A Prescription For Murder?

I’ve just returned from holiday today and I found an e mail informing me that a star of this blog, Dr David Healy, appeared on a ‘Panorama’ programme, ‘A Prescription For Murder’, a few days ago. Naturally I watched the programme on catch-up.

Healy was doing pretty much what I thought that he would be doing – he was appearing in the guise of an ‘expert’, proffering his opinion that the consumption of a prescribed SSRI had caused someone to commit mass murder. The case featured in the programme was that of James Holmes, the PhD student from the University of Colorado who gunned down a load of people in a cinema a few years ago during a screening of a ‘Batman’ film. Healy went over to meet Holmes in prison after the murders and was happy to inform ‘Panorama’ that he definitely attributed Holmes’s killing spree to his use of the SSRI sertraline. Healy was not called to give evidence at Holmes’s trial – it was not explained why not – and Holmes’s plea of insanity was rejected by the jury. Holmes is now serving a sentence of thousands of years, one of those sentences that are sometimes handed down by American courts although everybody is well aware that no-one would ever live long enough to serve the sentence. A number of other ‘experts’ were featured on the programme as well. One was a psychiatrist who maintained that Holmes committed the murders because he was mentally ill and that his crimes were completely unrelated to sertraline, another pursued an argument that Holmes’s use of sertraline had disinhibited him sufficiently to commit the crimes and a Prof Peter Tyrer took the same line as Healy, ie. that sertraline was definitely responsible for causing Holmes to commit the murders. Holmes himself stated that he believed that sertraline caused him to commit the crimes.

Much of the programme was spent discussing Holmes’s alleged mental state, both before he got anywhere near murdering anyone and then in the weeks and days leading up to the murders. We heard much about his ‘social anxiety’ (presumably this meant that he was shy) his failure to embark upon a relationship with a woman until a relatively late age (he wasn’t 80 though, he must have been in his early or mid 20s) and his pursuit of a PhD in neuroscience because he knew that he was a bit messed up. Upon taking sertraline, he dyed his hair red, took some selfies whilst wearing coloured contact lenses and then began keeping notes which allegedly detailed his disintegrating psyche until the day that he gunned a load of people down. None of this was really very convincing. Scores of young men are shy and many people do not enter into sexual relationships until their twenties. Dying one’s hair really is not a sign of being unhinged (I had pink hair for a few years and I was always interested to note how many people told me that it was because I was bipolar – no, it was because I really liked having pink hair) and neither is wearing coloured contact lenses or taking selfies whilst gurning. As for doing a PhD in neuroscience – yes, it is very obvious that a lot of people who enter what Nikolas Rose calls the psy disciplines seem to do so in the hope of tackling their own problems (one look around the School of Psychology at Bangor University or indeed the Hergest Unit where Healy himself works will confirm that), but doing a PhD in neuroscience will have meant that James Holmes almost certainly had been exposed to the work of Healy and co who maintain that SSRIs can precipitate aggressive outbursts. So James Holmes might have been a young man with problems who then lost it completely after taking sertraline – or he might possibly have been someone who for reasons best known to himself was planning a massacre and thought that if he kept detailed notes documenting his own deteriorating mental state for a few weeks, notes that were consistent with the ideas of people who believe that SSRIs can cause violent outbursts, he might escape jail on a plea of insanity, especially if he could wheel out someone like David Healy as an expert witness. Healy’s views on SSRIs are well-known and he has held them for a very long time – a neuroscience PhD student would have to be a pretty poor student not to know about them.

The evidence presented on ‘Panorama’ was in no way sufficient to convince a viewer of anything really – Holmes might have been mentally ill or he might not; he might have reacted badly to sertraline or the changes in his mental state – if indeed there were any changes – might have been precipitated by something else. He might have suddenly developed a desire to make copious notes charting his mental state or this might have been a calculated action designed to enable him to produce those notes as ‘proof’ in the aftermath of a crime that he was planning. I am not aware that anyone has yet shown a statistical relationship between dying one’s hair, wearing contact lenses, taking selfies and murder.

So what we have to rely on here is the expertise and integrity of the experts – Healy and Tyrer. Can Healy and Tyrer’s expertise and integrity be relied upon?

My post ‘The Biggest Expert Of The Lot’ (as well as other associated posts) gives an account of some of the rampant research fraud and bad practice that I witnessed at the Hergest Unit in the early and mid-1990s when Healy et al claimed to be participating in cutting edge research. Healy’s blog makes reference to Nobel prize winners no less visiting the Hergest Unit. Er no, I never saw a Nobel prize winner there. I saw a bunch of utterly unscrupulous psychiatrists and their colleagues who were neglecting and abusing patients and some of those people were colluding with and even facilitating a paedophile ring that was known to be operating through the social services dept that employed some of that lot attending the ‘research seminars’. There was one high profile cutting edge researcher who did visit the Hergest Unit and that was Marius Romme, the psychiatrist who pioneered work on hearing voices. Marius Romme was working with Dr Phil Thomas who left the Hergest Unit a few years later.

Phil Thomas is the only member of staff who worked at the Hergest Unit at that time whose name does not appear on the documents now in my possession demonstrating that staff at the Hergest Unit were going to great lengths to have me prosecuted for crimes that they knew that I had not committed or declared dangerous and banged up without trial. The names of everybody else appears on those documents at some point – including Healy. Healy’s contribution was to order the staff to call the police and have me arrested if I approached the Hergest Unit for assistance. Healy was not my consultant and I did not know about the existence of this document until my lawyers retrieved it a few years later. Last year I e mailed dear old Healy via his blog to ask him to explain his actions, but I did not receive a reply. I know of another Hergest patient who was arrested on the orders of David Healy after this patient rang the Unit and told a nurse that he was so suicidal that he felt like chopping a gas pipe. He was taken to Walton Prison where he spent some weeks although he was never found guilty of any offence. David the radical!

During the ‘Panorama’ programme, Healy admitted that he sometimes prescribes SSRIs. However he stressed that if one sees unfortunate side-effects developing, one should stop increasing the dose immediately. The Hergest patient whom Healy had arrested for feeling like chopping a gas pipe was some years ago on SSRIs. Now this man believes, like Healy, that SSRIs CAN precipitate violence and aggression. He believes this because whilst he was in the Hergest Unit, after being prescribed SSRIs, he felt a level of aggression that he had never previously experienced and he threw a wardrobe across the room. He told his consultant psychiatrist – one of Healy’s colleagues – who told him not to be so ridiculous, of course it was nothing to do with the SSRIs. That particular consultant had attended all those research seminars with the putative Nobel prize winners. The same patient was prescribed SSRIs again a few years later. The prescribing psychiatrist continually increased the dose until the patient became so worried that he sought out information about the therapeutic levels of the SSRI concerned. He had been prescribed three times the maximum therapeutic dose. The prescribing psychiatrist was Richard Tranter, Healy’s friend and protégé, who like Healy is an ‘expert’ in psychopharmacology. But then Tranter prescribed me a combination of drugs some six years ago that was neurotoxic. I didn’t take them which made Tranter very cross but it probably kept me alive. A prescription for murder anyone?

Of course, Healy cannot be held responsible for the actions of his colleagues – although some of those actions of some of those colleagues have involved such serious negligence, malpractice and criminality that if Healy was anything like the public image that he trades on he’d have shopped them to the GMC or even the police by now. However, although Healy cheerily jets off around the world to dispense his words of wisdom to patients having problems with SSRIs when they have been prescribed by people unconnected with his colleagues, I’m wondering if he takes a rather different view if the problems erupt closer to home.

Some years ago I lived on a hill farm in Snowdonia with a farming family who had let out a caravan to a rather quiet man who told us all that he was involved in psychological research, although he didn’t seem to be attached to any university. The grandson of the farming family had a pet sheepdog, Rex. One day with no warning at all, the man in the caravan walked over to Rex with a carving knife and stabbed him to death. The farmer’s wife was the only person at home and was terrified, locked herself in the house, rang her husband and then me. By the time that we had all got back to the farm the man who killed Rex had been arrested by the police and was in custody. Later that night the police sent a message to the farmers saying that the Arfon Community Mental Health Team – the team attached to the Hergest Unit where Healy works – had ‘assessed’ the killer of Rex and had deemed him not to be mentally ill. So he had appeared in court and had been bailed – but he had fled the area because some animal rights activists were after his blood. Over the following few days we found out that he was actually a psychiatric nurse himself who had left his post after becoming ill and had been prescribed SSRIs by a GP in Caernarfon. A few weeks later he pleaded guilty to killing Rex and received a suspended sentence – he had left the area completely by then.

Some two years later I read an article in I think the ‘Guardian’ – it was by him. He explained in the article that he believed that it was the SSRIs that had caused him to kill Rex and he had set up a website discussing the danger that he believed SSRIs posed. I visited the website and I noticed that the man concerned had consulted ‘a world expert’ on SSRIs, one David Healy. But Healy had told him that he really couldn’t be certain whether it was the SSRIs that had caused him to kill Rex. The other thing that was mentioned on the website was that the Arfon Community Mental Health Team had broken the law when conducting their ‘assessment’. (This will surprise no-one with knowledge of the Arfon Community Mental Health Team.) This man knew this because he was a mental health nurse himself and he knew the appropriate procedures for assessing someone in those circumstances. Judging from that website, I don’t think that the man who killed Rex realised that his world famous expert was a colleague of the Arfon Team. But I bet Healy noticed that they’d broken the law when he reviewed the case. (Healy certainly knew all about the misconduct of the Arfon Team – they were of course some of the people attending the research seminars where Nobel prize winners did not make an appearance.)

So when Healy was confronted with the wrongdoing of his colleagues, as ever he remained silent – and he also concluded that the prescription of SSRIs had not caused the tragedy. If Rex and his killer had been living in America would Healy’s conclusions have been different perhaps?

During the ‘Panorama’ programme, they gave a plug for a previous ‘Panorama’ investigation into SSRIs – which again relied upon the expert opinion of David Healy. That was in 2002. Rex was killed in 2002. David Healy ordered staff to have me arrested rather than agree to treat me in 2002. In 2002 so many people were committing suicide in north west Wales that it showed up as a statistical outlier in UK figures. In 2002, despite Healy’s best intentions, I was eventually admitted to the Hergest Unit with depression. Whilst I was there I was assaulted by the staff and told by Healy’s colleague Dr Tony Roberts that I didn’t have a mood disorder, I had a ‘personality disorder’. I was discharged and refused further treatment – and was arrested for ‘threatening to kill’ a manager, when what I had actually done was tell his secretary, on the phone, that he was a fat idiot. The case circulated around the Courts for two years whilst numerous staff at the Hergest Unit perjured themselves (see post ‘Interesting Happenings In The Legal System’). I was eventually convicted of calling the manager a fat idiot. There was never an investigation into my assault at the hands of Hergest staff or the perjury. Last year I found out that after the case a certificate of indictment had been forged stating that I’d been convicted of ‘violent disorder’ (see post ‘An Update On Those Legal Conundrums’). I am still waiting for the legal dept of the North Wales Police to sort it out. In the wake of the abuse and neglect that I was subjected to at the hands of the Hergest Unit, I complained to the GMC about Dr Tony Roberts. Last year I discovered that the GMC were in possession of a forged document which they had used to ‘investigate’ my complaint against Roberts and subsequently clear him (see post ‘The General Medical Council And Yet Another Forged Document’). I complained about another Hergest psychiatrist at the same time, a man who was my former neighbour so should never have been involved in my case and whom I knew to be suffering from a mental illness himself and to be violently assaulting his wife. I was branded as making ‘outrageous allegations’ and no action was taken against this doctor. He was later removed from the Medical Register after beating up his wife so badly that she was sectioned as a result of her own distress and his children were taken into care as a result of severe neglect.

