Little Things Hitting Each Other

In my post ‘Compare And Contrast – The Case Of Two Doctors And The General Medical Council’, I discussed the disciplining of Dr Ann Dally by the GMC for prescribing controlled drugs to addicts in the 1980s. I noted that Dally had been vigorously pursued by the GMC for doing exactly what Dr Dafydd Alun Jones was known to be doing (see post ‘The Evolution Of A Drugs Baron?’), except that Dafydd was facilitating the Westminster Paedophile Ring as well, which afforded him considerable protection from the authorities. I wondered who had been so keen to nail Dally and why even her connections to the Royals – her husband Dr Peter Dally had attended Princess Margaret at the behest of Lord Snowdon – hadn’t been enough to keep her out of trouble. In that post I stated that I would read the book that Ann Dally wrote about it all to see if I could work out what was going on.

I have now read Ann’s book, ‘A Doctor’s Story’, which she finished writing in the late 1980s. I think that I have worked out what was going on and it’s gobsmacking, as are the activities of some of the people involved in the drama.

Ann Dally wrote convincingly about the problems that drug addicts faced when trying to gain treatment, either for their addiction or anything else. She stated bluntly that doctors hated addicts, that psychiatrists usually refused to treat them and that in the 1980s some GPs surgeries even had notices up stating that they would not treat addicts. She stated that psychiatrists took the view that addicts should be disposed of within the prison system and that if a female addict became pregnant social services usually removed their child as a matter of routine. All this is true. I heard these opinions of addicts being openly articulated by people when I worked in the London medical schools in the late 1980s/90s. I was told by a number of people working in the NHS in north Wales that the reason why Dr Dafydd Alun Jones was given the remit for treating all the addicts in the region was that the other psychiatrists all refused to treat them.

However I also knew from my friendship with a man who had been a drug abuser himself that addicts will speak highly of any doctor who gives them drugs – they do not care about anything else other than securing the drugs. This is not merely my interpretation of what I saw, the former drug user told me this himself. I also witnessed him tell one of the nurses at the Hergest Unit this everyday story of drug using folk. Both this man and I were objecting to Dafydd Alun Jones being allowed into the Hergest Unit in the face of so many allegations of his serious misconduct and in the wake of the serious complaints that I had made about him going completely uninvestigated. The nurse tried to defend the Hergest Unit by saying ‘those patients want to see him, they like him’, to which my friend responded ‘of course they like him, he gives them drugs and I should know because I used to be like that myself’. Both I and this man heard addicts openly boasting that Dafydd was great because ‘he’ll give you anything you want’.

The medical treatment of addicts became a hot potato in the 1980s. There had been an ideological change driven by a very influential, indeed overtly powerful part of the medical establishment. Until the mid-1970s, Drug Dependency Units (DDUs) in NHS hospitals prescribed maintenance therapy for addicts – in other words opiate substitutes such as methadone were prescribed without ever asking the addict to withdraw. The addicts were given repeat prescriptions for the same (sometimes high) dose for as long as they requested it. Prescribing was often very generous and cocktails involving stimulants and depressants were frequently prescribed. Addicts could also be prescribed heroin and cocaine if the doctor saw fit to do so. A lot of addicts – and doctors like Ann Dally – argued that this was by far the best approach, that the actual drug itself did little harm and that the real problems were caused by what addicts did to get the drugs if they couldn’t receive them on prescription. It was established that addicts turned to crime to acquire the money to buy drugs, that they lived in terrible conditions because their time and money was spent in pursuit of drugs and nothing else, that they acquired blood borne infections through sharing needles with other people and that their lives descended into chaos. Dally et al argued that addicts could actually live productive lives that were indistinguishable from non-addicts if they were prescribed maintenance drugs. There was evidence that for some addicts this was true.  From the latter half of the 1970s, there was great pressure from certain parts of the medical establishment on NHS DDUs not to provide maintenance doses, but to instead make it a condition of treatment that addicts must withdraw – quite quickly as well – and become completely drug-free. Eventually very few DDUs would actually provide maintenance therapy, so in the 1980s an increasing number of addicts began seeking out doctors in private practice who would prescribe maintenance therapy – obviously this was a service that addicts had to pay for. It hadn’t previously been an issue because when NHS clinics had prescribed freely and generously, addicts had less to gain by going to a private practice.

Ann Dally alleged that the driver for the refusal to prescribe maintenance therapy was coming from the ‘Maudsley Mafia’, a small group of psychiatrists in teaching hospitals like the Maudsley who were incredibly powerful. Why they wanted to push through this change to clinical practice is open to debate. Work published since that time states that very little was actually known about drug dependence and how to treat it, even by the specialist NHS DDUs, so people were just floundering about in the dark. Dr Thomas Bewley, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and allegedly a drug dependency expert, was to say later that ‘no-one had the faintest idea of what they were doing and were all expected to solve the problem of drug dependence’. There seems to have been a lot of truth in this confession.

It has been widely speculated that the change in clinical practice resulted from Margaret Thatcher’s administrations doing as they were asked by the US administrations at that time, when the Reagan and later Bush were holding their much publicised ‘War On Drugs’. Thatcher was so keen to maintain the ‘special relationship’ that she simply went along with US policy. Whatever the reason, by the mid-80s there was very great pressure on the private doctors who had been prescribing maintenance therapy not to do so anymore, so doctors who did prescribe found themselves greatly in demand. Something though was not working, because by the mid-80s, drug use was increasing greatly, even in provincial areas like north Wales. The advent of HIV-AIDS increased the problems of intravenous drug-users and provided an extra layer of complexity.

Until 2007, the Drugs Branch in the Home Office were responsible for monitoring controlled drugs and Home Office Drugs Inspectors visited doctors prescribing controlled drugs at least once every two years. If doctors were thought to be prescribing irresponsibly, under the Misuse of Drugs Act (1967) they could find themselves called by the Home Office before a Tribunal, which could remove their powers to prescribe controlled drugs. They could then be referred to the GMC – although this rarely happened. Doctors wanting to prescribe certain drugs needed a Home Office licence.

I remember the growing problem of drug use in north Wales at the time. In 1984 the corrupt GP Dr D.G.E. Wood – who was concealing the wrongdoing of Dafydd et al – told me that ‘heroin is now a local problem’. Dafydd himself was appearing at public meetings dispensing his wisdom concerning the problem and there was much ranting in the local newspapers and on Welsh TV. In north Wales a lot of people got very excited and did not seem to be able to distinguish occasional cannabis users from heroin and cocaine addicts. Just to confuse matters, it became clear that there was a big problem with police corruption, especially in drug squads. I witnessed a bit of this in north Wales – the corrupt officers were busy pursuing students and hippies and if necessary planting drugs on them, whilst organised criminals involved in importing and distributing drugs were left to carry on doing business. I knew that the same thing was happening in the west country and in Manchester and it will no doubt have been happening in London. What I knew about in Bangor though was poor people taking drugs – people on the council estates in Caernarfon, Bangor or Holyhead, or in rural locations such as Anglesey.

Ann Dally’s patients were rather different. Ann and Peter Dally were society doctors. They both came from privileged families themselves and trained at St Thomas’s, which is considered to be the medical school of the privileged classes. Ann Dally’s own account explains that they were both completely committed to the NHS – they qualified very soon after the establishment of the NHS – and never expected to move into private practice. As a young doctor Peter Dally worked as a psychiatrist under the dreadful Dr William Sargant at St Thomas’s and built up his private practice when Sargant went away for a few months and Peter Dally took over his patients for him. Sargant returned, but Dally found himself in such demand that he began renting consulting room space in the same building as Sargant. Dally was a consultant at Westminster Hospital as well, but eventually found that he didn’t have time to do both the NHS work at Westminster and his private work, so he gave up the NHS work. Ann Dally had a lot of children and began her family soon after qualifying, so she worked in Family Planning clinics and did work with women and children, because that fitted around her family. She moved into private work through ‘helping Peter’ with his practice.

Ann Dally writes very convincingly as a compassionate doctor who is angered by suffering and injustice. There are inconsistencies though. Although at one point she mentions that she only ever went into private work because the NHS did not reach up to the idealistic expectations that she had of it, she maintains that she rarely met anyone working in the NHS who was cruel to patients or malicious and that no-one working in the NHS was judgemental. Dally’s story is that EVERYONE was working for the benefit of the patients, even if they had their foibles or clashed with their colleagues. Yet she provides first hand anecdotes of appalling practice. As a very junior doctor working in obstetrics, she has a patient in labour whose condition is such that she will die if a caesarean is performed – although there is concern about the baby. Dally is faced with a senior registrar who is a devout Roman Catholic and wants to perform the caesarean to save the baby, although he knows this will kill the mother. Dally is so horrified that she goes to seek help from a higher authority and gets a grade A bollocking for having brought the unfortunate views of the senior registrar into the light of day – although everyone knew that he was about to kill a patient. A fudge is undertaken, the senior registrar is persuaded to go elsewhere for a few hours whilst someone takes over the care of the woman in labour, preventing a murder. It is made clear to Dally that much embarrassment has been caused and that she must never interfere in such a manner again. Again and again Dally recounts tales of patients being treated appallingly, of psychiatry having such a poor reputation that good medical graduates run away from it screaming, of mad incompetent sadistic psychiatrists who have no idea of what they are doing, of ‘research’ in psychiatry that was laughable and of realising that if she is looking after someone with psychiatric problems she needs to do her best to ensure that they aren’t ever admitted to a mental hospital (particularly Tooting Bec). As for never meeting anyone malicious working in the NHS – she witnesses a young woman who had taken an overdose being deliberately sent to the back of the queue in casualty by the nurse on duty ‘to teach her a lesson’. The delay in treatment is such that the young woman dies. Documentation is then altered to conceal the delay in treatment. The coroner knows what happened but he colludes and asks no questions.

Dally maintains that when she was working in obstetrics and gynaecology, most beds were taken by women who were in need of treatment following illegal abortions. I have been told this by others who worked in the NHS in the 1950s, it’s one reason why so many staff welcomed the 1967 Abortion Act. However Dally admits to something that I have never heard or indeed read before. That at St Thomas’s there were at least two consultants openly performing illegal abortions – and a lot of them. Dally knew all about it because she assisted them – because they had identified her as a junior doctor who would agree to help them with this task. Dally must presume that her readers are complete ignoramuses – she breezily explained that they were not breaking the law. They were. I understand what the law was at that time and Dally and her colleagues were breaking it in a very big way. Dally also mentions a Professor Dugald Baird who performed abortions on ‘any women who didn’t want to have babies’, stating that this was legal. No, it was not. I am very glad that the law changed and I can understand the sympathy that Dally and her colleagues had for those women with unwanted pregnancies, but that lot were completely flouting the law and they will have known it. So who was Professor Dugald Baird? He was one of the most ‘distinguished’ names in obstetrics and gynaecology at the time and had a Chair at the University of Aberdeen. He was a pioneer in Family Planning Clinics. His son Professor David Tennant Baird was instrumental in gaining approval for the ‘morning after pill’ RU-486 to be made available in the UK. Dugald Baird’s other son, D. Euan Baird, before he retired in 2003 was Chair and CEO of Schlumberger, the biggest oilfields service company in the world. Ann would probably describe it as a wind farm. The Baird Family Hospital in Aberdeen, named after Dugald and his clan, is due to open in 2020.

So Ann was capable of bending the rules, reassuring everyone that she was not, denying some real horrors which led to disastrous results for patients and giving a good impression throughout all this that she was a radical, caring doctor who only had the best interests of her patients at heart.

Ann Dally became famous for her clashes with the GMC over her prescribing for addicts, but there’s a few lines in the book that point to a other problems as well. Dally did a great deal of work in what she calls ‘medical journalism’ and ordinary ‘journalism’ when she was young to earn money. She stresses that she was always very careful never to accept patients who had contacted her on the basis of articles of hers that they had read, because that would contravene the GMC rules on advertising. So if they did contact her, she sent them off back to their GP – who then referred them to her anyway. OK, I can see how that could be constructed as adhering to the rules, but as a youngish doctor Ann was investigated when an article that she wrote turned up in a porn magazine no less. Ann’s story was that someone had sold an article on gynaecology ‘behind her back’. So what the hell was in that article? I have read numerous books and articles on obstetrics and gynaecology and they really are not written in the style or indeed in the language that a reader of a porn magazine would be interested in or in which most of them would even understand. Particularly articles dating from the 1960s. Even work by the likes of Masters and Johnson which was considered explicit and most controversial would have had difficulty appealing to soft pornographers. Ann doesn’t explain in her book how she ended up being investigated – she only mentions it because when she first trots off to get advice re the charges of irresponsible prescribing, one of the legal advisors from the MDU remembers her from twenty years previously, from the case with the porn mag.

So after witnessing no-one ever misbehaving themselves in the NHS, Ann and Peter went into private practice in the early 1960s. They began by practicing from their family home in Dulwich – it was only some years later that they purchased a lease on a building in one of the most prestigious locations in Harley Street. But business booms at Dulwich. Ann mentions that Peter has some very ‘grand’ patients. Although they are running an extensive private practice they do not have a secretary or ‘anything official’. The children are taught how to answer the phone and the kids are also told that if they do answer the phone and it’s someone who says they are ringing from Buckingham Palace, the children must not think it’s a joke because it will be someone ringing from Buckingham Palace. Ann mentions that one does not charge a fee when one treats Royalty, one has to be available at any time of the day or night and one must treat them in secret. Ann finds treating the Royals a bit of a pain, but it does wonders for one’s reputation. As well as the Royal Family, Ann mentions that their patients included holders of accounts at Coutts, aristocrats, heirs to famous family fortunes, City brokers, property developers, writers, musicians, senior people from the BBC, journalists, solicitors, pop stars and civil servants and the families of these people. She mentions that they have international patients including many Arabs, and have treated the children of some of the wealthiest and most publicised people. One of her patients was a princess from a Gulf state and Ann goes to visit her at the Wellington Hospital. A suite of rooms has been booked for relatives, ladies-in-waiting and servants – as well as a group of ‘pubescent girls’ dressed identically, whom the translator explains to Ann are ‘slave girls from Nubia’. Ann observes that she’s never met slaves before. One of Ann’s patients was a Cabinet Minister who was ‘raving mad and almost naked, chasing his boyfriend around the clinic’. Ann was called to attend another patient who was a fraudster who ‘went mad’ in an hotel whilst developing up a huge scam – another psychiatrist who was initially called to deal with him had tried to become a partner in the scam. It was left to Ann to save the day. She remarks drily that the GMC never got to hear about this. So she didn’t report any of it then.

