The Crème de la Crème

It is clear that from the very inception of the NHS bad attitudes towards, as well as the neglect and even abuse of, certain groups of people were tolerated within the service, even by those who have been written into history as moving mountains in their efforts to establish the NHS as a result of their desire to see the poor and disadvantaged receive heath care. The politician who achieved hero status as a result of his work regarding the creation of the NHS was of course Nye Bevan, but there is someone else whose name is not well known outside medical and history circles whose reputation stands upon the towering achievement that is the NHS. That man is Sir George Godber.

Sir George Godber was a Top Doctor and civil servant who worked with both William Beveridge and Nye Bevan to establish the NHS and then was Chief Medical Officer, 1960-73. When Godber died in 2009 ‘The Guardians’ obituary described him as a ‘medical lay saint’. No-one seemed to have a bad word to say about Godber, absolutely no-one.

George Godber was born in 1908, went to Bedford Modern School and then read medicine at that educator of so many of the paedophiles’ friends, New College, Oxford (see post ‘A Study In Tyranny’). Godber trained at the London Hospital and London School of Hygiene, qualifying in 1933. We are told that it was Godber’s experience of working on a casualty ward in a municipal hospital in the London Docklands after qualifying where he encountered seriously ill people who were too poor to afford a doctor but too proud to ask for charity that convinced him that a state-funded health service was necessary.

Godber entered public health medicine as a route into the Ministry of Health. He worked as a county medical officer in Surrey and then joined the Ministry of Health as a medical officer in 1939. He was involved in providing health care services during WWII and organised maternity services in the suburbs for evacuees from inner cities. In 1942 with the publication of the Beveridge Report, Godber was part of the team which prepared the ‘Domesday Book’ survey of British hospitals, personally visiting 300 establishments in Yorkshire and the north midlands.

In 1950 George Godber became Deputy Chief Medical Officer at the Ministry of Health and in 1960 he was appointed Chief Medical Officer at the succeeding dept, the DHSS. He remained as CMO until his retirement in 1973. Godber led a very active retirement – he lived to the age of 100, was driving until he was 97 and didn’t experience serious health problems even in old age. He was Chair of the Health Education Council, 1977-78 and seems to have socialised, given interviews, reflected on the past of the NHS and taken a keen interest in developments and plans. It is highly likely that Godber would have been called on informally for help and advice long after his retirement.

So that’s the bare bones of Godber’s career.

Godber was at the helm whilst Dr Dafydd Alun Jones and Dr T. Gwynne Williams at the North Wales Hospital Denbigh illegally imprisoned, lobotomised, shocked and drugged the victims of the paedophile gang as well as people who were gay along with unmarried pregnant women – and in at least one case that I know of, a pregnant woman who was married but who had left her husband against her mother’s wishes. Godber was in post when people in the ‘care’ of Dafydd and Gwynne died under questionable circumstances which went uninvestigated, when they ‘disappeared’ ‘within the system’ after what was supposed to be a brief stay in hospital, when they remained in the hospital for decades for no explicable reason and when they were transferred to high security hospitals and prisons on the ‘evidence’ of people who had demonstrably lied in other cases. Godber was CMO during all those years when the physical and sexual abuse of patients at Denbigh was openly discussed. He was CMO in the 1960s when Dafydd was named in ‘The Times’ after he discharged many seriously ill patients into ‘community care’, only for them to be later discovered in unsuitable accommodation along the north Wales coast, uncared for and in some cases starving and covered in lice. At this time Dafydd was a leading light in MIND, promoting community care.

Godber was also CMO when the Top Doctors of north Wales flatly refused to provide abortion services after the 1967 Abortion Act, thus leading to the St David’s laundry of Bangor (see post ‘Every Sperm In Sacred – Particularly In Scotland’).

Godber’s responsibilities weren’t just to the DHSS. His role as CMO also spanned the Home Office and the Dept of Education and Science and thus included responsibility for approved schools, remand centres, high security hospitals, prisons and other educational institutions. Such establishments were also under the control of Dafydd, Gwynne, the paedophiles and their friends eg. Axwell Park Approved School Gateshead, Bryn Estyn, Risley Remand Centre, Broadmoor, Park Lane/Moss Side/Ashworth.

Did George Godber perhaps not know what was going on? Well it would have been difficult for him to have missed the article about Denbigh in ‘The Times’ – it caused a very great hoo ha, it was considered a major scandal, particularly when it was revealed that no-one, not even the patients themselves, knew that they were going to be transferred ‘into the community’. The story is that one day a number of coaches turned up at the hospital, the patients were loaded up and off they went. The patients who were transported and left to die seem to have been very vulnerable, frail, chronically ill patients. No doubt Dafydd and Gwynne kept the young attractive ones banged up to continue to provide sexual services to the staff and they won’t have dared let out any of the victims of the paedophile gang.

There’s another reason why Godber would have known just how bad Denbigh was. Because in the early 1960s the Health Minister Enoch Powell visited the North Wales Hospital himself. Dafydd and Gwynne’s work was proudly on display and Powell was so appalled at what he saw that he told the reception committee that he would not allow them to do this to people. When he returned to London Powell immediately proposed the closure of all the long stay psychiatric hospitals and made his famous ‘Water Towers’ speech.

When I found out about all this I was certainly intrigued. Not only because dear old Gwynne and Dafydd had impressed Enoch Powell so deeply with their expertise, but by the fact that they had actually invited him in the first place – well they were both crackers, I can only presume that they had spent so many years telling their lies about the wonderful facilities and care on offer at Denbigh that the mad old buggers had come to believe it themselves – and because Denbigh DIDN’T close. Not until 1995. Enoch Powell, a robust man with a big cult following, had been horrified, had determined to put a stop to Dafydd and Gwynne’s activities, had made a speech and ordered a policy change, but bugger all happened. Furthermore, Powell’s interest in the matter stopped. Completely. I contacted the archive at Cambridge University which holds Powell’s papers because I wanted to go through them and read everything relating to Denbigh, but guess what? There are NO references to Denbigh in the Powell papers.

Powell is someone who tore the Tory Party apart over the issue of race, he inspired dockers to march in protest over immigration and when he really wanted to kick the Tories in the knackers he defected to the Ulster Unionist Party. He also regularly confronted Tory grandees like Heseltine on the TV and told them that their policy with regard to the nuclear deterrent was ‘stupid’. Powell was very effective indeed at causing the maximum trouble on issues over which he felt strongly. Yet something had silenced him after he announced his intention to put a stop to Dafydd and Gwynne’s reign of terror – and references to his desire to do this have not been recorded.

Powell never spoke about Denbigh again but he did talk about his time as Health Minister, between 1960-63. He observed that ‘The unnerving discovery every Minister of Health makes at or near the outset of his term of office is that the only subject he is ever destined to discuss with the medical profession is money’. So he wasn’t destined to discuss the abuses of two maniacs in north Wales who were facilitating a paedophile ring.

‘The Daily Telegraph’ obituary of Godber mentioned that Enoch Powell had described Godber as his ‘bodyguard and lightening conductor’.

The Torygraph also explains that Godber ‘helped found and plan the NHS’, had ‘played a leading role in shaping it over its first 35 years’ and that between 1960-73 Godber ‘wielded immense influence as CMO in the Department of Health and Social Security’.

Could Dafydd and Gwynne’s continued survival and gross abuses after the visit from Mr Powell possibly have been down to Sir George Godber?

