I met with Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell at his constituency office in Hayes last Friday
Scandal management company Luther Pendragon was top of the agenda, and it was John's first opportunity to read through the data they'd disclosed to me in May.
No matter that everything I write/say is true, due to Luther Pendragon's dirty tactics over the last four years, OE have successfully stopped the majority of my interviews being published/broadcast, including an article for the Sunday Telegraph in May 2015, by journalist Robert Mendick, and most recently, my interview for Rip Off Britain, filmed at the BBC Manchester studios in August 2017.
John and I also discussed Greg Brady’s treatment at Accuvision, the numbers of people now relying on the NHS for aftercare, how some people are being refused necessary treatment by their local CCG, and OE’s 'Thanks A Million’ campaign - a scam to spam!
And, much as I’d like to share more details of this meeting with you, I’d also be sharing with everyone involved in David Moulsdale's Machiavellian plot to discredit me, a pathetically desperate attempt to protect his company from negative press and media cover.
However, I can share a few of the gems disclosed by Luther Pendragon in response to my SAR.
On 18 May 2016 the Royal College of Ophthalmologists hosted the pointless 'Patient engagement day’, to discuss their refractive surgery standards draft. But the meeting had not been advertised and I only found out about it the night before the deadline for registration, entirely thanks to an anonymous email.
Included in Luther Pendragon’s disclosure, this email 'from FODO to FODO members' the following day...
‘Given Sasha Rodoy’s down ifficulty [sic] in finding out about the event - and she is right about that of course, this has been done hugger mugger by the RCOphth - I imagine it has also been advertised on her website which is perhaps how the other disgruntled patients found out’.
No sh*t Sherlock!
Some of you may recall my mentioning the very unpleasant Alan Tinger who attended this event, incredibly rude and dismissive to me and other campaigners, purporting to be a member of the public when I asked. At the time I thought he was spying for Russell Ambrose, but soon afterwards discovered that he was a FODO director, working with (and allegedly paid by) Optical Express.
Notice how the pieces of info I collect along the way eventually slot into this nauseating jigsaw puzzle!
As a case in point let's go back to my post on 21 June, when I published FODO’s response to my having told them that I was fully aware that they had withheld numerous other email communications with third parties concerning me.
FODO replied, ‘I am afraid that we have made available all the data we hold about you.’
Obviously not according to Luther Pendragon's disclosure!
Just like London Vision Clinic owner Dan Reinstein and Advanced Vision Care owner CT Pillai, FODO have also lied to me, and therfore join their cohorts as subjects of my nine current related complaints to the ICO.
Another email disclosed by Luther Pendragon, 'from FODO member to other FODO members', and although his name redacted, obviously written by Alan Tinger!
‘To call yesterday’s patient consultation a farce* would be a serious understatement!
Sasha Rodoy - “full-time" agitator against OE and Otimax [sic] (I am sure very well known to OE colleagues!)
The meeting was very poorly chaired.** Following a presentation of the proposals by XXXXX (including acknowledgement of 95% patient satisfaction rate) the first half of the session up to the tea break was taken up by Sasha Rodoy and her supporters ranting and raving that she had been forced off the Working Group, that the event was only on the Royal College website, that the 95% data was flawed because the majority of it came from OE and that XXXX knows nothing about refractive surgery whereas it had ruined Sasha’s life (former Optimax patient).
I ... told Sasha Rodoy and her cohort that repeating the same things over and over again did not give them any more validity. She kept saying she had thousands of “clients” (a fantasist) but when I asked she says she does not charge them. OE colleagues will clearly know all about her and her methods. Amongst everything else that she repeated over and over again was that she works with the Shadow Chancellor who I see from Google did propose that there be a bill to regulate the sector a few years ago. I cannot imagine it is a priority given his current role.'
*I couldn’t agree more, **chaired by the LAG member puppet who replaced me on the RSSWG.
Perhaps it would be prudent for all concerned to pay more attention to the new GDPR before lying to me!
And this photo was taken to assure anyone in doubt, namely Luther Pendragon and Optical Express, that regardless of his current role as Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell is just as committed to supporting me and My Beautiful Eyes Campaign for government regulation as he always has been - even more so after what I told him on Friday!