So that’s what was happening on David’s doorstep in 2002 as he appeared on ‘Panorama’ as their expert. In 2002 people in north west Wales were openly talking about the chaos and neglect at the Hergest Unit and the hatred between the consultants there. GPs had started doing just about anything to avoid referring patients to the Unit and were privately conceding that the Unit was unsafe. One long-serving consultant, Dr Tony Francis (‘Dr X’) had recently taken early retirement after open warfare with his colleagues. The documents now in my possession show that this man was concealing the paedophile ring that had been in operation in the region. Francis killed himself some three years ago, as Operation Pallial re-opened the investigation into the north Wales paedophile ring. I was told just before I went on holiday that Tony Francis had actually been under suspicion of having been involved in the child abuse ring himself.

Healy’s CV describes him as having been the leading consultant in the north west Wales mental health service for many years and having been responsible for the ‘development’ and ‘training’ in that service. So the carnage on the ground is presumably down to Healy and his ‘leadership’. Healy believes in the concept of a ‘fall guy’. In the case of the Hergest Unit it should most definitely be him.

It’s not much to boast about really is it David. Many years ago David Healy won a notorious case against a drug company after they withdrew a job offer. Healy was alleged to have won a substantial settlement. I cannot help but think that if the drug company concerned had known what Healy and his colleagues were doing at the time, they would ask for their money back.

What of the other ‘expert’ featured on ‘Panorama’, Prof Peter Tyrer? Tyrer agreed with Healy – sertraline caused James Holmes to commit mass murder. Most of Tyrer’s work seems to be concerned with improving the classification of personality disorders (I think the biggest improvement would be to stop using such an asinine term) and to bring about a halt to stigmatising patients with such diagnoses and to achieve better therapeutic outcomes for them. Which is the polar opposite of what has gone on at the Hergest Unit for years – that Unit has become notorious for declaring patients to have ‘borderline personality disorders’ after they have dared make a complaint about the abuse that pervades the place and then refusing to treat them. A number of patients have been literally left to commit suicide under these circumstances.

So who is Tyrer? He is the Professor of Community Psychiatry at the Centre for Mental Health at Imperial College. For info about malpractice, research fraud and general skulduggery at Imperial, see post ‘A Cause Close To Our Hearts’. Tyrer was appointed to that post in 1991, but I cannot find any references to his biography before that, so whether he has passed through those hallowed portals of corruption St Georges Hospital Medical School and the Maudsley I do not know. Imperial’s website also tells us that the Centre for Mental Health is associated with the Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust. The Chief Exec of that Trust is one Claire Murdoch – who is also NHS England’s ‘Mental Health Chief’ and Director of the Imperial College Academic Health Science Partnership, which currently has a ‘partnership’ with the drug company GSK (see post ‘News Update And A Few More Accessories’). That’s the GSK that manufactures the SSRI paroxetine that was the target of the 2002 ‘Panorama’ programme with David Healy. This week’s ‘Panorama’ programme stressed that Pfizer had omitted certain crucial case histories from the information that they released about sertraline. Well ‘Panorama’ seems to have omitted quite a lot of crucial info pertaining to Healy and his colleagues as well as to Tyrer’s links. ‘Panorama’ can’t plead ignorance re north Wales psychiatry either – I offered them a story and documentary evidence about the wrongdoing of the mental health services in north Wales about six years ago. I wondered if their failure to take up what would have been a far more devastating expose than even Winterbourne View was related to the media silence that surrounds anything to do with the North Wales Child Abuse Scandal (see post ‘Did Glenda Occupy A Key Role In Keeping It All Out Of The Media?’), but I wonder if it was because they’d given Healy so much free publicity that they didn’t dare run a story on what was happening in his own Unit? The Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board, which runs the Hergest Unit and employs Healy, is currently in special measures and is the subject of two external investigations into the institutional abuse of mental health patients.

Never mind ‘Panorama’ – all the info is going up on this blog, free to good homes. Including that drug company that Healy sued all those years ago…

 

 

News Round Up, June 11 2017

Recent posts of mine relating to the Waterhouse Inquiry, the decades of abuse of children in care that have taken place in north Wales, as well as the rot in the region’s mental health services, have pointed the finger at the Flintshire region as a source of people who concealed misconduct and malpractice. So it’s quite fitting that a number of news stories recently have featured dodgy dealings in Flintshire – the boil has obviously not been lanced.

A story that featured on both BBC News Wales and the Daily Post online was that of Patricia Reid, 57, a social worker from Flintshire, who crashed her car on the A55 at St Asaph whilst she was driving over the alcohol limit on May 25. Ms Reid caused a  seven car pile up and five people were taken to hospital. She pleaded guilty at Llandudno Magistrates Court and was banned from driving for 20 months, fined £140, with £85 costs and a £30 surcharge. The Court heard how Ms Reid had been ‘distressed’ because her mother had been admitted to hospital and had downed ‘several’ glasses of wine. It was also said that Ms Reid was ‘depressed’ due to being out of work and, being a social worker, was ‘massively over-qualified’ for many jobs on offer in the region. No matter how much one feels for Ms Reid’s plight, I can but contrast this tale of woe with the treatment meted out to the clients of Ms Reid’s colleagues ie. the ‘service users’ of the region. I have covered court cases involving many of them on this blog. Cases past and present include a patient (me) convicted of staring at a social worker in Safeways and on another occasion calling an NHS manager a fat idiot whilst on the phone to his secretary; another patient charged with threatening to endanger life when he phoned a psychiatric nurse and told her that he was so suicidal that he felt like chopping a gas pipe – he ended up in Walton Prison for three weeks; a psychiatric patient jailed for ‘threatening a psychiatrist’ because her pet cats had died and in her confusion she seemed to believe that the psychiatrist had something to do with it; and very recently numerous people with mental health and addiction problems being banged up for ‘sleeping in Wrexham town centre’ or even ‘standing still like a zombie after taking Black Mamba’. Let’s not forget some of the offences that the children who complained of being molested in the north Wales children’s homes were charged with – a memorable one being stealing a packet of chewing gum. What on earth would have happened to any of us if we had got pissed, gone out driving and caused a seven car pile up? So Ms Reid was distressed because her mother had been admitted to hospital. The ‘service users’ who are being banged up for ludicrous reasons have far more problems than that – some of them don’t have a roof over their heads, some of them have been bereaved in tragic circumstances, they nearly all have money problems and they also have far more serious mental health problems than being depressed due to being out of work. Furthermore Ms Reid finds that as a social worker, she is ‘massively over-qualified’ for most jobs in the region. Well as a ‘service user’ one can be in possession of a PhD and one will still be recommended to attend a MIND drop in centre for ‘recovery’ and then told to do whatever badly paid zero hours contract job comes one’s way. The story of Ms Reid confirms what I and others have long suspected – that those staffing the abusive, neglectful ‘services’ in the region know that they would be in the same rather leaky uncomfortable boat as their clients should they ever lose their jobs and that is why they stick together like glue, refuse to acknowledge the dire state of affairs in the health and welfare services and use their considerable political muscle to threaten any politician who dares suggest that an investigation or even reform might be needed with being voted out.

The Daily Post online also reported that a police officer from Flint, Sgt Neil Hughes, has denied two charges of voyeurism, specifically by using his mobile phone to covertly film a ‘young girl’ in her bedroom on two separate occasions ‘for his sexual gratification’ between July and Dec 2016. He was rebailed to appear at Caernarfon Crown Court for trial. Prosecuting barrister John Philpotts suggested that in view of the defendant’s job, consideration should be given to appointing a judge from outside of the area, such as from south Wales. There’s no point. I have presented a mountain of evidence on this blog demonstrating that the legal, police, medical, social care and judicial network that is used to conceal wrongdoing extends across the whole of the UK.

Another story from Flintshire earlier this week was that of Oakmere House in Hawarden- a home for adults between 18-65 with learning disabilities, autism and complex needs – being served with an urgent order from CSSIW (Care and Social Services Inspectorate) suspending it’s registration on the grounds of fears of ‘serious risks to life, health and well-being’. CSSIW maintain that staff whistleblowers approached them and also claim that  previous concerns about the ‘mistreatment’ of residents were ignored by management. CSSIW have now produced a ‘damning report’. As is so often the case with CSSIW though, this case may not be all that it seems. The ‘mistreatment’ of residents involved: the police not being called after a resident broke two panes of glass and needed restraint; a resident ‘grabbing a member of staff’ and two residents cutting themselves with razors that they’d found. These were people with learning disabilities and autism – that combination leads to very difficult behaviours. Was Oakmere House supposed to carry on like the Hergest Unit and have distressed residents arrested for, basically, throwing wobblers? Another allegation that the CSSIW levelled at Oakmere was residents money going missing – but we are not told how much money this was. It is unacceptable but patients in NHS wards are constantly relieved of their possessions and no-one shuts the hospital down. CSSIW also alleged ‘inappropriate physical restraint’. There have been complaints that staff in the Hergest Unit assaulted and injured patients under the excuse of ‘restraint’ but those complaints were dismissed by the managers. So where does this action against Oakmere leave the NHS? People in the psychiatric wards in north Wales are killing themselves. All that’s happened to the Betsi is that it was placed in special measures following the scandal at Tawel Fan – and what happened to patients at Tawel Fan alone was far, far worse than the happenings at Oakmere House. The father of a resident has spoken in support of Oakmere House. His son had been there for 10 years and was ‘content’ there. His son has now had to be moved elsewhere, which will no doubt be distressing and confusing for him. This father had observed that the CSSIW report was ‘a little harsh’ – however he has noticed that Oakmere is employing ‘more and more agency staff’. Just like the Betsi then. Although Oakmere have put in a ‘robust action plan’ and ‘worked closely with the inspectorate and commissioners’, it has been ‘unable to address issues concerning staff’. Sounds like the NHS to me. Nonetheless, CSSIW have stated that when they see ‘no improvement’ they will ‘always act to protect people’. Every bit of evidence relating to the Betsi suggests that it’s problems have got even bigger since it was placed in special measures… Flintshire County Council is now monitoring Oakmere under it’s ‘escalating concerns’ procedures.

