Breaking the Law

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A strong injection of competence and efficiency

would stop an enormous waste of public funds

on tangled and superfluous red tape

and safeguard health and lives.

The information here, adds to the details in the petition launched on Christmas Eve. That mentions further solutions, which can be found below, in points (1) to (5) under the ‘CONCLUSIONS & SOLUTIONS’ subheading. On breaches of law see point (5) and the last paragraph under SOLUTIONS TO MALADMINISTRATION REJECTED.

Most criticisms of the change-over to Universal Credit are about difficulties in obtaining and retaining it. Reports often refer to those struggling as a result, with suicidal urges but in mid-December the government said it doesn’t know how many people have, as a consequence, taken their own lives. The focus in this petition is the health threats caused by gross maladministration over free prescriptions, which the government could so easily resolve.


So bad is the administration within one part of the now fragmented NHS., the Business Services Authority, that it is persistently and unlawfully, threatening with bills, fines and even court actions, many sick and disabled people, who are genuinely entitled to free prescriptions.

Very obvious and very simple solutions to this bizarre, unlawful and crisis situation were rejected by the NHS on the 21st December. It has refused point blank, to make immediate and necessary changes, to put the NHS on the right side of the law.

The NHS won’t instruct its administrators, to ask the Department for Work & Pensions, the only question which would provide the only information which matters, i.e. whether claimants are entitled to free prescriptions.

The NHS has legal duties to protect physical and mental health and provide information which is accurate, trustworthy and easy to understand, regardless of intellectual abilities and sensory needs. If the government instructs the NHS to comply with the law, this crisis would end with the stroke of a pen.



The FP10 prescription form states that patients who are not sure what to do should pay for prescriptions and at the same time, obtain a FP57 to claim a refund. They cannot obtain one after the event.

That statement assumes they are capable at the time, of dealing with the convoluted process and have available funds to pay for prescriptions, mindful of the fact that many claiming Universal Credit, cannot afford to feed themselves and their families and so rely on food banks.


It is not known how many seriously ill people have stopped taking essential medication, just to regain peace of mind, because of bewildering difficulties in fighting off unlawful NHS threats.

As a former medical social worker, John Bradfield stumbled over this issue, when a parent with young children, said they had stopped taking potentially life-saving medication after surgery. They had lost trust in the NHS., because of fears of more unlawful threats. They have to rely on a food bank, so cannot afford to pay for prescriptions and are refusing to claim them for free again.

It is one thing for parents to risk shortening their own lives. It is another to place children at risk of suffering preventable bereavements. Those could cause life-long emotional and relationship harm.

John Bradfield could not believe how difficult it was and how long it took him, to have their bill and fine withdrawn. That says all that needs to be said, about what others who are vulnerable, would be subjected to.

Charities have spoken out but so far, all has fallen on deaf ears within the NHS.

 This outrage must also be stopped,

to prevent the NHS being plunged into disrepute.


What qualifications are demanded, to dream up and sustain such Alice In Wonderland chaos?

Has this convoluted farce and harm to health been picked up by Have I Got News For You?

Is there evidence that civil service trade unions moved swiftly to prevent harm to vulnerable individuals, by calling for effective and efficient administration? Did they put forward obvious and simple solutions, at the first opportunity?

Has the government yet to work out, how much public money is being wasted, on tangled and incoherent communications between the NHS and Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) over this issue?

Why is the NHS persistently failing to ask the DWP the right question, i.e. whether the claimant is or is not entitled to free prescriptions, regardless of which benefit they are receiving? Yes, the solution is that simple but it has yet to be grasped.

Do civil servants and politicians not realise the absurdity, of what right now, they are insisting must be done?


There have long been very obvious and very simple solutions, which any clear-thinking adult with no qualifications or administrative experience could recommend:-

(1) tick any box on the prescription form, strike out the adjacent words and write “Universal Credit”, as long as something that simple and truthful, would not result in a legally invalid fine or legally invalid court action;

(2) ensure the DWP puts Universal Credit payments on one sheet of paper as now but add (a) figures, if any, for earnings or “take home pay” in the same period and (b) state on the one page, whether or not the combined figures prove entitlement to free prescriptions, for the period in question;

(3) require the NHS to confirm with the DWP past entitlements to free prescriptions and make refunds, without requiring claimants to apply for those;

(4) ensure the NHS knows how to write and explain things in ways which are easy to understand, rather than continually rejecting evidence of entitlement, because that evidence lacks “full” details, without saying what is missing and where that can be found;

(5) demonstrate a determination to respect the law, by ensuring NHS civil servants cannot use tangled administration, to persistently subvert full compliance with the law, e.g. the legal duty to protect and promote both physical and mental health and the legal duty which came into force on the 1st August 2016, to provide information which is accurate, balanced, trustworthy and easy to understand, regardless of intellectual and sensory needs.

