Sunday, 30 October 2011

Come Out, Come Out Whoever You Are - Show Yourself at Halloween !

In an earlier post, I reported that the Universally Inept Health Board had managed to get access to this blog blocked to all NHS staff.  What are they afraid of - the truth perhaps ?  That they have been lying to us for years, promising us a better health service - 'fit for purpose', they said - remember ?
Every consultation a means of conning the long-suffering patients that 'Your health service is out of date - no longer 'fit for purpose'; not meeting the changing Health Care needs of the nation'.  As Rita Austin so aptly put it - "promising us Jam Tomorrow", in order to keep us 'in check', 'under control' whilst they began the destruction of our Health Service.  Starting with the most vulnerable - the Elderly Mentally Infirm - dementia patients, with no hope of cure or respite.  Yet, with callous indifference to their needs, the Welsh Government, the Welsh NHS, the Local Authorities ( e.g. the Vale County Council ) the Universally Inept Health Board, and their fawning lackies the Community Health Councils, they all connived to cut existing services to extinction ( vis Bryneithin - the only specialist care home in the Vale ).  Then through Sacharine smiles, their lying lips told us of a Master Plan, called 'Making a Difference' that was to provide us with the ultimate service - by closing Rookwood Hospital ( to make way for a profitable property development ) and relocating their services to Llandough Hospital.  Where ? How ? When ? Why?.  First move the Midwife-led unit to UHW, closely followed by all gynae services, including all surgical services, and the Intensive Care Unit.  Now, in 2011, the entire lot has been cleared, leaving ( supposedly ) enough room for the slowly starved Rookwood services, using their own 17 year neglect of the premises as a pitiful excuse for their profiteering.

Sounds great doesn't it ?  Except for the fact that the Charity Commission haven't approved the great deception relating to the Restrictive Covenant, or the profiteering which is strictly against all Commission rules.  Impressed ?????  You 'aint seen nuthin' yet, bud.  Parallel to this ill-coneived plan, was another - even less feasible Plan to relocate all mental Health Services from Whitchurch ( and other locations, like Barry and St David's hospital ) to a brand new £80 hospital, also on the Llandough site, for a 'ring-fenced', cool, £80m ( yeah right ).  A two inch thick document of unashamed, meaningless rhetoric - no costings included - portrayed a non-specific, no detail, Disneyland of mental health services, that was to be the answer to the 20+ years of prayers of the beleagured asylum inmates, enduring outdated, often barbaric services in a century old Victorian building.  When ???, you ask - in four long years - or, sometime never when the Welsh Government admits that it cannot afford such an extravagant development.  Meanwhile the services would have been lost, leaving a woefully inadequate service that will barely touch the needs of the growing population.
So, what do they do in the meantime ???   Establish a Big Brother Communications Security system, known as that can pry into your e-mails ( and probably your telephone conversations ) to any and all employees in the NHS.  Months ago, they blocked my blog, then extended it to all potential challengers ( known as 'habitual complainers' ) of their deceitful plans to slash services and save £300m.  Anyone out there dumb enough to believe that Wales is a Democracy , or that our government gives a toss for the health and well-being of its' citizens ?????    I didn't think so ???  Scream out loud against the intrusion of privacy and the end of Freedom of Speech !  R.W.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Mind Money Laundering for a Cleaner Mental Outlook

The organisation called 'Mind' does not, in reality, exist, unlike 'Big Brother' or 'Come Dancing' which - if the mood takes you - may actually be seen in all their naked awfulness.  A friend of mine was recently rejected as an applicant for a position of the 'Mind Governance' group/panel/committee.  Of course, this, in reality, is a contradiction in terms, because the MIND organisation doesn't actually govern anything.  Here I would remind readers that the proper term for running an organisation is 'MANAGEMENT' - making sure that the money in exceeds the money out, creating a surplus, or - simply, in the case of Mind  - using the money for the purposes intended - which they don't always.  Of course, this assumes that you act legally yet, as in the recent criminal misrepresentations of one, Paul Clarke ( Mind in the Vale ) this assumption is not always justified.  Having been a Trustee of his franchise, it was immediately obvious that Mr Clarke was not one to respect legal contracts or his legal obligations to the poor service users that he regularly duped.  Where ( I hear you shout ) was the 'governance' there, let alone anything resembling competent management ?