After undergoing lens replacement surgery (RLE) in March 2015, performed by David Teenan at Optical Express in Glasgow, Ronnie Reid was left blind in his right eye.
Not only is Ronnie one of dozens of damaged patients in litigation with both David Teenan and OE (see Jacqui’s True Story on OERML website) but his friend who had RLE performed by David Teenan, within three weeks of Ronnie’s surgery, is also in litigation with Dr Teenan and Optical Express!
Christopher Lui is an ophthalmologist seemingly happy to jump into bed with anyone to advance his career (metaphorically speaking that is), and had apparently hoped to succeed Carrie MacEwan as RCOphth President in 2017, but his brown nosing and financial donations to the College didn’t quite do it (I don't think my mentioning it on OERML helped his case either), and Mike Burdon was elected instead.
Ronnie’s wife saw it yesterday and her response is unpublishable!
That surgeons make jokes like this, knowing they have seriously damaged and/or blinded so many of their patients, is beyond sickening. And applause from Christopher Liu (and Mehul Damani) is an excellent example of the incestuous nature of this corrupt and unregulated industry.
Here’s another, with OE and other UK based surgeons in attendance, enjoying the ‘entertainment’ provided by Chicago based surgeon Parag A. Majmudar at the annual American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS) symposium...
According to OE's 'Thanks A Million' campaign, purporting to be providing £1million worth of free laser eye surgery, and assuming a fluctuating £4-5,000 cost to paying customers, I estimate that Optical Express should have treated 200 to 250 patients. (See 'Thanks A Million scam (27 April)', posted 23 May 2018)
But so far I've seen evidence of only six ‘NHS and emergency service workers’ who had free surgery as a result of OE’s advertising scam
Five are featured in OE’s promo video: Jacqueline Campbell, Police Officer; Daniel Hind, Firefighter; Craig Bage, NHS Informatics Manager; Deborah Dugdale, Paramedic; Georgia Lee, Mental Health Nurse.
Laura Newman is the sixth, an NHS nurse featured in an Optical Express Instagram post...
When I first saw this post in April, her eyes looking very bloody, I decided to ask Laura how her vision was after surgery in December, and easily found her on Facebook.
Suspicious when I read her profile, 'Laser Nurse at NHS Lothian’, I immediately called NHS Lothian who confirmed that they don't provide laser eye surgery, though it is of course possible that Laura works in the cataract surgery clinic.
So I went back and looked through Laura's Facebook photos - and struck gold when I found one of her with Tweedledum and Noelle Hamilton at their wedding in 2015!
Further searches found photos of Tweedles at Laura’s wedding in 2012, family get togethers with their children, and so much more.
Even a Facebook comment from Steven Schallhorn to Mrs Tweedles (aka Noelle Hannan née Hamilton), posted on 19 May, saying how much their son 'looks like Stephen’ (spitting image).
And I can assure you that OE are holding their breath as they read this, waiting for my next dreaded words...
Because Laura Newman (née Neary) is not just an NHS nurse, she is Stephen Hannan's first cousin - her mother and his father are siblings!
As soon as they read this OE will order a lockdown on everyone’s Facebook pages, but too late, because I spent most of yesterday taking screenshots of info that will be given to relevant organisations, including the ASA, who will investigate what I believe to be fraudulent advertising.
The NHS is already in crisis, and the guaranteed fallout of a union with Optical Express doesn’t bear thinking about
Bad enough that untold thousands of patients damaged by refractive surgery are already forced to rely on the NHS for aftercare, and that Optical Express have targeted NHS staff and emergency service workers with their Thanks A Million advertising scam, so I expect you’ll be as horrified as I was to be told that Optical Express are courting the NHS for contracts to treat the overflow of cataract patients!
I understand that two NHS officials visited 200 St Vincent Street earlier this year and met with OE’s Performance Director David Shirra: they looked at documents, were shown reviews (presumably not OERML therefore not fully informed), discussed the company’s Duty of Candour, and were accompanied on a guided tour of the operating facilities by Tweedledum (aka Stephen Hannan).