So what else did Godber’s obituaries say about him? Well they retold the entertaining Top Doctoresque anecdotes that were Godber’s favourites. Godber enjoyed telling people that minutes after the NHS was established in 1948, he was on duty at the Ministry when he received an SOS from a GP who was requesting leeches. Godber thought that this was a hoax, but it transpired not to be – it really was a GP after leeches, to treat an eye injury sustained by the US ambassador. The leech has made an experimental comeback recently under certain circumstances. However leeches had rather gone out of fashion in 1948 and Godber knew that. Nevertheless, the T. Gwynne Williams of general practice had obviously been summoned in an emergency and had called for leeches – which Godber had supplied. We are also told that later in life Godber used to reminisce about newspaper coverage concerning the waste of NHS resources, such as stories that people were asking for cotton wool on prescription and then using it to stuff their cushions or asking for ambulances to take them shopping. Godber’s favourite story was that of the bald prisoner who had persuaded a psychiatrist that he needed a wig – only to escape using his new disguise.

Godber did not reveal that in north Wales there was a crumbling huge asylum costing a fortune to run and employing hundreds of staff which was used as the personal prison of two men who were facilitating a paedophile ring. Neither did he mention the ambulances which were summoned in the dead of night to deliver people who had been arrested unlawfully to the asylum under cover of darkness. Nor did he mention the legal expense incurred as patients who dared complain were dragged through the courts repeatedly on trumped up charges. Godber knew of much more serious abuses of NHS resources than people making cushions, going shopping or indeed escaping prisoners – if indeed any of those things ever did happen.

There is firm evidence that Godber knew that all was not well in the NHS. He implemented the proposal for the confidential inquiry into maternal deaths in 1952. OK – so mothers were dying at a rate that alarmed even this complacent old fart, so he set up a CONFIDENTIAL inquiry. That is, one that the mothers who might be at risk of dying knew nothing about. This inquiry was then used as a model for later confidential inquiries into deaths associated with analgesia and surgical operations. So the Top Doctors were killing people under anaesthetic on the operating table as well but that was kept quiet too. Could there possibly have been a confidential inquiry into Dafydd and Gwynne that no-one knew anything about on Godber’s watch? It wouldn’t surprise me – a MIND worker who didn’t realise that he was talking to a service user with a brain fessed up to me in 1987 that there had been a big investigation into the mental health services in north Wales, that ‘one man had everything sewn up for himself’ and that ‘it was something to do with Freemasonry’. Yes, that was Dafydd and the paedophiles’ friends that the man from MIND was talking about. It was something to do with organised crime involving some of Thatcher’s friends as well.

One of Godber’s obituaries tells us that ‘one of [his] strongest publicity campaigns was against promiscuity, venereal disease and unwanted pregnancy’ but that after his retirement Godber admitted ‘limited success’ in this area, because no-one had a clear idea how to teach young people about sex. No-one rescued them from the clutches of a paedophile gang either and they put a stop to Enoch Powell when he wanted to shut down the prison that the paedophiles were using to incarcerate their victims.

Sir Douglas Black claimed that Godber ‘saw and pursued his duty in promoting the rights of others’. Unless they’d been illegally incarcerated by a paedophile gang obviously. Sir Douglas Black played a key role in the development of the NHS himself. In 1974 he became the first Chief Scientist at the DHSS. He was President of the Royal College of Physicians, 1977-83 and President of the BMA. He was commissioned by Jim Callaghan’s Gov’t to lead an investigation into inequalities – the resulting publication, the Black Report, made Thatch very angry.

Fifty years after the creation of the NHS Godber was quoted as saying that ‘we need to provide the most we can for the most people, not everything for the privileged few’. Presumably this only applies once an exception has been made for the salaries of the Top Doctors and the writing off of huge swathes of people who aren’t considered worthy of their very precious time.

On the 60th anniversary of the NHS – 2008 – the BMJ reported that Godber was too frail to attend the anniversary service at Westminster Abbey. I remember the 60th anniversary of the NHS very well. I was still living in north Wales then and the threats and harassment towards me on the part of the paedophiles’ friends had become very public and well-known locally. I phoned the A&E Dept at Ysbyty Gwynedd for advice and help on that evening. I didn’t dare actually go to hospital in person because the last time that I had done that I had been threatened by two male nurses, refused treatment, accused of abusing the staff and the police were called to throw me out. CCTV had recorded the whole scene so my lawyer subsequently requested release of the footage. The Chief Exec of the North West Wales NHS Trust, Martin Jones, admitted destroying the footage – AFTER the Trust had received my complaint. So on the 60th anniversary I rang in order to avoid further attempts to arrest me. Stephen Gallagher, the senior nurse who had previously refused to treat me and made fallacious allegations about me to the police, slammed the phone down on me. I rang back and he slammed it down again. A friend of mine and her husband rang Gallagher and expressed concern about his conduct. They were insulted by him. My friend then told Gallagher that she worked in the hospital herself and she would be making a complaint about him – he responded by making threats to her career. She told him that she had lost her daughter to suicide which is why she took such a dim view of someone with a mood disorder being denied treatment. Gallagher told her to stop being ‘manipulative’. When my friend went into work the next day she was met by a posse of managers who interrogated her and told her that I was ‘using’ her to ‘get at’ the hospital managers. There was a flat denial from Martin Jones to my lawyer that I had ever been refused treatment. It transpired that Gallagher had previously been the subject of a complaint by a doctor and a note had been put on his staff file stating that his competence and integrity could not be relied upon. Another senior nurse involved in the first incident in which I was denied treatment was some years later arrested and charged after another member of staff witnessed him throw a patient in her 80s against a drinks machine and injure her. Then Gallagher found himself under the spotlight yet again after he was the last person to see a patient who was turned away from the A&E Dept without treatment and found dead in the Cathedral Gardens in Bangor hours later. See post ‘Two Dangerous Very Dishonest Nurses’ for the full details of these incidents.

Martin Jones is now Director of the Workforce at the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board.

BBC News Wales Online reported the other day that Gruff Rhys, the frontman of the rock group the Super Furry Animals, is planning to take part in a concert to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the NHS. Gruff Rhys is the son of Ioan Bowen Rees, who was Chief Executive of Gwynedd County Council whilst it’s Social Services Dept hosted a paedophile ring, perjured themselves in order to frame complainants and ran the toxic Arfon Community Mental Health Team who neglected psychiatric patients so badly that some of them were living rough in the local villages and towns (see post ‘I Know Nuzzing…’) and were even found dead.

 

George Godber had a fellow civil service mandarin to assist him, Sir Bruce Fraser, who was appointed Permanent Secretary in the DHSS in 1960, when Powell became Health Minister and when Godber was appointed CMO. Fraser had been moved over from the Treasury and Godber’s obituary describes Fraser as therefore ‘not scarred by the experience of setting up the NHS’. Which says a lot about the pitched battle that was fought between the Top Doctors – in the form of the BMA – and the Labour Gov’t when the NHS was established. The BMA did not want the NHS at all and fought tooth and nail to stop it. Hence Nye Bevan’s now notorious method of persuading the Top Doctors to agree to accept the NHS – he would ‘stuff their mouths with gold’. The interests of the patients have never been foregrounded by the NHS – although I accept that there were many genuine people who did campaign for it – and an enormous degree of secrecy pervades every part of the NHS, particularly with regard to patient harm.

Bruce Fraser was born in 1910 and like Godber went to school in Bedford, but to a different school – Bedford School – and then studied at Trinity College, Cambridge. In 1933 he was appointed to the Scottish Office and then to the Treasury in 1936. He was briefly the Minister for Aviation in 1960 and then became the Permanent Secretary at the DHSS. Between 1964-65 Fraser worked in the Dept of Education and Science and then in the Ministry of Land and Resources, 1965-66. He was Comptroller and Auditor General, ie. the head of the Exchequer and Audit Dept (now the National Audit Office), 1966-71.