But is Flintshire County Council in any position to pass judgement? One news story this week has been that of Conservative AM Mark Isherwood raising the matter of the conduct of some Councillors in Flintshire on the floor of the Senedd. Mark’s wife Hilary was a Flintshire Councillor for 13 years and the Isherwoods are alleging that Hilary was subjected to the most dreadful ‘misogynistic bullying’ from certain other Councillors. Mark is calling on the Welsh Gov’t to take action against Flintshire’s Chief Exec Colin Everett and Deputy Leader Bernie Attridge. It seems that Hilary Isherwood has been subjected to much aggro on Twitter, including on one occasion in 2014 when Bernie sent out a tweet describing her as a ‘bitter twisted Tory’ and stating that ‘Fir coat and no knic… comes to mind’. (I presume that he meant ‘fur’.) Women politicians are making a very big issue of slurs on social media at present and although the threats of murder and sexual violence that some have received are gross and need challenging, I think Hilary probably should have just ignored these old farts. Furthermore her choice of coats and undies are no business of Bernie’s and are unrelated to her abilities as a Councillor. (By the way Bernie, Vivienne Westwood famously wore no knickers when she visited the Palace to pick up one of her gongs.) It’s interesting that Hilary has come under attack though. The attack has taken the form of crude insults that are usually directed at women rather than men, but I suspect that what might have really pissed the other Councillors off is that Hilary’s husband has actually worked very hard indeed to support people who have had some very bad experiences with the mental health services and NHS in north Wales. Mark Isherwood has been prepared to make representation on behalf of people who have been completely blanked by everyone else. I note that in her interview with the Post, Hilary observed that she became a Councillor to help vulnerable people. It’s not the sort of aim that I usually associate with Tories, but whilst the Labour Party in England and Plaid in Wales have been campaigning on behalf of the Top Doctors, Hilary’s husband has indeed been beavering away behind the scenes doing his best for people who have been stuffed over by the Top Doctors et al abusing their positions. I’ve never met Hilary but I did speak to her on the phone a few years ago and she wasn’t at all bitter and twisted. She did try to persuade me to vote Tory which I made fairly obvious was unlikely to happen, but even knowing that, Mark Isherwood still met me and wrote letters on my behalf. He didn’t get very far, but that’s because we were dealing with criminals in the North West Wales NHS Trust. The irony in all this is that the relevant Cabinet Secretary has responded to Mark Isherwood by saying that he proposes new obligations to ‘uphold standards of conduct’ and encourage ‘respectful relationships between elected members that recognise diversity and celebrate it’. So who is the man spouting lame clichés about recognising and celebrating diversity (although I hardly think that being female counts as being ‘diverse’, we form a greater proportion of the population than men) – step forward Mark Drakeford, former Health Secretary who was in post when Tawel Fan exploded in his face. That’s the Mark Drakeford who used to be Professor of Social Sciences at Cardiff and who knows what a failing, abusive, dysfunctional organisation looks like – indeed he has published about scandals in healthcare himself – and he knew that there was a barrel of shit in north Wales because for many years he was special advisor to Rhodri Morgan. Yet Mark just couldn’t bring himself to admit how bloody awful the NHS in north Wales is. I have also heard accounts of Drakeford being somewhat disrespectful to the relatives of those who were abused in Tawel Fan. Furthermore I wrote to Mark myself to inform him of the research fraud that underlay ‘mindfulness based cognitive therapy’ (MBCT) – I didn’t receive a reply but only weeks later Drakeford appeared in the media with a few mindfulness practitioners reiterating the miracles that ‘research’ has demonstrated stem from it. Drakeford isn’t an idiot and I have puzzled for a long time as to why he ignored the genocide in north Wales yet farted around trying to ban e cigarettes in the grounds that they lead us all into the hands of the Devil, but the other day I found a clue. Many years ago, before he was an academic and before he was involved in politics, Mark Drakeford was a social worker – in Dyfed. Presumably the Dyfed where Ioan Bowen Rees was County Secretary, the Ioan Bowen Rees who later became Chief Exec of Gwynedd County Council and who ignored and concealed the rampant abuse of children in care  (and of mental health patients) that was pervasive in Gwynedd and who invited ‘officers’ from Dyfed to investigate when the lid could not be held down any longer. For some reason the ‘investigation’ by Ioan’s old mates from Dyfed didn’t resolve very much… Please see post ‘I Know Nuzzing…’ for details of this shameful period of Gwynedd’s history. There have of course been allegations of organised child abuse in Dyfed. So as Mark watched the carnage in north Wales when he was Health Minister and ‘talked’ to the Top Doctors – God they must have thought that Christmas had come when he was appointed Health Minister, they’d got rid of Edwina and she’d been replaced by a tame social worker – patients continued to die. Because the whole region has been screwed by the legacy of a paedophile ring Mark – you plonker…

Talking of Top Doctors – one of them from Harefield Hospital has landed himself in hot water. Mail online reported that Mohamed Amrani, a ‘world renowned heart surgeon’, has been given a six month suspended sentence after groping the breasts of one female colleague and then some years later slapping the bum of another one who worked at the BUPA Cromwell Hospital. He has also been ordered to sign the Sex Offenders Register for five years, pay £8000 in prosecution costs and undertake 25 days of rehabilitation activities. Judge Anne Molyneaux described him as an outstandingly good surgeon and that it may be in the public interest to allow him to continue practising. One could be forgiven for thinking that Amrani was what tabloid newspapers used to call a ‘sex pest’, a sort of Benny Hill in scrubs. However there are indications that he could well be a very much greater problem than that. He faced other charges as well, including two of assault by penetration and a rape charge. The jury were unable to reach a verdict on the rape charge and a retrial has been ruled out, so a not guilty plea was recorded. His defence barrister, Stephen Vullo QC – who also acted for Rolf Harris, so Amrani hired the best – described him as an ‘exceptional man with a flaw’. (Just a little one.) As in the case of Top Doctor Ian Paterson who was recently imprisoned, there seems to be another attempt here to deflect blame onto the Trust and the Trust alone, rather than the many people whom it was acknowledged knew how Amrani behaved towards woman. The Trust admitted that Amrani was one of their stars, that he brought a lot of dosh into the Trust and that he operated on many more patients than his colleagues did. The Trust acknowledged that private practice brings in a huge amount of money for the Trust. It was suggested in Court that the Trust had protected Amrani because of his status. Regarding the rape allegation, Amrani had described it was ‘pure fantasy’ and had stated that ‘hospital records suggest it never happened’. Well hospital records certainly would never have recorded it if it had have happened. Complaints had been made about Amrani by a number of different women between 2004-2015. The first complainant was told when she raised concerns ‘just ignore him, he does it to everyone’. Pretty much like dear old Dr Dafydd Alun Jones then, who was the subject of constant anecdotes from female staff. They did not like being around him, they took precautions to not be left alone with him, one trainee clinical psychologist told me how he summoned her to his office ‘to talk about psychology’ only to take out an ancient photo of himself and ask her ‘don’t ewe think I was handsome?’ and a man who had been married to one of Jones’s secretaries told me how Jones would regularly ask her to come into work wearing various items of allegedly erotic clothing ‘because they’re my favourites’. So when I complained about his inappropriate conduct towards me I was of course told that I was ‘deluded’. It is now up to the GMC – the GMC who did not take action against Dafydd at any point despite numerous complaints against him – to take action against Amrani. He’s already got a plan if they do place restrictions on his practice – he’s off to Morocco to practice because GMC restrictions don’t apply there. In the same way that the psychiatrist who was involved in the death of Dr Sara Ryan’s son Connor Sparrowhawk buggered off to Ireland to practice lest the GMC take action against her.

Now for a few lines about the general election results. Ieuan Wyn Jones, the defender of some very great wrongdoers, I’m glad to say fell flat on his face on Ynys Mon and was not elected. Time to retreat from public life Ieuan, particularly as this blog is exposing everyone like you who colluded with a few things that you shouldn’t have. Theresa May is in a terrible mess and the dreadful Boris is planning another coup. And this morning Heseltine was on the radio ranting that Jeremy Corbyn ‘is at the gates’ – brilliant, I hope that someone let’s him in, but prevents Diane Abbott coming through with him though. I’m touched to note that Heseltine is now being constructed as a man ‘of the centre’. This is the man who refused to rule out soldiers being told to fire on protestors at Greenham Common and who mobilised thousands of soldiers and police officers to confront CND protesters in other locations (some of whom were alleged to have assaulted and even raped protestors but those allegations were never investigated) and who used to boast that his massive company never paid it’s bills until they had received numerous reminders because that way they got to sit on more money for longer. Heseltine also constantly made public his opinion that Cameron was a fine leader and PM. What he did not make so public was that Cameron had been one of Heseltine’s daughter’s mates when they were young and they were both well known for hanging out with a bunch of vacuous champagne swilling Hooray Henries. Heseltine also proffered his opinion this morning that the 2008 financial crisis was due to the general public spending too much. I’m so glad that it was nothing to do with the global banking system and the misconduct of those who worked within it.

Among all the excitement surrounding everybody’s expectations that Theresa is finished, some members of the Labour Party have been popping up in the media, including in Wales – most recently one Lord Murphy aka Paul Murphy, former Welsh Secretary and former N Ireland Secretary, who has featured on this blog recently. Keen readers might have noticed that among my discussions of organised child abuse and dirty political deals that undoubtedly involved protecting some of the people involved in that abuse, I have not yet mentioned the Kincora boys home scandal in Belfast. I am well aware of it, as well as of the links that it has to some of the matters that I have discussed and I am busy researching…. I didn’t know until this morning though that the Kincora boys home scandal has been specifically excluded from the Independent Inquiry Into Child Abuse. Now there’s a surprise… My co-researcher has sent me loads more material and I’ve discovered more gems in the Waterhouse Report. We’ve also dug up yet more dirt on Baroness Patricia Scotland and even more links between her and those who caused so much havoc in north Wales. There will be more posts soon with more people named. So they all might as well start preparing their statements and making their way to their local cop shop…

 

Those Who Care Are Concerned

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

A Few More Connections and Updates!

I am currently following up so many leads and connections stemming from previous posts that I am having difficulty keeping up with them all, despite the help of my co-researcher – I have also been sent what looks like an excellent PhD thesis to read on matters mental health which promises to be a lot more informative than the usual lame platitudes about ‘service user involvement’. I’ll continue to blog as much as I can, although I’m going to have to set aside some time for research and reading next week.

Meanwhile, here’s a few titbits to keep you all going. Having discovered that two of the people unmasked on this blog as knowing about wrongdoing but ignoring it- Helena Kennedy and Theodore Huckle – are lurking in Doughty Street Chambers (known for it’s interest in Human Rights issues), I wondered who else might be hiding away down at Doughty Street concealing or turning a blind eye to criminal activity in the children’s services/mental health services. Well they’ve got a far bigger star down there than even St Helena – Amal Clooney no less! You need to get out of there and quickly Amal – no wife of George could EVER allow herself to become tainted by that lot. I also discovered that Doughty Street Chambers established ‘The Human Dignity Trust’, which specialises in litigation relating to LGBTI issues. The folk responsible for the Human Dignity Trust obviously need to have a word with their colleague Theo who has concealed some truly dreadful confusion and hypocrisy regarding matters ‘LGBTI’ which has resulted in the very great suffering of some innocent people, involving wrongful imprisonment, suicide and murder.