In short, enforced poverty is a threat to health, to lives, to emotional well-being and to stable relationships which are so vital to the protection of children.


These are some of the organisations asked to publicise the issues:-

British Medical Journal, The Lancet, Pulse (medical website), Royal College GPs., British Medical Association, organisations representing pharmacists, Health Service Journal, Nursing Times, The Patients Association, Community Care, various newspapers, Private Eye, Gingerbread.




John Bradfield, CQSW FETC MA., Former Medical, Psychiatric & Child Care Social Worker & Tutor.

Writer & Campaigner on Bereavement Issues, Related Law & Practice.

Yorkshire Post letters 2014 & 2015

Governments have created culture of cover-up on abuse


Culture of cowardice deters public sector whistleblowers


(The suggested title was ‘No urgent law to stop and prevent abuse’)

Shame those who failed to act on abuse


(The suggested title was ‘Serious abuse requires serious penalties for all public officials’)



DoH civil servants have consistently failed over decades, to deliver laws and policies which would have had major impacts, on abuse and negligence. Those are forms of ‘bereavement’, i.e. the “loss” of anything of crucial importance to us such as life, limb, health, innocence, personal integrity, peace of mind, emotional security and stability. The NHS has a legal duty to protect those things, (Ss.1 & 1A, NHS Act, 2006) but where are the politicians and political parties determined to ensure that staff comply with the law?

At no time since the start of the NHS in 1948, has the DoH provided information on law and psychology, to guide NHS staff on how to respond and not respond, after the devastating death of a relative or friend. The DoH consultation documents issued in January on collecting bodies from hospitals, incompetently fail to outline relevant law and psychology. What is proposed is the very opposite of what those demand and will inevitably inflict immeasurable emotional harm. That is not understood by staff in the DoH.. Why not?

The DoH allowed hospitals to impose criminal obstructions to the collections of bodies. It is about to encourage those criminal obstructions. It will be the most outrageous change in the way NHS staff and other public servants respond to anyone, in the first minutes, hours and days as they attempt to cope with a death. Crisis and survival psychology, (i.e. about why some of us die in threatening situations or survive but become disabled with post-traumatic stress disorders, depression, anxiety, suicidal urges and so on), point unequivocally to the importance whenever possible, of having opportunities to take control, be assertive, proactive, decisive and purposeful in finding our own solutions and ways of coping. Anything which obstructs our ability to do those things, can be predicted to cause emotional harm, in the short, medium and possibly long term. The gross incompetence of civil servants in the DoH., will force even more of us into helpless dependency, reinforcing our fears of taking control, when we have to cope with the death of a baby, young child or adult. We may also have to cope with the criminal destruction of our family graves. That should have been resolved during recent court cases but public officials misled the courts on relevant law.

I call again on the Health Select Committee in parliament to consider basic questions such as these:-

Q.1  “If no-one had ever died in the past but it was known that deaths would happen for the first time and soon, what emergency emotional, social and other needs could we expect anyone to have, in the first minutes, hours and days, after the death of a close friend or relative, whether a baby, young child or adult?”;

Q.2  “What would we expect health, welfare and other public services to be ready to do to meet those needs, not least to protect and promote emotional wellbeing, as required by law, (Ss.1 & 1A, NHS Act , 2006) ?”;

Q.3 “Would we expect them to do anything which is not being done at present, based on what is known from crisis and survival psychology and current law?”

Q.4 “Is anything being done which should be stopped for legal, psychological or other reasons?”



08 April 2015 Press Release

Retired social worker asked police to arrest DoH staff

On returning to work after the Easter holiday, staff at the Quarry House office of the Department of Health in Leeds, summoned the police to remove retired social work tutor John Bradfield from the premises. His protest followed 20 years of unproductive letter writing.

