The story of Ian Paterson, the surgeon from the midlands who has just faced a criminal trial for carrying out unnecessary operations – including full mastectomies – on women who did not have cancer, has exercised the UK press over the past few days. Much has been made of Paterson’s alleged ‘God complex’, his ‘charisma’ and the sheer scale of his malpractice – many millions have already been paid out in compensation and it is admitted that many more claims are expected. It is assumed that Paterson will be jailed when sentence is passed. Paterson mutilated women – as well as a few men – whilst working both within the NHS and in private practice with Spire Hospitals. We have now been assured that everyone is ever so sorry, that procedures have been ‘tightened up’ and that this can never happen again. Just as we were reassured after Rodney Ledward, Richard Neale, the Alder Hey Scandal, The Bristol Heart Scandal, Mid-Staffs and dear old Harold Shipman of course and many more. It won’t happen again because it was all a long time ago. Well Ian Paterson wasn’t a long time ago – he butchered people on a regular basis until relatively recently and of course the only reason why there is a bit of distance between this trial and his last bit of fun in an operating theatre is that this trial has been delayed, Paterson having produced medical evidence that he was unfit to stand trial. (Top Doctors have a habit of doing this when they’re in really deep shit – everybody else is dragged before the court even if they’re in the most dreadful state but if a Top Doctor senses a prison sentence looming and feels a tad anxious at such an eventuality, evidence will be produced that he/she is a complete wreck and cannot possibly stand trial. There is a lady in Harley Street, one Adrianne Reveley, who has assisted Top Doctors with such medical reports in the past – Adrianne will be featuring on this blog in the future.) Prof Ian Kennedy has produced a report in the wake of the expose of Paterson’s wrongdoing and has been busily giving his opinion in the media, stating that regulation in the private sector needs to be tighter. Ian Kennedy knows as well as I do that regulation in both the NHS and private sector is so lax that it might as well not exist, thanks to the GMC who have been found to consistently ignore complaints about dangerous doctors. But then Ian Kennedy has been a member of the GMC himself, so he’ll know how useless they are – however I do not know if Kennedy was a member of the GMC when they forged a letter from me in order to conceal the enormous problem that was Dr Tony Roberts at the Hergest Unit…
There are a number of features of the Paterson case that have not been explored as fully in the media as they should have been. It has been mentioned that he was dismissed from a previous post in 1996. Which post was that? Why was he dismissed? How did he land another job and who wrote his references? As ever, there were concerns about him among colleagues but these concerns were not acted upon. It was stated that he was ‘powerful’ and ‘charismatic’. He was only powerful because everybody colluded with him – had just one person had the guts to blow the whistle he would have been in prison years ago. Neither does a doctor have to be ‘charismatic’ to be allowed to spend a career harming patients – Gwynne Williams the lobotomist and Dafydd Alun Jones were both revolting specimens and just about everyone who encountered them noticed this. Charisma doesn’t enter into the equation but corruption does. I note that Paterson was practicing in Birmingham – there have been problems in the NHS in Birmingham but they have not led to the publicity that one would expect. Might that be anything to do with the fact that one Professor Robert Bluglass was a very influential figure in Birmingham and for a long time Chaired one of the Trusts there? Bluglass mysteriously requested that his name be removed from the medical register some years ago so he now spends his time as a Director of Compton Verney, one of the finest art galleries in Europe, and singing in a rather elite choir, where presumably no-one knows how dirty his hands are. But his wife Kerry Bluglass is still very much in action in medicine….
Ian Kennedy has shown great concern that Paterson injured patients in Spire hospitals (he injured very many more NHS patients but presumably they don’t matter quite so much). Should we be surprised by this? This blog has previously described how psychiatrists involved in the most appalling practices at St George’s Hospital Medical School and Springfield Hospital found their way into the Priory Group. The dishonest Robert Kehoe is Medical Director of Cygnet Healthcare. And the serial sexual harassing gynaecologist whom St Georges waved a fond farewell to many years ago is now employed at Cardiff Spire Hospital and a few years ago picked up an award from Dr Brian Gibbons who was at the time Health Minister. Dafydd himself constantly failed to turn up for his NHS clinics because he was busy at various private clinics elsewhere. And the appalling Raj Sambhi can now be encountered at the Spire Hospital in Wrexham if anyone is daft enough to part with good money to consult an obnoxious git like him.