Sir Bruce Fraser co-authored a classic text for civil servants, ‘The Complete Plain Words’ with Sir Ernest Gower. This was a guide as to how to teach officials and others to write clearly and it was published by HMSO. HMSO did of course produce the guidelines for Gov’t Depts such as the DHSS. When I first began experiencing problems with the mental health services in north Wales I requested a copy of my medical records – by then I had been lied to, lied about, repeatedly threatened and my records had also been crudely doctored (so to speak) after I had complained about Gwynne the lobotomist. I was told that it was illegal for me to access my records – I knew that this was nonsense, so in the end I called at the office of the pen pusher who was at the time Mr Big Pen Pusher in Gwynedd Health Authority, Bernard Rhodes. I had acquired a publication from HMSO in which the guidelines re patient access to medical records was set out. Bernard started lying to me again – he had already done so by letter – so I quoted out of the HMSO publication. Bernard yelled at me that perhaps I’d like to have a conversation with HMSO then – HMSO wrote the publication from which I was quoting for Bernard’s guidance, so there’d be no point in me conversing with HMSO, it wasn’t them that were lying to me. I yelled at Bernard that the NHS was there for the sake of the patients not the doctors. At this point Bernard lost it completely, yelled ‘NO NO NO’ and threw me out of his office (see post ‘Former NHS Managers Of Notoriety Now Keeping A Low(er) Profile’). I now have a copy of a letter that Bernard wrote and cc’d to a number of people after that meeting which stated that ‘the less said to this young lady the better’. Presumably because I had caught them lying and breaking the law. I didn’t realise at the time that the mental health services were facilitating a paedophile ring, participating in serious criminal activities and had been doing so for decades. But Sir Bruce Fraser the man who wrote the guide for officials published by HMSO knew that they were, as did many other people. No-one took any action to stop them.

 

Earlier today I watched a 1968 episode of ‘Tomorrow’s World’ which featured a few Top Doctors from Godber’s time as CMO – he will have personally known some of them. BBC News Online made the clip available on their website because it has just been the anniversary of Christiaan Barnard performing the first human to human heart transplant – Barnard faced a great deal of opposition from the Top Doctors at the time and ‘Tomorrow’s World’ screened a question and answer session between Barnard and other Top Doctors following the transplant.

In 1968 Dafydd and Gwynne were in their heyday and many, many people in the UK medical establishment and in Gov’t knew just how serious their wrongdoing was. As with authorities who are now being faced with evidence of organised child abuse which they ignored, when the Top Doctors are faced with their wrongdoing of yesteryear, the excuse of ‘ooh society saw things differently then’ tends to be trotted out. No – child molesting has never been acceptable which was why so many people worked so hard to conceal it and even went as far as killing the witnesses. ‘It was different in the 70s’ – well yes the clothes people wore were of a different style and attitudes to things like mixed race marriages and gay relationships were different, but I was alive and kicking in the 70s and at no time do I remember molesting children being considered an OK way to spend one’s time. Likewise no Top Doctor would have publicly endorsed facilitating a paedophile ring, trafficking psychiatric patients into prostitution and illegally imprisoning young women because they have complained about one’s mate’s highly improper behaviour towards them. Would they Dafydd? Or come to think of it neither they would they have endorsed perjury, hounding complainants AND their friends out of jobs, threatening them and then trying to bribe them when the threats didn’t work.

The Top Doctors knew exactly how they should have been conducting business and this is exemplified on the ‘Tomorrow’s World’ clip. Christiaan Barnard is accused of breaching confidentiality, of putting patients at risk, of seeking publicity and thus cheapening medicine and of misrepresenting the success of his surgery. The level of debate was excellent – the Top Doctors certainly knew what they should have been doing and because they were being filmed they did indeed do it, whilst they paid attention and sat up straight in their suits with their ties done up, with freshly applied Brylcreem and a side parting and horn-rimmed specs. Christiaan Barnard was not even running a paedophile gang, but the Top Docs gave him a real grilling.

However the Top Docs gave the game away. They were happy to converse and debate with each other even when they strongly disagreed, but unfortunately someone had let in someone else who was Not A Top Doctor  – one Malcolm Muggeridge. Muggeridge actually raised many very similar points to the Top Doctors but they weren’t going to take that from a bloody journalist. They were consistently rude to him using every technique in their repertoire to undermine him. Muggeridge insisted on completely disgracing himself and the Top Doctors did what they did to me on every occasion when I faced them with evidence of their criminal activities – they all joined forces and refused to answer Muggeridge’s question and they ordered Barnard to ‘ignore that question’ as well. So what had Muggeridge said which outraged the Top Doctors so much? He had asked whether Christiaan Barnard had carried out this very controversial surgery in cape Town in South Africa using a ‘coloured person’ as a donor because of the apartheid regime placing less value on the lives of certain citizens. Christ those Top Doctors did not like that. It was as if Muggeridge had accused them of running a paedophile ring. As I watched the Top Doctors sharply draw in their breath and harrumph away in disgust at Muggeridge daring to suggest such a thing, I remembered how many medical techniques had indeed been pioneered on black people – or on psychiatric patients of course – until everyone was convinced that the technique or treatment was safe. In 1968 black people in South Africa routinely experienced far poorer standards of healthcare than white people. Black and white people did not usually use the same hospitals or even share the same doctors. Furthermore the South African police had a habit of violently assaulting and even killing black people and the Top Doctors were not overly concerned about this. We doctors???? Discriminate against black people???? In apartheid South Africa??? How very dare you. Don’t answer that man.

We doctors??? Lie on your medical records??? Then alter them??? Then threaten you and ensure that you were sacked??? Then illegally imprison you and perjure ourselves in Court?? Then ensure that your friends who know what we did were sacked as well??? Dr Dafydd Alun Jones is having sex with patients??? You’re mad – how very dare you. No we will not communicate with you under any circumstances particularly now that you’re in possession of documents written by us in which we admit that we did everything of which you accused us and a great deal more besides.

The Top Docs don’t like admitting this but in the NHS black patients are far more likely to be sectioned, detained in locked wards and forcibly ‘medicated’. They are also more likely to be killed by staff ‘restraining’ them or to be tasered by the police to ‘calm them down’. This has been the case for many, many years although the Top Docs are of course committed to fighting discrimination and stigma. Not that they’ve ever discriminated against or stigmatised anyone in the first place.

Let’s have a look at some of those who featured on the ‘Tomorrow’s World’ programme who stopped speaking to Muggeridge – simply because he suggested a very real possibility – who were leading figures in medicine whilst Dafydd and Gwynne were being allowed to do whatever they felt like by George Godber.

Lord Robert Platt: Platt was a kidney specialist but is actually most well-known for his debate with George Pickering in the 1940s-50s regarding hypertension. Although Lord Platt was a central figure in the UK medical establishment, he wasn’t your typical Top Doctor and was considered frighteningly liberal. He was born in 1900 in Marylebone and his parents established and ran a co-educational boarding school in Derbyshire – his mother was one of the first women to become one of HM Inspectors of Schools. His uncle was a close friend of Keir Hardie and his cousin had been involved in the Spanish Civil War.

