘factual information’. They will pass confidential information about one to other people and fail to address this issue if one raises it in a complaint. Furthermore they will release large quantities of confidential information relating to other patients to one and will simply deny that they have done this. There will be no investigation or disciplinary action undertaken even in relation to the wrongdoing to which they are prepared to fess up. So this is Gary’s idea of ‘resolving a complaint’. (And I didn’t even bother to complain about Raj Sambhi sectioning me for months on the grounds that I was alleging serious abuse in the mental health services and that there had been a paedophile ring operating in the area – those months of my life have gone and I cannot bring them back. I was hoping however for a bit of humility from Gary, an admission that things had – AGAIN – gone badly wrong and a remedy to the scores of fallacious allegations documented about me.)

Gary, I can hear the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales calling…