Monthly Archives: March 2014


The BRISTOLIAN‘s Health & Wellbeing Correspondent explains more about the dangerous changes in Bristol’s council Care Services

Bristol City Council’s adult care services have been “UNDER REVIEW” for nearly two years. The idea behind the reviews is to CUT SERVICES TO THE VULNERABLE. Two services have been drastically affected: residential care for the elderly, and day services for adults with learning difficulties.

Unions have vainly attempted to stop the worst effects for service users and the care workers who support them.

As hard as people have tried, managers have continued to slash and burn these services. Elderly People’s Homes (EPHs) were closed and day services shrunk and made DANGEROUS by uncaring managers.

First to close were the EPHs. Residents were scattered as they lost their homes and care. Many were put in private homes – and looking at Holmwood House, we know what that could mean.

Hundreds of staff were also made redundant and thrown on the dole. But not for long. Clueless boss NIKKI COLE soon realised the slash-and-burn had gone too far too soon and staffing levels were too low even for the council to tolerate.

Care workers were re-employed at great cost to the Council Tax payer. Was Cole held to account? no. She’ll be handed a huge redundancy package and allowed to retire as residential care struggles to make ends meet.

The situation in day services is even worse. Contrary to all advice, Service Director VARETA BRYAN and sidekick SHEENA HUGGINS created three ‘supercentres’ for day care to bring together elderly dementia care patients and those with learning difficulties.

Everyone who works in the service says that this is barking mad and dangerous. Frail elderly people are at great risk even with full

Staffing quotas, which is unlikely. Many staff have left because they do not want to work in an environment which could be seen as negligent and abusive.

Managers have lied and disciplined staff who stood up to them. One worker was so upset by the plans they cried and shouted during a so-called consultation. They were given a management warning. Bryan then sacked him… But also ensured he got a LARGE PAYOUT to buy his silence.

This service is dangerous and cruel. One manager who contacted The BRISTOLIAN fought back tears as he described how he tries to manage services in a crap environment with no resources and too few staff. He had the clear impression that when – not if, but when – someone gets seriously hurt, he will get the blame.

Vareta Bryan declined to comment to The BRISTOLIAN.



Bristol City Council’s residential care services for the elderly and day care services for adults with learning difficulties are in CRISIS after a botched reorganisation designed to slash costs.

Contrary to all advice, council care bosses VARETA BRYAN and SHEENA HUGGINS have created three ‘supercentres’ for day care where they bring together elderly dementia care patients and people with learning difficulties. Some of the adults with learning difficulties exhibit challenging behaviour, which can be violent.

At one ‘supercentre’ – the 600 CLUB in Knowle – at least ten workers are off sick – one third of the entire staff team. Someone has already been seriously hurt and had their FRONT TEETH KICKED IN. Would you want your granny in this place?

LOCKLEAZE DAY CENTRE has seventeen workers off. That’s nearly 50% of the workforce and managers will not get agency staff in to cover the gap because of budget cuts. Recently a service user had a seizure and the keys to the drug cabinet could not be found.

At the last of the new ‘supercentres’ in ST GEORGE there is no proper kitchen; the toilets are too small for staff to help with the personal needs of the service users and seating is not fit for the elderly with dementia. An insider told The BRISTOLIAN: “The whole service is a car crash. Someone will die soon. All down to penny-pinching.”

Managers, we are told, are now planning a social enterprise for these under-resourced services so they no longer have to be responsible for them… Nice.


Expert lawyers investigating the death of a woman who received treatment from a nurse at a Bristol care home who is being investigated over allegations of abuse have called for an inquest to be held into the pensioner’s death to investigate the care she was given.

Serious injury experts at law firm Irwin Mitchell’s Bristol office are representing Annette Whiting, the daughter of Kathleen Cole, who died in August last year after being under the care of Holmwood House Nursing Home in Westbury-On-Trym for five years.

Lawyers at Irwin Mitchell have now written to HM Coroner for Avon, Maria Voisin, requesting an inquest is held into the 77-year-old’s death, as they believe the results of a number of internal investigations into standards at the home and Mrs Cole’s care require further inquiry.

Her cause of death was initially recorded as being from natural causes but a post-mortem carried out before she was cremated resulted in the cause of death being altered to pneumonia.

Lawyers have seen notes taken during an internal meeting after Mrs Cole’s death which revealed issues with nutrition and hydration, manual handling, skin care and management, administration of medication, failures to manage a pressure sore and a failure to diagnose pneumonia prior to her transfer to Westbury Nursing Home from Holmwood House.