Platt studied medicine at Sheffield University and qualified in 1921. He worked as a physician at the Royal Infirmary Sheffield in the 1930s and built up an extensive private practice at the same time. The Royal College of Physicians ‘Lives of the Fellows’ site explains that Platt became a ‘socialist’ during his war service. He resigned from the BMA in 1947 and never rejoined. Platt was an enthusiastic supporter of the NHS. He was awarded the Chair of Medicine at Manchester University in 1946 and for much of his career he was head of Central Manchester Health Authority. Platt was a member of the Royal Commission on Medical Education and a member of the first working party set up to review the medical staffing of hospitals. He Chaired the Merit Awards Committee and at various times was President of the FPA (Family Planning Association), ASH and the National Society for the Abolition of Cruel Sports. Platt was supportive of women in medicine.

Lord Platt was also President of the Eugenics Society. In the early part of the 20th century eugenics had not yet become toxic and many people considered quite respectable supported eugenics, but as the years passed, eugenics became associated with some rather worrying people (see post ‘The Case Of The King’s Sperm’). I note that Lord Platt was still involved with the Eugenics Society in the mid-60s.

Platt was President of the Royal College of Physicians, 1957-62. The Royal College are most grateful to Lord Platt because he oversaw the relocation of the College into their present Regent’s Park building, in much the same way that the Royal College of Psychiatrists have been forever grateful to the man who bagged them their palatial residence.

Lord Platt sat as a crossbencher after he was given a peerage. It is noted that he spoke on pornography and euthanasia, but the Royal College of Physicians remarks that latterly he supported ‘less progressive concerns’ such as the preservation of the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital and opposed the compulsory wearing of seat belts. It’s interesting that the Royal College categorise Lord Platt’s support for the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital as ‘less progressive’. When Camden Area Health Authority announced the closure of that hospital in 1976 it was not a bunch of Neanderthals who campaigned to keep it open, it was feminist groups as well as other women. The Elizabeth Garrett Anderson was the only hospital which was for women and staffed entirely by women – women who had previously had bad experiences with men very much appreciated the Elizabeth Garett Anderson. Camden Area Health Authority ignored the protests and closed the hospital in 1979. In 1979 Dafydd was sexually exploiting patients and illegally imprisoned Mary Wynch for a year. William Kerr and Michael Haslam were raping and abusing female mental health patients in Yorkshire and were afforded complete protection (see post ‘All The Ingredients Of A Scandal’). John Allen’s paedophile gang and trafficking business in north Wales was booming and was being ably assisted by Dafydd and the mental health services in north Wales. Mental health patients and kids in care in Camden were also being abused and exploited, on the doorstep of Frank Dobson, Tessa Jowell and many others who later became leading lights in the Labour Party under Tony Blair (see post ‘The Most Dangerous Man In The World – Part IV’).

Lord Platt was an accomplished cello player and was active in a variety of music organisations.

Lord Platt was rather different to the other Top Doctors of his era. He will have known about horrors like the appalling institutional abuse of vulnerable people by the NHS and was a very powerful figure in an era in which Top Doctors were even more powerful than they are now. But I can find no record of even Lord Platt speaking out against the abuse of certain groups within the NHS. Perhaps he just felt that it was a hill too steep to climb – the Royal College implied that he had evolved into a daft old buffer because he dared support a massively popular hospital providing a much needed service and because he dissented on the seatbelts business. The campaign to make wearing seatbelts a legal obligation was backed by the BMA – and promoted by a man called Jimmy Savile.

Another Top Doctor in the ‘Tomorrow’s World’ audience was Sir Thomas Holmes Sellors, a cardiothoracic surgeon. Sir Thomas went to Oriel College, Oxford and then to the Middlesex Hospital, where he qualified in 1926. He was some ten years older than Gwynne the lobotomist who also qualified at the Middlesex. My post ‘I Don’t Believe It!’ names a few other Middlesex alumni who became very big names in medicine whilst Gwynne and his protégé Dafydd were allowed to wreak havoc in north Wales. Sir Thomas developed open heart surgery units at the Middlesex, Harefield and the National Heart Hospitals. Sir Thomas himself worked at Harefield from the outbreak of WWII util he retired and it was he who put Harefield on the map. Harefield has an international reputation as does its star surgeon Professor Magdi Yacoub. My post ‘I Don’t Believe It!’ discusses some world-leading research conducted by Magdi Yacoub with Professor Julia Polak, who when I worked at Hammersmith Hospital was widely reputed to have been perpetrating research fraud.

Thomas Holmes Sellors was President of the Royal College of Surgeons, 1969-72 and President of the BMA in 1972.

Holmes Sellors was ‘active in the medico-political field’ from the inception of the NHS and he is remembered for having a taste for ‘gracious living’, with homes in London and Buckinghamshire. Holmes Sellors remained active for many years after his retirement and was, among other things, the Chairman and later the President of the Medical Council on Alcoholism. Dr Dafydd Alun Jones was constructed as an ‘alcohol and drugs specialist’ (see post ‘The Evolution Of A Drugs Baron?’).

Thomas Holmes Sellors had a stroke when he was older and  in 1986 spent time in hospital. Sir Reginald Murley, who wrote the tribute to Holmes Sellors on the Royal College of Physicians ‘Lives of the Fellows’ site, remembered that he went to visit Sir Thomas who was ‘chuckling with glee’ whilst reading a tabloid newspaper which he’d only purchased because no other newspapers were available in the hospital. Murley noticed Sir Thomas’s ‘unusual reading matter’ and observed that Holmes Sellors was reading about a ‘house of ill-repute on Ambleside Avenue, Streatham’ and remarked to Murley that ‘I had two respectable maiden aunts who lived there. Heaven knows what they would say if they could read that’. What a pair of jolly old buffers Holmes Sellors and Raymond Murley must have been. It was not mentioned in the ‘Lives of the Fellows’ that the house of ill-repute in question, Cynthia Payne’s brothel, was just down the road from St George’s Hospital Medical School and that a number of consultants were clients of Madam Cyn’s. As were a number of judges, MPs, peers, lawyers and clergymen. After Madam Cyn was first raided in 1978 she went to prison, although none of her customers did. Business continued after her release and she was raided again in 1986, which will have been what Holmes Sellors was reading about. No-one understood quite why but she was treated very much more leniently on that occasion, although it wasn’t because the Courts had become any more liberal or less hypocritical.

In 1986 Oliver Brooke, the Professor of Paediatrics at St George’s, was imprisoned for the possession of huge quantities of child pornography. He was released on appeal after a sympathetic judge commented that his collection of kiddie porn could be compared to a collection of cigarette cards. One of the detectives who worked on the Brooke case later revealed that Brooke was Mr Big in a pan-European paedophile network.

One person who had a great deal of knowledge about the activities at Ambleside Avenue and those who visited the brothel was David Sutch, who lived there himself with Madam Cyn for a while. Sadly he cannot enlighten us now because he hung himself in 1999 – so he was dead before the cover-up that was the Waterhouse Report was published in 2000. David Sutch suffered from manic depression and didn’t seem to get the care that he needed from the colleagues of the brothel’s customers. For more background on Ambleside Avenue and the convenience of David Sutch’s suicide, see post ‘The Most Dangerous Man In The World – Part III’.

Sir Thomas Holmes Sellors was among the very top of the Top Doctors – he is so revered that the Royal College didn’t just have the usual portrait of him painted, they had a whole sculpture made! There is a bust of this glorious man in the Royal College.

Between 1958-67 Holmes Sellors was Chair of the joint consultants committee, which links the BMA with the representatives of the Royal Colleges. Until I read this I didn’t know exactly what the joint consultants committee was, although I’d long since wondered. I’d wondered because in 1988 when I was told that my complaints about the mental health services in north Wales were finally going to be heard, it was the joint consultants committee who appointed Professor Robert Bluglass to investigate my complaints.