After writing the post ‘Amber Rudd, The Miners Strike And A Memory Jogged’ detailing the Birmingham Connection, during a phone conversation this morning with someone from north Wales I was reminded of another possible sacrifice as a result of the Birmingham Connection. The person whom I was chatting with is someone who has experienced the neglect and abuse of the mental health services in north Wales himself and has witnessed other people mistreated in a similar way. Some years ago this man became friendly with another patient, W. W had been given a diagnosis of ‘schizophrenia’ and was so loaded up with anti-psychotics that when my friend first came across him in a facility in Dolgellau run by the North West Wales NHS Trust, W just lay on his bed comatose for most of the time. My friend was then staggered to discover that W had actually previously enjoyed a career as a successful football coach and had even won scholarships to travel around the US on the basis of his sporting ability. By the time that he met W, my friend had seen so many people destroyed by the mental health services that he used to try and befriend them when he could and he became very good mates with W. W used to help out in my friend’s small business – when W was awake enough to be able to do this, which was only for a couple of hours a day – and W stayed over at my friend’s house. W told my friend that he was originally from the west midlands where his family had run a pub but when he was in his mid-teens the family moved to Gwynedd. W told my friend something else as well – that before they’d come to Gwynedd, W had been sexually abused by a member of his extended family, who had then ‘passed him around’ a group of other men who had also molested him. My friend told me that in the telling of this, W did not lurch into the realms of serious improbability (eg. of ‘Satanic abuse’), he simply very clearly described being sexually molested by a group of men, repeatedly. Of course, because people who do not know what mental health professionals actually do with the information that they receive when they urge their patient’s to ‘talk to us’, a lot of people divulge very sensitive information to mental health professionals. Such as the boys who grew up in children’s homes in north Wales who told mental health professionals that they had been sexually abused, only to find themselves variously diagnosed as psychotic, or ‘disturbed’, or wicked liars, or criminalised or banged up in places like Garth Angharad or the North Wales Hospital – or left to kill themselves. Not knowing what mental health professionals do to their patients, W told them about the men who abused him. A diagnosis of ‘schizophrenia’ followed, along with huge doses of anti-psychotics. My friend continued to witness W’s distress in the face of being told that he was mad every time that he spoke of being the victim of multiple serious crimes. Some nine years ago or so my friend was an inpatient at the Hergest Unit at the same time as W. W just would not stop talking about the gang of men who had abused him in the west midlands, so he was being given increasingly large doses of anti-psychotics. My friend noticed that W was by now in a dreadful state – the former international football coach was still a young man but was really unfit and was having difficulty moving and speaking, due to the ‘side effects’ of the ‘medication’. Every time that W expressed his distress at what was happening, he was injected – forcibly – with yet more ‘medication’. My friend described the process as ‘punitive medication’. I stress here that W, despite what was happening to him at the hands of the Hergest Unit, was never aggressive or unpleasant – he was known to everyone in his village as being a very likeable man. One day he told my friend that the ‘medication’ had completely destroyed his quality of life and that he just couldn’t live with the ‘side effects’ any longer. A few hours later he walked out of the Hergest Unit and threw himself in front of a train. When his body was discovered and the news was broken to my friend by a nurse, she was kind enough to observe that she thought that W ‘had wanted to die’. Well after the paedophiles and the Hergest Unit had finished with him he certainly did. After W’s death, there was quite a furore – his parents were distraught and there was much vocal criticism of the Hergest Unit for their ‘neglect’ (my friend is not sure how many people outside the Hergest Unit knew of W’s allegations regarding the paedophiles). His parents investigated the possibility of suing the Hergest Unit, but guess what, it came to nothing. No doubt there was a handy supply of ‘experts’ all prepared to testify that W was yet another ‘very disturbed’ ‘schizophrenic’ who had topped himself in the face of such valiant efforts to ‘help him’. The execution of W was witnessed by the whole of the Hergest Unit, the North Wales Police and his GP in Porthmadog. What none of them did was investigate whether his allegations regarding what had happened to him in the west midlands might have a basis.

Now for another historical connection. Previous posts such as ‘Updates, Common Themes and News, May 5 2017’ have detailed the role of the hideous Huw Daniel in some extraordinary court cases in which varying levels of dishonesty on the part of a number of people have played a part. After the dreadful Huw retired as a judge, he was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Gwynedd – HM the Queen’s representative in the county! Now I’ve found out a little bit about Huw’s ancestry. I was aware that he was from a Welsh speaking Catholic family near Bangor. Some Welsh speaking Catholics are interesting historically – during the first half of the twentieth century, a small group of such individuals who were key figures in Plaid Cymru, including of course Saunders Lewis and Ambrose Bebb, made links with some European politicians who had far-right connections. This later came to haunt Plaid, as these connections were repackaged into accusations that ‘Plaid supported Hitler’ and were joyfully thrown about by Plaid’s political opponents. (Richard Wyn Jones published a book to counteract these claims which I finally got around to reading a few weeks ago. Whilst I would agree that it is disingenuous to accuse members of Plaid as being fully paid-up supporters of the Nazis, Richard Wyn Jones is having to work very hard in this book to deny the links between some far-right European movements in a previous time and some members of Plaid.) Interestingly enough, Huw Daniel’s father, JE Daniel, was active in Plaid at this time – in fact JE Daniel was president of Plaid (following Saunders Lewis) between 1939 and 43. (Daniel also stood – unsuccessfully – as a Plaid candidate three times.) Until recently there was a wonderful piece on the internet written by Densil Morgan, previously Professor of Theology at Bangor University but who was then mercifully transferred along with some of his dreadful sidekicks to Trinity St David, that waxes lyrical about the gift to the world that was JE Daniel. Densil even resorted to maintaining that JE Daniel epitomised the very best of Wales or something similar, but Densil’s nauseating offering seems to have disappeared from the internet recently. However there is a wiki entry for JE Daniel, mentioning that he attended Friars School (another name that rears it’s head in the biography of many of those we know and love – I want to do some more digging on this when I have time) and also states that he was a theologian who was awarded a fellowship at the Bala-Bangor College. JE Daniel died in 1962 – but he will almost certainly have known someone who stood as a Plaid candidate in Denbigh and who was a pal of Saunders Lewis, Dr Dafydd Alun Jones! And I bet that Dafydd ingratiated himself to the whole family as well and will of course have known the young(ish) Huw!

This mention of the Bala-Bangor College reminds me of the first person whom I met that had a connection with that institution. It was a young man called Richard in the North Wales Hospital Denbigh. He was a very similar age to me and made a bee-line to talk to me because there were only a few young people there. He was well drugged up like everyone else but nonetheless chatted away to me about his life before he’d been incarcerated in Denbigh. He’d been banged up in there when he was seventeen – he was a ‘schizophrenic’ of course – and told me that before he’d been incarcerated in Denbigh he and his friends used to go to each others houses and play records, specifically those of popular musicians from the late 70s, such as Madness and the Specials. He also told me that once he was put in Denbigh, his entire family cut him off, except for his brother – who was something to do with the Bala-Bangor College and whom I think was a Minister. His brother had been the only person who had come over to Denbigh to visit him and used to do so weekly – but he’d stopped doing that about two years previously. So this young man hadn’t seen anyone from the outside world for two years, which probably explained why he was so keen to talk to a new face. A familiar scenario occurred when this young man started to explain that he hadn’t seen anyone for two years and asked me if I could trace his brother – a nurse arrived and told him to stop bothering me! Just like when the young woman in Bryn Golau ward started telling me that she’d been abducted, kept in an attic and sexually assaulted (please see post ‘The Distressed Young Woman who Vanished’) and asked me to help her! Again, like the young woman, Richard then disappeared from the ward a few hours later. I was told that he had been ‘transferred’ to another ward (presumably before he got around to telling me exactly how he’d ended up in Denbigh and why no-one had let him out). The Plan nearly went pear-shaped though – a couple of weeks later I was on an ‘escorted’ trip to the hospital shop and there was Richard, buying fags (like nearly everyone I met in the mental health system Richard was a very heavy smoker). He came up and gave me a hug – and was immediately pulled off me by two nurses who told him to ‘put Sally down’. He was physically dragged off back to wherever he was being secreted. I never saw him again. At the time I presumed that Richard must have been someone who had developed a serious illness when he was very young and who had then been abandoned by a callous family, perhaps because he wasn’t ‘getting better’ and they couldn’t be bothered with the burden of a vulnerable family member who might need a lot of support – although I wondered why his brother had stopped visiting. But now I know what was actually happening at Denbigh – that people were being illegally detained out there because they had crossed someone’s path or that someone wanted them banged up so Dafydd was doing them a favour – I do wonder what Richard was doing there. He wasn’t aggressive, he was gentle, friendly, chatty and had crystal clear memories of his life and his friends before his meaningful existence had been terminated at the age of 17. Even if he had developed severe problems at 17, why was he still sitting in Denbigh seven years later, never seeing anyone from the outside world, being prevented from even talking to, let alone making friends with, other people? Richard seems suspiciously like one of the people who had disappeared courtesy of Dafydd and Gwynne…