Two police officers arrived and agreed that he was not breaking the law. He explained that unless a coroner is involved, criminal law prevents hospital staff and anyone else, from dictating who can collect, when and how, the body of a baby, young child or adult.

He then asked the police to arrest the civil servants responsible for encouraging “endless criminal and oppressive responses, when NHS staff are involved in the first minutes, hours and days, with those having to cope with devastating bereavements”. He added that, “staff must always respond therapeutically and stop acting like high security prison guards”.

With the children’s organs scandal, he said, “everyone knew what was happening and no-one did anything about it”, according to former Health Secretary Stephen Dorrell. “To this very day, NHS staff continue to resist the full lessons of that scandal. Everyone knows what is happening over breaches of criminal law when relatives attempt to collect bodies”, said John Bradfield. That, he said, “carries no maximum penalty and no limit on when a prosecution has to start and the courts regard it as very serious”.

The Health Select Committee in parliament revealed, that civil servants in Quarry House had already decided by the 27th February, what they would do before the close of a public consultation at midnight on Easter Monday. They will advise NHS staff to see what John Bradfield describes as a “completely irrelevant” document, before bodies are collected.

He says, “Nothing in that consultation mentioned relevant psychology or what the law does and doesn’t allow”, adding that “this is incompetence of the highest order”.

The same staff were criticised in January by the Royal College of Pathologists for the “incomprehensible” delays in finding a new approach to monitoring causes of deaths, after GP Harold Shipman was found guilty 15 years ago of killing patients.

When driving one Friday to collect the body of a friend from a hospital, John Bradfield thought it would be his own last day on this earth. The police had warned everyone to stay at home. Accidents caused by black ice, dense fog, heaving rain and flooding, resulted in many closed roads, including parts of the A1 motorway. He tried to arrange the collection on the Saturday, the day before the funeral but the hospital refused to help, when police had advised driving conditions would be safe. John Bradfield said, “the decision of the hospital could have put me in its A&E ward or mortuary, because NHS staff have not been advised on their legal duty, to protect physical and emotional wellbeing around bereavements and how to help prevent fatal accidents”.

He claims, “there is a desperate need for NHS staff to be provided with sound information on law and crisis psychology, as that has never been done since the start of the NHS in 1948″.

The parliamentary record states that he has, “unparalleled expertise on relevant law”, since 1990 has provided “the nation [with] a free public service which no-one else is capable of providing” but clearly civil servants in Leeds and NHS staff have been shooting this messenger, which is why he was seen with an arrow through his head during his protest.

He is calling for a courageous MP to tackle this taboo subject in parliament.

Bereaved mother Teresa Evans provides more details on this story via




This proposal traces back to the education of health and welfare staff since the 1960s. Very determined voluntary work over the last two decades, has caused volunteers to give up, on an empowering approach to bereavement, due to the unrelenting stress, caused by having to deal with public servants who persist with unlawful obstructions. We have set out below, a significant part of the solution. If grasped by politicians, a modern public service funded and organised by voluntary organisations would emerge. It would be user-friendly, inspire the best in public service and create a lasting legacy for the nation.

When someone dies, one emergency is over but all staff in the NHS., welfare and other public services should recognise, that other ‘health’ emergencies may have started. That requires that all staff in all public services co-operate fully, with the lawful decisions and responsibilities, which those who are newly bereaved and others would take, if not unlawfully obstructed or kept in the dark, about their choices for taking control.

For almost four decades, formal NHS policy effectively defined a procedure as bad practice. It is now being adopted by some hospitals as good practice. We are confident that it is criminal. The police do not understand the law, so have never referred incidents to the Crown Prosecution Service for consideration. Such technical details could be dealt with clearly and simply, in a new law, to promote self-help and independence.

The proposal here, would radically transform public services across the board. We need to demonstrate an intellectually credible and lawful way of responding to emotional and social emergencies. Many public services respond in ways which are not recognised as oppressive and unlawful. When challenged, public servants have taken a year or more, to put things right. Others decline to respond. Courts and tribunals are too slow, cumbersome and costly, to deal with everyday emergencies. Those require immediate decisions, which are not only legally sound but do not cause helplessness, hopelessness and wholly unnecessary dependence on our public services. That happens when they try to control us. They must act to give us the confidence to act independently, collaboratively and responsibly towards others.