You see 'Mind' is not one organisation, it is - in fact - a group of franchise operations, where the franchisee is ( more or less )  free to create and run his little empire as he wishes - as was the case with Paul Clarke who - despite my evidence-backed complaints to his funding organisations ( e.g. The Health Boards, The Wales Council for Voluntary Action ) managed to get away with conning money out of organisations, with little or no benefit to service users - all done with the protection of the MIND name and the misplaced loyalty ( and plain stupidity ) of the funding organisations.  His favourite ploy was to ask every possible fund provider in Christendom to provide the funds for whatever noble project came into his twisted little brain. (N.B. He did have a degree in Rock and Roll music which, along with the sex and the drugs must have qualified him for anything but helping the mentally ill ).  The result of this larceny was that he would often receive multiples of the actual amount required for the particular project needing the funding.  In this way, he was allowed to build his 'Empire' and his personal standing in the eyes of the incompetent world of mental health service provision, whilst doing bugger-all for the mentally ill that he was supposed to represent.

The relevance of this story to my friend's application to become part of the elite MIND GOVERNANCE, was that she was rejected for not having 'transferrable skills' that were applicable to mental health issues.  Considering the facts of my little tale of woe, I nearly wet myself reading this audacious and quite rediculous excuse for rejecting my friend's application.  What better experience is there to deal with mental health issues than having been a long time sufferer of mental illness yourself , and having years of so-called 'user group' involvement with represention ( albeit tokenistically ) at the 'Big Table' of mental health governance, as Mr Clarke himself would have described the situation.  For the last 14 years I have represented service users and campaigned for better services for them, yet have singularly failed to defeat the Mental Health Mafia that is the unholy union between statutory and non-statutory organisations like Mind.  Better that you help yourself than rely on any of these money-grabbing organisations for any practical help !   R.W.
{ See also 'How do you Confront the Hydra' for more detailed explanation )

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Well Done Lynnette..........and Kirsty Williams

What a pleasure it is to read Lynette's post, reporting on the criticisms made of The First Minister's policy with regard to Health Services in Wales. This is precisely why I want to widen contributions to 'our' posts, as they reveal the common problems we all face, throughout all health services in Wales. Whether the First Minister chooses to call honest reporting and accurate criticisms of the huge programme of rationalisation and centralisation of the health service, 'unfair to the NHS', the fact remains that he and his minions are systematically making all health services LESS accessible to patients, by closing hospitals, reducing bed numbers, as well as reducuing the number and geographical locations of many GP surgeries.

Of most concern, is the First Minister's total lack of consideration for the patients in Wales, whose views are invariably ignored, or are deliberately misrepresented by his fawning lap-dogs, the infamousely conniving Community Health Councils. As a prime example of their patient treachery, Gordon Harrop from their CHC base in the Vale, speaks on the claim that 'Seven extra mental health beds will be provided in the South Wales Valleys. He says' "This is a good day for mental health services and the community has been well served by the consultation process overseen by the CHC" This guy is seriously nuts, along with all his creepy cronies who live in the dark, eating rusks and warm milk. He completely IGNORES the fact that St. Tydfil's hospital is scheduled to close with the loss of a hell of a lot more beds than the lousy 7 that the cheapskates at the Universally Inept Health Board are providing. We are NOT gaining any 'extra' beds at all, and conmen like Harrop should go back to Leather Lane and take his cheap con tricks with him. More and more mental and general health beds are being lost every day, while our autocratic government insults our intelligence by claiming that "services are being improved' and 'services will be 'fit for purpose'". Even the 'grunts' of the US Marine corps ( God Bless 'em ) aren't dumb enough to swallow that load of codswallop. Are you ????? If you are, you can join all the new applicatnts for the CHC by signing up at the Frontal Lobotomy Clinic at Cardiff Royal Infirmary ( version 6 ). Like I said, "Well done Lynnette.....and Kirsty Williams. R.W.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Well done Kirsty Williams!

I honestly never thought I'd say it but WELL DONE KIRSTY WILLIAMS!

BBC Wales Health Story

She read the NHS reports and told Carwyn Jones EXACTLY what these said, and then, he came up with some bull crap which, basically, is why the situation in Wales is so bad - because the head of Labour and WAG have no idea what is going on in the Welsh NHS.