The most worry anecdote regarding the Dallys’ interesting patients though is one about a retired Army officer. He had consulted Peter Dally after he had amputated his own leg at the knee and couldn’t explain why he had done this. An ’eminent psychiatrist’ had paid them all a visit at the Dallys’ place but no-one could find anything wrong with the retired officer. With Peter’s therapeutic skills though, they eventually got to the truth. The retired officer ‘had a fantasy’ that his mission in life was to model artificial limbs and have sexual relationships with amputees. As he was now getting on in years, he felt that it was time to ‘put his fantasy into practice’. Police had found literature from artificial limb suppliers in his house and they had founds stacks of anatomy and surgery textbooks which contained detailed instructions on how to perform amputations. The Dallys’ noticed that their patient had made a very good job of his own amputation.

I think that I know what had been going on and it wasn’t what the Dallys’ claimed. Amputating limbs is a highly skilled business, one needs to be shown how to do it, one needs to practice and one needs the right drugs and equipment. Diagrams in surgery books, even the best ones, don’t look anything like the unholy mess that one is faced with if one cuts oneself open. You need to learn from someone who already knows and you need to learn how to interpret surgery manuals as well. That retired officer had operated previously, probably quite often. And someone trained in surgery had taught him. He almost certainly had an amputee fetish – I can’t remember the word for the syndrome now, but it is recognised – and he had been amputating other people’s limbs as well as his own in order to have sex with them. And he was obviously supplying the prosthetics as well. The Dallys had discovered a very worrying situation there. Not that there is a word about how they resolved it, let alone who taught the retired officer to operate or who supplied him with the drugs etc necessary. It’s just written up as an example of ‘people do the funniest things’.

Ann and Peter are acutely aware of how discreet they must be when they are dealing with very rich law breaking patients, particularly those who are famous or in public life. Ann explains that a psychiatric diagnosis must be avoided at all costs and freely admits that lies are told and elaborate pantomimes are set up with other Top Doctors and hospitals. Ann explains that a statement is sent out to the press explaining that the person concerned is going into hospital for medical or surgical problem – heart, kidney or whatever – and a surgeon or physician is sent in through the front door of the hospital to have a few words with the reporters, whilst the psychiatrist goes in through the back entrance.

So the Dallys must have had a reputation as being pretty useful if you were filthy rich and either up to something embarrassing or unlawful. No wonder their practice was so popular.

Not only would you have needed much dosh to have afforded to consult Ann Dally if you were a drug addict, but you would have needed to prove it. Ann didn’t treat plebs. Or people who looked dirty or unkempt or anyone rude or aggressive or even anyone that her secretaries (by the time that she was treating addicts she was employing secretaries) ‘didn’t like’. She asked for income tax returns and pay slips to show that you could afford to pay. Not only did you have to pay Ann (she helpfully details her prices for prescriptions in the book), but you had to pay the chemist too. Furthermore, if you were a patient of Ann’s you had to only go to one of the chemists that was on the list that she gave you, for some reason you couldn’t just go to any old chemist – although that would have been quite legal. Ann states that she very much prefers working with intelligent patients and that she didn’t treat anyone who was psychotic because treating such patients caused her so much anxiety. They also need looking after and can’t just be sent out of the door with a prescription.

If you had the money to pay – and of course the money for designer clothes so people who were very obviously addicts popping in to pick up their scripts didn’t actually look as though they were – Ann certainly provided a good service. She got the social services off your back if you were a parent who was in danger of having your kids removed and she undertook medico-legal work as well, having a ‘moral obligation’ to go to Court ‘for a patient who needed my help’. Ann would even turn up to a Court case the very next day if necessary – presumably if the Royal had been arrested and had found themselves in the cells waiting to appear before the Magistrates for the first hearing – and she’d cancel everything and if necessary travel many miles if the Court case was outside of London. Ann also doubled up as Santa – she kept a drawer full of gifts for older children who were visiting the dealer with their parents and the children were allowed to choose a gift on every visit. Ann observed that it made her very popular with the children. So they’d obviously say the right thing to the social services or the judge.

Truly a Dafydd for the upper classes and rich and famous!

Ann does tell the truth at times in her book re drug addiction – again, it’s when she describes some of the grim practices of the NHS drug clinics. She relates that the ‘detoxing’ that the clinics forced on people was no more than a box-ticking exercise, that drugs were freely available in these clinics on the black market, that addicts took them and that the staff knew about this but nothing was said as long as the patients weren’t caught doing it. The clinics wanted to pretend that the patients were detoxing successfully because the clinic would then boast of their success, the patients went along with the charade because they had often been sent to the clinic as an alternative to prison and although the care provided by the clinics was very poor and neglect was the order of the day, the patients preferred being in hospital to prison. The patients would then be discharged as ‘drug free’ no matter what sort of state they were in. Some of the UK’s ‘leading authorities’ in drug dependency presided over clinics like this.

This description of Dally’s pretty much equates to everything that I ever heard about Dafydd’s ‘drug unit’ at the North Wales Hospital Denbigh.

So although Dally was no doubt quite correct in her descriptions of the loathing that nearly all doctors had for addicts and the very poor ‘care’ that they received from the few psychiatrists who would agree to treat them, there was something about her practices that caused the GMC to haul her up before them three times over a period of a few years, whereas they nearly always left it to the Home Office alone to deal with ‘irresponsible prescribing’. I have mentioned that Dally attributed her problems to a group of powerful doctors in the medical establishment who really had it in for her, although their own clinics were very mediocre, corners were cut and rules and laws were flouted. Dally was definitely clashing with certain Top Doctors, although some of them were so obnoxious it would be difficult not to clash with them. She did have a lot of support though – from a number of other high profile Top Doctors and from swathes of the liberal media who really did take the view that she had been wronged. At the time there was acres written about her case along with the cases of Dr Wendy Savage and Dr Marietta Higgs, who also clashed with the higher echelons of the medical establishment in the mid 80s.

The common theme was that these were three ‘powerful women doctors’ and the misogynist old gits who ran medicine just couldn’t bear strong wimmin, so the boys’ club went after them. I believe that this is a misreading. The cases of these three women were all completely different – although Wendy Savage and Ann Dally supported each other and were quite friendly. (Wendy Savage wrote the foreword to Ann’s book.) The lay press interpreted the Savage case as Mrs Savage being a female, feminist, Labour Party supporting Top Doctor who was encouraging childbirth with less medical intervention than most of the allegedly Tory hi-tech birth supporting male colleagues surrounding her. But there were plenty of Top Doctors who weren’t Tories, plenty of ones with an interest in low-intervention births and even a few who liked to think of themselves as feminists. And lots of younger female obstetricians were in training. It was common knowledge in London that Wendy Savage and the Professor of her department hated each other, had done so for a very long time and a civil war had broken out. He saw his chance and put the boot in and tried to get rid of her. Dr Marietta Higgs had caused havoc in Cleveland for the local hospital by removing hundreds of children from their parents on the grounds that she believed that they had been anally raped. She had so many kids taken into care that foster homes couldn’t be found for them all and they were placed in the local paediatric wards. There were no beds left for sick children, parents were protesting on hospital premises, writs were flying and chaos had broken out. This happened as Alison Taylor, Mary Wynch and I were writing to politicians and Ministers raising the alarm about events in north Wales – I have previously speculated that Cleveland provided a very useful distraction to allegations in north Wales that children were being sexually abused by the social services themselves and that there seemed to be a widespread network of professionals colluding with this. I have no idea whether Marietta Higgs really believed that all those children had been abused or not – she certainly won’t have been a worse doctor for being a woman, but if somebody wanted to manipulate her in the way that I suspect that they did, being a woman will have been a bonus. After all, women are caring and could never be colluding with or concealing the organised abuse of children could they? It’s why female social workers, Top Doctors and Angels were repeatedly told by Dafydd et al to tell the police that I’d threatened them or that they were terrified of me – it looks better coming from a Woman In Fear.

The case of Ann Dally was completely different from either Wendy Savage or Marietta Higgs. It was also driven by a rather different group of people, although the public scrap was among Top Doctors. From what I can gather from Ann Dally’s book, it was the police who very much wanted to nail her.

The police were so keen to demonstrate that Ann Dally was up to no good that they routinely questioned drug addicts in London as to whether they knew Ann Dally or if any of their friends knew her, they sent officers undercover who then purchased drugs from patients of Ann’s, former police officers were employed as private detectives to investigate the chemists to which she sent her patients and at one point Scotland Yard held an investigation into her. Paperwork from her accountant was examined -although that had been at the request of one of Dally’s barristers in an attempt to help her – and all of her financial affairs were probed. There was an attempt to bring a charge of deception against Ann.

The results were varied. One of Ann’s patients claimed that the police drafted his statement implicating her and he just signed it. One undercover officer did succeed in purchasing drugs from one of Dally’s patients. When prescriptions were examined it was discovered that Dally had been prescribing very generously for a lot of people. Dally herself talked of ‘1000s’ of addicts phoning or dropping in at her house. By Dally’s own admission, no-one could understand her accounts – not even her and Peter (Ann and Peter divorced in 1979 but remained on good terms and continued to run the practice together). Her rationale for this was that their accountant was unbeknown to them an alcoholic who was having a nervous breakdown. The Dallys were psychiatrists who specialised in addiction problems – were they too busy with Princess Margaret to notice their poor accountant disintegrating in front of them? I mentioned in my post ‘Compare And Contrast – The Case Of Two Doctors And The General Medical Council’ that the property owned and lifestyle enjoyed by Ann Dally as described by the GMC wasn’t that different from that enjoyed by many Harley Street Top Doctors at the time – they all trousered a lot of money. However, I note that in Ann’s book she states that a police officer was alleged to have made a comment to one of Ann’s patients about the amount of money that she must be making after he’d performed a few calculations. The police often get things badly wrong but one thing that the police are very good at is spotting when people seem to be in possession of a rather more money than one would expect, I’ve been very impressed with the police’s talent in this area. This morning someone who knew that I was researching the Dally case mentioned that there was cash stashed everywhere, not just in the Dallys’ bank account. It seemed to be complaints and questions sparked off by the police that landed Ann in trouble on each occasion.

One of Ann’s patients ended up in the secure prison on the Isle of Wight serving a three year stretch for supplying drugs. This man had been referred to Ann by a GP who ‘was under threat from the Home Office’ and who didn’t want to prescribe for him anymore. The patient had been an addict for many, many years, had a criminal record and told Ann that he was interested in qualifying as a social worker – he was undertaking a preliminary course at Coventry Poly and had been receiving treatment from a doctor at the Poly. Ann explains in her book that he had ‘exploited’ the ‘drug doctors’ of the 60s, Lady Frankau and Dr Petro and had received huge quantities of drugs from them. Lady Isabella Frankau and Petro were legendary. Frankau was acknowledged as being the mainstay of the flourishing illicit heroin market in the early 1960s – the Home Office considered her very harmful. She also prescribed cocaine and told other doctors to do this, which led to a cocaine market developing. Her prescribing was so bizarre as to be indefensible. Frankau was basically a drug dealer to high society. Petro was struck off. Ann’s patient who had previously acquired his goodies from Frankau and Petro also broke into the surgery of the doctor from Coventry Poly. I don’t know what his excuse for doing that was, but he told Ann that he hadn’t been supplying drugs, one of his friends was suffering from withdrawal symptoms so he’d lent him some drugs.

I have mentioned that the Home Office Drugs Branch were responsible for inspecting and monitoring doctors prescribing controlled drugs. Ann seemed to have a remarkably friendly relationship with some of those Inspectors, although she noticed that as the 1980s rolled on, the Inspectors were getting tougher and tougher on prescribing doctors. The Chief Inspector of the Drugs Branch between 1977 until his retirement in 1986 was Bing Spear. He had first entered the Drugs Branch of the Home Office in 1952 as an Inspector and was Deputy Chief Inspector between 1965-77. Bing Spear seems to have lingered on in the memories of many people who had doings with the world of addiction before he retired. He was of course a civil servant, but he seems to have been quite an unusual one. Spear had an excellent knowledge of the doctors working in drug dependency – he will have definitely known Dafydd – as well as of the voluntary bodies, Gov’t officials, police and customs officers. He also spent a lot of time mixing with addicts in the West End and personally knew nearly all of them. Not only that, but he knew who the dealers who initially had sold them drugs were, how long they’d been addicts, where there current supplies were coming from and who their current girlfriends were. He was known to be good friends with a number of addicts and would even turn up with them to attend the seminars of Prof Arnold Trebach – an American ‘legalise all drugs’ campaigner – when Trebach was in London. Bing was famous for being someone whom the addicts could go to ‘for help’. Bing’s stated ambition after he retired was to run an addicts union and ‘get the addicts organised’. (Dally was also enthusiastic about addicts establishing their own groups to lobby for their rights – she assisted in setting up one such group and her sons provided the group with free office space.) Bing was not a drugs outreach worker, he was a civil service Mandarin.

Bing Spear didn’t just prove helpful to addicts, Ann Dally really rated him too. He made it known that he ‘didn’t like’ the NHS DDUs and ‘encouraged’ Ann in her work with addicts. It was Bing who first warned Ann about the ‘mafia’ of Top Doctors working in drugs dependency – Bing was good enough to give Ann the names of those involved and provide her with the low-down on their techniques. It was also Bing who warned her when the mafia had their knives out for her. Ann’s first encounter with Bing was interesting. As her business boomed, she rang Bing for advice and was told by him that he had been waiting for her to ring because he thought that she’d need his help.

Bing certainly stuck his neck out on behalf of Ann. Ann maintained that the Top Doctors who condemned her were an ‘amorphous powerful’ group, comprised mostly of London DDU consultants, supported by a few others outside of London. Bing publicly identified the group in an interview in New Statesman. They had a number of connections with the Royal Colleges and the GMC and were especially influential because they had the confidence of David Mellor, the Minister at the Home Office. Mellor frequently appeared on TV explaining how he was ‘determined to beat the evil’ of drugs.

Ann got on very well with Bing’s colleague John Lawson as well – Lawson was the Senior Home Office Inspector for Drugs for London and the South East. Bing and Lawson were usually the Inspectors who visited Ann. As the authorities clamped down more and more on the prescribing of controlled drugs – and pursued Ann – by 1985 John Lawson had been transferred to Bristol, where he was responsible for the South West and Wales. Ann’s perception was that Lawson had been transferred because he was ‘too soft’ on doctors and the Home Office wanted a ‘hardliner’ in his place. But Lawson wasn’t demoted – he was transferred and given responsibility for WALES. So at the time that Dafydd was building up his empire in north Wales, John Lawson, a notoriously soft Inspector where questionable prescribing was concerned was transferred to Wales – where he would be responsible for inspecting and monitoring one Dr Dafydd Alun Jones.

Bing Spear retired in 1986, although Ann’s book suggests that he resigned, supposedly out of disgust at the way that her colleague Dr John Marks was being treated. Long before he retired however, Bing was in poor health.  Ann talks of him as being ‘yellow’ and having to go into hospital frequently for extended stays because of his heart and kidney troubles – there was usually a crisis when this happened because once Bing was indisposed, unfortunate things would happen to Ann at the hands of the authorities and Bing wouldn’t be there to fix it.