There was someone else whom I met in Denbigh whose circumstances were very worrying as well. Whereas Richard seemed to be from a middle class background and was quite charming and articulate, this other person was a young man from the notorious Queen’s Park Estate in Wrexham and had spent time in Walton Prison and Risley Remand Centre – as well as children’s homes in north Wales. He looked fearsome, with a shaved head and prison tattoos, but he was actually quite friendly and chatty. Within hours of arriving at Denbigh, this young man told me many worrying things. One of the worst was something that had happened to him at Risley Remand Centre. I had always been told that Risley was ‘dreadful’ and that even hardened criminals feared being sent there (Risley Remand Centre was repackaged as HMP Risley, after scandal after scandal involving allegations of serious brutality on the part of the prison officers and numerous deaths). So when I got to know this young man I took the opportunity to ask him why Risley was so feared. He told me that you could hear the screams of other prisoners being beaten up by the staff and that people ‘kept killing themselves’. He then gave details of ‘people killing themselves’. He had shared a cell with another man who had attempted to kill himself – he’d rung and rung the cell buzzer thing for help but no-one arrived, although he then started screaming and yelling for help as well as ringing. By the time that an officer arrived, this man’s cell-mate had died – so the man that I met in Denbigh had not only watched someone die but he’d then been left alone with the corpse for more than an hour. These were people on remand – they had not been convicted of any offence. One evening this young man took his trainers off and I and another patient noticed that his feet were deformed – he explained that when he was younger a bunch of thugs were after him and he’d been so frightened of them that he’d jumped out of a high window to escape. When he landed, he had broken virtually every bone in both feet. He had received no treatment and his feet had ‘healed’ without assistance and were thus severely malformed. Despite this man having been successively in the ‘care’ of the children’s services and then the North Wales Hospital, no-one had made any attempt at all to rectify his serious feet-related problems. It was probable that by the time that he reached middle age he would be unable to walk. But I vey much doubt that this young man reached mid-life. He was being dosed up with huge quantities of largactil and benzodiazapenes, staff openly discussed with each other how he ‘got on their nerves’ and then a familiar problem reared it’s head – he was ‘getting too friendly with Sally’. This accusation was levelled when one day this man had a stand up row with the staff about Dr Dafydd Alun Jones – he alleged that Jones had illegally imprisoned me in Denbigh and that I ‘shouldn’t be in here because she’s not mad’. From that day on I was never allowed a private conversation with him again – wherever I went and wherever he went we were followed by a member of staff. However, before this happened, this young man had let something out of the bag. That he too had been detained in Denbigh without ever meeting Dafydd Alun Jones or indeed being assessed by anyone! Although he had never met Dafydd Alun Jones he told me of how ‘everyone’ in Wrexham described Jones as a ‘bastard’. He told me that Jones had sent repeated letters to his mother, demanding that this young man attend one of Jones’s ‘clinics’. His mum had thrown the letters onto the fire. I asked him who had referred him to Jones – a GP perhaps? I was told that no-one at all had referred him to Jones – his mother had simply been receiving unsolicited letters from Jones telling her that he had been ‘causing a lot of trouble’ and demanding his presence. Despite his mum having the good sense to burn the rubbish that Jones had sent out, he’d somehow ended up in Denbigh anyway. Although he’d never met Jones. Like me, on a locked ward. Completely unlawfully. As described in earlier posts, once I did finally get out of Denbigh, Brown and me made enquiries about what on earth was going on there and soon dug up a mountain of shit. As no-one would reply to my letters or respond to my complaints, at one point Brown’s brother and I drove out to Denbigh to speak to Jones and the managers to extract some answers. We went equipped with cameras and recording equipment and let them believe that Brown’s brother was a journalist lest we were assaulted or arrested by Jones et al. We were repeatedly told that Jones ‘wasn’t in the hospital’ and that no-one knew where he was or when he would next be there. A female administrator with a rictus grin was unable to answer any of our questions. As we left the building we were walking down a corridor when someone came up to us and greeted me. It was the young man from Wrexham who had been prevented from speaking to me when I was in Denbigh. He looked terrible – he was seriously underweight, his face and head were covered in scabs, cuts and bruises, and his hands were bleeding as he couldn’t stop gnawing at them. He told me that days after I’d left the ward where I’d encountered him, he had been sectioned by Dafydd Alun Jones for a year. So that he could receive the ‘care’ that he so obviously needed. But I’m glad to say that this man remained close to Dafydd’s heart. When, after two long years of an all-out battle, I finally was told that there would be an investigation into my complaint about Dafydd and Denbigh, Dafydd tried to bribe me into dropping my complaint during a phone conversation (as detailed in previous posts). During the same conversation Dafydd demanded to know which patients I was going to refer to as witnesses – he mentioned the name of the young man from Wrexham. I discontinued the conversation. The young man’s name was Stephen Bagnall. No doubt he died many years ago. I suggest that someone investigate the circumstances of his end as well as how he ever ended up in the hands of Dafydd.

Bet you never expected any of this to come back and haunt you did you Dafydd? And I haven’t yet started to mention the unfortunate things that happened to some of the people who knew what had happened to me in the North Wales Hospital – but I will soon…

Now to end with a few gems from the Daily Post online. It is reporting that a damning CCSIW report has been compiled about a nursing home in Cricieth. It is alleged that residents medical care was neglected, that residents were underweight and that for one meal residents were fed tinned tomatoes on toast made from one slice of white bread. It is reported that Gwynedd County Council and the Betsi are helping this nursing home to ‘improve’. There’s not going to be a happy ending to this is there. Whilst I was reading the Post online, I was interested to see a huge advert from Slater and Gordon the medical negligence solicitors, stating that they are holding a ‘drop in session’ at Galeri, Caernarfon. The queue will stretch as far back as Porthmadog…

 

A Bit More About Those Very Muddy Waters

My recent posts ‘A Controversial Barrister’ and ‘My Response To An Invitation’ describe how the investigation of institutionalised child sexual abuse or sexual abuse/exploitation in the mental health services is being deliberately hampered by fallacious allegations that it is the complainants and witnesses themselves who are actually abusers, or by allegations that they have been abused by someone else (the fickle finger of suspicion usually points at their families) or by the muddying of the waters completely by ‘therapists’ who ‘identify’ highly improbably circumstances such as ‘Satanic abuse’ or whose very dubious brands of ‘therapy’ cause huge confusion in already distressed and confused people, for example some of those therapists who specialise in ‘recovered memory’ or complex and controversial diagnoses such as Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). Previous blog posts have described how I witnessed such confusion in the north Wales mental health services, but since writing those posts a few other worrying memories have cropped up involving patients whom I knew well.

I have a friend who asked for a referral to a specialist back in the early 90s for psychosexual problems. This man has been treated dreadfully by the mental health services; they had him arrested when he telephoned a nurse and told her that he was so suicidal that he felt like chopping a gas pipe – he ended up in prison on remand although he was never actually taken to Court for anything – fallacious allegations were made about him constantly and eventually he was refused all care and treatment even during periods when he was suicidally depressed. It was almost as if the Hergest Unit were standing back and waiting for the inevitable… Like me, this man finally obtained a full copy of his medical records via his lawyers – he was generous enough to let me read them and I was interested to see that the sort of phrases that appeared on my medical records had also appeared on his and indeed had been written by the very same people. However this man had an experience with one mental health professional whom I never came across, but who I think might have been used to contribute to the muddying of the waters when all those difficult allegations of a paedophile ring operating in childrens homes in north Wales began to crop up along with allegations of sexual exploitation and criminal conduct on the part of mental health staff in the region.

When my friend first asked for a referral for psychosexual problems, he did it through his GP. He was told that the ‘process’ was to go through the Community Mental Health Team, which was the highly abusive Arfon Team (please see previous posts for further details of their activities). He did not consider himself to have mental health problems, he was asking for advice on specific psychosexual problems. He was told that he could see a ‘sex therapist’, but that he would have to agree to be an inpatient on Seiriol Ward in Ysbyty Gwynedd (this was just before the Hergest Unit had been built). He never understood this – recently Brown has suggested that it was highly likely to have been related to the contract that the sex therapist held with the then Gwynedd Health Authority, ie. she may have only been contracted to provide a service to inpatients and thus to ensure that she was paid he had to be an inpatient. So my friend agreed to go into Seiriol Ward to access ‘help’ from this sex therapist, one Caroline Bertalot. Whilst he was an inpatient, he felt that he was shunned and excluded by nursing staff – he told me that he was made to feel ‘like a pervert’, with staff telling him that they wouldn’t ‘talk to him’ because he had sexual problems and they ‘weren’t trained’ to deal with that. But something worse than that happened. He never got to see Caroline Bertalot, although he was in the hospital for a matter of weeks. No-one told him that she wasn’t coming. When he finally enquired as to what was happening, he was told that she’d left her job. So he was allowed to sit in a psychiatric ward for a few weeks, supposedly waiting to see a therapist whom everyone knew had left her job. He later received information that there was discord between Caroline Bertalot and the mental health services – knowing how the system works, I suspect that he may have been caught in the crossfire. Unsurprisingly, he made a complaint. And it was at that point that the construction of this man as a ‘personality disordered’ potentially violent patient began. Among his medical records there was a copy of the most extraordinary letter written by the psychiatrist from Ysbyty Gywnedd whom I call Dr X on this blog (the psychiatrist who was doing some truly dreadful things behind the scenes to patients who complained) – this letter was literally a rant, with Dr X displaying an incredible amount of personal animosity to the patient, maintaining that the service ‘does not and will not’ provide psychosexual therapy. So what was going on? This patient’s distress deepened, partly as a response to his huge frustration at the conduct of the mental services towards him – which as the years passed became increasingly callous and bizarre and had to be witnessed to be believed. The mental health services then agreed to provide psychosexual counselling for his wife – but not him! So that merry go around continued for a while, but simply involved further neglect and abuse. He and his wife then wondered if they would meet rather saner people in the private sector and they made enquiries about sex therapists who operated outside of the NHS. They were told that ‘one of the best’ was a Patricia Gillan. Gillan will be very elderly now – if she is still alive – but at one time she was quite a big name and her allegedly classic text is still advertised online. She had a clinic in London – I think it was a Harley Street one – and also had connections in north Wales. My friend and his wife went to see her on a number of occasions and soon concluded that she was frankly mad and was fleecing them. She charged a very high hourly fee – and my friend, who is a businessman himself, was interested to discover that she demanded cash in hand and no receipts or paperwork were ever involved, so he presumed that she was busying herself with tax evasion. He remembered her ‘therapy’ as being frankly bizarre – it seemed to involve ‘spells’ and ‘magical thinking’, the sort of thing that one might encounter if one consulted one of the whackier alternative therapists at Glastonbury. He and his wife were completely perplexed – this woman was supposedly one of the UKs leading sex therapists. When my friend first told me about this, I presumed that Patricia Gillan must just have been yet another quack who was an example of the King’s New Clothes a la Professor Mark Williams, but now that I have documentary evidence of the UK-wide network that the north Wales mental health services were linked into and their penchant for colluding with just about anyone to shaft patients who had made complaint, I am wondering if something more sinister was happening. It was interesting to read in the Jillings Report – which was written in 1996 but not made public until many years later – that there was no therapy available in north Wales for males with psychosexual difficulties, only for women. The north Wales paedophile ring primarily targeted adolescent boys – and there was collusion with the mental health services…. My friend found it impossible to access psychosexual counselling in north Wales for many years – until he was finally referred to a nurse who repeatedly told him that he must have been sexually abused as a child (he did not grow up in north Wales), although he maintained that this was absolutely not the case. He never ever managed to obtain an adequate ‘service’ anywhere in the UK and is currently in a clinic overseas…

Regarding the process by which this man was imprisoned. As I mentioned, he rang the mental health services and said that he was so suicidal that he felt like chopping a gas pipe. He was arrested, charged and remanded in Walton Prison in Liverpool – where he was ‘assessed’ by Dr Dafydd Alun Jones! Jones diagnosed PTSD – although hours previously a prison psychiatrist had diagnosed bipolar disorder after one 20 minute interview although no medication was prescribed – and Jones recommended that my friend receive treatment for his PTSD at Jones’s ‘private nursing home’, Ty Gwyn. He was released from prison on condition that he stayed at Ty Gwyn. Although Ty Gwyn’s fees were very substantial indeed, my friend described this ‘nursing home’ as a ‘mediocre boarding house’ in which he had to share a room. They were unable to provide vegetarian options and told my friend that he’d have to go into Llandudno and buy takeaways. My friend didn’t actually see Dafydd until my friend announced that he wasn’t going to be ripped off any longer and stated his intention to discharge himself. Dafydd turned up within half an hour and told my friend that he needed ‘at least another three weeks’ of ‘treatment’. My friend told him to stick it and left. Now my friend heard no more from police or courts or prisons – although his release was conditional upon him staying at Ty Gwyn. Many years later he tried to obtain copies of the relevant documentation relating to all this from Walton Prison but was told that it wasn’t available. What’s the betting that something so dodgy had gone on that they didn’t dare release those records – or indeed rearrest him after he walked out of Ty Gwyn? My friend also discovered something else about these events when his lawyer finally obtained his medical records – it had been one Dr David Healy who insisted that he was arrested. That’s the same Dr David Healy who had told other Hergest staff that I had to be arrested if I turned up at the Hergest Unit rather than be offered treatment. Neither of us ever had Healy as a consultant. It was only relatively recently however that my friend mentioned something else that I think was salient.