At question time in the Senedd, she said the risk assessments showed local health boards (LHBs) were "admitting the scale of the problem and challenges that they are facing".

She asked Mr Jones if he was "prepared to face up to those same challenges" and that far from the NHS subjecting people to a post-code lottery "in Wales it is more like Russian roulette".

You cannot surely expect to reduce the NHS budget by £1billion and still keep levels of service the same?

Mr Jones replied that Ms Williams' statement was not helpful to the NHS - a service that Wales was "proud of".

I'd like to meet the people of Wales that are proud of the NHS at the moment. I don't think it is anything to be 'proud of', do you?

A spokesman for Ms Griffiths said: "These irresponsible comments by the Welsh Lib Dem leader will cause unnecessary concern to patients.

"The NHS in Wales takes patient safety very seriously and to imply otherwise, is an insult to its dedicated staff.

A spokesman to speak for our Health Minister? She thinks a lot of herself eh. Alas, we are all fully aware that there are major issues with the NHS in Wales and that isn't due to a few words from Kirsty Williams, that's from personal experience within hospitals and GP surgeries etc.

I think the LHB's themselves were saying they didn't have the staff or the equipment to meet demand - Ms Williams said nothing of the sort!

Welsh NHS Confederation director Helen Birtwhistle said: "In some areas, services are provided across too many sites with the result that these limited resources - especially staff and equipment - are spread too thinly.

"The NHS is exploring opportunities to bring services together so that some of the risks that have been identified can be reduced and the quality of care for patients improved."

Ahhhh more rubbish that 'bigger is better' - not so! Bringing services together doesn't mean jack if departments don't communicate - and clearly they don't.

So the grand plan was: Ask LHB's to write a report on the failings in their areas, read report, ignore report. Nothing new there then.

The scary thing is, they hold the purse strings eeeeeeeek!

Lynnette Spragg

Monday, 10 October 2011

World Mental Health Day - 10th October 2011

This is surely a day for 'all and sundry' in the mental health world to flood us with important information that will raise awareness of Mental Health Problems in the community.

The British Army ( Bless 'em ) had already decided that all soldiers, returning from 'theatre' would have immediate access to 'talking therapies', from their own doctors, outside psychiatrists and as many psychologists as would be needed. Their aim - Eliminate Stigma ! What a noble aim and absolutely typical of the army to lead us with their usal courage and determination. Now, every trooper suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Anxieties, sleeplessness, prolonged periods of sadness, alcohol dependency etc etc will ALL be able to access this essential service And....if they are reluctant to come foreward, concerned colleagues, family or friends may make enquiries on their behalf. This is, and always has been, a need that should have been satisfied by H.M. Forces decades ago. Now the British Army have recognised the need and got on with the job of providing these essential services. We have all taken for granted the terrible pain that our soldiers, airmen and sailors have endured as a result of defending us and our great nation. Where the army leads, the rest will follow.

But ( dare I ask ) what has happened today in Cardiff to commemorate this 'World Mental Health Day' ?...........
I haven't heard or read of anything, and neither have my friends and colleagues. Cardiff City Council should be ashamed, as should the Universally Inept Health Board, and all other statutory and the many non-statutory mental health 'charities'. However, let's not rush to condemn. Perhaps readers could provide this blog with comments correcting me, and ( hopefully ) listing all the events that I and my colleagues obviously missed !

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Dystonia is Definitely NOT 'all in the mind'

Dystonia is a painful, often crippling disease of the nervous system, classed as a chronic, long-term condition under the Equality Act 2010. It is a Neurological disorder that has no cure and can - often - make the sufferer contemplate suicide. In fact as a sufferer myself for 11 years I cannot honestly say whether acute mental pain is worse than the pain caused by Dytonia's involuntary muscles spasms. All I know is that - speaking as a suffer of both conditions - they can have the same debillitating effect that could make you self-harm or, worse, lead you to want to stop the pain by ending your own life. Yet, one is a physical condition and the other a 'mental' one, which automatically carries with it the added pain of stigma - even from those who are supposed to love you and care for you. So, how can you tell the difference ?