As I read the accounts of Bing and his somewhat unusual lifestyle for the most senior civil servant in the Home Office Drugs Branch, I couldn’t help wondering if perhaps Bing dabbled in a bit of chemical recreation himself. He hated the mafia who were restricting the supply of controlled drugs, didn’t seem too keen on helping the police or even his own colleagues in the Home Office, provided mountains of helpful advice and warnings to Ann when people were about to launch an investigation into her and he was a yellow colour and had extended stays in hospital. We know from Ann’s own account that some of her patients were civil servants and that if such folk had to be admitted to hospital for drug or psychiatric problems a pack of lies was told and it was all blamed on medical or surgical problems.

Ann Dally ended up appearing in front of the GMC on three separate occasions, on a number of charges. She was never struck off but was suspended and at one point banned from prescribing controlled drugs for 14 months – she appealed against the decision but lost the appeal. Her view was that until the early 1980s the GMC adopted a rather benign attitude to doctors treating addicts as well as to many other matters. Ann felt that their attitude changed ‘with a vengeance’ after Lord John Richardson retired as President – the GMC became much more of a prosecuting body and began hiring prosecutors, some with Old Bailey experience, in order to secure convictions against doctors.

The GMC were going through a torrid time during the years in which they were demanding Ann’s presence in front of the fitness to practice committee. There was public dissatisfaction with them because doctors were just never removed no matter how gross or lethal their misconduct – it was at this time that complaints were pouring into the GMC about Dafydd Alun Jones but there was zilch action taken – but doctors too were rising up against the GMC. The source of the doctors’ dissatisfaction was the GMC’s request a few years previously for an annual fee in order to retain their registration with the GMC. Doctors went ape and – among junior doctors in particular – there was a mass rebellion. Dr Michael O’Donnell – who was by then working as a full time journalist rather than a doctor – was a key figure in organising the revolt which resulted in O’Donnell being voted onto the GMC committee and then thousands of doctors refusing to pay their fee to the GMC. The GMC threatened to strike them all off and Keith Joseph, the then Secretary of State for Health, had kittens at the prospect of a shortfall of doctors in the public workforce. He set up a Public Inquiry Chaired by the nuclear physicist Sir Alec Merrison in order to try to placate the Top Doctors. Michael O’Donnell remained on the GMC committee and was as difficult as he could be. He was sympathetic to Dally – he had been a student at Tommy’s with her – and at the beginning of one of the hearings into her fitness to practice he walked out of the committee and did not return. Although O’Donnell was known for making those sorts of gestures.

Ann Dally did a number of things after she was banned from prescribing that confirmed the suspicions of those who believed that she was a purveyor of drugs. After the sentence was announced, there was a short lag before it actually came into effect – Dally had to receive written notification before it was effective. So she went back to Harley Street and literally churned out prescriptions until the very second that she was legally prevented from doing so. It was rather like the last day of the sales. It transpired that Dally had been confused about the rules and that she actually could have spent a few more hours dishing out the goodies. She only found out about this when she was told by a worker in a drugs organisation – she was on very good terms with these bodies as well – that her addicts had all complained about her because she could have prescribed for longer than she did.

As my friend observed re Dafydd – of course they like him, he gives them drugs…

Ann’s fan club dwindled quite suddenly when she was no longer dispensing. She made another little slip though – she did stop prescribing opiates but she continued to prescribe other controlled drugs. She was caught and a lot of people were very cross. Her supporters feared that this was it, she would now be struck off, although amazingly enough she wasn’t. Ann’s story was that she ‘didn’t know’ the drugs that she prescribed were on the controlled list. Which would seem to be an inexplicable lack of knowledge for a specialist in addiction who is being monitored by the Home Office – particularly one who had just been suspended by the GMC for irresponsible prescribing.

The fate of some of Ann’s patients after she could no longer treat them could be used to support either her view of good clinical practice or her opponents. A number of them were caught dealing and ended up in prison, some were involved in other criminal offences and some of them sadly died. There were indications that some of her patients were rather less vulnerable and knew how to survive in the big bad world. To illustrate how important it was for her to be allowed to continue to prescribe whatever her addicts requested, Ann Dally recounted anecdotes of them saying things like ‘oh well I’ll just have to commit a robbery then’. One man explained immediately that he’d return to Pakistan and begin importing heroin. Another patient was a ‘local authority worker with the elderly’ – presumably a social worker or similar – and told Ann that his elderly patients trusted him and had confided in him where they had hidden money and valuables. This man told Ann that if she were to stop prescribing and he was left without his fix, he didn’t think that he’d be able to resist turning the old folk’s houses over. Dally claims that she knew that a number of her patients did make arrangements to turn to serious crime.

In the aftermath of Ann Dally’s suspension there was substantial media interest both in her case and in the debate regarding the best way of treating drug addicts. She made TV and radio appearances and a flurry of articles in the press were published. The publicity surrounding her own particular case eventually died down, but the treatment of drug addicts remained problematic. Dr John Marks, who ran a clinic in Widnes on Merseyside, also treated addicts using maintenance therapy. Unlike Dally, Marks had the support of the police – the Cheshire police carried out some fairly sound research and concluded that there had been a huge decrease in drug-related crime as a consequence of Dr Marks’ practice. Dealers also stopped frequenting the area because there was no demand for their wares. Dr Marks’ locality was one of the few areas in the UK where there was no HIV-AIDS cases at all. Nonetheless, Dr Marks’ clinic was closed down by sleight of hand – a local authority reorganisation took place which led to the disappearance of his Health Authority and thus his clinic. Dr Marks emigrated to New Zealand. A previous post describes how Dr John Marks wanted to relocate to north Wales but Gwynedd Health Authority blocked his appointment on the grounds that he was ‘controversial’. They gave the contract for substance abuse services to Dafydd Alun Jones instead.

So that’s an overview of the Ann Dally case. As ever, if we really want to shed light on the more interesting aspects of it all, we need to take a look at those who played leading roles in the drama, including both those who supported Dally and those who opposed her.

 

Dally knew influential people and public figures from her earliest days. She was from a well-known family and Marie Stopes was among the family’s friends. She was at Somerville College with Margaret Thatcher – although they weren’t friends – and scores of people whom she studied with at Tommy’s became big names in medicine. She was of course taught by many big names in medicine. We have seen the sort of patients whom she treated – even the most modest of them were solidly middle class and affluent and some were members of the Royal Family. Someone like Ann Dally would be able to muster a great deal of support when they encountered difficulties of any sort. I suspect that the fact that so many of her friends and patients worked in the media may have been responsible for much of the sympathetic coverage that her case received.

Although Dally and her mates didn’t seem to like Thatcher at all when they were at Oxford, when in 1983 Dally was invited to Downing Street in her capacity as an ‘expert’ in drug dependency to meet Thatcher, she clearly felt that she would be in a position to influence her. Dally seemed to have changed her view about Thatcher once Thatcher became PM. She had previously thought that Thatcher was rather boring and not really worth spending time with – shortly after Thatcher was elected as an MP, Thatcher had been invited to a gathering of Somerville Alumni to give a talk. The talk had been so yawningly dull that afterwards people demanded that Thatcher never be invited back again. But now that she was PM Dally saw qualities that had been well-concealed. Dally thought that she was making headway with Thatcher, but she did detect a certain frostiness from the other person present at their meeting – Dr Pamela Mason, whom Dally describes as the Senior Doctor at the Drugs Branch of the DHSS.

I have found a copy of the Bulletin of the Royal College of Psychiatrists from Dec 1985, summarising Parliamentary News, Feb-July 1985. This document was compiled by this blog’s old friend Professor Robert Bluglass, the man who concealed the criminal activities of Dafydd et al in north Wales in 1988! There are loads of names from the past mentioned in this document, one of which was Dr Pamela Mason’s. Mason is described as being the Director of the Mental Health Division in the DHSS. Things were certainly not going well in the Mental Health Division. Not only was Pamela presiding over the chaos and criminality in the north Wales mental health service, but this Bulletin reminded me of a few other problems from that time.

John Patten MP, a Minister in the DHSS, had announced that the DHSS was funding three studies into solvent abuse. One of those studies was to be undertaken by Professor R.H. Anderson at that den of corruption, St George’s Hospital Medical School. In 1985 Oliver Brooke who was later imprisoned for the possession of huge quantities of child porn was still employed as the Professor of Paediatrics at St George’s. The rest of the crooks who covered up for Dafydd et al in 1990/91 were busy down there as well.

The Bulletin mentions that David Mellor of the Home Office announced that there were no plans to increase the level of medical cover and no intention to provide special counselling and advisory services for self-harming prisoners in Holloway. Holloway at that time had a terrible reputation – there were scores of women in there whom everyone acknowledged had serious mental health problems and histories of abuse who were constantly injuring and killing themselves. The response to this was to drug them up to the eye-balls – which was clearly going to continue after Mellor’s statement. There was one part of Holloway that was too embarrassing even for Thatcher’s Home Office though. The Bulletin tells us that the Holloway Project Committee – which included Dr Pamela Mason – is to review the role and future of Holloway (Holloway was eventually closed but it took until very recently for that to happen). Lord Glenarthur -a previous star of this blog – stated that the Gov’t accepted the Report from the Committee that C1 Unit for ‘disturbed women prisoners’ was not meeting the needs of the inmates within. Glenarthur confirmed that there would be an urgent reassessment and immediate steps to improve conditions at the unit. C1 Unit was notorious – it was known as the ‘muppet house’ amongst the prisoners and contained scores of prisoners whom everybody accepted should never have been in prison, were severely mentally ill but somehow were never transferred to hospital. The other prisoners would hear the wails and screams from the muppet house day and night and suicides were common there. The muppet house will have contained many women who will have been abused as kids in care or by the mental health services – which is probably why Holloway had such trouble finding beds for the muppets in psychiatric hospitals. Just look what the Top Doctors were up to – a lot of those muppets will have been destroyed by the Top Doctors themselves because they’d witnessed or suffered a few things that the Top Doctors and others were desperate to keep quiet.

The Bulletin contains an interesting little bit about Wales. In May 1985 the Secretary of State for Wales stated that all Health Authorities, Local Authorities and Family Practitioner Committees were required to form Committees which included representatives of the voluntary sector to provide services for mental illness. So MIND were now officially part of the landscape of ‘service’ provision – the MIND which was at the time also colluding with the criminal activities in north Wales, whilst Tessa Jowell and William Bingley held senior positions there. The Secretary of State for Wales referred to was Nicholas Edwardes, now Lord Crickhowell. Edwardes had admitted that there was ‘much to be done’ to decentralise psychiatric services and the Welsh Office had arranged for a further independent review of mental illness services jointly by the NHS Health Advisory Services and Social Work Services of the Welsh Office between 1985/86-87. So the crooks in the NHS ignoring the wrongdoing of Dafydd et al in were going to get together with the crooks in the Social Work Services who were ignoring a paedophile ring operating in Clwyd and Gwynedd Social Services to ‘independently’ review the mental health services. No wonder the patients continued to die and go to prison after being stitched up for crimes that they had not committed. 1985, 86 and 87 were the very years that Alison Taylor, Mary Wynch and me all presented evidence of the most serious abuses and corruption in the mental health services and children’s services in north Wales. The ‘independent review’ managed not to investigate our allegations.

So the culprits at the helm of the massive cover-up were Dr Pamela Mason, Nicholas Edwards, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Security Norman Fowler and the Home Secretaries covering that period, which were Leon Brittan and Douglas Hurd.

The horror of what was happening is confirmed by another piece that appears in the Bulletin. In June 1985 John Patten confirmed that under the complaints procedures for special hospitals managed directly by the DHSS ie. Broadmoor, Ashworth and Rampton, a proportion of complaints went straight to Ministry Officials at the DHSS. Patten stated that the procedures for dealing with the complaints were ‘well-established’. Referring to a matter that was reported in Oct 1984 that was requested to be investigated – although details of the matter concerned were not revealed – the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration expressed satisfaction with the way in which complaints made by a Broadmoor patient had been dealt with.

It is now known that in 1985, patients in the special hospitals were being physically and sexually abused, that child porn was being passed around these ‘hospitals’, that children were taken onto the premises to visit patients who were paedophiles and that nearly all the women patients had been sexually abused before they ever got near these places. The DHSS clearly knew about this as well. Not long after Bluglass wrote this Bulletin, Baroness Trumpington thought that the answer to all this was to appoint Jimmy Savile as manager of Broadmooor. What could ever go wrong?

The Bulletin also reveals that in July 1985 the Minister for Health Ken Clarke stated that the determination of the criteria for registering nursing homes lay with the District Health Authority in whose area the home was located. Clarke was satisfied that the existing codes of practice were of sufficiently high standard without being too strict. In the event of a dispute between a proprieter of the nursing home and the DHA, the matter would be determined by an appeal to the Registered Homes Tribunal, which the Gov’t had set up.

In 1985 complaints of abuse and neglect of patients in ‘nursing homes’ run by Dr Dafydd Alun Jones were common. The situation in one of these ‘homes’ for psychiatric patients in Llandudno, Holyrood House, was so bad that it eventually became a national scandal and was even featured by Esther on ‘That’s Life’. Patients were being beaten up and a drug addict from Liverpool was responsible for the drugs cabinet. Before Holyrood House hit the national media, MIND knew what was going on there, Jones’s colleague Dr Tony Francis (Dr X) knew what was going on, as did the Local Authority covering the Llandudno area. The Health Authority will have known as well. As for the Registered Homes Tribunal – a previous post mentions that Councillors in Clwyd were sitting on those Tribunals. Clwyd County Council knew that a paedophile ring was operating in it’s children’s homes and did nothing. Some people – such as Tory MP Beata Brookes – sat on both Clwyd County Council/Social Services and Clwyd Health Authority. Clwyd Health Authority was the employer of Dr Dafydd Alun Jones.

This was a system that could not have been designed by accident.

We can see that it was no accident from another feature in the Bulletin, which makes a reference to Lord David Ennals holding a debate on the future of St Thomas’s Hospital. Tommy’s was indeed under threat in the 1980s. Tommy’s remained unscathed. I wonder why that was? It only educated and employed all those leading lights in the British medical establishment – including the Dallys – who then all went to war on each other when the police started investigating Ann Dally.

The Bulletin reveals that in July 1985-86 the Minister of Health estimated the cost of the Mental Health Act Commission to be £1,022,000. A previous post details how the Mental Health Act Commission colluded with the north Wales mental health services and lied to me after I complained to them about being unlawfully detained in north Wales by Dafydd et al. Tessa Jowell was a member of that Commission.

So Norman Fowler was happy to spend approx. 1 million pa to conceal organised crime involving child abuse in the British welfare state, including the Westminster Paedophile Ring.

The Bulletin reveals that the Chairman of the Social Services Committee in the Commons at this time – who would have been in a position to ask some very awkward questions about this catalogue of horrors but noticeably didn’t – was a Renee Short.