Although he lived near Caernarfon, when he was arrested he was taken all the way to Pwhelli Magistrates Court who then sent him to prison. Bangor, Caernarfon and even Llangefni Courts were much nearer. He never understood why he was taken to Pwhelli. But then when I was framed for ‘threatening to kill’ Alun Davies (the manager of the Hergest Unit) I too was taken all the way to Pwhelli Magistrates Court, when I lived near Caernarfon! I also remember that the duty solicitor who attended, a man from a Pwhelli practice, was like a cat on hot bricks which was odd – the duty solicitors are usually quite laid back. After the case against me had collapsed and it was evident that the ‘witnesses’ (all staff from the Hergest Unit) had lied to the police, I investigated the possibility of suing the Hergest Unit and I got as far as a barristers opinion. But guess what – the barrister involved, a Wyn Williams, was married to a psychiatric nurse employed at the Ablett Unit! Somehow that case never got off the ground. Wyn Williams is now Justice Wyn Williams. So what’s going on in Pwhelli?

Now for a few thoughts on another case that has always worried me. After the case against me of ‘threats to kill Alun Davies’ collapsed, I was instead convicted of behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress (please see blog posts ‘Interesting Happenings In The Legal system’, ‘Behind the Scenes Regarding Those Legal Happenings’ and ‘Even More Confusion Regarding Those Legal Conundrums’ for full details of the unfathomable events). The disgusting Judge Huw Daniel presided over the case and as he always did mouthed off in Court and I subsequently appeared in the local papers, along with details about me including my address. Within a few days I received a letter. It was from another Hergest patient whom had also been accused of ‘threatening to kill’ a member of staff and had been arrested. She asked me if I thought that Hergest were framing patients who had complained – I knew that they were, so I wrote back to this lady and we met several times. She had become involved with the Hergest Unit because she believed that she suffered from DID and had asked for a referral to a mental health specialist. The Hergest maintained that she did not have DID, she had what nearly all their patients had, an ‘untreatable borderline personality disorder’. She and her husband challenged this and she was subsequently accused of threatening to kill a clinical psychologist. Not only had she done no such thing but she also discovered that the man involved was not a clinical psychologist, he was a nurse who had done a PhD in the School of Psychology at Bangor University and he should not have been stating that he was a clin psych or carrying out assessments that only clin psychs are permitted to do. This lady had also been told by the dreadful Alun Davies ‘just because you’re mad doesn’t mean that you have to be bad’ and also demonstrated that a psychiatrist involved, a Dr Oberholzer, had not conducted himself as he should have. She made a formal complaint about the whole lot of them via the ‘independent’ NHS complaints process. Very unusually her complaint was upheld. The assessors agreed that she had DID not a borderline personality disorder and some very damning words were directed at Alun Davies. I also seem to remember that Oberholzer was criticised and referred to the GMC.

This lady was then offered ‘therapy’ for DID at the Hergest Unit, to be delivered by Dr X’s wife, who also worked as a psychiatrist there. The lady with DID didn’t want to go near the Hergest Unit again and she threatened to sue the North West Wales NHS Trust. The Trust then offered to fund therapy at a clinic of her choice – she requested to be treated by the Chester Therapy Centre, because there was a clinical psychologist there who claimed to specialise in DID. I was shown her CV – she was no more appropriate than Dr X’s wife would have been. She was fairly newly qualified, had not yet completed a PhD and certainly did not have the experience needed for a minefield like DID. But, as far as I can remember, she actually owned the Chester Therapy Centre, it seemed to be her own business. She recommended that the lady with DID should have ‘at least nine years of therapy’ – and the North West Wales NHS Trust agreed to fund this. The lady and her husband were delighted and felt victorious. This lady then told me a few weeks later that she had been offered a job as a ‘service user consultant’ – please read my posts about service user involvement for the ugly reality behind service user consultants. So by then, this lady and her husband thought that they had really got somewhere.

At the time that all this was happening, the north Wales mental health services had been subjected to an inspection. This lady, her husband, I and two members of Hergest staff had all made appointments to see the inspectors and had told them just how wrong things were at the Hergest Unit. But when the report arrived, it was incredible – the Hergest Unit was praised to the rafters, although two staff had blown the whistle on serious abuse of patients. Furthermore, the report had praised the ‘excellent relationship’ between the Arfon Team and the Hergest – although they hated each other so much that many of the staff were not on speaking terms and one psychiatrist at the Hergest Unit refused to work with the Arfon Team. My correspondent and her husband remarked that reading the inspection report was like reading about a completely different hospital. Brown quipped that Alun Davies had probably taken the inspectors out to dinner the night before the inspection. After this baffling report was produced I met up with this couple one more time – they were in the process of selling their house in south Gwynedd to move near Chester for the nine years of ‘therapy’. I had misgivings about a lot of things – about the whole concept of DID for a start, about a patently underqualified and inexperienced ‘therapist’ offering therapy for such a condition, about NINE YEARS of therapy and about selling what was a lovely house to go and live near a therapy centre in an area of exorbitant house prices, let alone about the job as a ‘service user consultant’. But I did think that this lady had a different view of the world than me, a different ideology and had achieved what she wanted – years of therapy three times a week and a role in service userdom. But more recently I’ve had a rethink, based on the dreadful things that I have discovered that the North West Wales NHS Trust and Hergest Unit did to anyone who complained. They destroyed them. If court cases collapsed against them, they mounted further cases. They stalked them, they leant on their employers to sack them, they told their neighbours that they were dangerous nutters – and documentation that I now have demonstrates that even if they appeared to be agreeing to ‘care for’ those patients, they were shafting them as much as possible without those patients knowing. And they would collude with anyone and everyone to do this, using a network of connections across the UK. Now the lady with DID and her husband had an awful lot of dirt on Alun Davies and the Hergest Unit and of course they had linked up with me. Davies knew this, because I now have a copy of a letter that he wrote to a third party asking how I ‘had found out’ about this lady’s case. There is no way that Davies, Keith Thomson, Martin Jones et al from the North West Wales NHS Trust will have forgotten about that lady and left her in peace – they will have gone after her. I have spent the last few months trying to trace her. She and her husband have disappeared into the Bermuda triangle that swallows up so many people who complain about the mental health services in north Wales. And the Chester Therapy Centre has changed hands and there is no trace of the lady who was going to provide the nine years of therapy. That was therapy that the North West Wales NHS Trust was funding. And if they were parting with that sort of money, they will have been in a very powerful position in relation to the person whom they were paying. So how did they stuff this particular patient over? Another arrest on trumped up charges perhaps? Therapy that caused immense damage? Or therapy that made her completely dependent that was then suddenly withdrawn pushing her into crisis? Perhaps Martin Jones would like to tell us… I do know for certain that the other major player, the nurse who was pretending to be a clinical psychologist, was hung out to dry – although it was the North West Wales NHS Trust themselves who ordered him to misrepresent himself. After the lady who caught him out had been offered her package of ‘therapy’ at the Chester therapy Centre, this man was sacked for allegedly having a sexual relationship with a patient. He maintained that their relationship only began about a year after she had been discharged, when he met her again at a party. Nonetheless he was fired, struck off from the counsellors professional body and the last I heard he was working as a carpenter. I would imagine that working as a carpenter would be rather more fulfilling and productive than working at the Hergest Unit, but of course being a man who has been sacked and struck off for having sex with a patient, if ever he should be tempted to spill the beans on the dire practices that he will have undoubtedly witnessed at the North West Wales NHS Trust nobody will take his allegations seriously.

The mental health services in north Wales didn’t just do favours for the region’s Social Services that hosted a paedophile ring, they helped out organisations in other parts of Wales that had fouled up as well. There were quite a few people around Bethesda in the 80s and 90s who had been former members of a well-known commune who were known as the Orange People – they were followers of a guru called Baghwan, who eventually became very discredited on the grounds of the huge fortune that he’d built up out of the money that his far less affluent followers gave him. The guru’s base was in India, but there had been a branch of the community at Aber and a lot of the people who had lived there eventually moved to Bethesda. I got to know one of them very well, because he turned up at the Hergest Unit. I hadn’t known him before this, but a lot of his old mates from the house at Aber had known him for ages. He turned up at the Hergest Unit well-dosed up on anti-psychotics and it transpired that he was alleged to have ‘paranoid schizophrenia’ – and somehow it had got around Bethesda that he was ‘dangerous’ no less, ‘particularly to women’. To be fair, when one of the nurses at the Hergest Unit heard this, she was very angry and made it clear that this was a baseless rumour. This man was incredibly quiet and very very shy but once you made friends with him he was quite interesting – he’d done a PhD in biochemistry in a London medical school but had joined Bhagwan’s commune soon after. But he had a much better – and more recent – tale than this. The tale of how he ended up at Hergest. He was on probation when I first met him – for allegedly assaulting a police woman in south Wales. But his story was that he had been visiting his mum who lived in south Wales when a police woman approached him and grabbed him by the arm demanding to know who he was. He maintained that he had told her to ‘get off’ him and refused to answer her questions on the grounds that he was doing absolutely nothing suspicious. She then called for back-up and a number of male police officers arrived who violently attacked him, hitting him on the head with a truncheon and causing a serious head injury. He was then arrested for resisting arrest and assaulting the officers, was remanded in custody and eventually found guilty of assault. He was assessed as having schizophrenia, put on probation and transferred back to north Wales where he had lived for many years and referred to the Hergest Unit. Now this man maintained that the officers had all perjured themselves and that at no point did he ever assault anyone. Whatever happened to him at their hands had certainly had an effect on him – he hid if he saw the police and he couldn’t even bear to watch police dramas on TV. He maintained that the police were ‘a bunch of thugs’. A few months after I first met him, one of my friends became his girlfriend and spent a lot of time at his house. She also used to attend medical appointments with him, as by then she was classed as his ‘carer’. So she was party to an awful lot of information. She told me that she had seen the photos of him after his encounter with the police in south Wales and that his injuries were serious. These photos were on his medical files and his probation files. She also told me that she had been told by Dr X – his psychiatrist at the Hergest Unit – that he had indeed been assaulted and framed by the police. And she had also been told by his probation officer that he had been framed. So all these people seemed to know that serious wrongdoing on the part of the police had occurred – but no-one piped up. Then we noticed something else. That this man didn’t seem to be psychotic – he was deeply traumatised and very shy but his mum told his girlfriend that he had always been very shy and submissive. And he certainly wasn’t dangerous to women or to anyone else. But he was regularly hauled into the Hergest Unit if he ever dared to mention that he didn’t want to be injected with anti-psychotics any longer – because he was a paranoid schizophrenic who was refusing treatment. He was also being abused by the staff in the Hergest Unit when he was an inpatient on the dreadful Taliesin Ward – his girlfriend witnessed it. She also noticed that he had no bedding. So she went to confront the staff and was told that he did have bedding but he ‘had hidden it’. She pointed out that she had searched his – very small – room and he did not have any bedding. She was reminded that he was a paranoid schizophrenic who could not be believed. At this point she got very angry because she had seen quite enough patients mistreated and she simply pointed out that he had managed to acquire a PhD so he probably knew if he had any bedding. She then found that she had great difficulty visiting him because on so many occasions when she tried to he was ‘too distressed’ to receive visitors. As far as I know, this man who was beaten senseless by the south Wales police, framed for assault and then diagnosed as a dangerous paranoid schizophrenic with the full knowledge of the Hergest Unit and the north Wales probation service is still busy being a paranoid schizophrenic and will no doubt be receiving regular doses of potentially dangerous ‘medication’ that very much seems as if it was only ever prescribed in the first place to cover the tracks of some bent coppers. There is another person in Gwynedd who also almost certainly knows that this man is unlikely to be a schizophrenic, paranoid or otherwise. That is the woman who is married to a man who was also a member of the commune in the Aber house, who had known the ‘paranoid schizophrenic’ for about thirty years before he met the south Wales police and who lived just down the road from him in the village near Bethesda  – the woman who was the manager of the Bangor branch of MIND for years and who later trained as a psychiatric social worker who knows exactly how corrupt the mental health services in north Wales are but has never uttered a word, the star of a previous blog post, Alison Greenaway…Oh and after he returned to north Wales, the paranoid schizophrenic lived right next door to another social worker who at one point held a number of conversations with me in which she admitted that the social services in north Wales were utterly corrupt, that she hated her job and was desperate to ‘get out’. She did – her Linked In profile subsequently described her as a ‘social work trainer’, but she is now working as a ‘funeral celebrant’ of all things – so has run the astonishing career of Rosie Waite. No wonder the ‘schizophrenic’s’ ‘prognosis’ was so poor.