It was an interest in Spire in Wrexham that led me to some interesting discoveries some four years ago. I discovered through friends that people in north Wales in need of joint work and other orthopaedic interventions were being put on very long waiting lists – but were told that they could be treated very much more quickly if they went private at the Spire in Wrexham. I compared the names of the surgeons involved – yes, they were the same people working at both Wrexham Maelor and the Spire. Which is of course why the Spire is just around the corner from Wrexham Maelor – it’s so the Top Doctors can come straight out of the Maelor, into their Porches and nip off down to the Spire to see the patients that they had put on the excessively long waiting list. If I remember rightly, it was the NHS secretaries at the Maelor who were handling the private bookings as well – and they won’t have been receiving a penny more, it will all be done in NHS time and on an NHS salary. (But the midwives at St George’s used to tell me how difficult it was looking after Prof Chamberlain’s private patients when they were on the delivery suite – the patients didn’t understand that the midwife looking after them was actually an NHS midwife who had six other NHS patients to look after as well and the midwife didn’t get paid anything extra for looking after a private patient. The only person who gets the extra dosh is the doctor, although to be fair to the likes of Geoffrey Chamberlain who hold academic posts as well there is a limit on how much they are allowed to earn through private work and I was always told that Chamberlain invested a lot of the money that he earned privately back into the hospital. But an unscrupulous old bastard like Dafydd Alun Jones won’t have been doing that and I bet the Maelor doctors aren’t.)
At the same time as uncovering this scam, I noticed that the Daily Post was choc full of articles regarding the sins of Mary Burrows (the first CEO of the Betsi) and Edwina Hart, the then Health Minister. A lot of these articles contained lies. I was well aware that those we know and love had orchestrated a campaign to bring down Mary because they were boasting about it – and it was clear that the BMA absolutely loathed Edwina and were desperate to see her removed from her post. I began corresponding with Alison Gow, the then editor of the Daily Post, regarding the lies that were being published. I then noticed that as well as lies about Mary and Edwina, the Post was running ‘healthcare features’ concerning the wonders of Spire Hospitals – yet it wasn’t made clear that Spire were part of the private sector. These ‘features’ were effectively free plugs for Spire. I challenged Alison Gow about this and she fessed up that Trinity Mirror (the owners of the Daily Post) had a ‘commercial arrangement’ with Spire, but she refused to tell me how much dosh the Spire had actually handed over to Trinity Mirror. ‘Features’ involving Spire and its wonders had also appeared in the Western Mail, also owned by Trinity Mirror. Trinity Mirror were in very great financial difficulty at the time (and probably still are, like much of the print media). Now one thing that everyone knew about Edwina Hart because she was completely upfront about it was that she was ideologically opposed to private medicine and repeatedly maintained that she would do everything possible to prevent it flourishing in Wales. I rather suspect that was why the BMA had such a problem with her – the scams would have to stop if Edwina got her way. Another person who regularly appeared in the Welsh media at the time spitting venom at Edwina, Mary and the Welsh Government generally was one Dr Eamonn Jessup, a GP from north east Wales. Eamonn was Chair of the North Wales Local Practice Committee. Eamonn constantly represented himself as a caring GP whose only concern was for his patients who were going to suffer so badly under the wicked Edwina’s regime. But Eamonn was also a man keen on self-publicity and he was very active on Facebook, promoting numerous campaigns on there. One of those campaigns was ‘higher pay for doctors’ no less. So Eamonn, being one of the most highly paid people in the region, wanted even more. Eamonn Jessup’s surgery was one of those that recently handed back it’s contract and I presumed that he has retired. His pension will be higher than the wage of a lot of people in north Wales.
So Edwina didn’t give out awards to sexually harassing gynaecologists and she wouldn’t stuff the Top Doctors mouths with even more gold (although there’s so much gold already in there that one would not have thought it possible to cram in any more ingots) and she ordered Martin Jones to investigate complaints made about the North West Wales NHS Trust. No wonder the BMA were desperate to get rid of her. Which they did. And look at the bloody mess. By the way, a friend of mine currently needs orthopaedic work doing on his shoulder. He was told by the Betsi that the waiting list is some months long but that he could book in for private care regarding various aspects of the diagnostic and treatment process and everything would progress much more quickly. Like Edwina he is ideologically opposed to private medicine and found it offensive that he could obtain speedier treatment if he paid. He resisted – but within a few weeks was in such pain that he coughed up. Presumably the Top Doctor who examined that shoulder knew how bad the pain would be within a few weeks. Eamonn would no doubt be delighted to hear about this event.
However, it seems that Eamonn has now spread his wings further than north Wales. He’s available for appointments in Paphos in Cyprus! Specifically at the Peyia Medical Centre. And guess who shares the clinic there with him? None other than Dr D.G.E. Wood, a star of previous posts, the man who coerced me into seeing Gwynne the lobotomist then lied and lied in order to discredit me and have me labelled as ‘dangerous’ when I complained about Gwynne! The online advert for ‘Dave’ Wood describes him as very friendly and knowledgeable – it’s forgotten to add ‘completely corrupt’ and ‘has friends that concealed a vicious paedophile ring’. One wonders if Eamonn and Dave have headed off to Cyprus because their activities are becoming well-known in north Wales or whether they’re on a sort of late middle aged doctors massive 18-30 holiday involving huge quantities of alcohol, drugs and casual sex.