Short was the Labour MP for Wolverhampton North East and was considered a ‘firebrand’, a female politician on the left of the party. Renee championed women’s and children’s issues! I think that we have been here before. Short was sponsored by the TGWU, was mates with trade unionist Jack Jones and was a member of Labour’s NEC, 1970-88. Short was the representative of the Wimmin’s Section. Short co-sponsored Neil Kinnock for the leadership of the Labour Party. Short’s obituaries tell us that she campaigned on ‘social issues’, including women in prison and on behalf of junior hospital doctors no less. So appreciative of her efforts were the Top Doctors that they made Renee a lay member of the MRC. Short ended up in a battle in her own constituency and was deselected – it was blamed on Militant, but one wonders whether she’d pissed a few other people off as well. She resigned after making a deal with Kinnock that if she did this, she would be rewarded with a peerage – although Kinnock wasn’t able to stump up one of those for her. In 2007 the Daily Mail carried an article about Renee’s granddaughter, who had become ‘hooked on drugs at 15’. Renee’s granddaughter bangs on about the irony of this, as her grandmother had been a well-known ‘anti-drugs campaigner’. I hate to disillusion Renee’s family, but if Renee had really wanted to make a difference in this area, all she needed to have done was make the activities of Dr Dafydd Alun Jones public during all those years that she Chaired the Select Committee on Social Services, ie. 1979-87. But Renee remained completely silent, as well as remaining silent on the reality of what was happening in children’s homes, in the special hospitals and indeed in women’s prisons. Because speaking out would have upset the Top Doctors as well as the numerous other people who knew that children were being sexually abused by politicians from all parties, as well as others.

I can only wonder why Short didn’t end up in the Lords along with all the others who colluded with and concealed organised child abuse. Why ever did old Kinnock fail to come up with the goods?

On 2 Sept 1985 Barney Heyhoe replaced Ken Clarke as Minister of Health. Clarke accepted an appointment as Paymaster General.

The Bulletin also published an angry letter concerning junior doctors training from a Dr Julie Hollyman, of the College Trainees Committee of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. A previous post details how by 1990 Hollyman had become a truly vile consultant at Springfield Hospital, the psychiatric unit attached to St Georges who was hated by her colleagues. Hollyman was given management responsibilities at Springfield. A number of patients were raped and sexually assaulted on her watch. She was then appointed to lead Broadmoor.

Can I ask Lord John Patten, David Mellor, Ken Clarke, Dr Pamela Mason, Lady Tessa Jowell, William Bingley, Lord David Ennals, Lord Simon Glenarthur, Lord Crickhowell, Norman Fowler, Leon Brittan – or at least those of them who are still alive – how they manage to sleep at night in their expensive residences surrounded by everything that they ever need as their glorious careers approach their end?

 

 

Now for a bit of background on some of Ann Dally’s friends and supporters.

Ann was at Tommy’s with Dr Michael O’Donnell who was sympathetic to her and seems to have used his position to muster support for her. O’Donnell came from Yorkshire where his own father had been a GP. O’Donnell himself practiced as a GP in Surrey for 12 years and then gave up medicine completely to pursue a media career. He had never spent that much time doing medicine anyway – he boasted about being a ‘part-time’ medical student, as a result of spending so much time pursuing other interests, including cricket, theatre and writing. O’Donnell knew many people who later became very big in the media world – such as David Frost and the members of Monty Python – from his time in Footlights at Cambridge. He later became a ubiquitous presence on Radio 4 and BBC TV, presenting light entertainment shows. Some of his programmes came under fire for being too shallow and flippant, even for BBC light entertainment. O’Donnell also worked for Yorkshire Television and Associated Television. O’Donnell edited World Medicine for 16 years, a sort of cliquey self-congratulatory publication of the sort that Top Doctors really love. He was forced to resign in 1982 after a dispute with the publisher. The senior editorial staff resigned in sympathy and the publication folded two years later. O’Donnell worked as a Times columnist but resigned when the editor Sir Harold Evans was forced to resign.

One of O’Donnell’s many jobs was as scientific advisor on the Lindsay Anderson film ‘O Lucky Man’. ‘O Lucky Man’ is a film which highlights corruption within the British establishment, including medicine. Some parts of ‘O Lucky Man’ are frighteningly accurate. Yet throughout his career O’Donnell made no real attempt to challenge the terrible reality in medicine that he undoubtedly knew about. He was rude about the ‘medical establishment’ and liked to think if himself as a rebel, but he was far too busy farting around on ‘Stop The Week’ or ‘My Word’ to raise serious questions about the institutionalised corruption that was ruining lives and leaving some people dead.

O’Donnell mobilised massive support for his campaign to reform the GMC, but the results were so limited that he might as well have not bothered. The GMC continued to protect dangerous doctors and put patients at risk – O’Donnell himself sat on the GMC Council until 1996 and for the last two years he was Chairman of the Standards Committee. Dafydd et al continued in their own sweet way, as of course did Harold Shipman.

O’Donnell’s own explanation was that the ‘reform’ of the GMC stopped when Sir (later Lord) John Richardson retired as President.

John Richardson was President of the GMC 1973-80. He was President of the BMA 1970-71 and of the Royal Society for Medicine 1969-71. He was Chair of the Joint Consultants Committee 1967-72. He trained and worked at Tommy’s, as did most other people involved in this story. Richardson had at one point attended King George VI and was Harold Macmillan’s personal physician for 40 years – he became good friends with Macmillan. Like O’Donnell, Richardson was from Yorkshire – Richardson’s own father was a solicitor from Sheffield. Richardson retired from Tommy’s in 1975. In his capacity as President of the GMC he regularly met Ministers, including Barbara Castle whilst she was Secretary of State at the DHSS, 1974-76, when she did battle with the Top Doctors over pay beds in the NHS. Richardson was also Vice-President of the RCN from 1972 – it helps to have the Top Doctors controlling the other professions who know what they get up to.

Richardson was also consulting physician to King Edward VII’s Hospital for Officers; Consultant Emeritus to the British Army and Consultant Physician to the Metropolitan Police 1957-80. He was given a peerage in 1979 and campaigned from the Lords to stop the proposed closure of A&E at Tommy’s.

Richardson’s obituary in the Guardian described him as a ‘networker’ who was ‘never one to miss an opportunity’, ‘who did no significant research and was not a brilliant physician’. He was ‘ambitious, sometimes fawning’ and the medical students at Tommy’s tagged him ‘Sir John’ before he actually acquired his baronetcy – which was given to him by Macmillan in 1960.

Richardson retired to north Devon. Did anyone really expect a man with his biography to ‘reform’ the GMC?

 

Along with Michael O’Donnell, Diana Brahams was another high profile medical writer who was sympathetic to Dally. Brahams was everywhere in the 80s and 90s, she was usually invited to comment on ethical or medico-legal issues of that time. I have only just learnt that Brahams worked for the MDU – that was certainly never made clear when she was presented in the media as a ‘barrister’ who was an ‘expert’. Documents in my possession demonstrate that between 1985-1992 (at least) the MDU knew the extent of the wrongdoing in the north Wales mental health services and continued to act for Dr Tony Francis (Dr X) even though they knew that he was perjuring himself and they themselves had advised him to not to pursue litigation against me. Nonetheless, in 1991, Sir Robert Francis QC, whilst acting for the MDU, attempted to have me imprisoned on the instructions of Tony Francis.

Brahams seems to be based in north London near St John’s Wood and is a founder member of ‘Healthwatch’, which states that it is for ‘science and integrity in medicine’. Members include Professor Michael Baum the surgeon, Professor Susan Bewley (the daughter of two other Top Doctors, Thomas and Beulah Bewley, of whom I will be writing more later in this post) and Heinz Wolff, the man who starred on the BBC in an attempt to incite an interest in science among people of my generation when we were children. The Patron of ‘Healthwatch’ is Lord Dick Taverne – someone else known to this blog.

Brahams is also a Trustee of the Medico-Legal Society – a ‘charity’, whose registered address is Hempsons offices in London. Hempsons are the solicitors of the MDU. The stated object of the Medico-Legal Society is ‘to promote medico-legal knowledge in all its aspects’. Their meetings take place at the Medical Society of London.

Another Trustee of the Medico-Legal Society is Dr Kate Allsopp. Dr Kate Allsopp is mentioned regularly in Ann Dally’s book. Kate was a friend of Ann’s. Ann mentiones in her book that Kate was a useful person to have on side because she was shortly to become the Joint Deputy Secretary, ‘the second in command’ of the MDU. Ann was also on good terms with Dr John Wall, who later became Secretary of the MDU.

The President of the Medico-Legal Society is Dr Daniel Haines. Dr Haines doubles up as the honorary treasurer of the Royal Society of Medicine. After serving in the Falklands conflict – during which time he was taken prisoner – Daniel returned to London and worked as a GP, as well as a police surgeon with the Metropolitan Police. Daniel is now involved in expert witness work – he specialises in rape and child sexual abuse no less. Well Daniel, as an expert in the field, you certainly have an awful lot of colleagues who have worked for the MDU whom you can quiz for details…

Another medical writer who supported Dally was Dr Ian Munro. Munro trained at Guy’s and was Deputy Editor of the Lancet, 1965-76 and then Editor, 1976-88. Munro wrote many of the Lancet’s anonymous editorials, including one in 1983 which was a robust attack on the Secretary of State Norman Fowler, demanding his resignation – but not because of a high level cover-up of the Westminster Paedophile Ring, rather because of NHS strikes. If only they’d have all stayed on strike, they wouldn’t have been facilitating a paedophile ring in north Wales and flogging drugs. Or perjuring themselves in order to try and imprison people who’d dared complain about them.

Ian Munro was also an early and consistent champion of Wendy Savage.

Munro was known to have been ‘accessible to his colleagues in Fleet Street even in unsocial hours’. Top Doctors Calling, Top Doctors Calling…

Ian Munro was also from Yorkshire – from Bradford. He retained a lifelong involvement with Yorkshire County Cricket Club.

 

One of Ann’s friends from Tommy’s was Dr Elizabeth Fletcher – Fletcher acted as a character witness for Ann. Elizabeth Fletcher’s claim to fame was that after working as a GP, she became Chief Medical Officer at the BBC, 1975-80. She’ll have known about Savile then. Ann’s book mentions that among her patients were a number of senior employees of the BBC. Frank Bough was famously publicly identified as enjoying coke and prostitutes and of course Stephen Fry that well-known MIND ambassador boasted of snorting coke in Buck House – they won’t have minded Stephen, they were patients of the Dallys – but there will be many more at the BBC who enjoy recreational chemicals who haven’t been outed by the tabloids. Perhaps because the tabloid journos had become friends with them after meeting them in Ann Dally’s waiting room.

Austen Kark was another character witness for Ann. Austen was a journalist and a BBC Executive. Austen started at the BBC in 1954. He was mostly involved with the World Service and was its MD, 1984-86.

Austen was part of the comfortable north London set as well, he lived in Islington.

A third character witness for Ann was Lady Zaida Ramsbotham. Ann states frankly in her book that her lawyers had selected Lady Zaida as a character witness because of her title – Ann was told that ‘it helps’. (Sir Jimmy Savile???) Zaida only became Lady Zaida after she married Sir Peter Ramsbotham, Britain’s former Ambassador to Washington – who was appointed by Ted Heath. Ramsbotham was described as an ‘old fashioned snob’, which his friends maintained was a ‘gross’ ‘unjust’ charge. Even if being a Lady meant that his wife was useful to a dealer when she was in hot water. Ramsbotham enjoyed a warm friendship with President Jimmy Carter.

When he retired in 1980, Peter Ramsbotham became a Trustee of the Leonard Cheshire Foundation; Chair of the Ryder-Cheshire Mission for the Relief of Suffering; a Director of Lloyds Bank and of the Commercial Union Assurance Co. He was a member of the Garrick and was appointed Deputy Lieutenant of Hampshire in 1992.

Zaida married Peter in 1985 and thus acquired a title that impressed people. Before that she was Dr Zaida Hall. Her obituary from the British Journal of Psychiatry tells us that she was one of the first women students at St George’s Hospital Medical School and that she did her psychiatry training at the Maudsley. In 1971 Zaida Hall was appointed as the first female consultant psychiatrist at Southampton University/the Royal South Hants Hospital. She built up the psychotherapy dept and also worked at Red Hatch Remand Centre in Winchester for ‘delinquent girls’. Zaida was honest enough to admit that most of the ‘delinquent girls’ had been physically or sexually abused. Zaida started group therapy for female survivors of sexual abuse and later for male survivors as well. Zaida Hall used her position to publish and promote women’s mental health. Hall famously did battle with the group of therapists who publicised the notion of ‘false memory’. Which is a minefield. The wonderful thing about the notion of false memory is that it can be used to discredit the claims survivors of sexual abuse. But then so can the notion that false memory doesn’t exist. It all depends upon who’s accusing who and who the therapist is. But then nearly all psychotherapeutic notions can be used to discredit people who have been abused. Which is why the discipline has proved so useful. St George’s specialise in it and Dafydd learnt at the knee of Bob Hobson, one of Britain’s most prominent psychotherapists at the Maudsley.  So you can’t argue with that. As Dafydd once told me himself in 1987 when I accused him of the most appalling corruption – after he had me arrested on trumped up charges of ‘trying to stab a psychiatrist’. The psychiatrist who made the statement maintaining that I had done this worked for Dafydd and later admitted that I hadn’t tried to stab him after all. He was never disciplined or charged himself, although I would have gone to prison if the police had not got to the truth. In fact Dafydd was so certain that this scam would be successful that he even wrote to the Mental Health Acts Commission and told them that I had been sent to Risley Remand Centre for trying to stab a psychiatrist – and they wrote back to him confirming it!

You jumped the gun there boys…and the incriminating letters are now in my possession.

A  close friend of Ann’s was Dr Dale Beckett, again someone based in Islington. Dale Beckett had interests in drug addiction, hypnotherapy, NLP and the ‘spiritual aspect of emotional disorders’. Beckett acted as an expert witness for Dally.

Another friend was Roger Toulmin who had worked as a radio producer for the BBC and for the Times. Toulmin then became a civil servant in the DHSS. He guided the Committee of Top Doctors, nurses and midwives under the Chairmanship of Dame Alice Munro which resulted in the 1985 Report ‘Maternity Care In Action’. Ann stressed that Toulmin was a ‘bachelor’ which made his interest in the welfare of women and young children all the more impressive. Unfortunately though dear old Roger and Dame Alice didn’t manage to improve anything – Maternity Care In Action in the UK is still not what it should be and we have mortality rates for mothers and babies that are worse than some of the countries that we enjoy sneering at and imagine that their citizens are all trying to make their way to the UK to use our glorious NHS.