A Freedom of Information request submitted by the BBC in January found there have been eight substantiated allegations of abuse or neglect at Holmwood House in the last two years.

Jonathan Peacock, Regional Managing Partner and specialist abuse lawyer at Irwin Mitchell’s Bristol office is representing Annette.

Jonathan Peacock says,

We have reviewed a number of investigations into the care Mrs Cole received and believe factors included inadequate training, qualifications, management and supervision need exploring further.

“We are calling on the Coroner on behalf of Annette to hold an inquest into Mrs Cole’s death as she would like answers about whether more could have been done to prevent her mother’s suffering and subsequent death.

“We also have questions about how many other patients may have been affected and we believe an inquest would assist in gaining answers about this.”

Holmwood House stopped admitting patients with nursing needs under what was described as a “voluntary” arrangement. It followed a risk assessment by the council and a suspension of all admissions from June until August last year.

Among Annette’s concerns are that her mother was given an enema which she believes was unnecessary and left her mother distressed. The nurse, Cicily Joseph, was found guilty of assault – a verdict later overturned on appeal.  She resigned from Holmwood after being suspended.

However, a council investigation upheld an allegation of abuse and Ms Joseph remains under investigation by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC).

Annette, 54, from Seamills, said: “My mum deserved to be treated with dignity and respect and I thought she was in the safest place possible at Holmwood House with people who were used to providing her specific care needs.

“I feel that I now owe it to my mum to get answers about her care and I believe an inquest is the only way to do this. I am also worried about other residents’ treatment and would like to know that everything possible is being done by the home to improve the failures identified by the CQC.”

Read more about Irwin Mitchell’s expertise relating to abuse and neglect claims


It’s that time of the year once more – so our illustrious MAYOR FERGO has packed his BUDGIE HAMMOCKS AND BRONZER and buggered off to Cannes on the French Riviera for the annual MIPIM Property Conference!

Yes, just like last year, when we reported how George and his pals racked up a tab of more than £100,000 at an industry get-together known as “basically a four-day party with loads of LOBSTER AND CHAMPAGNE ON YACHTS”…

This time, though, he will be part of a “high level delegation” of city bosses from CUBA (that’s the Councils that Used to Be Avon), as well as his close, personal Merchant Venturer chum COLIN SKELLETT from Wessex Water.

The icing on the cake? George’s jolly is being organised through regional quango Invest Bristol+Bath – and sponsored by HorseWorld lawyers BURGES SALMON!

What a small world…


It’s been a bumper few months here at The BRISTOLIAN as we’ve set the city’s news agenda. telling you the stories no one else would. Our successes include:


We originally exposed £80k-per-year HorseWorld boss Mark ‘Not That One’ Owen’s madcap plans to fund his ailing equine charity by building on the greenbelt back in May.

We’ve subsequently reported how his plans were rejected by a BANES planning committee and how the overpaid and under-performing charity boss now plans to stay put – despite his DISASTROUS MANAGEMENT – whilst making dedicated animal welfare staff redundant, closing  the revenue-generating Visitor Centre, and generally running the whole operation down.

Hopefully this story will not end on that note, though…


Also in May we revealed that a row over racism was breaking out at the city’s most multicultural school.

This was confirmed in January when an employment tribunal found that a black member of staff had been refused a management post for a project to raise attainment among black kids at the school due to INSTITUTIONAL RACISM. The £43k  job instead went to a white teacher – thus maintaining an all-white management team at a school, 70% of whose pupils come from a BME background.


We exposed this privately run for-profit ’HOME OF HORRORS’ back in December.

Since then the care home’s multiple problems have been reported by BBC Bristol, the Nazi Post, Bristol 24/7 and now nationally on BBC Radio 5.


Following our report in November about council managers using outright lies to try to block this open space in Bishopston from being protected as a public amenity, the council has executed a rapid u-turn and registered the land as a ‘Town Green’.

Clearly senior council bosses decided that sending junior managers in to a quasi-judicial setting to tell porkie pies on their behalf was not going to work any longer.

We have also learned that hold-ups in the voluntary registration of land at Laundry Fields in Fishponds have vanished since The BRISTOLIAN highlighted them.

…So a big THANK YOU to all of the whistleblowers, well-placed sources and tipsters.

Without your inside information we would not be able to EXPOSE Bristol’s bent bosses, incompetent council chiefs or hypocrites in high office.

Together we CAN make a difference and build a better city for all!


