Reviews, Questionnaires and Medical Records.
Being called for review has always been stressful and that has become worse since the authorities embarked on the swathe of mass reviews following introduction of policies based on the unlawful HOC46/2004 guidance.
Since then the review process has become much more authoritarian with PPA’s demanding compliance often using threat of cancellation of the IOD pension. Furthermore, many pensioners who have undergone reviews have reported that the SMP’s have been obnoxious or rude in their conduct and there is considerable concern that established and authoritative medical opinion and diagnosis has been ignored to skew the outcome in order to reassess and reduce the pension. Such treatment has resulted in a number of legal challenges over the past few years.
Injury pensioners have become organised and now benefit from legal precedent and sound legal advice and are therefore able to respond to reviews and PPA’s policies with greater confidence.
Reg 37 Review.
It is important to stress that, if required to do so, the IOD pensioner must ‘submit’ to examination by the selected medical practitioner. This is a requirement of the Regulations. Pensioners may wish to make a recording of the review. If you have any concerns prior to your review, please contact IODPA for advice.
PPA’s usually impose on the pensioner a requirement to complete a questionnaire giving various details, often irrelevant or unnecessary, some being intrusive. The form will usually include a declaration and implication that non compliance could result in the pensioner being penalised with loss of the IOD pension. There appears to be no legal requirement to complete the questionnaire and, following a recent case, few IOD’s are likely to acquiesce.
The consent to access medical records has also become very contentious and, once again, there appears no legal requirement for the pensioner to provide medical records. Of course there are occasions when the pensioner may wish to provide details but that is a decision for the pensioner to make, not the PPA or the SMP.
Please click on this link to access the views of David Lock QC.
Equality Act, Employment Law and Data Protection Issues.
In addition to the above points, late in 2017 we have a ruling that IOD pensions are covered by Sec. 61 of the Equality Act 2010 and that some cases are subject to employment law. We should now have some remedy where the authorities have resorted to victimisation, intimidation etc. There is no reason why SMP’s cannot be independent, impartial and professional in their conduct of reviews and certainly no reason why they shouldn’t treat IOD pensioners with respect and consideration.
Additionally there are data protection issues which you may wish to consider before providing any information -
IOD issues are complex and pensioners are urges to become members of our own charitable association IODPA. Membership requires subscription but the association is proactive and is very effective in promoting the IOD cause. Our very experienced legal team are available to provide advice and assistance.