Bluglass ignored every part of my complaint relating to Dr Tony Francis (Dr X) and Gwynedd Social Services and stressed that I had caused a lot of trouble and a lot of people great annoyance, although he had documentary evidence that Dafydd had broken the law and lied repeatedly (see post ‘Enter Professor Robert Bluglass CBE’). No action was taken against anyone. Much more recently I discovered that Bluglass was a close colleague of Professor Ian Brockington – Brockington had been Tony Francis’s boss immediately before Tony Francis relocated to north Wales (see post ‘Ian Brockington’s Mischief’). Some three years after Bluglass blamed my unreasonableness for the wrongdoing of people who were facilitating a paedophile gang, a patient was murdered at Ashworth Hospital. Robert Bluglass was appointed to lead the investigation. He in turn appointed two nurses to help him – one nurse was one of the senior nurses from the Reaside Clinic, the clinic of which Bluglass was clinical director and the other was one of Dafydd’s senior nurses. Not only did Dafydd himself send ‘dangerous’ patients to Ashworth , but after I complained about a nurse who assaulted me whilst I was in Denbigh my complaint was not investigated on the grounds that the nurse concerned, Stephen Rose, had left Denbigh for a job at Park Lane Hospital. Park Lane merged with Moss Side to form Ashworth Hospital. There were a number of inquiries into the very serious problems at Ashworth, including the inquiry led by Bluglass. Problems included patients being violently and sexually assaulted by staff, children being taken into the hospital to visit paedophiles, child porn discovered on the premises and a number of deaths. Things just never seemed to improve, although I’m sure that Bluglass did his best.

I now have documents in my possession which demonstrate that one organisation who provided Tony Francis with advice and support after I complained about the wrongdoing of the mental health services was the BMA. Bluglass, Francis and Dafydd were all members and/or fellows of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Professor Catherine Robinson, one of the ‘suicide experts’ who works for the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, used to be married to a psychologist who worked at Ashworth! Catherine herself worked at Denbigh! Time to make a police statement Catherine rather than simply warning all your former colleagues that I was preparing to publish what I knew?

For some unknown reason, a few years ago Bluglass asked for his name to be removed from the medical register and all references to him disappeared from the internet. He has reappeared online now though. There’s a nice photo of him drinking champagne with his friends and he and his wife Kerry – also a Top Doctor – enjoy themselves singing in an elite choir, the St James’s Singers.  Dame Judi Dench is their Patron. Dame Judi gave an interview recently in which she explained that she didn’t mind getting old but sadly her eye-sight is so bad that she can’t read anymore. She obviously can’t see who’s in her fucking choir either.

 

This blog has paid attention to wrongdoing and fuckwittery being passed down through the generations. Sir Thomas Holmes Sellors did not let the side down in this regard. He had a son – Sir Patrick Holmes Sellors. Sir Patrick died in 2010 but whilst he was alive he was certainly what my friend Brown would call a ‘highly effective shit’.

Patrick Holmes Sellors studied at Oriel College, Oxford and the Middlesex Hospital, like his father. He became an ophthalmologist and due to his general marvellouness he was appointed as a consultant at dear old St George’s when he was just 31. Sir Patrick was also a consultant at the Royal Marsden Hospital and had an extensive private practice. He was honorary consultant to the King Edward VII Hospital for Officers and for St Luke’s Hospital for the Clergy. In 1974 Sir Patrick was appointed Surgeon Oculist to the Royal Household and in 1980 to HM the Queen herself.

Sir Patrick’s obituaries however tell us that his ‘main skill’ lay in ‘medico-legal work’. He must have been very skilled indeed if that eclipsed his Royal duties – his obits mention how Top Doctors would consult Sir Patrick for ‘help’. Sir Patrick was so good at getting Top Doctors out of trouble that he joined the Council of the MDU in 1977 and remained there until he retired in 2003, whereupon the MDU made him an honorary fellow.

When the Edward VII Hospital incurred all that bad publicity after a nurse killed herself, a glowering Lord Simon Glenarthur was wheeled out to intimidate the press. Simon Glenarthur was Chair of the Hospital – he had also been Director of the MDU since 2002. Simon Glenarthur was the Health Minister responsible for the ‘tainted blood’ scandal which resulted in the death of a great many haemophiliacs, although his name was kept under the radar (see post ‘Update On ‘Tainted Blood’ Scandal – The Culprit’).

It was the MDU who provided Dr Tony Francis and his wife, Dr Sadie Francis, with legal ‘advice’ throughout the years 1987-1995 – and I suspect after that as well – as I was repeatedly arrested and prosecuted on the basis of their perjury and the perjury of their colleagues. I have copies of letters that the MDU lawyers wrote to the Francis’s strongly advising them to cease their litigation against me and telling them that there was not the evidence for the claims that they were making. The Francis’s refused to drop the cases so the MDU went ahead regardless, in the knowledge that the allegations against me were untrue. One of the MDU lawyers, Ann Ball, had an extended telephone conversation with me and I told her myself of the criminal wrongdoing that I had witnessed in north Wales. Anne Ball told me that the Francis’s ‘didn’t know’ about any of it. Yet at that time Anne and her colleagues knew that the Francis’s were lying on oath and encouraging others to lie on oath whilst demanding my imprisonment. I also have copies of letters written by Tony and Sadie Francis cc’d to Dr Ian Sanderson of the MDU, complaining about the ‘threat’ that I presented to them and other staff – the ‘threat’ being that I was writing letters of complaint and arriving at Ysbyty Gwynedd in person when my complaints had not been investigated (see post ‘The Night Of The (Dr Chris) Hunter’). The barrister employed by the MDU in the 1991 attempt to have me imprisoned on the lies of the Francis’s was Sir Robert Francis QC (see post ‘The Sordid Role Of Sir Robert Francis QC’). Robert Francis is considered such a safe pair of hands that he has Chaired many investigations into NHS failures, including the inquiry into the care and treatment of Michael Stone after Stone’s conviction for double murder – Michael Stone has always maintained his innocence and was only ever arrested because a Top Doctor phoned someone and stated his belief that Stone Had Done It after watching the murders discussed on Crimewatch. Stone’s legal team are now back in Court once more with new evidence which they believe demonstrates his innocence. A crucial bit of evidence uncovered by Stone’s legal team previously ‘went missing’ on its way to the forensic labs.

Sir Patrick retired in 2003. At the time of his retirement I had just been charged with ‘threatening to kill’ Alun Davies, the manager of the Hergest Unit, on the basis of numerous NHS staff lying in police statements about me – once again. The police who arrested me said that if I was found guilty I’d be looking at a prison sentence of seven years. The case collapsed two years later when it became clear that I hadn’t threatened to kill anyone (see post ‘Interesting Happenings In The Legal System’). There was no investigation as to why so many people had lied to the police and had turned up to Court to lie in the witness box. Last year I found out that after that case, the PNC had been unlawfully accessed to record a conviction of ‘violent disorder’ against my name and a certificate of indictment had also been forged, stating that I had been found guilty of ‘violent disorder’ (see post ‘Even More Confusion Regarding Those Legal Conundrums’ and ‘An Update On Those Legal Condundrums’). I wrote to the North Wales Police’s legal services about this and am still waiting for their explanation.

Sir Patrick died in St Thomas’s Hospital after being taken ill at an MDU celebratory dinner in 2010. What they were celebrating I do not know but he died after his colleagues’ efforts at medical treatment proved unsuccessful. Which seems like natural justice after Holmes Sellors’ career of ensuring that dangerous, lying, criminal doctors got away with framing innocent people, refusing people treatment even in life threatening situations as well as running paedophile gangs and people trafficking rackets.