Ann was also friendly with Dr James Willis, who ran the drug dependency service on Merseyside before Dr John Marks took it over. I mentioned John Marks (not to be confused with the Dr John Marks who was head of the BMA for many years) previously. Marks acted as an expert witness for Dally. He ran the Chapel Street Clinic in Widnes, where he legally prescribed maintenance doses of heroin and cocaine. Great results were claimed, including by the Cheshire Drug Squad – the thing that everyone was most impressed with at the time was that none of John Marks’ patients died from AIDS. John Marks was basically hounded out and the clinic shut down in 1995. Marks himself maintains that he believes that his clinic was shut down after the US current affairs programme 60 Minutes screened a programme about his clinic in 1990. The US Republican administration became aware of the clinic, it’s methods and it’s success and Marks alleges that they put pressure on the British Gov’t to close it. Bing Spear was an enthusiastic supporter of John Marks’ clinic and rang Marks a few months after the programme was screened, claiming that there was ‘real heat’ from the embassy in Washington and that Thatcher had ‘got her knickers in a twist’.

It is alleged that Bing resigned after Marks’ clinic was closed and was replaced by an Alan MacFarlane, who considered John Marks to be ‘dangerous’.

There is a discrepancy here that I have not been able to get to the bottom of. It is alleged that Bing resigned as a consequence of Marks being shut down. Yet Bing Spear retired in 1986 – the TV programme wasn’t screened until 1990 and Marks’ clinic didn’t close until 1995. So at least some of this story isn’t true.

However, I can well-imagine that Dr John Marks, if he was running a highly successful clinic for drug addicts which was becoming famous, would have faced opposition from just about everybody. There would be the usual complaints from the neighbourhood of ‘we don’t want these sorts of people here’ – and the neighbours would be really worried about that clinic expanding. There would be the anxieties re property prices and the fate of neighbouring businesses. But Marks would also be loathed by the rest of the medical establishment as well – they were screwing up big time, so they really won’t have wanted him up in Widnes showing them up for the fools that they were. Furthermore, Marks’ clinic was alleged to have put local illicit drug dealers out of business – there was no call for their products anymore. Organised drug trafficking is big business and involves many ‘respectable’ people – they’ll have wanted John Marks out of the way. And of course there was the utter embarrassment that was Dafydd just down the A55 in north Wales – a whole pyramid of corruption and bad practice depended upon the continued presence of Dafydd and John Marks would have presented a major threat to all of it. Addicts were not going to waste their time and money with Dafydd if there was a man just next door on the Wirral from whom they could receive a service.

So Dafydd stayed in business and Dr Marks emigrated to New Zealand.

Nice result US Republican party, whose members did not have to live with the effects of Dafydd and the paedophiles’ friends.

Other writers who supported Dally included George Mikes, a journalist known for his humorous articles. Papers that he wrote for included the Observer and the Times Literary Supplement. Mikes’ had worked for the BBC’s Hungarian Service. Mikes was a member of the Garrick and was a good friend of Arthur Koestler – who was alleged to have been highly abusive to women. The journalist Jill Tweedie wrote an article in her later years describing how Koestler had violently raped her when she was young. Andrew Veitch also covered the case sympathetically – Veitch was born in Wrexham no less. His journalism received awards from, among others, paedophiles’ friends the Royal Television Society and the Terence Higgins Trust. Andrew Tyler wrote a piece for Time Out that Ann really loved – a ‘frank’ article that ‘frightened’ the Home Office and the drug dependency establishment. Tyler was a rock journalist who had worked for the NME. In 1996 he became the Director of Animal Aid. Sadly he developed Parkinsons – he chose to die at the Dignitas clinic.

Bill Nelles was also a supporter of Dally and a former addict patient of hers. Nelles was the Drugs Education Officer at the Terence Higgins Trust at the time. He went on to work for West Berkshire Health Authority, training doctors and drug users. He later became the HIV co-ordinator for North Birmingham Health Authority, the HIV co-ordinator for Harrow and Hillingdon NHS Community Trust and then in 1999 the CEO of the Methadone Alliance. He now lives and works in Canada.

Dally received a substantial amount of TV coverage, particularly after her case. She had much contact with John Ware the producer of Panorama, although she was disappointed at the Panorama programme that was eventually screened. She complained that it featured such unsavoury matters as ‘housing estates and crime on Merseyside’. Which doesn’t look quite as good as Harley Street and Belgravia, which were the stamping grounds of Ann’s patients. Dally later discovered that Ware had done a deal with the GMC and had only screened what they had approved.

Ann featured in ‘Hypotheticals’, a TV programme in which a barrister questioned people on opposing sides of an argument. Dally’s book noted that the ‘young barrister’ hosting the programme was a Jane Belson. Jane Belson eventually became Mrs Douglas Adams of ‘Hitch-Hikers Guide To The Galaxy’ fame. After graduating from Oxford, Belson worked for the Treasury. She lived with Adams in Islington and after a few diplomatic incidents they got married. They moved to LA, then to California and later returned to London. Belson and Adam were networked to an enormous circle of celebs, including many at the BBC.

Sir Henry Yellowlees also took part in the ‘Hypotheticals’ programme, opposing Ann – Yellowlees had been on the GMC panel for one of her hearings. Yellowlees was Chief Medical Officer for the DHSS, 1973-84. He had previously held a sequence of appointments on the Regional Hospital Boards (one of the Regional Hospital Board’s ran the North Wales Hospital Denbigh in the era when Gwynne the lobotomist was busy as well as Dafydd); he was seconded to the Ministry of Health in 1963 as Principal Medical Officer, after which he received promotion regularly; in 1976 he was appointed Sir George Godber’s Deputy. Godber was CMO, 1960-73 – he has a God-like status in NHS history because he was instrumental in forming the NHS. Yellowlees had battles with Barbara Castle between 1974-76 when she was trying to remove pay beds from the NHS – this led to industrial action from the Top Doctors and then industrial action from the ancillary staff who refused to provide services for patients in pay beds. So there was great trouble from those self-sacrificing NHS staff.

Yellowlees was the son of a psychiatrist himself. He left the DHSS in 1983 and then spent a year at the MoD, working on a new structure for the medical staff in the armed services; he was also a consultant to WHO. Yellowlees was a member of MRC for 9 years and a member of the GMC for 10 years. He sat on the NHS Supervisory Board for 10 years. Yellowlees served under Secretaries of State Keith Joseph, Barbara Castle, David Ennals, Norman Fowler and Patrick Jenkin.

Ken Clarke’s autobiography maintains that Yellowlees was a dreadful old bugger who’s main concern was to ascertain which Top Doctors would receive which honours.

 

Someone who appeared on ‘Hypotheticals’ in support of Ann was one of her patients, Carlin Wilkowski. Carlin still has quite an internet presence – she describes herself as an ‘addict mother’ and seems to be based in Highgate.

Dr Cindy Fazey, a criminologist from Liverpool, offered to act as an expert witness for Dally. Fazey has been the Professor of International Drug Policy at Liverpool University since 1998. She is the former Chief of Demand Reduction for the UN Control Programme. Fazey’s husband may well have proved useful to Dally as well – Ian Fazey is a journalist. He was the northern correspondent for the Financial Times during the 80s and worked for the paper until 1996. He and Cindy met whilst they were students at Aston University and Ian began his career on the Birmingham Post. He then moved to the Liverpool Daily Post where he became Deputy Editor, before becoming the General Manager of the Liverpool Daily Post and Echo in 1976.

The Liverpool Daily Post is the sister paper of the Daily Post which serves north Wales. The Daily Post is a real laugh because for years it has so obviously served as a PR sheet for the paedophiles’ friends. Dafydd himself was regularly featured in there as the centre of flattering profiles until he became very elderly. The most offensive thing that I ever read in the Daily Post was an ‘interview’ with Dafydd back in the early 1990s, in which Dafydd was asked a series of utterly obsequious questions, including one which made reference to Dafydd being known to be ‘attractive to women’ and asking him why he thought this was. This was a man who was sexually exploiting female patients – whom he had unlawfully imprisoned in a hell-hole of an asylum – whilst facilitating a paedophile ring. What did the Daily Post think that they were doing? Dafydd’s patients were universally revolted by him – not only was he unpleasant and unhinged, but he was filthy. He smelt, his teeth were green, his clothes were dirty and he was always covered in dandruff. A copy of the Daily Post was circulated around the psychiatric ward in Ysbyty Gwynedd on the day that article was published and I actually witnessed two male psych nurses – two with a sense of humour – being told that there was a photo of Dafydd in the paper. One of them yelled out ‘have they captured the dandruff?’ and they then both fell about laughing because even in the photo, you could see that Dafydd had his regular covering on the shoulders of his suit. This man worked in hospitals where the degree of ‘illness’ in patients was partially judged on whether their ‘personal hygiene’ was up to scratch. It was utterly nonsensical, like most of UK psychiatry.

Jeremy Laurance wrote articles in a number of publications about Dally. The article he wrote for New Society was described by Dally as ‘disappointing’. She was cross because Laurance had ‘invented’ a bit about Dally treating an addict in the Royal Family. Dally also became vexed with the Sunday Times for having the temerity to publish that she had a pop star among her patients and surprise surprise, they had even ‘got hold of the idea that I was psych to Princess Margaret’. How did these publications ever draw such conclusions? Because Peter and Ann Dally talked about it that’s how.

Dally intriguingly states that ‘later Jeremy was converted to my way of thinking’ and along with his Editor David Lipsey, became a ‘useful supporter’. David Lipsey ended up receiving a peerage from Tony Blair – he was named and shamed as one of Tony’s Cronies. Lipsey worked on the Sunday Times, the Sunday Correspondent, the Times, the Guardian and the Economist. He had been an advisor to Tony Crosland when Crosland was in opposition and an advisor to No 10. He was Chair of Streatham Labour Party, 1970-72 and Chair of the Fabian Society, 1982-83.

 

Obviously with Ann Dally entering into battle with the police, the Home Office Inspectorate, the GMC and the Court of Appeal at various times during the 80s, she had extensive dealings with lawyers. Although from what I saw in north Wales the MDU do an excellent job of defending Top Doctors even when they know that the Top Doctors concerned have been involved in serious criminal conduct, Ann Dally had a low opinion of the MDU, repeatedly stating that she did not trust them and was disenchanted with them. Her poor opinion of them seems to have stemmed from an incident when she had acted as an ‘expert witness’ for another Top Doctor who stood accused of questionable practices with drug addicts. Dally arrived at the Temple for a legal conference regarding this man’s case, only to be told by the clerk that no conference had been arranged. The solicitor from the MDU arrived and was told the same thing. It transpired that a conference HAD been arranged, but no-one had told the Counsel, so he’d gone home. Therefore the conference would have to be rearranged. The main concern of the man from the MDU was how expensive this was. Yet everyone involved had been retained by the MDU – so whoever had screwed up was working for the MDU.

The solicitor upon whom Ann relied extensively was a friend of hers, John Calderon, who did not work for the MDU but who worked in the City. Calderon recommended Christopher Sumner as Counsel. John also wanted Dally to use Hempsons, the MDU solicitors but she flatly refused. Despite this, the MDU did agree to pay for John Calderon’s representation, although the MDU wanted to be present at all meetings with lawyers. The MDU also funded Dally’s (unsuccessful) appeal to the Privy Council House of Lords Judicial Committee after she was barred from prescribing by the GMC.

Calderon wanted a Top Doctor to sit in with the lawyers and comment on the scientific evidence in Ann’s case. The Top Doctor selected to do this was none other than Dr John Harman, Harriet’s dad. One of the many comments following my post ‘Wheels Within Wheels Or Flies Drawn To The Same Incestuously Corrupt Shithouse?’ mentions the role that John Harman played in defending John Bodkin Adams, a Top Doctor who killed his patients. Dally describes John Harman as having ‘one of the best brains I knew for exposing medical guff’.

Dally liked Christopher Sumner. Sir Christopher Sumner as he became was appointed a Circuit judge in 1987, a High Court judge in 1996 and ended up in the Court of Appeal. He worked as an advocate and a High Court judge in the Family Division.

When John Calderon was unavailable for Dally’s appeal – he was on holiday – Dally used the services of another solicitor, John Kelleher. Kelleher is now a partner in Carey Olsen and practices in Jersey. In 1994 Kelleher became an Advocate of the Royal Court of Jersey and in 2017 he was appointed President of the Law Society of Jersey. As the appeal approached, Calderon told Dally that ‘the Law Lords feel that they need to keep in with the doctors’. The barrister Diana Brahams believed that the Privy Council took the view that doctors are the best people to discipline other doctors. Dally observed that there is a close relationship between the GMC and the Privy Council (who hear appeals against GMC decisions) – they hand out honours to each other.

In one of Ann’s hearings, William Gage was the lead barrister who was engaged by Calderon. Ann didn’t take to Gage and told Neil Taylor QC – Counsel who was also advising – that she felt uncomfortable with him. She was told by Taylor that it wasn’t Gage’s job to make her feel at ease, he was there ‘to get you off’ and that he was good at getting clients off. Gage is now Sir William Gage. He became the presiding judge of the South Eastern Circuit, then a High Court judge in 1993 and then a Lord Justice of Appeal in 2004. Gage Chaired the Public Inquiry into the death of Baha Mousa.

After Dally lost her appeal, the MDU paid for the opinion of Anthony Lester QC, who specialised in European law, with a view to taking the case to the Court of Human Rights, although Dally didn’t end up following this course of action.

At one point the MDU instructed Anthony Johnston of Beachcrofts to act for Dally.

 

Dr David Marjot acted as an expert witness for Dally. Dally describes Marjot as a critic of the drugs dependency establishment who ran a DDU clinic himself. Dally stated that he was the only such doctor in London who was in such a position and that he too had suffered after ‘speaking out’. Marjot was one of the few doctors who held a heroin licence. Between 1976-93, he was consultant psychiatrist for the Regional Alcohol and DDU at Ealing. He was visiting consultant psychiatrist for Wormwood Scrubs, 1976-99 and locum forensic psychiatrist for Broadmoor, 1994-96. Yes, another one who stood and watched as Savile did his worst… In 2014 David Marjot wrote a very angry letter into the BMJ concerning the case of a surgeon who had been in front of the GMC for shouting and swearing at colleagues. Marjot had penned a blistering attack on the GMC, quoting the Francis Report into the Mid-Staffs scandal, reminding everyone that even in that case, the failings had been institutional rather than personal. Whilst I would agree with Marjot that staff working in the NHS can be seriously hampered by a foolish managerial regime in which an obsession with targets is pursued at all costs, that cannot always excuse what happens in the NHS and it didn’t excuse what happened at Mid-Staffs. By the way Marjot – when you were working at Broadmoor, the crazy regime of targets was not in place. But that didn’t stop Savile and others grossly abusing the patients – and it wasn’t targets that bought your silence on the matter.