I also knew another ‘paranoid schizophrenic’ from the Hergest Unit, but unlike the man who was almost bludgeoned to death by the police, this young woman did seem to frequently be very distressed and disorientated. However, she too had some interesting experiences with the mental health services in Gwynedd, again with people known to me. No-one took a blind bit of notice ‘because she is ill’. But  one thing that I noticed was that this young woman absolutely loathed Jackie Brandt, a social worker from the dreadful Arfon Community Mental Health Team. This young woman maintained that Jackie Brandt had unlawfully detained her at Ysbyty Gwynedd for a week and had left her with nothing but nightclothes for the whole time and that she had been prevented from washing or showering. This young woman’s father had been sufficiently incensed by the way that his daughter had been treated that he had made a formal complaint. The young woman told me that Brandt had ‘told lie after lie after lie’. The young woman’s father’s complaint was not upheld. This happened to the young woman about a year after Jackie Brandt unlawfully detained me at Ysbyty Gwynedd – and told lie after lie after lie when I complained about her. Guess what – my complaint wasn’t upheld either. (Please see previous blog posts for the full details of my adventures with Jackie Brandt.) Obviously nothing to worry about at all where Brandt was concerned, although she didn’t seem to have much luck with patients. The young woman who complained about Brandt was also a patient of Dr X and constantly stated that she was frightened of him. This was also considered to be part of her illness. But one day when this young woman was an inpatient in Hergest, a real hullabaloo broke out. She had made another complaint. She had maintained that the night before, she had heard loud hammering on her door and when she answered it, Dr X was there and exposed himself to her. She was furious, made a formal complaint – and was denounced as completely psychotic. Which she might have been. But both my medical records and the medical records of the man who requested psychosexual counselling who featured earlier in this post demonstrate that Dr X was doing and saying some very strange things that none of would ever have believed if we had not read the documents written and signed by him ourselves. Before this alleged night-time encounter with Dr X, something happened to this young woman that all the patients did notice though. For some inexplicable reason Dr X referred her to a ‘hormone specialist’ in London. No-one worked out why, neither the young woman – or her family who were very protective of her – requested this referral or even mentioned a suspicion of ‘hormone problems’. But off she went to London. And she came back with the most extraordinary stories regarding these ‘consultations’ – it would seem that this young woman was yet another Hergest patient who had been referred to someone who was quite mad. I think that the Hergest Unit must have had a register of crazy abusive second opinions to unleash upon patients who dared complain. Anyway, the mad old lady in London stated that this young woman had ‘an extreme form of PMT’ and put her on a special diet. But whereas the word ‘diet’ is frequently used to describe an eating regime that people adopt to lose weight, this ‘diet’ was just the opposite. It seemed to have been designed to ensure that this young woman out on as much weight as possible – in order to ‘regulate her hormones’, the mad old lady in London ordered this young woman to eat a tin of Ambrosia creamed rice every two hours throughout the day, as well as normal meals. And the young woman did, she always had a few tins of Ambrosia in her bag, and every two hours would dutifully get a tin out and eat it. She out on about 4 stone in a couple of months. She was still very distressed and disorientated and was still loaded up to the eyeballs with anti-psychotics. As well as the Ambrosia creamed rice. Regarding the anti-psychotics – Dr X maintained that this young woman was so severely ill that he was prescribing a drug for her that a lot of doctors refuse to prescribe. It was one of the ‘atypical’ anti-psychotics that was known to be lethal in about 1 in 100 patients – there were warnings everywhere that this drug really was the choice of last resort. But this young woman got it, what with her beliefs that Jackie Brandt was a lying cow who broke the law and that Dr X had exposed himself to her. I note that this drug is also associated with rapid weight gain. No doubt particularly so when co-prescribed with huge quantities of Ambrosia creamed rice. I haven’t seen this young woman for a long time, but one of my friends saw her about five years ago and said that ‘she looked like an old lady’. I think that it’s a miracle that she’s still alive.

To finish this blog post, I will conjure up another ghost from the past, a case that worried me back in the early 90s when it first came to light, before the allegations of institutional child abuse in north Wales hit the headlines. As I previously mentioned, there used to be a lot of communes in north and mid-Wales – some were benign, just groups of hippies living together, but others had more sinister reputations. One commune at Tregarth near Bangor that was always alleged to be dodgy was known as The Teachers. They used to run an ‘educational centre’ in Bangor and often tried to lure students into participating in their activities. I was warned to keep away from them within weeks of arriving at Bangor – no-one could ever explain why one should have nothing to do with The Teachers, but people were certainly warned to steer clear of them. In the following years I heard two direct allegations that children were being mistreated in the commune – one of the people who told me was the daughter of a local midwife, another person was a solicitor. About ten years later, The Teachers hit the UK media. One of the children who had grown up there who was now in her late teens, Rebecca Teacher, appeared on the Kilroy show, making allegations of very serious child abuse within the community. She also maintained that she had told both the police at Bangor and the Social Services in Gwynedd what had been going on when she was younger but that no action had been taken. There was a huge public row between her and her father, Kevin Teacher – who was the founder of the commune and the father of an awful lot of the children there – and he maintained that she was nothing but a juvenile delinquent which was evidenced by her run-ins with the Bangor Police. It all received a lot of publicity but not for very long – there was talk of Rebecca suing for the years of abuse that she maintained that she had endured, but this simply elicited allegations that she was in hot pursuit of dosh. There did not seem to ever be an investigation into her claims that she told both Bangor Police and Gwynedd Social Services what had been happening but had been ignored and returned to the commune. I have tried to trace Rebecca Teacher over the past couple of years. She too has disappeared, as did the interest in her allegations very shortly after she made them. But somebody else of course did continue to make appearances on Kilroy and other TV shows and is very much still in evidence – Dr Dafydd Alun Jones, the one time partner of Lucille Hughes, the former Director of Gwynedd Social Services who was in 2000 named in the Waterhouse Report as knowing that a paedophile ring was operating in the Social Services but failed to act!

 

Normal Service Resumed – News Round-Up, March 8 2017

What with all the hacking that’s been going on and the technical problems with my site, I haven’t blogged as much as I wanted to over the last few days, but I’m glad to say that after taking some technical advice, I seem to be back in business again on the blog. So here’s a summary of a few things that caught my interest over the past few days.

A news story that was sparked off in the Daily Post that took north Wales by storm and even ended up featuring on the main BBC News site (next to a story about Trump no less) was the report that Wrexham bus station was some sort of centre for ‘addicts’ and the use of hard drugs. It began when the Post published a series of photos that they maintained was ‘evidence’ of hard drug use in Wrexham bus station. However all was clearly not as we were being led to believe. The ‘shock horror’ photo that caused the biggest sensation was a photo of someone flat out, lying face down on the ground in the bus station. Yet the small print under this photo actually admitted that there was no evidence that the person in the photo had been using drugs. A correspondent of this blog commented that this person looked as though they were in need of urgent medical attention, so why someone was snapping away rather than checking on this person’s well-being I do not know. Other photos of further ‘evidence’ accompanied this one – photos of hypodermic needles on the floor accompanied by a smear of blood and most interestingly a photo of a home-made knife. Well anyone could have scattered a few syringes about and smeared a bit of blood on the ground and the relevance of a home-made weapon to drug taking was not explained. Considering the sleight of hand that had been employed in the case of the photo of the unfortunate person flat-out on the floor in the bus station, nothing at all could be deduced from the other photos. But it was enough to start a major news story. Further features appeared on the Post’s website, featuring comments from a number of different people, some maintaining that the story had been an exaggeration, others maintaining that addicts were using Wrexham bus station and that the problem had been ignored. Then the Post ran interviews with two women, one of whom was ‘confessing’ to being a ‘Wrexham bus station addict’, the other one being her sister who claimed to be fearful that the Wrexham bus station addict would lose her life. I couldn’t help noticing though that the Wrexham bus station addict looked remarkably healthy and well-dressed for one so allegedly ravaged and her main problem seemed to be some missing teeth – which could have been simply caused by too many sweets/sugary drinks and the lack of NHS dentists in north Wales. The interview with the bus station addict was interesting though – heroin (thus the photos of the syringes) was not mentioned. The bus station addict instead waxed lyrical about Black Mamba, a ‘legal high’. Note – a LEGAL high. So the bus station addict wasn’t even breaking the law with her bus station addiction. There were other inconsistencies in the bus station addict story as well – the bus station addict in question stated that the addicts congregate in the bus station because it’s warm. It isn’t. I know that bus station well because I used to travel through there several times a week for about 18 months until about a year ago. It is absolutely freezing in Wrexham bus station because there’s no doors between the waiting areas and the bus bays, the wind just whistles straight through – and if it’s raining it gets wet in there too. The seats are moulded metal and are really uncomfortable, not at all suitable for anyone to doss down on should they so wish. At no point when I was waiting in that station did I ever see any drug users. I was occasionally there very early in the mornings and late in the evenings and even then I did not even see any anti-social behaviour. I saw a few homeless and dispossessed people walking around, but they weren’t causing any problems for anyone. However, the bus station addict’s story now clearly had a life of its own. Hot on the heels of the interview with the bus station addict was another news story, this time reporting that the MP for Wrexham, Ian Lucas, had demanded a meeting with the Lord Chancellor, Liz Truss, to discuss the alleged happenings in Wrexham bus station. Then Liz Truss announced that they’d all be seeking advice from the ‘experts’ at HMP Berwyn, the monstrosity of a prison that has just been built in Wrexham after Hywel Williams MP and David Hanson MP begged for a prison in north Wales on the grounds that so many of us up here needed banging up. And which ‘experts’ might these be? Black Mamba has been reported as being the ‘drug of choice’ in Altcourse and Walton prisons and is alleged to be causing havoc, rendering those prisons unmanageable. If prisons that are already well-established and staffed by ‘experts’ can’t control the use of Black Mamba within the institutions, how on earth are the ‘experts’ from a prison that only opened its doors a matter of days ago going to control the use of Black Mamba in a bus station?