We cannot move forward, unless the government agrees to and provides a new law. We are so sure of immediate success, that the requested powers could be granted for a trial period, to test the benefits.

Given the necessary powers, unlawful actions and hindering responses by public servants could be stopped at a stroke. The new service would issue instructions to immediately comply with existing law. However, those instructions would be invalid, if they could be proven wrong, inaccurate or misleading. If public servants or others persist in emergencies, with actions they cannot immediately prove to be lawful, the new voluntary service would instruct offenders to help and not hinder or completely withdraw. If they refuse, the emergency service would have the power to enforce its decisions and as a last resort, impose fixed penalties. That would achieve instant results and through publicity, a sound way of driving up standards. A sound body of legal and psychological knowledge would quickly emerge, with significant contributions being made by our best public services and universities.

Only incompetent, blundering and oppressive officials would have anything to fear. Through such new and democratic challenges, staff would instantly recognise how to provide excellent public services.

Crucial but little known laws would be made clear. However, we believe the government would want to go further. For example, when a very disabled mother died unexpectedly at home, her social worker, rushed to collect her three children from school. On the very same day, they were evicted from their rented home, by the person responsible for their mother’s Will. The social worker and approved volunteers were prepared to live with the children for a few days or weeks, until they had been given time to absorb what had happened. Emergency powers were needed to protect those children, in their own home, in that emotional and social emergency. Their social worker needed the emergency power, to override the decision to evict the children. Through the requested emergency service law, greater protection could be given to children, who are suddenly faced with devastating circumstances.

An academic in psychiatry, recently discovered that even hospice staff are reluctant to speak about death. So strong is our cultural taboo, that most health and welfare staff withdraw, the moment someone dies. Those who are newly bereaved even after expected deaths, may feel abandoned, isolated and bewildered. They may feel like wild animals trapped in cages or be frozen with fear. They may need immediate help to make sense of their feelings and reactions. They may need immediate help to gain rapid control, over situations which feel totally out of control. There have always been pockets of excellence, which have never been spread across the board. That is because of inadequate education, training, guidance and support. Consequently public servants lack the confidence to help with all manner of lawful decisions, taken immediately after bereavements. The new law is now the only answer, to rapidly break away from the disabling, unlawful and even criminal habits of the past.


Note that the website shown on the banner no longer exists.

Tony Blair turned his back, on the proposal for an emergency bereavement service. He didn’t respond over a number of years, to correspondence or requests for a face-to-face meeting, with him or a relevant minister. Eventually, he was informed that a message would be delivered to him, when the Returning Officer announced the result of the 2005 general election, in the Sedgefield constituency. That message is shown in this photograph, courtesy of the Northern Echo. It could not be discussed with him, as he kept out of sight during the count of votes and disappeared immediately after this photograph was taken.


On Remembrance Sunday, a charity will launch a website, calling on the government to stop colluding with the unlawful destruction of graves created within living memory.

WW2 veterans in Halifax protested in vain, over the destruction of their family graves in 1993, in what had been Methodist burial ground. After the destruction, John Bradfield of the Alice Barker Trust, who had published a book on burial law, pointed out that the government continued to act unlawfully. He said, “Families had purchased the rights to continue with burials. They were the owners of their gravestones which could not be removed or destroyed without their prior consents. An adjacent burial ground could suffer the same fate, if the government continues to defy the requirements of the law”.

In 2010, the Ministry of Justice caused what archaeologists referred to as a “crisis”, because of confusion over the law and refusals to issue exhumation licences in the same circumstances as previously.

John Bradfield is highly critical of the Ministry of Justice. He said, “It recently squandered the first opportunity in 155 years, by failing to explain the issues in the highest courts in the land”. The Court of Appeal upheld a judicial review decision, that a religious order can trump a close relative, over whether a grave can be destroyed. The Supreme Court refused an application for a further appeal.

John Bradfield said, “The family graves of war veterans will continue to be destroyed, with the collusion of the government, unless the Ministry of Justice clarifies the law in the courts or creates the modern legislation which has long been called for”.

Contact details

John Bradfield, Alice Barker Trust, 7 Knox Road, Harrogate, HG1 3EF.

Tel. 01423 530 900.


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