Interesting news from the Third Floor of Counts Louse Shitty Hall where the architects of mass redundancies and the slash-and-burn of frontline council services conduct their business.

Having frittered away £1 MILLION TO REFURBISH their upstairs eyrie to recreate the look of a crap European boutique hotel, the big spenders of Bristol City Council’s senior management are at it again. Yes,  the bosses are further featherbedding themselves by creating seven jobs (at a cost of well over £200k a year) to employ people to DO THEIR WORK FOR THEM!

Three of the posts are for ‘Director’s Assistants’, who “make sure the Mayor/Assistant Mayor or senior director is fully prepared for meetings, their diaries are up to date and they have everything they need to trash our city”. The other four posts are ‘Executive Assistants’, who will “be responsible for ensuring the Mayor and Assistant Mayors, and City director and senior officers are fully briefed and prepared for meetings, speeches, events…” – and no doubt also talking bollocks on Radio Bristol.

if you fancy working for a bunch of lazy tossers on six-figure salaries and helping them destroy Bristolians’ lives apply online now!


Another fine example of exceptional diplomatic skills from our SOFT-HANDED MAYOR, who was born with a silver spoon and has never done a hard day’s graft done in his entire over-privileged life.

During one of his regular morning appearances on Radio Bristol’s Alan Partridge and Friends show (surely you mean the hard-hitting Steve Le Fevre at Breakfast show? – Ed.), Fergo was asked about his madcap plans to make an eighth of his workforce redundant seemingly at random.

“Well,” blustered the Mayor, unable to explain coherently what he’s doing or to understand the effect it may have on the city’s public services, “the council isn’t an employment charity.”

No doubt this vote of mayoral confidence in his hardworking staff and his view on the workings of the city’s public services will go down a storm with a demoralised workforce.

Because it’s always nice to be told by some wealthy, idle tosser that you’re just sat on your backside doing sweet F.A. for a living isn’t it?


Open space campaigners tell us that part-time council property boss, Robert ‘Spunkface’ Orrett has OPENLY ADMITTED that he sees his role as obtaining the maximum cash sale value of all council land in Bristol – including any local green or open space.

This was why Spunkface endlessly delayed voluntarily registering council-owned open space such as Wellington Hill Playing Fields as ‘Town Greens’.

Locals should therefore be on alert to protect their green and open spaces not protected by town green law, as the man in charge considers it all up for sale for development and he DOESN’T CARE WHAT YOU THINK. This applies to all parkland and allotments too.

At least what we have always suspected is now confirmed: that Bristol City Council sees open spaces primarily as financial assets for itself and not as spaces of value for Bristolians.


At The BRISTOLIAN we take pride in getting to the bottom of stories the Nazi Post just skims over. In December they ran an article about how local football club AFC Stapleton was being driven off their pitches on Begbrook Green Park by the City Council, supposedly after complaints from local residents…because “they were using it too much”!

Local Tory councillor Lesley Alexander opposed the use of three of the eighteen acres in the park two days a week by the local football club as it “interfered” with “family activities”. Alexander and BCC have already forced AFC Stapleton to move some of their games to Eastville Park NEARLY TWO MILES away from their clubhouse!

Shitty Hall scribbler Ian ‘Copy Typist’ Onions – the Post reporter responsible for the article – failed to mention a couple of vital bits of information in his biased story. First, there was only one local resident who had actually complained about the football in the park, with BCC’s own survey of residents showing 85% support for the sports club.

Second, the complaining ‘local resident’ is a close friend of Councillor ‘posh-girl’ Alexander. What a surprise… A couple of Tory nimbys ganging up together to keep hundreds of youngsters and adults from having fun and keeping fit.

For years, successive administrations at BCC have sold off public playing fields and recreation grounds-  and now public green spaces for sport are at a premium in the city. The last thing Bristol needs is corrupt Tory councillors kicking sports clubs off the remaining parks.

The BRISTOLIAN says: Kick Tory Twats Out Of Football….


Following our exclusive exposé in May of the INSTITUTIONAL RACISM scandal rocking east Bristol’s City Academy, an employment tribunal in December backed up everything we said back in The BRISTOLIAN #4.3.

However, despite the official findings showing that major improvements need to be made in management, it seems that old habits die hard: STAFF WERE KEPT IN THE DARK until 23 January, shortly before the media storm hit. Completely coincidentally, Gill Kelly has so far kept her job as Principal… But has been DUMPED as head of the One World Learning Trust.

Whether that’s due to white supremacist attitudes of the school’s bosses or poorer exam results than expected isn’t yet clear…