After Dally was prevented from prescribing, a Dr Colin Brewer took over many of her patients. Dally described Brewer as a man who had ‘had a change of heart’ and had converted to her way of thinking. He certainly did. Brewer didn’t just open one clinic to prescribe for addicts on a private basis, he opened several – and then expanded rapidly. Brewer was a roaring success until 2006 when he was struck off by the GMC for inappropriate drug prescribing. His clinic – the Stapleford Addiction Clinic, based in Belgravia – was described as a ‘drugs grocery’ and his patients included Amy Winehouse and Pete Doherty. A consequence of the ‘inappropriate prescribing’ which saw Brewer struck off was the death of a patient. The patient had been sent home with a DIY detox kit containing 16 different drugs, including a heroin substitute. Colin Brewer has found a new way of earning a few quid since he was struck off. He now carries out ‘assessments’ for Dignitas. The Daily Mail have taken an interest in Colin Brewer and revealed that he has ‘helped’ at least twelve people to die by saying the right things in his assessments for Dignitas. A lot of those people were not terminally ill. When challenged, Brewer said that because he was no longer on the Register ‘no-one can tell me what to do’. An undercover journalist posed as a thirty-five year old woman with mental health problems and Brewer was prepared to recommend her for the chop as well.

When asked about the activities of Colin Brewer, our esteemed DPP Alison Saunders stated that the CPS was less likely to prosecute doctors assisting in deaths of patients who were not under their direct care – critics say that Brewer exploited this.

 

So who were the Top Doctors who sat in judgement over Ann Dally and who found her wanting but didn’t actually put her out of business, even when she continued to prescribe controlled drugs after she was barred by the GMC? I have mentioned that one was Sir Henry Yellowlees.

Another was the President of the GMC at the time, Sir (later Lord) John Walton. Walton was a neurologist who held every big job in medicine. He was President of the BMA 1980-82; President of the GMC 1982-89; President of the Royal Society of Medicine 1984-86.  He was knighted in 1979 and after his distinguished stint at the GMC – during which all those very serious complaints about Dafydd were not acted upon, even the one that involved a death – Walton picked up his peerage in 1989. So how did this lethal old bastard climb to the top?

Walton qualified at Newcastle Medical School, when it was still part of Durham University. In 1959 he was appointed consultant neurologist at the University of Newcastle Hospitals and in 1968 he was awarded a Chair in neurology at Newcastle. Walton was a specialist in muscular dystrophy. In 1971 he became Dean of the Medicine at Newcastle, a post he retained until 1981. He also sat on various hospital management committees. In 1983 he was appointed Warden of Green College, Oxford.

Walton was Vice-President of the World Federation of Neurology in 1981 and then President, 1989-97. He was President of the Association for British Neurology, 1987-88.

Walton arrived in the Lords whilst the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill was passing through Parliament, which allowed experiments on embryos for up to 14 days after fertilisation. Walton supported the Bill and Lord Stallard (Jock Stallard, a former Labour MP) was so opposed to it that he tried to prevent Walton becoming Chair of the Medical Ethics Select Committee. Stallard failed in this – well Walton was a Top Doctor wasn’t he, of course he would be the best choice where ethics were concerned. Walton also remained loyal to his old medical school once he arrived in the Lords – he used his position to gain GMC approval for Newcastle’s development of a medical school in Malaysia and much more recently he secured Parliamentary approval for Newcastle’s work on mitochondrial research (that’s the really controversial work that a lot of people are very worried about). In 2014 Newcastle University opened the John Walton Muscular Dystrophy Research Centre.

Walton remained a very influential figure in the north east and was made Freeman of the City of Newcastle.

I suspect that Walton occupying that Chair of the Ethics Committee may have caused a great deal of damage. As I am fairly certain did Walton himself for many years. Walton came from NEWCASTLE – Dr Neil Davies and Prof Bob Woods who colluded with the wrongdoing in north Wales were both working at Newcastle before they arrived to work in the mental health services in north Wales. The Cleveland Child Abuse Scandal happened on Walton’s old patch – which provided such a useful muddying of the waters where organised child sexual abuse was concerned just when some of us were trying to draw attention to the wrongdoing in north Wales.

There is one position that Walton held which is completely inconsistent with his whole career. Between 2012-15 he was President of the Association of the College of Occupational Therapists. Apart from Alison Taylor the Gwynedd social worker who was sacked by her boss Lucille Hughes – Dafydd’s mistress – back in the late 1980s, there has only ever been one whistleblower in Gwynedd. That was a senior occupational therapist at the Hergest Unit, who for years blew and blew and blew. Although he undoubtedly saved a few lives by actually looking after his patients, this man’s grave concerns were ignored. The small team of occupational therapists working with him were all excellent as well. The whistleblower was sent to Coventry by virtually the whole hospital and retired a few years ago – after he retired, every one of his colleagues was hounded out. This man was offered a job to build up occupational therapy as a discipline in the School of Healthcare Sciences at Bangor University but turned it down because of the bad practice that he knew was prevalent in that School. The job was instead taken by a Louise Ingham, who had previously worked as an occupational therapist for mental health patients in the community in Gwynedd. Who knows exactly how dangerous and corrupt the mental health services in north Wales are and who neglected her own patients shockingly – I witnessed one case of this myself.

So who on earth invited John Walton to preside over the occupational therapists at a national level?

One of the members of one of the GMC panels before whom Dally appeared was Dr Betty Tylden. Betty Tylden had worked under William Sargant at Tommy’s – as had Ann’s husband. Tylden’s expertise was in addiction – and child abuse, cults and mind control.

The hearing of the GMC into Dally’s conduct that occurred as a result of her continuing to prescribe controlled drugs after the GMC had barred her from doing this was Chaired by Professor Robert Duthie. Duthie was an orthopaedic surgeon from Oxford. In 1971 he had acted as an advisor to the DHSS. He was also a member of the Royal Commission on Civil Liability and Personal Injury. Duthie was President of the British Orthopaedic Association in 1984. So he’ll have known the corrupt Medical Ombudsman for Wales Professor Robert Owen, who concealed the wrongdoing of Dafydd et al in the late 1980s – Owen was Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at Liverpool University.

On the panel alongside Robert Duthie was Professor Rhilip Rhodes, an obstetrician. Ann Dally had been friends with him when she worked in obstetrics at Tommy’s.

 

As for the ‘drugs dependency establishment’ whom Dally loathed and who opposed her, a leading light among them was Dr Thomas Bewley, whom I mentioned earlier – the man whom many years later admitted that none of them actually knew what they were doing.

Bewley sat on a lot of Committees, he particularly enjoyed doing that. He was the first sub-dean of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the second Dean, the fifth President, 1984-87 and a member of the Council until 1996.

Bewley had an interesting early career. He was from Dublin and qualified there – his was from a well-known family who founded a small Quaker hospital, Bloomfield and both his father and grandfather ran that. Bewley came to Britain as a young man and took up psychiatry but was repeatedly rejected for training at the Maudsley. He was finally accepted on his fourth application. Bewley stated that he didn’t want to train at Tommy’s because he feared being damaged by William Sargant. In the 1950s Bewley completed his MD thesis at the Maudsley on alcoholism. He then spent time working in psychoanalysis in the US. He returned to run Tooting Bec Hospital (the hospital which so appalled Ann Dally when she was young), where he became a consultant. Bewley went to Tooting Bec because ‘they took people who couldn’t get in anywhere’ – he had difficulty getting a job because he had left the Maudsley ‘prematurely’ and his qualifications were Irish.

Bewley began treating heroin addicts and published in the Lancet. He ‘knew little, but more than everyone else’. Despite this career which involved being almost unemployable and not knowing his arse from his elbow, in a 2007 interview with the British Journal of Psychiatry Bulletin, Thomas Bewley observed that ‘one of the advantages of having an index-linked psychiatrists pension is we can go to the opera as often as we like’. Whilst you ignore a nutter in north Wales who is a colleague of yours who participates in organised crime.

Thomas Bewley’s wife is Dame Beulah Bewley, an epidemiologist. Beulah Bewley was a member of the GMC for a number of years. In fact she was a member of the GMC when her husband reported Ann Dally to them. Beulah Bewley was a Woman In Medicine and even wrote a book about this after she retired. She had been the President of the Women’s Medical Federation on the GMC and was also the treasurer. Despite advertising her credentials as a Woman, Beulah never managed to reign in Dafydd during her time on the GMC as he shagged and sexually harassed his way around north Wales. Beulah boasts of having met many Top People during her career, rubbing shoulders with Royalty as well as Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor – yeh, well that makes sense, her husband ran a drugs and alcohol clinic.

Someone else who opposed Dally was Professor Robert Priest, honorary consultant at St Mary’s Hospital and one time Chairman of the BMA.

Dr Philip Connell was another Top Doctor with whom Dally clashed. Connell was the first person to identify amphetamine psychosis. Connell liked sitting on Committees even more than Thomas Bewley, Connell sat on just about everything possible, particularly in the field of addiction.

Connell was a Barts graduate who did his postgrad training at the Maudsley. In 1959 he was appointed consultant for developing a children’s and adolescent service at Newcastle General Hospital, in association with Durham University. Six years later he returned to the Maudsley as a consultant where he remained until his retirement in 1986. Connell was a member of Baroness Wootton’s Committee On The Use Of Cannabis; Chair of the Advisory Council On The Misuse of Drugs, 1982-88; Vice-President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists; and a member of the GMC – the Preliminary Screener for Health Procedures. Connell will have known Dafydd then – Dafydd famously claimed to suffer from a ‘nervous illness’ which was used as the excuse when he did something really deranged which couldn’t be concealed in the usual manner.

In the Indie’s obituary of Connell, it was observed that he had ‘an addiction for power and influence in medical organisations, especially those which had an interface with the public and legal affairs’, that ‘his efforts to gain and utilise power were based on self-interest’, that he ‘could be quite boastful’, that he had a ‘tough and barbed exterior’ and that he ‘enjoyed mingling with the great and good’.

Obituaries usually highlight the nicest aspects of people, so I can only presume that Philip Connell was as obnoxious as they come.

Dr John Strang was someone else who did not approve of Ann Dally. Strang led the drug addiction group at the Maudsley for many years. Then he was the Director of the National Addiction Centre; the Head of the Addictions Dept at Kings College London and the Leader of the Addiction Clinical Academic Group of Kings Health Partners.

 

All these Top Doctors who opposed Ann Dally will have known that Dafydd was building up a drugs empire in north Wales. At one point in the 1980s this lot even held a conference in Llandudno, which was the heart of Dafydd’s drugs and nursing homes empire. So whilst they quaffed and supped, just down the road the residents of Holyrood House were being beaten to a pulp and throughout the region the paedophiles were busy.

 

There was one Top Doctor whom Dally spoke of approvingly, a man who Knows How It Is because he was an ex-addict himself. That man was Dr Brian Wells.

Life has certainly been good to Dr Brian Wells. He now runs a company called Leading Healthcare International (LHCI), which describes itself as ‘bespoke’, ‘discreet’ and operating by ‘word of mouth’. He set up LHCI in 2002 to provide ‘facilities for patients and families on a global basis’. Brian Wells is also listed at three different London facilities on the BUPA website. But Brian has another website as well – this advertises The Cabin at Chiang Mai in Thailand. Wells is Group Medical Director at The Cabin Addiction Services Group. He explains that his career has been ‘varied’ and that among other things he was the ‘tour doctor’ to a ‘number of well-known artists in the entertainment industry’. The Cabin’s contact details are in Thailand and the website advertises counsellors, mindfulness and meditation. Wells claims that The Cabin uses CBT, the 12 Steps programme and Mindfulness. The Cabin has a ‘partner office’ in the Netherlands and outpatient centres across the globe, including in Bangkok. Although The Cabin is principally concerned with drugs and alcohol addiction, the accompanying blog explains that The Cabin now offers help for porn addiction at the Chiang Mai centre. Presumably Dr Brian will arrange for a few ladyboys to pop over from the Bangkok branch to assist with the therapy.

Brian Wells actually has the letters FRCPsych after his name. He has the official stamp of approval.

Brian was the Medical Director of the main refugee camp during the Cambodian relief operation of 1979/80. He then returned to the UK. He worked at the Maudsley as a consultant psych and set up the largest NHS substance misuse service in the UK, including SHARP, a ‘charitable intensive day-programme’, as well as the Centre for Research on Drugs and Health Behaviour at Imperial. Dr Wells was also the Medical Director of the then Riverside Mental Health NHS Trust, Central London.

Wells has been clinical advisor to a number of international organisations, including health insurance companies and the GMC.

So has anyone rung the drug squad yet to discuss Dr Wells’s business activities with them?

 

I need to mention one more Top Doctor who receives a passing reference in Dally’s book. That is Dr Dorothy Black, who worked in the Drugs Dept of the DHSS in the 1980s. Like Dr Pamela Mason, a Top Doctor in the employment of Thatcher’s Gov’t whilst this chaos was happening. Dorothy Black’s name cropped up in 1984, in the wake of a truly damning report into Kendall House, a home for ‘girls with problems’ which was run by the Church of England’s Council for Social Responsibility in Gravesend, Kent. The ‘girls with problems’ – what’s the betting that the problem that most of them had was that they had been molested and wouldn’t shut up about it? – were being forcibly injected by a Top Doctor – describing himself interestingly as a ‘psychotherapist’ –  with huge doses of anti-psychotics, although none of the girls had diagnoses of mental illness. A TV programme was screened about the Kendall House in 1980 but no action at all was taken. It was only in the wake of the report in 1984 that Dorothy Black felt obliged to comment, stating that she was ‘extremely concerned’ about the ‘storage, monitoring and administration of psychotropic drugs’. In 1986 Kendall House was closed. Many of the girls who were resident there later gave birth to babies with various disabilities – the incidence of birth defects among these babies was so high that many believed there was a link to the huge doses of drugs that the mothers of the babies had been given when they were teenagers at Kendall House.

This sort of mistreatment of young people who dared allege that they had been sexually abused was absolutely routine throughout the 70, 80s and 90s. Everybody who worked in the field knew that it was going on – and huge numbers of the people involved are now employed at the highest levels in the UK’s health and welfare services.

 

This post has described the idiocy, the lack of integrity and the craziness of many of the people occupying senior positions in the mental health services in the 1980s.

As for the confusion and dilemmas involved in how to approach the problem that was Ann Dally, with the MDU, the GMC, Top Doctors and various lawyers and the Law Lords all bouncing the problem back and forth between them – I rather suspect that this was a result of Princess Margaret’s dealer being placed under investigation by the police. No-one knew what the hell to do so everyone started hitting each other – no wonder Dally wasn’t ever actually struck off. I also suspect that there was corruption in the Home Office Drugs Branch and the DHSS – it would explain why Dally was actively friends with some of the Inspectors and why John Lawson the Senior Inspector who was a soft touch was transferred to cover Wales. Anyone for a War On Drugs?

Thoughout it all, Dafydd conducted business as normal. Supplying boys to the Westminster Paedophile Ring leaves one even more untouchable than being the purveyor of recreational chemicals to the Royals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

News Round Up, 6 October 2017

The Betsi has been in the news again this week and of course it has not been for any positive reasons. Both BBC News Wales and Daily Post Online have reported on the case of ‘Mr D’, who died at Ysbyty Gwynedd after receiving ‘substandard care’.