Tony Francis killed himself a few years ago when Operation Pallial re-opened the investigation into the North Wales Child Abuse Scandal. I was surprised to hear that Sadie Francis had told neighbours that Tony had killed himself because of me no less – namely my ‘harassment’ of him. This presumably was the ‘harassment’ that Sadie’s own MDU lawyers told her to stop telling porkies about many, many years ago. I had not seen let alone communicated with either of the Francis’s for a number of years before Tony Francis’s death. My harassment of criminals aiding a paedophile ring must have had supernatural qualities – what a pity it didn’t cause them to stop their involvement in serious crime twenty years ago.

Time for a visit to the police station Sadie? This time to provide details of who else was involved in the paedophile ring, rather than a statement consisting of a pack of lies about me or indeed any other patient – I was not the only one arrested for ‘threatening’ staff or for other crimes that many people did not believe had been committed. Such as Lee Crabtree – a seriously ill young father who was arrested for ‘attempted robbery’, remanded in Altcourse Prison and who hung himself hours later. The details of Mr Crabtree’s ‘crime’ consisted of him ‘escaping from’ – ie. walking out of – the Hergest Unit whilst in distress and then trying the door of an Angel’s car in a rather ham-fisted getaway attempt. The police took him back into the ward – only to  be told by the Hergest Unit that they would not readmit him and insisted on him being charged with attempted robbery. His wife knew nothing about any of this until Altcourse Prison telephoned her to tell her that he had killed himself and that his ‘property’ (ie. clothes) was still at the Hergest Unit. She rang the Unit and an Angel told her that they were far too busy to go looking for lost property. Well they’ll have been needed down the station to lie their arses off to the police in an attempt to frame the next patient who had dared complain. And to man the hot-line to the MDU.

Tony and Sadie Francis’s son is a lawyer. He specialises in ‘medico-legal’ matters. He represents health and welfare organisations rather than patients who have suffered harm. At one point his CV was boasting of the many thousands of pounds that he had saved one local authority after challenging the provision of patients’ care packages.

At the height of the time of the Francis’s allegations that I was about to murder them in cold blood, a particularly foul police sergeant whom Tony Francis seemed to be on very good terms with told me to jump off the Menai Suspension Bridge because ‘decent’ people didn’t want me near them. This was just months before the five witnesses to the activities of the paedophile gang which operated in north Wales and Cheshire were murdered in an arson attack caused by a decent person chucking a petrol bomb into the building where the witnesses had been invited to a party (see post ‘The Silence Of The Welsh Lambs’). I don’t know the name of the Ginger Pig, but he was the Sergeant in Menai Bridge Police Station in 1991. There will be records relating to him and his activities – unless of course they’ve gone up in flames as did the records off all of the children who had ever passed through the Bryn Alyn Community at the start of the Waterhouse Inquiry.

 

So what about Malcolm Muggeridge, the man who mentioned what is now called institutional racism, who so angered the Top Doctors? The caricature of Muggeridge subscribed to by comedians in the 70s and 80s was always that of a man as old as the hills wringing his hands and banging on about religion. So it was quite a surprise when Jean Seaton’s book ‘Pinkoes and Traitors: The BBC and the Nation 1974-87’ claimed that Muggeridge ‘groped incontinently’. Seaton is the ‘official BBC historian’. She accuses the BBC of being, in years gone by, log jammed with dreadful misogynist men and mentions someone ‘in authority’ who persistently asked young women if he could spank them. I presume that this was ‘Spanker’, a man whose name I have forgotten but who was the subject of a number of ‘Private Eye’ articles in the 1980s – unless of course the BBC were employing more than one man who asked his young female colleagues to participate in spanking sessions with him. Seaton records that after a group of outraged female employees approached the Governors about Spanker’s activities, he was relocated to America in another BBC post which came with a luxurious New York apartment thrown in.

I remember the case of Spanker well, because not long after there was another Spanker who hit the news – only this one was a GP in south London. He had asked a number of women patients to keep diaries of their sexual fantasies, read them with him and in return he spanked them. A number of patients made representation to the GMC. In his defence Spanker explained that he was a Committed Christian and he believed that his treatment was helping these troubled women. During the fitness to practice hearing, ‘Private Eye’ ran their spoof ‘A Doctor Writes’ column making reference to a doctor who is spanking his patients soon finding himself an ex-doctor. Of course because the GMC was involved Spanker didn’t become an ex-doctor, he was allowed to continue practising and probably spanking as well.

Seaton’s book refers to an incident in which Robin Day asked Joan Bakewell ‘do men stare at your breasts when you interview them?’. That’s the Robin Day who was a lifelong friend of Sir Ronnie Waterhouse who concealed rather more serious wrongdoing in north Wales than men staring at Joan’s boobs. I take Seaton’s point that the BBC was crawling with appalling old men who constantly propositioned younger women, but as I discussed in my post ‘A Secret And Forbidding Place To Work’ some of those women exploited that situation for their own benefit. In fact Joan Bakewell herself freely admits that she shagged a lot of people who assisted her career and Esther Rantzen achieved greatness by having an affair with and then marrying Desmond Wilcox. It’s not rocket science and it’s a lot easier than working long hours for years and competing on merit.

Seaton argues that Strong Women at the BBC eventually refused to be walked over and denounced the behaviour of their male colleagues and Changed Things. So that is why the Strong Women all remained silent about Savile, Rolf and Stuart Hall. It must also be why Jo Brand is wheeled out by the BBC constantly – and was again this morning on Radio 4 – as an example of a woman who’s not afraid to take on the Men, as exemplified by her giving Ian Hislop a bollocking on ‘Have I Got News For You’ a few weeks ago. That’s the Jo Brand who is a former psychiatric nurse who is married to a man who still works as a psychiatric nurse and who is an ambassador for MIIND – who has said precisely nothing about the abuse of psychiatric patients by the mental health services. Ian Hislop edits a magazine which regularly highlights cases in which psychiatric patients have been killed whilst in the care of the state. Which is probably why he isn’t a MIND ambassador.

Seaton’s book mentions that George Howard, the Chairman of the BBC Governors 1980-83, attempted to charge the BBC for what was thought to be the use of a prostitute. Seaton’s book does mention Savile – but only in the context of the only discussion about him by the Governors being one concerning how to ration Thatcher’s appearances on his radio and TV programmes.

Seaton’s book was published in 2015 – Dame Janet Smith who led the Public Inquiry into the extent of Savile’s abuse called for witnesses with evidence to come forward early in 2012 , so Seaton would have known what Savile had been up to by the time that she was writing that book. Shortly after Seaton’s book was published she had to offer an apology to the family of Huw Wheldon after she accused him of being one of the BBC gropers. Huw Wheldon came from north Wales, went to Friars School in Bangor and had close links to the paedophiles’ friends.

Malcom Muggeridge famously appeared on the TV programme Friday Night Saturday Morning in 1979 in the company of Mervyn Stockwood to denounce Monty Python’s Life of Brian.

Mervyn Stockwood was the Bishop of Southwark, 1959-80. He came from Bridgend in south Wales – where his father was a solicitor – and then went to Christ’s College, Cambridge, graduating in 1934. Stockwood was the archetypal trendy vicar of his day and in the 1960s created what became known as ‘South Bank religion’. He was a liberal theologian who supported homosexual law reform and he blessed gay relationships, although he claimed to be celibate himself. Mervyn Stockwood, like many clergymen of his time, turned a blind eye to many things. He no doubt kept quiet about much in Southwark but Mervyn Stockwood was the honorary assistant Bishop of Bath and Wells and he kept quiet about a great deal in Somerset as well.