'Every year around 1.6 million people in this country undergo surgery at a private hospital. While many pay for it themselves, it is estimated that around half of the inpatients are funded by the NHS.
This is done to help clear waiting lists and for these patients in particular, it can seem like they’ve hit the jackpot: going private may seem like the health equivalent of flying first class or booking into a top restaurant.
Most private hospitals don't have emergency care facilities meaning that if something goes wrong, patients need to be rushed to the nearest NHS hospital.’
According to the report referred to in this article, 6,000 people need NHS care after bungled private treatment every year.
But after publication of the CHPI report I spoke with its author Colin Leys, and no stats were included for refractive eye surgery patients attending NHS hospitals, which I have no hesitation in claiming might near enough double the 6,000 figure.
And until the government investigate this scandal, and the NHS produce statistics, my claim is as valid as the industry's claimed '95% success rate'!
And I guarantee that numbers will rocket even higher if the NHS outsource cataract ops to OE!
In 2014 I published details about Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton, where a private healthcare company was appointed to help clear a backlog of NHS cataract patients, but after only sixty-two of an intended four hundred operations, performed by two surgeons, thirty-one patients suffered problems, with eighty-four year old Michael Newcombe left blind in one eye.
'Both surgeons were “comfortable” with the caseload at the start of the contract, but the Trust’s investigation said that “the pressures of operating on 20 patients each day may have contributed to the possible deterioration of surgical quality and reduction of patient experience”.'
So NHS surgeons would expect to perform only fourteen cataract ops a day, yet a single Optical Express surgeon can routinely be expected to perform twenty-six RLE ops in one day if enough patients have been pressured into buying this unnecessary surgery!
'The NHS is now paying out for compensation claims and there is no indication that it will be able to recoup the damages paid...
Michael Newcombe later underwent successful surgery to remove the cataract in his left eye, thanks to Musgrove’s own [NHS] consultants. He has also had surgery to reduce the discomfort in the injured eye, but he remains functionally blind in that eye. Now, he is being paid “substantial” damages, running into tens of thousands of pounds, for his ordeal.
But the damages are being paid by the NHS, not the companies involved.'
The NHS needs to exercise extreme caution before getting into bed with Optical Express, because otherwise they can expect to be paying out way more than they did after the Musgrove Park catastrophe!
While thousands of Optical Express patients left with problems have no choice but to rely on the NHS for aftercare, most consultants are understandably not happy about this. And I’ve seen letters to OE and other private clinics, telling them that they should be taking responsibility for their patients, not burdening the NHS with the cost.
Unfortunately some consultants voice this opinion to the patient, and one person who contacted me refused reparative NHS treatment because they were made to feel guilty.
While their objections are entirely justified, it’s the government they should be complaining to, not the damaged and fragile victims of an unregulated industry who have nowhere else to turn to but the NHS.
But this is a corrupt and incestuous industry, and finding a surgeon willing to put their head above the parapet publicly is almost as difficult as it's been for me to get this scandal publicised.*
In the meantime, as I ask time and time again, and will keep on asking - if you're receiving NHS treatment following eye surgery at Optical Express or any other private clinic, or are unemployed as a result, it’s crucial that you PLEASE PLEASE contact your MP and tell them!
Even more so if the NHS intend to hand out cataract contracts to OE!
*The reason for this was finally disclosed to me last week, and if you have a low opinion of Optical Express now, I guarantee you'll be disgusted when I tell you what they've been up to!
For legal reasons I'm unable to publish details just yet.
Last year Optical Express launched ‘Thanks A Million’ PR campaign, dangerously offering emergency service workers the chance to win free laser eye surgery, claiming to be giving away £1million of laser eye surgery to the UK’s ‘wonderful workers’
Sickening, because OE’s desperate advertising team are obviously alluding to terrorist attacks, purporting to be rewarding the emergency services involved!
Given the number of post op problems suffered by their customers, OE might as well be working with Isis/Daesh!
The targeted Emergency Service workers are integral to the UK’s health and safety infrastructure, and if damaged by OE, they will not only lose their jobs, but the country will lose their valuable skills!
