Public Health in Private Hands


Fiona Loves CGL

What Does Fiona Love ? : Public Relations or Public Health?

We’re getting further worrying information about an organisation we’ve reported on briefly a couple of times.The organisation that was formerly known as Crime Reduction Initiatives (CRI) who finally woke up to the fact that not all people with drug/alcohol and other vulnerabilities were necessarily criminals and changed their name to the much more cuddly Change, Grow , Live (CGL).

What we can’t get over at Leaky Towers is how people are so ready to complain about NHS privatisation by the back door and yet when Public Health became the responsibility of Wirral Council (Lord help us!) one of the first things they did was hand over the NHS Drug and Alcohol Service to the private sector !.

No doubt this contributed to the fact that  CRI /CGL has doubled its income to more than £140m in five years!. But then there’s always been seriously big money to be made out of people with addictions !.

As a number of sources have been in touch to raise their concerns we didn’t know where to start . So let’s start at the beginning with some real live quotes from the people in the know and which provide a cautionary tale about what happens when you handover loads of public money to the private sector :

I just thought I would drop you an email to say thank you for the posts around CRI or whatever name they are going by these days.

I worked for the Drug and Alcohol service for X years when it was NHS and at St Catherine’s Hospital. Was it perfect? –  of course not but I can honestly say the level of care and support for some of the Wirral’s most vulnerable clients was outstanding. I will not bore you with stories of what we did on a daily basis, it broke my heart when the tender was awarded to CRI and Phoenix BUT I did keep an open mind and thought about the clients and keeping on to support them….How naive was I?.
Day One at Conway Street which is the old Arch building- no fax machine, phones, no referral paperwork, basically a nightmare and it continued for weeks and weeks. I must be honest with you I left and didn’t even have a job to go to that is how bad it was.
And there’s more :
Clients not seen on a one to one basis, all group work, caseloads for one person went up to around 150 people, RECOVERY was the buzz word and they would not see anyone who didn’t want to be drug or alcohol free. No more free Hep(atitis) B injections, they didn’t want to do any community detoxes, even the drug and alcohol nurses from Arrowe Park got their legal team in to stop CRI staff on the wards because the care was so bad,  we used to take people from Arrowe Park to detox them from alcohol in the community to free beds. I can only imagine that hospital admissions have rocketed, they left the hostel and homeless clients without a worker for months. The YMCA management were furious, they would not pay for flu injections for the homeless which we as the NHS had been doing for years, the hostel and homeless nurse had to fight with them and basically shame them into paying for the flu injections in a meeting. 
And more :
I could go on and on with horror stories…..  I am heart broken for the clients, most of them have had shitty lives, unimaginable things happen to them and now they are not even getting a half way decent service. 
When we fought as a NHS service to try and stop this service becoming private ( Council Leader) Phil Davies responded with a cut ‘n’ paste letter stating CRI  was the best service  and  would not meet with us for a meeting . What made me angry was he came to the YMCA in Birkenhead for a photo opportunity a few days later to pick litter with residents….
I thank you for your kind response and keep up the good fight! Just know there are still people very angry at this who truly do care for the people of Wirral…
And more :
Now, did you know that ARCH has gone bankrupt and been taken over by another drugs company called Kaleidoscope… All Arch’s cafes have been closed apart from one- Nightingales because it was funded by Public Health money …
And more :
We have been told there have  been 65 or 66 deaths since they CRI/CGL took over. A source tells us :

Some staff members requested a meeting with a CRI/CGL  (Director) which took place with a union rep and she stated it was because of ‘An ageing population’

That’s  a line that is usually thrown out when the Department of Adult Social Services tries to explain why it is overspent.
As our source says :
How odd they all chose to die to die in the 16 months of transfer……….
Now as former CRI/CGL employee Cllr Angela Davies seems quite happy to ignore her public duties and yet privately raise concerns so we’d like to turn our attention to a  ‘public servant’ who manages to rake in a six figure salary for commissioning this service –  Director of Public Health Fiona Johnstone.
I’m sure Fiona can reassure us that there is nothing to worry about and the appropriate scrutiny/oversight/monitoring/accountability of  CGL  has taken place and everything is hunky dory.
Perhaps it will appear as a good news item in the first edition of the Wirral Council propaganda sheet which received approval last week.
We won’t be holding our breath.

20 thoughts on “Public Health in Private Hands

  1. G’day Lordly

    Seems like nobody wants to talk about Public Health so I might hijack you Leaky and talk about Joe Blow’s favourite topic ME ME ME and the Ill Health of Sir Git’s wirral and the rest of the crud and dross at wallasey clown hall.

    A friend of mine had a number of coincidences today discussing Wirral “Funny” Bizz

    He bumped into “The Pretend Friend” who said he didn’t want to talk politics.

    What a fucking politician so my friend said he didn’t want to talk politics he wanted to talk about clowncil corruption.

    The man is about as socialist as Maggie.

    Then he spoke to a senior at Grant (Chocolate Teapot) Thornton and you are never going to believe why they don’t give a shit about someone (Wirral “Funny” Bizz) knocking off about £2,000,000.00?

    He explained to my friend materiality

    A little accounting lesson

    Financial statement items are considered material (large enough to matter) if they could influence the economic decisions of users. The materiality concept is the universally accepted accounting principle that all material matters are to be disclosed.