However, the whole Wrexham bus station addicts story prompted some interesting comments from a reader of the blog. If there is a drug problem in north Wales – and although the bus station story was obviously very flaky, everyone keeps maintaining that there is a serious and growing drugs problem in north Wales, particularly in Wrexham – the reader asked then why does the Betsi keep throwing millions at CAIS, that anti-addiction charity that boasts of its success in combatting drug addiction? CAIS is expanding and expanding, picking up more and more contracts to ‘treat’ and ‘detox’ drug users – well they’re obviously not that successful are they. CAIS have been in business for decades and the man that established it and still chairs it, dear old Dr Dafydd Alun Jones, has for donkeys years styled himself as an ‘expert’ on drug problems and in his younger day made regular appearances on TV maintaining that He Should Be Listened To. Yet if we are to believe what we are being told by the police, the probation service, the Courts, the Betsi Health Board etc, the drug problem in north Wales is completely out of control. CAIS have now expanded into mid-Wales and I understand are putting feelers out into south Wales as well, trying to pick up a few more lucrative NHS contracts no doubt. So we can expect the drug problems to get much worse in mid and south Wales now that Dafydd’s come to the rescue…

Just as Dr Dafydd Aun Jones is to be found at the root of many bizarre news stories in north Wales,  recent news reports in the Daily Post featured another old favourite in terms of bad news stories in north Wales – yes, Anglesey County Council have hit the headlines once more. It was reported that a CSSIW inspection of Anglesey’s children’s services has resulted in a truly damning report. Inspectors found that services ‘were not always delivered by a skilled, competent, suitably qualified and experienced workforce’, with a ‘particular vulnerability’ at team manager level. Although acknowledging that ‘prompt and proportionate action’ was taken in cases of potential significant harm to children on Anglesey, it was not always followed-up adequately. Partially blaming the failure on a lack of capacity and experience at operational manager or senior practitioner level, inspectors said they looked closely at the quality of outcomes for children in need of help, care, support and/or protection. Inspectors also found ‘insufficient attention to improving practice’ and the quality and timeliness of child protection enquiries to be ‘inconsistent’. Other concerns included the council’s information, advice and assistance services that were found to be ‘insufficiently developed’ with ‘too many’ cases not progressing to referral when they should have. The report noted that ‘we found that management oversight of safeguarding, access and assessment arrangements were insufficient and the pace of change in improving the provision of help, care and support and/or protection for children and families in Anglesey must be accelerated’. Of course, no-one should actually be surprised by this. Anglesey children’s services have previous. A 2011 CSSIW report noted a failure to improve, dating back ‘over many years’, with the assessment and care management of children on Anglesey to be ‘poor’. This is a council whose shenanigans have regularly featured in the media in Wales and have also made it into the London-based media and Private Eye. A number of Anglesey Councillors have gone to prison and the Council is alleged to be rife with bullying, bad practice and corruption. Why is anyone even trusting them to run a children’s service in the first place? (I seem to remember that many years ago as the horrors of the lives of children who were ‘in care’ in north Wales gradually seeped out into the media, one of the worst cases of child cruelty had occurred on Anglesey. A teenager had been fostered out to a couple who had hung up in a barn by ropes and regularly beaten him.) Anglesey children’s services have been given a year to improve. It’s a fairly safe bet that when the inspectors return next year things will be as bad as ever. No-one will have been held to account yet alone dismissed and they will carry on in the same way – they won’t actually know how to do things differently. As with the NHS, even if things are so bad that a head has to roll, that head won’t roll very far, it’ll be given another job nearby at the same level on the same salary. This happened a few years ago in Gwynedd County Council. A terrible report was produced about Gwynedd Social Services after an inspection absolutely slated the senior management. Gwynedd held out as long as they could in the wake of this report, but eventually Gwenan Carrington, the Director of Social Services, announced that she was stepping down. The region breathed a sigh of relief – but not for long. Shortly after, it was announced that Gwenan had been appointed to a senior management position in Anglesey. Some months after that, a Grade A row broke out when it was revealed that the council-run old people’s homes on Anglesey were in crisis and that some were going to be flogged off to the highest bidder. The senior manager responsible was one Gwenan Carrington. I don’t even know why Gwenan wanted to land another job after the catastrophe that she oversaw at Gwynedd – she was around retirement age with a gold-plated pension and had enjoyed a lifetime’s worth of a salary that most people in Gwynedd never manage to obtain….

And so to today. I was expecting our elected representatives to be tweeting like mad about Phil Hammond’s budget, but they’re not. They are however very excited indeed – because it’s International Women’s Day. The first twitter feed that I read was Sian Gwenllian’s, AM for Arfon. Sian had tweeted a cartoon of a group of women (dressed up in Wonderwoman outfits) of various shapes, sizes and ethnicities, with one in a wheelchair, under the words ‘forward to equality’. So much for ‘equality’ and including the ‘disabled’ Sian – you have continually refused to utter a word about the lethal local mental health services, which are damaging and killing women. There is also another local politician who has been tweeting his support for women and disabled people like there’s no tomorrow – Sian’s colleague, Hywel Williams MP (who shares an office with Sian). Hywel has been tweeting his ire at cuts in disability benefits and has been expressing concern about disabled people facing ‘isolation’. Regular readers of this blog know that like Sian, Hywel also remains completely silent about the lethal mental health services. However Hywel goes one better – he is actively friends with some of the local mental health professionals (he’s a former north Wales psychiatric social worker himself) and held one of his post-election victory parties at the house of a Hergest nurse. Prior to this however, a very interesting photo of Hywel was available on the internet – it featured Hywel along with the appalling Keith Fearns (please see blog post ‘The Arfon Community Mental Health Team’ for the background on Fearns and his colleagues), at a ‘conference’ that Fearns had organised. Readers who have followed the blog for the past few weeks will know the lengths to which Fearns went to take me to Court, to deny me healthcare and indeed to get me the sack from jobs – because I had complained about the mental health services. Fearns achieved notoriety when I began teacher training by telling a third party that he would ensure that ‘no decent person’ would have anything to do with me. Yes Hywel, your mate Fearns certainly knows all about disabled people facing isolation…

There has of course been another enthusiastic tweeter today because of International Women’s Day – Leanne Wood, ie. Sian and Hywel’s leader. Leanne retweeted a curious tweet from someone called ‘Chicago Tafia’ which had pictures of some well-known Welsh women – including Leanne – and the message ‘Happy International Women’s Day to the ballsy and fierce women of Wales…’ I find this a little perplexing. The word ‘ballsy’ is I presume a reference to testicles, not something that women possess. It is also a rather crass macho phrase and I always find it sad when women feel that they have to describe themselves, or each other, as ‘ballsy’ if they want to pay a compliment. I dunno about you Leanne but I possess ovaries, I’d be bloody horrified if I found that I had suddenly grown a pair of testicles. And I’m quite happy with my ovaries, I don’t feel the need to purloin some daft macho phrase used by butch meatheads to give me credibility. Leanne also retweeted the tweet that Sian sent out, ie. that of the ‘diverse’ Wonderwomen. Like Sian, Leanne has remained absolutely schtum concerning the women who have been exterminated by the mental health services in north Wales. But then I am a little worried about the brand of feminism that is emanating from some people in Plaid at the moment. It’s the Harriet Harman brand of feminism – Harriet is the daughter of a Harley Street doctor, a very privileged woman who has had an awful lot handed to her on a plate. Yet Harriet believes that she is oppressed – because she is female. Harriet has bags more power and privilege than most men in this country by dint of her class. Leanne and Harriet’s brand of feminism doesn’t seem to embrace fighting on behalf of women who are at the bottom of the social heap – who are being screwed over by the mental health services for example – it is about assisting other privileged women, usually their friends with careers in politics. I was interested to see a few ripe comments about the style of ‘feminism’ that is currently pervading Plaid on Jac o the North’s blog earlier today. I don’t share Jac’s political outlook – and I’m sure that he’d absolutely hate me, a leftie English immigrant – but I do follow his blog and there were some very pertinent comments made in his responses section regarding the ‘feminism’ of present day female politicians. But then Leanne has had a rather unusual understanding of gender matters for quite some time. After Theresa May announced the re-investigation into the north Wales child abuse scandal and it was stated that there was to be another police inquiry and an appeal for witnesses to come forward, Carwyn held a press conference and emphasised that this was a serious criminal investigation and if any politicians were approached by witnesses with information, they must not talk to the witnesses themselves but must refer the witnesses to the police. Leanne then put out a public appeal – for witnesses to come forward and talk to her. The inevitable furore followed and Leanne was then interviewed and said that she thought that the witnesses might like to talk to her rather than the police ‘because I’m a woman’. This was a criminal investigation into a vicious paedophile ring who had evaded prosecution for years. A lot of people who had suffered at their hands had killed themselves and some witnesses had died in suspicious circumstances. But Leanne wanted to get to the witnesses before the police did – because she was a woman. Que?? I always thought that interfering with witnesses was a serious offence. I’m sure that if I did it I would be arrested. Now if Leanne had been an utter dipstick of a first year student on a social work course with a rather simplistic idea of gender roles, her appeal for witnesses to talk to her rather than the police might be understandable. But Leanne was the leader of the opposition in Wales. She is also a former probation officer – and was actually co-chair of the National Association of Probation Officers – as well as a former lecturer in social policy at Cardiff University. Presumably then Leanne knows what a criminal investigation involves – and she will also know that the last thing that anybody should be doing whether they are female, male or intersex, is interfering with the witnesses. Especially when so many of them have been found dead. So a message to Leanne, from one women to another on International Women’s Day: that paedophile gang Leanne had tentacles throughout the UK, particularly in the mental health services, and they destroyed lives, including my own for many years. I was lucky enough to escape their associates constant attempts to frame me for serious crimes (although I’m not sure how) and unlike so many other people whom they targeted I did not actually end up dead in questionable circumstances. But I am not an idiot and I know a real progressive feminist when I see one – and it is not you. Oh and Sian also managed to tweet about her dissatisfaction that the Welsh Labour Gov’t had failed to commit to making ‘healthy relationships education’ compulsory in schools. I don’t think that anyone has much to learn about ‘healthy relationships’ from someone who has stuck her head in the sand regarding the dreadfully unhealthy relationships between mental health professionals and their patients in the way that Sian has. There was however one worthwhile International Women’s Day tweet from a north Wales politician today – Liz Saville Roberts sent out a nice photo of the Asda workers from Pwhelli. And I bet that not one of them will have had a father who’s a Harley Street doctor – but Harriet would probably just view them as the sort of women that she’d employ as cleaners…