I went to junior school in Somerset with a girl from a church-going family whose dad was a churchwarden. Suddenly the family stopped going to church or indeed having any involvement with the church or village life at all. They were denounced as snobs by the much of the rest of the village, particularly when they took their two daughters away from the local school and sent them to a private school. The vicar remarked on how sad he was to see them turning their backs on the parish. What most people didn’t know was that the sister of the girl who I was in class with had been sexually abused by the vicar. No-one found out until she had a ‘nervous breakdown’ and was hospitalised in Taunton. The vicar went to visit her on the grounds that he was, well, the vicar. The staff let him in whereupon he then molested her in the hospital and was caught red-handed by a nurse. The vicar then rang the girl’s parents and told them that if they prosecuted him he would ensure that the village would discover the identity of their daughter whom he had molested and she would end up in an even worse state than she was already.  The girl’s dad went to the local policeman – only to discover that he had been threatened with disciplinary action himself if he took any action against the vicar at all. It transpired that the girl was by no means the only victim of that vicar. Before anyone had ever discovered that he had molested her, 36 women had complained about him harassing them to the Bishop of Bath and Wells. They had all been told that the Church would deal with it and although some of them knew that the vicar had made a nuisance of himself with other adult women, only three of them knew of the extent of it and they didn’t realise that he was abusing children as well. It was then discovered that the vicar was the biological father of one of the other children in the village and that this was such a common situation that the Church had made financial arrangements for such children and referred to them as ‘children of the Church’ (as opposed to the children of the vicars). It got better. One of the few people who did know about the extent of this vicar’s offending then found out that he had been transferred to the parish in Somerset after behaving in exactly the same way in a parish in Lincolnshire.

As for letting the Church deal with it – the vicar remained as vicar of that parish until he retired nearly twenty years later. His wife continued as Brown Owl of the village Brownie pack and her husband would kindly give lifts to the Brownies when they attended pack meetings. He continued to hold confirmation classes in the rectory, which was how he initially gained access to the girl whom he molested even on hospital premises.

That particular vicar came from a well-known legal family and a number of his relations were barristers and judges.

This was not the only degenerate vicar in Somerset whom I knew of. There was another one in a parish a few miles away who was a man in his mid-fifties married to a woman many years younger than himself – the story was that he had been a teacher and that she had been one of his pupils. What with him being a former teacher, he used to pop into the local primary school to give the kids R.E. lessons. On one occasion he hit one of the boys so hard that he injured him. This man disappeared from the parish a few years later, to the great relief of the local school kids. Not because he was violently assaulting them, but because he had stolen thousands from Church funds. The Bishop explained that he wouldn’t be prosecuted because he was in a difficult situation with that young wife and five children and he was an alcoholic to boot.

All this occurred when I presume Mervyn Stockwood was the Bishop’s assistant. I can only imagine what might have been going on that I never heard about. However I’m glad to say that the Life of Brian did come to the cinema in Bridgwater and we all enjoyed it. A few years later when I made friends with someone who had grown up in Pwllheli he told me that the Life of Brian had been banned there and he’d not yet seen it. Oh well, in Somerset we just had violent, thieving, dirty vicars – so the local teenagers got to see the Life Of Brian. In Gwynedd they had the paedophile gang run by Dafydd and Lucille, so obviously the very idea of screening a blasphemous film would be completely beyond the pale.

The man behind Mervyn Stockwood’s appointment was Geoffrey Fisher, the Archbishop of Canterbury, 1945-61. Fisher was a keen Freemason, the Grand Chaplain in the United Grand Lodge of England. He presided over Princess Elizabeth’s wedding and over her coronation. Fisher retired in 1961 and strongly advised Harold Macmillan against appointing Michael Ramsey as his successor. It is alleged that Fisher told Macmillan that Dr Ramsey was ‘a theologian, a scholar and a man of prayer and therefore is entirely unsuitable as Archbishop of Canterbury. I have known him all my life. I was his headmaster at Repton’. Former pupils at Repton School alleged that Fisher really enjoyed caning boys for no good reason, even by the standards of the time. Macmillan appointed Ramsey as Archbishop anyway.

 

To return to the man with whom I began this post, Sir George Godber. As with Sir Thomas Holmes Sellors, George Godber’s Top Doctor genes were passed onto the next generation, specifically to his son, Dr Colin Godber.

Colin Godber is a psychogeriatrician who is now a Trustee of Age Concern. He has lived in Hampshire since 1971 – when his dad George will still have been CMO. We are told that Colin Godber was ‘instrumental in the development of mental health services for older people in and around Southampton’. Hampshire mental health services were renamed Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust in 2011. They have been in the news over the last two years or so after it was revealed that hundreds of people had died in their care but the vast majority of the deaths had not been investigated. The Southern Health Scandal only became public as a result of the tenacity of Dr Sara Ryan who refused to be fobbed off with lies or threatened into silence after her son Connor Sparrowhawk drowned in the bath whilst in the care of Southern. Sara received an insulting telephone call from a member of staff at Southern, the son of a Board member sent out a tweet calling her a ‘fucking pest’ after he had read a confidential report containing details od Connor’s case and the psychiatrist responsible for Connor’s ‘care’ referred to Sara as a ‘toxic woman’. Southern were eventually prosecuted by the HSE. Hundreds of people DIED. Southern were prosecuted by the HSE – for, I think, only Connor’s death. After the hundreds of deaths but before Sara kicked up a fuss, the CEO of Southern, Katrina Percy, won an award for ‘CEO of the Year’ from HSJ (Health Services Journal).

Colin Godber retired in 2005 and now provides ‘advocacy between the NHS, local authorities and voluntary services’.

In 2014 the journal ‘Old Age Psychiatry’ published a piece entitled ‘A Psychogeriatrician – The Crème de la Crème’. An intriguing title because psychogeriatrics is the most unpopular and least prestigious of any medical speciality. Jobs are going begging and if they are filled are filled by Top Doctors who for some reason have not been able to secure work elsewhere or overseas doctors. This has been the case for many years. The article opened with a piece written by Lord McColl of Dulwich, a retired surgeon, who related a story about Colin Godber and Professor Simon Lovestone in the Lords debate on ‘Mental and Physical Health: Parity of Esteem’ on Oct 10, 2013.

McColl explained that his own wife had suffered from Alzheimers and he wanted to pay tribute to the Maudsley Hospital who were ‘superb’, especially Professor Simon Lovestone. McColl explained that Lovestone had been inspired to become a psychogeriatrician, who, McColl told the Lords, were ‘the crème de la crème of the psychiatry world’, by one Colin Godber. The story was that Lovestone met Godber and Godber invited him to come and visit one of his patients at home. At the patient’s house, Lovestone witnessed the patient prepare ‘a nice cream tea’ and then play the piano for half an hour. Lovestone later observed that the patient didn’t seem to be much of a patient and Godber explained that the man whom they had visited wasn’t the patient, it was his wife who had been the patient and Godber had been her doctor. She had died some two years ago and on the anniversary of her death, Godber always went to have tea with her widower. Lovestone was so amazed by the experience that he dedicated the rest of his life to psychiatry.

