Caroline Turriff is an investigative journalist who has broken major stories in the field of addiction and mental health that have been headlines on BBC TV and BBC Radio 4 and featured in The Guardian, The Sunday Times, The Times and The Telegraph. These include her discovery of an over £350 million cut in funding for drug and alcohol treatment in England in a 5 year period in which heroin and morphine deaths doubled and alcohol and drug deaths reached record highs. Her exposure of the de facto privatisation of addiction treatment in England as a result of these cuts. And alarming levels of suicides and life-threatening practices at the largest private providers of mental health and addiction treatment in England. She also discovered a 90% drop in prisoners completing official rehab programmes in England despite drug use and violence being at unprecedented levels. She has spent 15 years working as a reporter for the BBC and national newspapers covering everything from wars in Africa to mental health, alcohol and drugs. There have now been over 40,000 hits on the blog on WordPress and a US addiction website.
Families wanting access to full extract cannabis oil as a medical treatment for their severely epileptic children will be taking the UK government to court to allow the medication to be prescribed on the NHS. They warn that, as many parents have lost jobs because of the Corona virus outbreak, they can no longer afford the thousands of pounds for private prescriptions and that their children could die. The law changed at the end of 2018, meaning medicalcannabis could be prescribed by individual specialist doctors in the UK. But, very few NHS prescriptions for epilepsy have been written. Instead patients have been forced to spend large sums of money at private clinics which have recently opened. I went to one listen to my BBC Radio 4 report.
A Ministry of Defence review commissioned after 6 male soldiers were arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a 17 year old female soldier has found “unacceptable” and “persistent” inappropriate sexual behaviour in the armedforces. The review sets up a new body, The Defence Authority, to deal with such behaviour and complaints about how the military police deal with reports of serious offences such as sex crimes. But the MOD’s own figures show its getting worse at investigating sexual offences. Listen to my BBC Radio 4 report.
A mum from the North of England has pleaded with the National Health Service to give her 11 year old medicinal cannabis after he was placed on an end of life care plan. Angela Norton from Macclesfield has 2 children with drug resistant epilepsy. She says the controversial medication could be their only hope of living. Figures out earlier this year from the NHS show that no-one was recorded as being prescribed medicinal cannabis by GPs in the whole of England last year despite the drugs being legalised in November 2018. Watch my BBC report on North West Tonight.
I confront the UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock as to why young children with epilepsy are being offered End of Life Care Plans or major brain surgery rather than medical cannabis? Listen to my report on BBC Radio 4.
There has been an explosion of clinical trials involving psychedelic drugs for treatment resistant mental health problems in the UK. Three major trials of psilocybin the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, started in London earlier this year. The US Food and Drug Administration licensed a variant of the party drug Ketamine for treatment-resistant depression. But are these drugs the greatest breakthrough in psychiatry since modern anti-depressants and anti-psychotics or are the benefits only temporary or placebo? Listen to my BBC Radio 4 report.
The family whose 16 year old son William Jordan killed himself at the Priory Hospital last year have written to police calling for a criminal investigation into the group. Earlier this year the Priory Group was fined £300,000 for breaching Health and safety laws in connection with the death of 14 year old Amy El Keria at one of their hospitals. My report was a headline on BBC1 TV and and BBC Radio 4.
Who says Britain’s National Health Service is not for sale? Almost half of all expenditure on Child and Adolescent mental health inpatient beds in the UK in the past 5 years has gone to private hospitals – mainly to the American owned Priory Group. Last year a Coroner said serious failings by staff at the Priory, Britain’s largest private provider of mental healthcare, has possibly contributed to 16 year old William Jordan’s suicide in one of their hospitals. Earlier this year the group received a fine of hundreds of thousands of pounds after pleading guilty to health and safety charges in connection with death of a 14 year old girl in 2012. I went to speak to William Jordan’s bereaved parents Mark and Wendy Jordan for my report for BBC Radio 4.
In a statement to the BBC, The Priory said it strongly refuted the allegation that it put making money ahead of patient safety. In a statement it said “Of our 85 CQC-registered healthcare sites, 88.2% are rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ overall. By comparison, the figure is 78% for NHS mental healthcare sites. Our services remain among the safest in England. Since this exceptionally sad incident, we took immediate action to address patient safety, including the installation of a CCTV patient-safety system, enhanced and specialist staff training, and the creation of 12 ‘safer’ rooms to support our most unwell patients. Swift disciplinary action was taken by the Priory Group against staff who failed to act in accordance with Priory observation policy. A CQC report, following a visit in October 2018 and published in December 2018, states ‘we found the provider had made good progress regarding our concerns.’ The hospital is under new leadership, and we have recruited additional, experienced staff to support our child and adolescent services.”
Come to see my first ever standup comedy gig. As readers of bloginhotpants will know, I am the most successful and attractive person in the online dating universe. The number of years I’ve spent on dating websites: 20. The number of people I’ve slept with: 1.
Maybe there’s a problem with my dating username “Bunny Boiler.” That was what the only man I fancied on Guardian Soulmates called me on our first date. Actually our only date. But I have had a real boyfriend in the last fifteen years. Fourteen years ago. He was an ex-armed robber, pimp and drug dealer. Who says men can’t multi-task?
The Museum of Comedy The Undercroft St George’s Church Bloomsbury Way London WC1A 2SR Wednesday 2nd October 7pm turn up or book here https://bit.ly/2mP2cQe
“We suspect you have committed a criminal offence and that this offence is continuing.” So say the letters written by the UK’s government health watchdog the Care Quality Commission as a result of my BBC Radio 4 investigation. The letters warn the unregistered companies treating addicts coming off alcohol and drugs that the penalty for providing medical services without being registered is up to a year in prison. I discovered that some of these companies and many websites supply potentially lethal quantities of medication to withdraw from alcohol sometimes with no health checks. Listen to my report on BBC Radio 4.