This is the Ninth in the Persecution Series, after The Persecution of Heretics, The Persecution of Vulnerable Adults, Harassment from the BBC to GMC, Harassment from Rolf Harris to James Coyne to Doctor Who, Persecution: Black Riders in the Shire, Persecution: Rumbles from Mordor, and third in the Suicide Series SUI-Cide in Betsi, SUI-Cide Trick or Treat.
Dr Higgo’s headache
I was supposed to be interviewed as part of a Serious Untoward Incident (SUI) review process on March 12 this year. The main interviewer was Robert Higgo. An email that morning said he had a headache and would have to cry off the interview. It was deferred to April 10.
On March 10 Robert Poole, who has a very close relationship with Robert Higgo (See Trick or Treat), had sent an interesting letter to Dr Makin, BCUHB’s Medical Director, and Mr Lang, a Board member. The letter was sent on Royal College of Psychiatrists’ headed notepaper. This was a month before I was interviewed.
Dear Matt and Geoff
“The SUI review is ongoing, but Dr Higgo has formally expressed concern that Professor Healy’s practice and behaviour in the case fell short of GMC’s standards, set out in Good Medical Practice, on a large number of different counts”.
Dr Poole extraordinarily goes on in the following paragraph to state:
“I do not hold an enmity towards him”.
He neglects to mention that I had written his citation for a merit award (2007) but I had to decline to be an extern in his appointment to a Chair because of conflict of interest (2009). Subsequently he had attempted to purloin research funds and posts from my department (2012), and labelled me in a book published close to the day this letter was written as essentially the world’s leading threat to orthodox psychiatry, while stating here:
“I believe I have no conflicts of interest in this matter”.
Dr Poole is the Lead for the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ Invited Review Service and at this point when dealing with the Healy issue letters from him are in essence being written by a College committee.
Let the right one in
You’re safe from vampires unless you let them in (See the movie – Let the Right One In).
The College Review Service came to North Wales at my instigation in the first instance. The push for a College review from my colleagues and I came from the fact that it seemed to be the only possible way to get an independent review of a management that we thought was at risk of destroying a good service and badly compromising patient safety.
None of us had any inkling Dr Poole was so involved in the service, or we would never have gone down this route.
The reviewers came to North Wales where they missed the fact there were 35 nurses and doctors who had blown the whistle on management, and interviewed none of them.
They missed the fact that there were two ward managers who had just been reinstated after an intervention from Welsh Government, having been three months before being summarily marched out of the Hergest Unit on the back of safety concerns hinging on incidents that appear never to have happened. They interviewed neither of them.
They missed a chance to catalogue a new and egregious abuse of employment law.
But the Reviewers interviewed Dr Poole, presumably as a disinterested voice on the state of affairs in North Wales, and interviewed previous reviewers that we had objected to on the grounds that they were as transparent as one of the banks of fog that can descend on North Wales.
They also found time to interview someone who essentially concocted a story about an event involving me. The so called event had happened on August 2, over two months earlier. This person was not present for the supposed event. The person had very clear motives to invent an event.
What was invented was entirely improbable but the College reviewers seem to have swallowed the invention hook, line and sinker. Several months later they appear to have developed cold feet and suggested Dr Healy’s version of the event should be sought – but it never was.
Instead, Dr Higgo was invited to conduct an SUI. No-one seems to have known whether they were SUI-ing CASE A or SUI-ing the August 2 non-event. It perhaps didn’t seem to matter as Dr Higgo appears to have written his SUI-Cide note a month before he interviewed me.
Reading my own obituary
On July 15 I was made aware there was a document that raised concerns about me. I got to see this on July 16. It was an undated and unsigned report slightly over 5 pages with Dr Higgo’s name at the end. It’s disjointed and in some places makes points out of the blue – almost as though points made in an earlier draft were awaiting incorporation but “send” was pressed too soon.
The reason that I got to see it was that Dr Makin, the Medical Director, having already referred me to the GMC without me knowing, now, after the fact for some reason, had fixed up a meeting with Dr Birch, an Assistant Medical Director, where I was going to be given the Higgo SUI-Cide note and apparently also be given a chance to respond to it.
Based on my response, Dr Makin would then, it was implied, decide if I needed to be referred to the GMC.
I took this at face value unaware that a referral to the GMC had already been made, unaware the Higgo report had been written ages before he met me.
Aside from the multiple levels of bad faith here, there are questions as to why no-one in the Medical Director’s office foresaw the likely mess
- That Betsi would be unable to hand over the transcripts from all the people interviewed.
- That Betsi wouldn’t be able even to hand over a list of names of those interviewed.