I don’t know how true this story was – like a few other things that have come out of the mouths of Top Doctors and Angels, it is probably more worthy of Enid Blyton than ‘Old Age Psychiatry’. McColl had already told a whopper when he described psychogeriatricians as the ‘crème de la crème’, but he was telling that whopper to a bunch of Lords most of whom will have not known their arses from their elbows re the Top Doctors and their specialities because most of them are politicians who have been put out to grass to the best day centre in the UK – the others who are Top Doctors themselves have spent their careers lying through their teeth in exactly the same way that McColl was, so they weren’t going to blow the gaffe. I do know that EMI patients in Godber’s care will not have been treated to nice cream teas. Particularly if they were in the care of Southern Health.

As for Lord McColl, the man who was happy to kick-start this fantasy on behalf of the Top Doctors – he is of course a Top Doctor himself, the Professor of Surgery at Guy’s Hospital who retired in 1996 and will know damn well the state of mental health care for the elderly. If his own wife really did receive ‘superb’ care, it will have been because as the wife of a Top Doctor who is also sitting in the Lords someone at the Maudsley decided that she was deserving of a rather better service than the rest of the population. Ian McColl is a Tory peer who was given his peerage in 1989 as a result of his work for disabled people – which is so gobsmacking that I’d like to find out more. He was PPS to John Major, 1994-97 – during the years when Major and Hague organised the cover-up into the North Wales Child Abuse Scandal… Between 1997-2000 McColl was Shadow Minister for Health and a Trustee and surgeon to Mercy Ships. I don’t think that I’ll dare step aboard one of those if McColl is all that will stand between me and death. McColl recently became an advocate to stop human trafficking and in June 2015 he introduced a Private Members Bill to prohibit the advertising of prostitution.

The Maudsley trained Dr Dafydd Alun Jones and certainly in 1991 Dr Paul Bowden, a leading light at the Maudsley, was still concealing Dafydd’s wrongdoing.

Godber seems to have spent many years perpetuating myths about the NHS and the care it offers. Godber was one of the signatories to a letter in ‘The Guardian’ on 7 April 2015 concerning the Coalition Gov’ts management of the NHS – written the month before the General Election. Godber et al write that ‘as medical and public health professionals our primary concern is for all patients’. Signatories to that letter included:

Dr Gwen Adshead, community psychiatrist: Gwen Adshead is both a forensic psychiatrist and a forensic psychotherapist and from 1996 for a number of years worked as a consultant at Broadmoor. She has been referred to the GMC on a number of occasions and I think that she has been involved in controversy regarding false memory syndrome. Gwen is the proud possessor of a degree in mindfulness based cognitive therapy which does rather destroy her credibiliy; Professor Richard Bentall, clinical psychologist, Liverpool University: Richard Bentall trained at Bangor University and spent many years working in north Wales. He knew exactly how abusive the mental health services were, he knew how many patients were left destitute or committed suicide, he will have known Dafydd and almost certainly Gwynne as well, he knew about the fraud that was mindfulness based cognitive therapy (see post ‘The Biggest Expert of The Lot’) and as a former Professor in the School of Psychology at Bangor University, he’ll have known about the wrongdoing in that School (see post ‘He’s Not The Messiah, He’s A Very Naughty Boy’). Before Richard Bentall waved goodbye to Bangor and popped over to Liverpool, a friend of mine was accidentally cc’d into an e mail from Bentall after my friend raised concerns about practice in mental health research in north Wales. Bentall admitted in the e mail that it was now virtually impossible to recruit people from north Wales for clinical trials for mental health projects – that was because the patients had all had such distressing experiences with the local mental health professionals that there was absolutely no goodwill left and they weren’t going to volunteer for anything. After seeing this e mail, I began to wonder where all those people had come from who according to Bentall’s colleagues in north Wales had taken part in trials and projects which were of course all written up as successes and published….

Other signatories were Dr Clare Gerada, the former Chair of the Royal College of GPs, who is married to Professor Sir Simon Wessley, the former President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists; Dr Roger Banks, the former Vice-President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists; Professor Dinash Bhugra, the former President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists – Bhugra was Patron of Mark Williams’s Centre for Mindfulness at Oxford University and has been associated with many other questionable things; Professor Allyson Pollock – who for years has said whatever is convenient and whatever will further her own interests and who featured in my post ‘More Summer Reading’; Professor Wendy Savage, who was a friend of Prof Geoffrey Chamberlain who took part in a major research fraud (see post ‘I Don’t Believe It!’) – Wendy Savage also spent a long time as a member of the GMC whilst they ignored dangerous doctors; and none other than dear old Dr David Owen (see post ‘Dr Death’).

‘Our primary concern is for all patients’ – every one of those signatories has remained silent about serious harm to vulnerable people and some of them have been personally close to people involved in scandals or have been at the centre of scandals themselves.

 

‘The Daily Echo’, 7 Sept 2011 reported that five Southampton doctors had signed a letter calling for the Gov’t to stop their NHS reforms because they would result in ‘irreparable harm to the NHS’. Godber was a signatory. The irreparable harm to the NHS in north Wales had occurred decades before, whilst Godber’s dad ensured that Dafydd and Gwynne remained untouchable. Ironically at the time that Godber signed this letter, the Betsi Board in north Wales did have a CEO, Mary Burrows, who was doing her best to confront the entrenched corruption – the crooks who were still alive whom Godber’s father protected and many of their children and friends hounded her out. Since Mary departed the Board has sunk deeper and deeper into the red, is completely unable to recruit and was put into special measures after the biggest scandal involving the abuse and neglect of elderly mentally ill patients that had yet happened in the UK. The crème de la crème! That’s why patients were filmed undercover crawling around naked on floors covered with urine and faeces, one with an untreated broken arm, whilst nurses swore at them (see posts ‘The Tawel Fan Scandal’ and ‘Update On Tawel Fan Scandal -Sept 16th 2016’). No member of staff was disciplined – except for the nurse who blew the whistle who was suspended, arrested, sacked and received death threats. A member of staff had previously raised concerns but they were told by a psychogeriatrician – obviously a member of the crème de la crème de la crème – to keep quiet and that he ‘didn’t want any more complaints’.

An earlier offering from Godber appeared in ‘The Independent’ on 16 Aug 1994, in which he blasted that ‘the care of the elderly and others with chronic illness’ has been ‘most blatantly betrayed under the smokescreen of the new double-speak of community care’. Godber mentions the ‘lame semantics’ of a previous correspondent and talks about the ‘concerted effort to squeeze much of NHS hospital respite care out of health’. Godber’s analysis of what was happening at the time was quite correct – I watched it myself in north Wales. The patients who had care withdrawn from them when the day hospital at the Hergest Unit closed down, many of whom died, were the very same patients who could remember what Dafydd had done to them decades previously when Godber senior had ignored it all (see post ‘The Most Dangerous Man In The World – Part IV’). In 1994 the Jilllings Investigation into the abuse of children in care in north Wales since 1974 was underway. The abuse that had been facilitated by Dafydd and Gwynne whilst George Godber was CMO. When the Jillings Report was submitted in 1996 it was so damning that the Council’s insurers ordered it to be withheld from everyone – even the Council who had commissioned it – because what had happened in north Wales was indefensible. The Report was pulped. To this day the only people who read the full unredacted version were the Council’s insurers and legal advisors. See post ‘It’s A Piece Of Cake’ for details.

George Godber retired in 1973. One of his obituaries observed that ‘the shape of the NHS in the mid 1970s was very materially determined by Godber’s influence’. The Jillings Report investigated the abuse of children in north Wales from 1974 onwards  – and the role played by the NHS and other agencies.

Both Godber Major and Godber Minor seem to have been particularly well-versed in the art of the smokescreen of double-speak themselves.

 

 

More Summer Reading!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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