Mr D was admitted to Ysbyty Gwynedd in Dec 2014 with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and was diagnosed with pneumonia and respiratory failure. The day following his admission, his daughter Ms C was told that he was improving and that discharge plans were being discussed. Yet Mr D’s condition worsened and on Christmas Day, four days after he had been admitted, he suffered a cardiac arrest and died.

In Feb 2015, Ms C – ironically a member of staff in the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board’s Complaints Dept – made a formal complaint to the Betsi. She waited almost a year for a response but having still heard nothing from the Betsi about her complaint, she enlisted the help of a Community Health Council advocate. Nineteen months after her complaint was lodged the Board finally replied and although they admitted that there was a failure to carry out observations on Mr D, they stated that this did not affect the ‘sad outcome’.

This complaint has ended up in the hands of the Public Service Ombudsman for Wales, Nick Bennett, who has absolutely slammed the Betsi. Mr Bennett has highlighted ‘serious failings’ and ‘missed opportunities’ – such as the failure to move Mr D to a high dependency unit – which led to Mr D’s death. Mr Bennett also mentioned that an inaccurate record was made of the cause of Mr D’s death and that there was a failure to carry out a serious incident investigation. Mr Bennett stated that the Betsi had been ‘disingenuous’ and had refused to admit that their failings led to Mr D’s death. Mr Bennett’s report also revealed that the cause of Mr D’s death had actually been acute kidney injury secondary to sepsis, which was never treated. Furthermore the staff involved in Mr D’s ‘care’ made inappropriate comments about the complaint to a member of Mr D’s family – the Board failed to follow up this matter properly.

So the Betsi failed to diagnose a serious illness, they failed to provide the appropriate care, a completely avoidable death occurred, they then failed to respond to a complaint about that death for more than a year and six months, when they did respond they lied, they also failed to follow their own complaints procedure, a member of their staff then spoke ‘inappropriately’ and breached confidentiality and the Betsi failed to deal with that matter properly as well.

This is pretty much par for the course where the north Wales NHS is concerned and it has been for decades.

Gill Harris, Director of Nursing at the Betsi, has spouted the usual load of meaningless tripe about how sorry they are, how they are seeking to improve and how they are improving their ‘concerns procedures’ (it is a standing joke in north Wales that the Betsi never refers to a ‘complaint’, it is always a ‘concern’).

The Betsi have been told repeatedly to improve their ‘clinical standards’ and to improve their response to complaints. The north Wales NHS was told this repeatedly in its previous incarnation in the form of the NHS Trusts that preceded the Betsi. They were supposedly ‘prioritising sepsis’ nearly ten years ago – yet someone else has now died of it after the Betsi failed to treat it and in this instance the Betsi simply pretended that the patient had died of something else.

Is anybody really surprised that this has happened AGAIN? There are members of the Betsi Board such as the Chair Peter Higson and Director of Workforce Martin Jones who have been employed in the NHS in north Wales for decades and they have ALWAYS concealed gross negligence and misconduct on the part of clinical staff, lied about doing so and then failed to investigate complaints properly – it is their business model. Did anyone expect them to conduct themselves any differently just because the organisation was given a new name?

Much as I sympathise with Ms C after what she has been through, I would like to ask her why, as a member of the complaints team at the Betsi, that she hasn’t previously blown the whistle when she witnessed this happening to other people – because she will have. Perhaps Ms C could also tell me when the very serious complaint that I made about the Betsi last year will be investigated because to date it has not been. I was lied to – and about – as well and when I pointed this out it was ignored. My complaint remains unresolved – but I will not be alone, there’ll be hundreds of us in that position.

 

The Daily Post has reported on the inquest in Ruthin of Susan England, a 63 year old teacher who died in Ysbyty Glan Clwyd of an accidental overdose of dihydrocodeine. Ms England took the accidental overdose after trying to ease the pain from her hip whilst she waited for an operation. The Coroner Nicola Jones stated that this death illustrates the ‘perils of self-medicating’. It also illustrates the perils of having to rely upon the north Wales NHS – you are left in agony and I bet that there was no advice or help given to Ms England concerning pain management. She’ll have been left to deal with it herself. Nicola Jones told Susan England’s family that she realised that they’d been through ’48 hours of absolute hell’. Ms England herself had probably been through many months of hell, firstly trying to get an appointment regarding her hip problems, then being left to deal with the agony alone on a very long waiting list. I have two friends who both recently had orthopaedic problems and who live in north Wales. They were both told that they could skip a very long waiting list if they agreed to pay for private treatment – from exactly the same consultant who would perform the operation if they had it on the NHS. One friend is ideologically against private care and stated that as a matter of principal he’d wait for NHS treatment. Within two months of being offered the chance to skip the waiting list, he was in agony – which his greedy, grasping ‘NHS consultant’ knew that he’d be. There was no advice offered regarding pain control – just another offer to skip the waiting list if my friend stumped up for private treatment. The consultant treating him – or more accurately doing all he can not to treat him unless it is on a private basis – will be earning almost £100k pa for his NHS work. NHS work that involves leaving people in agony on a very long waiting list whilst you wait for them to crumble and agree to book in for private care at Spire Wrexham or some such similar establishment.

Nicola Jones observed that Ms England was ‘a healthy woman apart from her hip pain’ and returned a verdict of ‘accidental death’.

 

Nicola Jones also recently carried out the inquest on Mathew Gareth Jones, a 34 year old man with an alcohol problem. Nicola Jones stated at the inquest that Mathew’s death was ‘alcohol related’ and that ‘a lot of work was done by health professionals to try to help him’. Mathew’s parents disagreed with this statement so strongly that they spoke to the Daily Post. They maintained that Mathew should have had more help for his alcohol problem and that both Denbighshire County Council’s housing dept and the Ablett Unit at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd let him down badly. They explained that Mathew had been in and out of the Ablett Unit for two years, that he was homeless during this time and that when he was housed, it was in a B&B above a pub in Rhyl.

People unacquainted with the ‘help’ on offer to mental health patients in north Wales may believe that Mathew’s parents are unfairly blaming other agencies for their son’s problems. I doubt that they are. For years when I lived in north Wales I watched the most ludicrous – indeed dangerous – decisions taken about vulnerable people. I knew one alcoholic who was housed immediately next door to one pub in Bethesda and just a few doors away from two other pubs. I knew another alcoholic who was housed in substandard accommodation next door to an off licence. Both these men drank themselves to death within months of being ‘housed’. I knew a vulnerable man with mental health problems who was housed in the same block of flats as big time drug dealers – they intimidated him out of his flat (he fled in terror) and he was then refused further accommodation after the Arfon Community Mental Health Team declared that he had ‘made himself homeless’. Another vulnerable mental health patient was housed in the ‘hard to let’ part of the toughest council estate in Gwynedd. She had a brick thrown through her window within three weeks of moving in. I could cite many more examples, it was constant. Furthermore even these people had only been housed after spending years begging for help to find accommodation – most mental health patients requesting such help were just told to take a running jump. The degree of neglect was scandalous. Three years ago I discovered that there was a team of five or six social workers employed by Gwynedd County Council whose remit it was to find homeless people accommodation – and two of those social workers were supposedly dedicated to housing disabled people. I did not know such a team even existed and no-one else that I knew had ever heard of them either – yet I knew numerous disabled homeless people in Gwynedd who had begged for help with housing and were all simply told ‘we don’t have any housing’.

 

So I was not really that surprised to discover that Nick Bennett the Public Services Ombudsman was reported in the Daily Post as saying that the number of health complaints has doubled in a decade and that he is seeing a rise in the number of complaints against the Betsi. Last year Mr Bennett published six public interest reports – three of them concerned the Betsi, all of them involved Ysbyty Glan Clwyd. This should not surprise anyone either. Ysbyty Glan Clwyd has been in a dreadful state for many years and its serious problems were simply denied and concealed by the previous Chief Exec of the Conwy and Denbighshire NHS Trust, Gren Kershaw (see post ‘How Much Do Staff Surveys Really Tell Us?’). The director of Ysbyty Glan Clwyd at present is Craig Barton. Barton was formerly a senior manager of the North West Wales NHS Trust and at one point he was appointed to ‘modernise’ the Hergest Unit. When he was asked by two people known to me how he was going to do this – two people who knew all about the catalogue of deaths and abuse at the Hergest Unit – Barton told them that he wasn’t even going to try, because the then manager of the Hergest Unit Alun Davies was alright if he liked you, but if he took a dislike to you ‘your feet won’t touch the floor’. Davies and Barton remained as ‘managers’ of the Hergest Unit and patients continued to die. I was told that Craig Barton was the rather daft son of someone senior in the North Wales Probation Service – a ‘service’ which was corrupt as fuck and a great friend to the North Wales Paedophile Ring. Craig did rather badly in his degree at Bangor and of course ended up in the north Wales NHS. A career path that has been followed by a great many fuckwits local to north Wales, including Martin Jones.

Nick Bennett has stated that the Betsi needs a ‘culture change’ but this will not be easy. That Nick is because it is run by the likes of Higson, Barton and Martin Jones and no-one is ever sacked no matter how badly they conduct themselves or how many people die. Nick himself is from Anglesey and is now based in Cardiff. So Nick’s pretty much part of the same crowd then – Nick’s pedigree was discussed recently on the Welsh political blog Jac O The North. Nick Bennett told the Daily Post that his ‘most experienced and senior investigators’ were now working with the Betsi. Which will be a complete waste of time, because they will be the very same people who have spent their whole careers in the Welsh NHS or Welsh civil service and it is they who have failed to deal with the problems previously and they certainly won’t now. Most of them probably know Higson by name and may have even worked for him/with him when he was Chief Exec of Health Inspectorate Wales – which consistently failed to investigate serious complaints against the north Wales NHS… Higson’s sister is Dr Ruth Hussey, the former Chief Medical Officer for Wales… I could go on for ever in this vein, but the corrupt incestuous circle involves so many people that readers will just have to use the search facility on this blog for further details.

 

BBC News Wales reported a crisis in home care on Anglesey. Gwawr Rowlands who has Rett syndrome – a genetic condition which affects brain development and can result in severe mental and physical disabilities – has been receiving a care package funded by the Betsi but organised by Anglesey County Council’s social services. The package includes help with washing and changing. On 25 Sept Gwawr’s mother received a phone call telling her that Gwawr’s carers would no longer be providing care after 29 Sept – so Gwawr and her family received a grand total of five days notice that her care was going to stop.

The company contracted to provide care for Gwawr was Abacare. Abacare maintain that they made Gwawr’s social worker aware that they were struggling to provide the care package ten days previously and that they suggested that Anglesey County Council find another agency to provide care. It transpires that Abacare has had problems fulfilling other care packages for clients on Anglesey and the company has stated that it has been using care workers from Bangor and Caernarfon which is not sustainable. Abacare maintains that they have offered to work with the Council’s in-house dept or other agencies in order to find care for Gwawr ‘although this is against the company policy’. They have had no response from Anglesey County Council. Gwawr’s mother maintains that she has had no explanation from Abacare regarding their decision to suddenly withdraw her daughter’s care.

I suspect that there are many other cases like Gwawr’s, but Gwawr’s has come to light because Gwawr’s mother rang a radio programme about her case. The care system in north Wales has been doing things like this for years. There are scores of ‘care agencies’ that have now been contracted to provide a few hours of ‘care’ daily to clients in their own homes (Gwawr’s care package consisted of two hours daily). I have friends who have worked for these agencies and as long ago as 2005 it was a shambles. North Wales is a rural area and carers – being paid the minimum wage and no travelling expenses – were being despatched many miles to provide one hours ‘care’. I knew someone who lived in Cricieth who was given clients in Rhyl – she was expected to drive to Rhyl and back for one or two hours work. The agency my friend worked for was Medicare – it was scandalous. The carers were casual workers – no-one was offered any training and many of the staff were young people who weren’t able to shoulder the responsibilities given to them. Untrained unqualified carers were told to administer prescribed, essential medication. My friend discovered that the only source of ‘support’ or ‘advice’ was telephone contact with a ‘manager’ – who didn’t even have a nursing qualification. On a number of occasions my friend arrived at clients’ homes to find that the carer responsible for the previous ‘shift’ hadn’t bothered to turn up and hadn’t bothered to tell the ‘manager’ that they were going to make their call. My friend called on one bedbound elderly man at 6pm to find that his morning carer hadn’t turned up, neither had his lunch-time carer. He had not been out of bed, taken to the loo, given any food or drink or his medication since the evening before. My friend left Medicare after this, stating that people’s lives were being put at risk and that she wasn’t prepared to be part of it.

I know one person who was offered a carers job last year with an agency responsible for home care in Wrexham – commissioned by Wrexham County  Borough Council – without references being taken up or a DBS check being carried out. The job involved handling the money and medication of housebound elderly people. The agency involved was a company based in Nottingham who’s ‘office’ in Wrexham was a portacabin on an industrial estate. During the ‘interview’, confidential clients’ files were scattered around the room with clients’ names and details visible.

Most of these ‘care agencies’ are so shambolic and pay staff so badly and treat them so unreasonably that no-one wants to work for them – that is why they are constantly short of ‘carers’, even in a region like north Wales which has a high rate of unemployment. The Councils contracting them are equally as sloppy – they know damn well how these agencies conduct themselves. Both Anglesey and Wrexham Social Services have a long and glorious history of serious abuse in their children’s services. I suspect that Gwawr’s ‘care’ was the responsibility of Anglesey’s Communities section – the head was (and may still be) the hopeless Gwenan Carrington, previously Director of Gwynedd Social Services. After her position there became untenable following a series of well-publicised disasters, dear old Gwenan made a sideways move into Anglesey County Council… Gwenan’s colleagues in Anglesey Social Services are no better – they have failed to deliver any ‘services’ for years, the residents of Anglesey with relatives in need of services are tearing their hair out. There has also been a long-standing problem of the bullying of social work students who have dared raise concerns at the bad practice that they witnessed on placement.

Gwawr has Rett syndrome. I think that everyone involved in providing the ‘care packages’ that she and other disabled people depend upon must have Rhett syndrome, named after Rhett Butler, the famous character in Gone With The Wind – definitely a case of ‘frankly my dear I don’t give a damn’…

 

Wrexham Maelor psychiatrist Thomas Jenkins who was caught using the gay dating app Grindr to request a 13 year old boy to have sex with him without a condom by an undercover police officer has been ordered to attend a sex offenders programme for three years and has been placed on the sex offenders register for five years. Jenkins qualified at Cardiff University two years ago and was in the second year of the foundation course in psychiatry at Wrexham Maelor when he was arrested. That’ll be the course that Peter Higson, Martin Jones and the rest of the Betsi Board are so proud of. I wonder if Higson will be mentioning this particular triumph at the next Board meeting? Incredibly the GMC have actually struck Jenkins off. Can they possibly be clamping down on criminal medical practitioners? Jenkins was told by the GMC that he’d brought the profession into disrepute (unlike dear old Dafydd, who is of course a fine upstanding member of that profession) and that his ‘fellow doctors would fins his actions deplorable’. Even if they did, experience demonstrates that they would still lie on his behalf, refuse to investigate complaints against him and continue to refer patients to him. And the GMC would not be above forging documents in order to protect him either.