- That Betsi was breaching the first rule of critical incident reviews.
- If a referral was made to the GMC would Betsi be able to hand over the transcripts and if not was it possible to have a fair process.
- If GMC got the transcripts could they let me see them and if not was it possible to have a fair process.
If Dr Makin wanted to review my practice, this was not the way to do it. To mess up so badly suggests either incompetence, a profound desire to get even, or instructions from higher up the food-chain. Explicit instructions might have come from above. Or did Drs Makin or Higgo over-read the unhappiness of those above – just as the courtiers who decided to rid Henry II of a turbulent priest did?
Do any powers that might have interfered have the ability to squash due process?
The SUI Cide note
First there was nothing in the SUI Cide Note that indicates that anything I did contributed to what happened in CASE A. It concedes my diagnosis was right. It doesn’t argue with the treatment. There has been no complaint from the family or the coroner. The family have in fact joined me in complaining about what has been left out.
There is a string of vexatious issues covering themes that arise roughly in the order below – more details on some of these will be deferred to a later date in the interests of keeping the reader engaged with the whodunnit question.
- Dr Higgo’s view of Dr Healy
- The presentation of the report in pre-GMC complaint format
- The Off-Label use of Medication
- Dr Healy’s Failure to map out Risk Management strategies
- Dr Healy acting as the Responsible Clinician for CASE A and B
- The Pova Meeting
- Dr Healy’s input to the Roslin CMHT
- CASE A’s Medical Conditions and Prior Treatment
- The place for the Mental H Act and Mental Capacity Acts in this case.
Dr Higgo’s view of Dr Healy
Dr Higgo makes a point of saying that the supporting material for views he is offering about me is contained in the chronology and witness statements.
In terms of the witness statements, having reviewed the statements of those interviewed who know me, there is no evidence from the witness statements of those not part of the management system for the Higgo claims.
Basing a general view of someone on the chronology of one case, and an incomplete set of records, would seem either foolhardy, borne from a pre-existing bias or both.
Dr Higgo concedes the case was complex and on top of that difficult and grudgingly accepts that I may have got the diagnosis right, implying others didn’t, before going on to claim on the basis of one interview that “he appears to have considered it only necessary to consult his own views”.
These views were expressed in a document designed it would seem to get me referred to the GMC. The fact that such a document was produced is at odds with the wording of the invitation to the interview, as indicated, namely that this was not a review of my practice.
This was manifestly not a suitable process to review anyone’s practice. Whatever impressions were garnered by Dr Higgo should not have been put to another purpose – as they have been.
Finally, Dr Higgo should have declared his conflicts of interest before interviewing me. He should definitely have declared them to Dr Makin before producing this document.
General Medical Council (GMC) complaint format
Weirdly Dr Higgo’s report refers to various clauses in a GMC Good Medical Practice document in a manner that seems a deliberate attempt to tee up a GMC referral.
The Good Medical Practice document is an approximately 3,000 word pamphlet. None of the issues mentioned in it are tackled in detail. It sets out the principles of good practice not the thresholds at which someone becomes unfit to practice.
As mentioned before I got to see the Higgo document, Dr Makin had made an approach to the GMC without asking me whether there was any other side to the story. On the kindest of interpretations, Dr Makin appears to have been duped in the manner intended.
But there are all sorts of other issues that Dr Makin might be trying to cover up.
CASE A throws up hugely important healthcare issues that are issues for BCUHB rather than GMC.
- The specter of illegal Deprivations of Liberty triggered by the use POVA with in all likelihood hundreds of people being illegally held in hospitals across the UK because of POVA
- A potentially illegal use of Section 5 (2) of the Mental Health Act
- Aside from illegal detentions, there are profound consent and other issues thrown up by this case as regards POVA procedures
- A serious failure to ensure this patient had appropriate treatment – a matter of concern to the family.
- The patient had to suffer intensely humiliating input at the hands of some of those involved – again a matter of concern to the family
- The wreckage of an SUI process and other points noted through this response.
- An attack on someone who according to Betsi Whistleblowing policies should be protected
Only Betsi can tackle these issues. They are not a matter for GMC. There isn’t a body of the great and the good out there who can do the job for the health board.
To be continued.
Betsi – BCUHB – Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board
Dr Matt Makin, Medical Director BCUHB
Dr Paul Birch, Assistant Medical Director West
Dr Giles Harborne, Chief of Staff, Mental Health Clinical Programme Group (CPG)
Mary Burrows, Former CEO BCUHB
Geoff Lang, Former Acting CEO BCUHB
Dr Robert Poole – Consultant Psychiatrist Wrexham
Dr Robert Higgo – Consultant Psychiatrist Wrexham