    You are not going to believe this one either Leaks they consider £30,000,000.00 to be material.

    So my dear friend that would mean Grant (Chocolate Teapot) Thornton for their audit fee of, who knows £200,000.00 about a year, John “Tarrantino” Brace would know, would only need to look at about 20 or thirty items over £30,000,000.00 and tick the accounts.

    My friend had to remind the buffoon that if someone serves up a £2,000,000.00 fraud it should be looked at.

    By the way Lordsville neither “The Pretend Friend” who is the thicker that the chair Chair of the Fudge It and Risk It Mis-Management Committee or the buffoon at Grant (Chocolate Teapot) Thornton have seen The Government Internal Audit Agency (GIAA) Investigation Report that the clowncil have hidden since last year and is damning.

    If that is not as sick as Public Health…………………………………….




  2. This article is so far from the truth its ambarrasing.

    1, am a recovery champ i have been working in the field for 10 years and i dont know 1 recovery champ who has relapsed plus even if this was the case thats confidential information blowing peoples annanonimity out the water.

    2, Since starting with cgl i have seen some amazing changes in service users, everywhere has its issues (am sure the nhs did too) i can tell you a lot of good outcome stories although am not sure you will be interested in any of that, shame on you for printing a story thats far from the truth. What outcome do you think a story like this will achieve for someone thinking about a life change and wanting to come in to engage with the service.

    David Dunne

    • Hi David

      Thanks for this.
      We don’t doubt there’s some good work that goes on and I’m sure there have been individuals who have benefited from the service.

      However there are various sources who have raised concerns which we feel are in the public interest.

      We are particularly interested in the privatisation of public services , accountability and monitoring. There are absolutely no issues about anyone’s anonymity or confidentiality being compromised raised in the post.

      Regards, Julian

      • This has affected my anonymity there are 8 recovery champions on the wirral and i have already been asked which one of us has relapsed, you really need to check your sources and their motivations for contacting you as not one has relapsed. No service is perfect and if this is about privatisation then maybe your time would be spent better lobbying the government. Its difficult enough trying to provide a positive service in this current climate without the likes of articles like this. If i was a potential client thinking about accessing services this would have me thinking twice.

      • The article is not for potential clients – it’s for commissioners.
        As for your anonymity – you wrote to us. Do you want us to to delete your comments?.

    • Yes it may be far from the truth, the truth is even worse! Bad practices, forced recovery, stat manipulation. I only hope the whole truth will be exposed

    • David you are right it is far from the truth, the real truth is even worse!

      You have been brainwashed and oviously staying on the bus!!

    • David Dunn
      Most service user’s access treatment to get a script!

      If I we’re a potential service user I wouldn’t even go near Conway street,( old arch building ) loads of service users hanging around outside most of the day Drinking etc, it’s not even safe inside I’ve heard needles etc being found in the toilets!!

      Families expected to attend and have their children with them, just wrong

      Maybe public health should be looking at all the datix that have been completed, near misses, assaults on staff!!

  3. I was correcting a lie and as for the my anonymity that’s my choice no one else to discuss and yes i will discuss it to reveal the truth which needs to be said … this is public so if potential clients read this then that could have an effect on them, which was my point ..

      • I worked with Angela Davies for 20 years at CWP Drug & Alcohol Service and in my dealings with her I would state that she is a compassionate and caring person. She demonstrated over all those years her commitment to the health and wellbeing of all the service users. You go on about privatisation but you fail to mention that back in 1991 the NHS along with other tenders bid to provide a service for drug and alcohol clients. We have had recovery on the agenda for the past 10 years however we did not have the infrastructure to provide all of the recovery oriented services that are now provided by CGL. I do agree with Dave that rather than just printing “half truths” perhaps get what you heard verified by bonafide sources. Anon to protect my anonymity.

      • Hi Anon
        We made no comment on whether Cllr A.Davies was compassionate and caring and we don’t doubt your assessment.
        What we wanted to draw attention to was that ‘bonafide’ sources should be raising their concerns through appropriate channels.
        Also depends what you mean “verified by bonafide sources”

    • David just to let you know we’re under no obligation to respond or approve anything (and certainly not within a prescribed time frame).
      Sometimes we just have other things to do !.

      • Thank you for showing my responce, this article is full of lies and thats the reason i had chosen to blow my anominity but thats still my choice not anyone else’s.

  4. Dave youre a perfect example of someone exploited yet youre not even aware of it. Wake up, CRI is making huge profits at the cost of peoples lives. Its well documented and youre enabling them to do it by not understanding all the facts yet commenting.


    log in at at 16 mins

    It would appear that the karma police have decided to wake from their somewhat extended slumber. All things considered, a profit making organisation is, after all, a profit making / profit seeking/ organisation, – and masquerading as a “charity” does not change the fact.

    Hardly surprising really – wherever there is a commodity to exploit – in this particular instance, ill people – there is a kindly charity – with its tax deductible charity organisational benefits – only too happy to help out – and make its difference.

    With unaccountable commissioners driven by what appears to be personal ideological wants its all really hardly a surprise. – tut tut and never mind,

    You vote your leaders – and place your trust.

  6. Pingback: Public Health England brought in to investigate concerns first raised by Wirral Leaks | Wirralleaks

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