 

The Welsh Gov’t have been boasting about providing midwives in Wales with special training to care for premature babies who are born before 24 weeks and will not survive. A young mother from Cardiff was so distressed at the treatment of her own premature baby – who was born at 22 weeks and died just after an hour later after midwives had refused to touch or handle the baby at all – that she lobbied Health Boards and Welsh Gov’t Ministers for dignified treatment of premature babies who will not survive. Sadly what this young mother and the Welsh Gov’t will not be taking into account is, once more, the bad behaviour of Angels and Top Doctors in the face of ‘training’. In the early 1990s St George’s Hospital Medical School was considered to have had an excellent special care baby unit, so a lot of mothers in the region who were considered to be at risk of delivering premature babies opted to give birth at St George’s. I have mentioned previously on this blog that a lot of the midwives there were very good. Even in 1990, it was routine at St George’s for the very premature babies who died to be dressed up in baby clothes and put in a Moses basket and to be given back to their mother for a few hours. Most of the midwives did treat the bodies of the babies who died with respect. But there was one midwife there who used to entertain herself by playing with the dead babies, putting their limbs in grotesque positions and having a good laugh whilst she was doing it. As ever, she was not challenged although everybody knew what she was doing. And no, her conduct would not have improved if she’d been paid more…

 

Mark Drakeford, the Finance Minister (formerly the Health Minister, formerly Rhodri Morgan’s special advisor on Health Policy, formerly a social worker in Dyfed where a paedophile ring existed), has announced that he can only give the Welsh NHS £450 million because of austerity imposed by Westminster. I have no time for the Westminster Gov’t and they undoubtedly do great damage to Wales, but Drakeford is not helping matters by giving millions of pounds to people whom he knows are institutionally corrupt and telling them how sorry he is that he cannot give them more. Wales needs that money very badly Drakeford and you are giving it to crooks – and you have known for years that they are crooks, but you ignored the people (like me) who sent you the evidence. Tawel Fan blew up in your face whilst you were Health Minister and it has not yet been resolved – the worst mental healthcare scandal that there had ever been in the UK happened at the Ablett Unit in the Betsi and not one abusive member of staff was disciplined. Instead the nurse who blew the whistle on it all was sacked.

 

I despair of Drakeford et al, I don’t think they that have any idea of the public anger that there is in north Wales regarding the shite public services which are gobbling up millions whilst they exterminate vulnerable people – and every time there’s another scandal the dickwit Drakeford tells everyone that it’s because the paedophiles’ friends have not been given enough money. The troughing bastards are the most highly paid people in north Wales, the Martins and the Craigs with their third class degrees from Bangor, Aber and Cardiff are all pulling in well over £100k pa. (Martin is trousering about £150k now.)

 

NHS England continues to experience traumas, as reported by the Mail Online.

The Warrington and Halton Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in Cheshire has stopped spinal surgery after four serious incidents, two of them involving patient deaths.

Brioney Woolfe, a former midwifery assistant, has appeared in Colchester Magistrates Court after accessing the data of 29 patients – not just midwifery patients either – between Dec 2014 and May 2016. Woolfe’s activities only came to light after one patient discovered that details of an illness that he wanted kept private had become public knowledge. I am staggered that Woolfe has even been disciplined for this, yet alone has ended up in Court. This conduct is de rigueur, both in the NHS and social services. Confidentiality is flouted constantly, patients and clients are the subject of casual gossip and patients’ records and data are freely passed around to just about anyone, including non-clinical members of staff. It is endemic. There is no confidentiality in the UK NHS or social services – I have given numerous examples on this blog and some of my readers have left comments on the blog about serious breaches of confidentiality involving them.

 

A major scandal involving IVF Hammersmith, the fertility clinic that Blair’s mate Lord Robert Winston (who has featured on this blog previously) established, has hit the media today. A man who cannot be named for legal reasons sued Hammersmith after his former partner forged his signature on a consent form and gave birth to a daughter after becoming pregnant using an embryo frozen several years previously. The couple had been patients at IVF Hammersmith, had one son as a result of their treatment there but then had a very acrimonious relationship break-up. Hammersmith were not told about this and several years later the female partner approached Hammersmith for further treatment and was implanted with an embryo fertilised by her previous partner after forging his signature of a consent form – he knew nothing about this until she texted him when she was three months pregnant. He had made it known that he did not want any more children. The man concerned has given a media interview explaining his distress at now being the father of a little girl whom he cares for but did not actually want – the confusion that has resulted from it is evident in his comments.

The father of the little girl sued Hammersmith for negligence and the anticipated cost of bringing up the child. The details of his claim are somewhat laughable to those of us who are not rich enough to be patients of IVF Hammersmith – it included the cost of her private schooling, ski-ing trips, gap year, wedding and the cost of an expensive car to drive her to school. However, it is people who consider such things to be necessities whom IVF Hammersmith targets as patients. He has lost his claim, but the case is going to the Court of Appeal.

IVF Hammersmith is trying to wash its hands of the whole matter, maintaining that they take patients on trust and cannot know if they are criminals. Yet IVF Hammersmith would seem to have been very lax indeed here – there has always been much emphasis in fertility treatment on seeing both partners if a couple are requesting treatment, on ensuring that no-one is being coerced into fertility treatment, on ensuring that the relationship is stable etc. How did Hammersmith manage to treat a woman when she reappeared several years after a previous course of treatment with nothing more than her partner’s (alleged) signature on a consent form? My post ‘Every Sperm Is Sacred – Particularly In Scotland’) details some of what I knew to be going on in fertility clinics in London in the 80s and 90s. Robert Winston at Hammersmith was always considered above and beyond such unscrupulous practices, but he did know what was happening in his colleagues’ clinics. I have also described how Winston employed a gynaecologist at Hammersmith who was a serious sexual harasser but simply passed him on to another hospital.

The man who tried to sue Hammersmith commented upon the ‘unacceptable conduct of fertility clinics which have grown into multimillion pound businesses on the back of sharp practices’. He is quite right, its been happening for years and is well known in the field of obstetrics and gynaecology. As with all branches of medicine, no-one has been prepared to speak out about the way business is being conducted. Despite all the talk of ensuring that patients are in a position to give a child a stable, caring home, the reality is that for many of those clinics if you come up with the dosh you will be treated. Furthermore you will be encouraged to part with large quantities of dosh even if there is very little chance of you becoming pregnant and some highly questionable procedures will be flogged to you.

The man in the Hammersmith case lost in court because although it was accepted that his former partner had forged his signature and Hammersmith were condemned for being so sloppy in their procedures, it is policy that damages for negligence cannot be awarded in the event of the birth of a healthy child.

So once more the Top Doctors are off scot free leaving a big mess in their wake.

So who is responsible for regulating the Top Doctors in question? It is the ‘independent regulator’, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), as featured on this blog previously – whose failings have now been described as ‘catastrophic’. The thing that has always struck me about the leading lights at the HFEA is that none of them are doctors or scientists, so they are not even in a position to understand the science behind the business that they are supposed to be regulating. The folk involved with the HFEA are essentially elitist public figures who are professional busybodies – they jump from being Chair of one quango to another and then lead an Oxbridge College or two until they arrive at their final destination in the Lords.

Baroness Mary Warnock was the pioneer, she Chaired the Inquiry back in the early 80s which led to the establishment of the HFEA. Mary Warnock was originally a girls’ schoolteacher along the lines of the Malory Towers model and then became an Oxford academic – her field is philosophy. Mary Warnock was regularly wheeled out in the media to offer her opinion on the Big Questions, although things went a little pear shaped some years ago when she pronounced herself to be so in favour of euthanasia for the elderly that she was about to volunteer for it. There was quite a fuss with her family going public on the fact that they really didn’t want to wave her off to Dignitas and since then Mary Warnock has kept a low profile. But it was fairly obvious back in the 80s that Warnock was quite out of her depth at being given the responsibility to grapple with a very new, little understood, fast developing and highly experimental branch of the biomedical sciences. Basically she knew bugger all about it.

Successive Chairs of the HFEA have been variations on Mary Warnock. They have included Lord Richard Harries (an Army Officer and a bishop);  Lisa Jardine (daughter of Jacob Bronowski, historian and Radio 4 regular); the awful Baroness Ruth Deech (lawyer, formerly of the BBC Governors, Oxford academic); Dame Suzi Leather (who has Chaired every quango going as detailed on this blog some months ago); Shirley Harrison (Sunday Times journo, NUJ member, Chair of the South Yorkshire Probation Board, member of Sheffield Council, Labour Party member, also involved with Cancer Research UK); Walter Merricks (lawyer, inaugural director of Camden Community Law Centre, founding Chair of the Office of Health Professions Adjudicator, Chair of the Trustees of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges); Sir Colin Campbell (lawyer, former VC of the University of Nottingham 1988-2008 who just prior to his retirement accepted a 90% pay rise making him the highest paid VC in the UK, he proposed the privatisation of universities and accepted a £3.8 million endowment from British American Tobacco to fund an International Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility at Nottingham University Business School which caused resignations, the exodus of a research team and the withdrawal of research funding from Cancer Research UK). The current Chair is Sally Cheshire, a corporate accountant lately of Deloitte.

With this lot at the helm are we surprised that there have been ‘catastrophic failings’ at the HFEA? Readers will have realised from the details provided that a few of the above will know what Top Doctors get up to – but they are certainly never going to admit it. Lisa Jardine almost got around to admitting how questionable the whole fertility business is after she stepped down from her role as Chair of the HFEA. She stated in an interview with the Indie that ‘as a communicator’ she regretted that she had not been able to publicise how traumatised many patients were by fertility treatment or for how many people it was unsuccessful. In the same interview Jardine also admitted that a mixed race baby had been born to a black couple. So how was it that ‘as a communicator’ Jardine didn’t manage to spit all this out whilst she was still Chair? She had her own slot of Radio 4 in which she mouthed off every weekend, so who or what was keeping her quiet? The Coalition Gov’t wanted to abolish the HFEA in their ‘bonfire of the quangos’. Jardine somehow stopped them – so she managed to communicate something then.

The lawyer acting for Hammersmith was James Lawford Davies, a partner at Hempsons. The Hempsons who act for the MDU, who so helpfully supplied Dr Tony Francis (Dr X) with lawyers and barristers who attempted to imprison me – although I now have copies of documents demonstrating that Hempsons knew that I had not done what I was accused of and that Francis was perjuring himself.

So what of the people of IVF Hammersmith itself? The person wheeled out to make the ‘I Know Nuzzing’ comments to the press was Jude Fleming, their Chief Operating Officer. Now I think that someone at Hammersmith really should have taken a closer look at Jude’s CV before they gave her that job. My suspicion was aroused after reading Jude’s Linked In profile – it would not have looked amiss on the university application of a rather weak A level student who couldn’t think of anything original to say about themselves. Jude explains that she is an active person who is interested in what she does and has worked very hard in educational and sporting activities since she was 11. Incredibly enough, until just over ten years ago, Jude’s employment was as a bookings clerk and a waitress and then as a ski-instructor at Glasgow Ski and Snowboard Centre. Many people of course have worked as waitresses and ski-instructors, but somehow Jude went directly from that to managing a fertility clinic – namely GCRM Fertility Clinic in Glasgow. Yet googling GCRM Fertility Clinic doesn’t reveal what one normally thinks of as a fertility clinic. GCRM is situated on the business park, just next to the M8, around the corner from the Volvo Truck and Bus Centre. It is certainly a most unusual setting for a fertility clinic and the online info is a bit odd as well. There are no details of the doctors working at this ‘clinic’, just a notice explaining that if you’re a patient who needs advice out of hours you’ve got to ring the emergency services because doctors are only available during clinic hours. It doesn’t sound anything like any fertility clinic that I’ve ever come across and I suspect that it might simply be a referral centre to doctors who are actually based elsewhere. Jude worked around the corner from the Volvo Truck Centre for eight years and then landed a job as manager of the Oxford Fertility Unit in 2015. I presume that she is a recent arrival at IVF Hammersmith.

What about the Clinic Directors at IVF Hammersmith? Well now that dear old Robert Winston has joined the ranks of those who slumber on the benches in the Lords in return for £300/day, the Directors at Hammersmith are Stuart Lavary and Geoffrey Trew.

Stuart Lavary is a Consultant at Hammersmith and Queen Charlotte Hospitals and also runs a private practice at Hammersmith Hospital, Harley Street and Marylebone. Nice little earner, NHS consultancy and plenty of private work as well. Stuart is the HFEA ‘person responsible’ for IVF Hammersmith – so the business of the forged signature was his domain then. Lavary is an honorary senior lecturer at the den of bad practice/research fraud that is Imperial College (see post ‘A Cause Close To Our Hearts’) and trained at the John Radcliffe, Oxford.

Geoffrey Trew is also a Consultant at Hammersmith and Queen Charlotte’s – he qualified at St George’s in 1984! He’ll have witnessed much the same madness that I did then. And he’ll have been there when Professor Oliver Brooke who was later jailed for the possession of huge amounts of child porn worked at St George’s as a paediatrician. Trew has ‘an international referral base and has appeared for the last three years in the Tatler’s list of Best Private Doctors’. Which just about sums it up – never mind The Lancet or Nature, IVF Hammersmith comes highly recommended by fucking Tatler.

 

Finally a conundrum from NHS England. A few days ago I heard Dr Sarah Wollaston, GP and Tory MP, interviewed on Radio 4 about Boris’s dreadful behaviour. Something clicked – why hasn’t Theresa May appointed Sarah Wollaston as Health Minister? She is very well thought of even by people who are not Conservatives, she is very popular in her constituency in Devon, she is indeed a Top Doctor but doesn’t seem to be a pompous demanding greedy one – she seems to be the real article – and she actually KNOWS about medicine and healthcare. I have never heard anyone say a bad word about Sarah Wollaston – she is capable, respectful, well-informed and doesn’t spout rubbish. Furthermore unlike other women in politics Sarah Wollaston doesn’t feel the need to bollock on about being a strong woman or obsess over her clothes. What on earth is Jeremy Hunt still doing in his job? In fact if I were the Tory Party I’d be asking Dr Wollaston if she’d like to be the next leader – they are going to be looking for one soon but all they can do is scream ‘ooh it has to be Boris’. But on second thoughts – a pleasant, intelligent, capable woman who knows what she is doing or an offensive dangerously irresponsible idiot with a track record of abusing and exploiting people? Of course they’ll choose Boris. Frankly I’m surprised that anyone listens to Dr Wollaston at all – she hasn’t been highly recommended by The Tatler.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Great And The Good

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yet the mental health services are such a mess…

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

More Summer Reading!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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