I already represent clients from all these emergency services, and hope that if reading this, they will share OERML wherever possible to stop others in their profession putting their healthy eyes at risk!
Sadly ironic that so many of OE’s damaged patients are forced to rely on the NHS for aftercare and OE are now targeting these very people!’
However nauseating, 'Thanks A Million’ was a genius marketing scam, designed by PR coupling Sophie Simons and Steven Taylor, circumventing the ICO enforcement notice issued against Optical Express in December 2014, after 4,600 people had complained of being bombarded with texts inviting them to enter a competition to win free eye surgery - I was one of these people, which was unfortunate for OE as I contacted the Daily Mail!
“When a data subject gives consent they must be informed about the processing to take place, including who by and what for. In no other way can consent be said to be ‘informed’. [The words informed & consent keep popping up everywhere when talking about Optical Express!] If the data subject doesn’t know what products might be marketed then how can he exercise his right to object?”
The ICO said it was a breach of the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations, quite simply, it's against the law to send unsolicited texts for marketing purposes without the recipient’s prior consent.
Andy Curry, the ICO Enforcement Group Manager, said, 'We have issued this enforcement notice as a warning to the company that using people’s data without their consent is not acceptable. Any breach of the notice would be a criminal offence.’
With untold thousands of OE patients totally reliant on the NHS, thanks to OE’s withdrawal of aftercare beyond 12 months post op, including the rapidly escalating numbers of lens explants being carried out at Moorfields London eye hospital and elsewhere across the country, this comes at enormous cost to the NHS.
And if Optical Express gave away £1million worth of treatment then I estimate there to be 200-250 beneficiaries**, and with an estimated 30% patients (minimum) left with issues after laser eye surgery, incl the most common problems of dry eyes and glare/starbursts, then I’m guessing 60-75 of these unlucky winners will be suffering!
And of course I am sure that this clever PR campaign will allow OE to now legally spam family and friends, because the applicants were asked to provide their social media page links when they filled in the online form (now closed).
And many of the thousands who applied for free laser surgery, but were deemed unsuitable, will definitely have been unscrupulously pressured into buying unnecessary lens exchange (RLE), with a £500 discount carrot of course!
As I said in July 2017, scary and of great concern, and Isis/Daesh should be impressed: Optical Express attacking the heart of the UK emergency services without a suicide bomber!
What especially upset me about this video was the firefighter, knowing that the very real likelihood of him suffering dry eyes will be the end of his career.
I know one paramedic whose future employment is currently in the balance after RLE, and another, an anaesthetist now in his late thirties, struggling to cope in the operating theatre with chronic dry eyes - ten years after laser, and too many more wretched stories like these.
And it’s early days before Thanks A Million casualties start to google "Optical Express problems" and find OERML, because they’re still in the honeymoon period, wanting to believe OE’s tired mantra, ‘Some people take longer to heal… give it another three months, six months, a year…’
And the whammy is that those unlucky Thanks A Million winners will, without doubt, be relying on the NHS for aftercare by 2019!
IMPORTANT REMINDER: so VERY VERY important that you contact your MP and tell them if you’re having NHS treatment as a result of damaging refractive surgery, because this is the stick Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell and I intend to beat the government with!
*I'm quoted in the Mail article as saying that I had no idea how OE got my phone number. Regular readers know that David Moulsdale has my personal phone number, but my vintage Nokia pictured in the article has an old PAYG SIM card, and I keep the phone for emergencies. OE did not have that number.
**I trust that Optical Express can provide the ASA/CAP with proof of their selfless benevolence!
Talking with a neighbour’s gardener yesterday, I mentioned that I’m planning to remove a strip of stony path in my garden and replace it with grass.
Good idea he said, and then suggested that I rip up all the grass and replace it with synthetic grass, because it would save time and money on maintenance!
I was quite taken aback, because I expect a gardener to be passionate about living plants, and abhor the concept of destroying vegetation.
And while some of you might like plastic grass, the only place I want to see it is lining a greengrocer’s shelves!
This gardener was wearing tinted prescription specs, and I regret not having asked him whether he would similarly consider having his natural healthy lenses removed and replacing them with plastic ones.