From my own experience, I had suffered from anxiety as a small boy, visiting St David's hospital many times, before the diagnosis was offered to my mother. I became a nervous child, with a high gag reflex, and stomach cramps at every stressful situation - such as being forcibly anaesthetised. I learned to deal with my hidden fears by acting out the role others wanted to see - a normal, active and sometimes naughty child, with no father to correct me or to act as my role model.

My first experience with depression is described, briefly, in an earlier post. Sometimes I felt confident and strong - particularly at school or in work where I could drive myself to be better than others, even if this wasn't achieved. The danger points in my life were the ones that brought the anxiety depression back, with a vengeance. Marriage difficulties, children's illnesses, losing a job ( and I lost 7 in all ), along with two marriages and a partnership that was weeks away from becoming as permanent as my first two failures. It doesn't take much to lose your self-esteem, your confidence, and the esteem of your own family. Such events take you into a vortex, pulling you down relentlessly, until you finally see death as the only option open to you. Be aware that stress will exacerbate the symptoms of both conditions, so do all you can to avoid any of the stressful conditions that life throws at you as ( supposedly ) 'Character Building exercises'.

With Dystonia, my symptoms started the year before my angina attack and subsequent heart surgery in 2000. Unfortunately, it went undiagnosed for over a year, with my own doctor telling me that my constant eye-blinking was a habit that I should simply stop. So easy, you'd think. My GP even told me that if I persisted with this 'habit' that he would refer me to a psychiatrist 'because of my mental history'. Those damning words stung me to see a psychiatrist within weeks. Fortunately,he knew the difference between Anxiety Depression and a condition he named as 'Dystonia'. He arranged a referral within a week to an opthalmologist, Dr Robert Walters at UHW. Within an hour of seeing this caring man, I was diagnosed with Segmental Dystonia, which he said was caused by damage to the nerve ganglia (Basal) at the base of the skull, as a result of an illness or an accident. The word 'incurable' followed, making me care less what the cause was of this disease of uncontrolled muscle spasms around my eyes. Even though he offered a variety of treatments, including the 13 stinging BoTox injections I have to endure every 8 weeks, I realised that I had been stigmatised as being 'mental' by my own GP. ( On reflection, the needles hurt more than the stigma did, and still do ! - R.W. )

The point of this post is not to rush into any hasty opinion about what troubles your neighbour, your friend, or even a family member. They could be twitching, blinking or crying out of despair. They could be suffering from Depression or Dystonia, but it hardly matters which, as both conditions require your empathy, your sympathy, and your understanding. So next time you see someone twitching, with their neck or their arms bent in a painful spasm, don't judge them as being 'mental'. The same goes for someone sad and crying - in fact - don't judge them at all, as both conditions inflict pain that requires treatment and not scorn. R.W.

N.B. ca 30,000 people are diagnosed as having Dystonia of one kind or another in the UK. However, approximately 10m people suffer from some kind of neurolgical disorder, with awareness and understanding of Neurology among healthcare professionals not what it should be.

Links to the Dystonia Society via e-mail enquiries to

Also, visit

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Please Contribute & save Democratic Opinion

Please follow Robin's invitation and help keep this blog running by contributions:

Living in a country such as Wales - renowned for its quangos and the nepotism that running through all sections of life here such as the arts , politics as well as those, 'support' services meant to enable ' service users ' but in fact only finance themselves not welcoming any controversy it is now important that those traditionally voiceless in our society such as mentally ill people and their unpaid carers that they SHOULD be HEARD.


It seems to me in Welsh society there is a conspiracy of profound and total ,  'silence' that allows people who are acutely ill to be 'warehoused'  - there is no other word for it -  and to 'bed share' in a 19th century conditions in the last remaining Aslyum in UK at Whitchurch in the capital city of Wales yet no one in authority says  - ANYTHING.

We are however fed the NHS latest buzz word of, 'Recovery that glosses the multitude of sins and the deaths that take place at Whitchurch and Llanfair every year. Sadly it has been reported to me within the last two months of writing this that with the outlawed practice of so called, 'deadly restraints ' that was current at Bristol at Winterbourne and exposed as illegal still continues at Llanfair carried out by certain staff members.

Please help Robin and myself uncover the quagmire that lurks beneath our so called,'Welsh Democracy'.