plural noun: enablers a person or thing that makes something possible. a person who encourages or enables negative or self-destructive behaviour in another.
Prepare yourself if your life has been touched by this individual, or others like him.
Ready? … OK. Let us now ponder the contradiction that is Dr William Chung Wing Cheng (GMC Reference Number 1631726). He is that thankfully rare being – a doctor who seemingly sets out to do harm.
As those unfortunate to cross his path can attest, he is beyond parody. There are just so many anecdotes of personal suffering inflicted on those forced to submit to one of his so-called ‘medical assessments’ in relation to ill health retirement or an an injury on duty award that there isn’t the space for this blog to go into exact details of his escapades. Suffice to say that everywhere he goes he manages to further damage already damaged individuals.
Rather than focus on what motivates Dr Cheng, which from the eyes of those put before him seems to be nothing more complicated than a greed-fuelled need to make money, we are going to discuss why Dr Cheng is employed as a SMP.
William Cheng is a name well known by those who read these pages. Troubling as his behaviour is, the fact he is given the opportunity to be unpleasant is evidence of the greater malaise affecting the administration of injury awards. How is it that a doctor who does harm is allowed to continue in post?
There are a multitude of reasons to think the ill-health and injury retirement process, and the administration of injury on duty pensions in the police is corrupted: the group-think of police management at all levels is one of them. Cowardice is another. Dr Cheng is the tool of the jellyfish: spineless HR directors synchronised swimming in one terminal direction by using Dr Cheng as their proxy.
In a just world disabled former police officers would not be placed in front of him only to be injured further by the trauma of facing not only his perverse decisions but his lies and his nasty attitude. Dr Cheng shows no compassion, no care, no empathy. He is a cold machine which has but one layered purpose, and that purpose is not to heal or comfort the sick, but to make money out of misery and make more misery so as to make more money.
Cheng is allowed to continue his work in this field as he comes across as a willing, arrogant, compliant part of a methodology devised by senior personnel intended to sideline and work around the Regulations whilst creating the illusion of performing a statutory duty.
Cheng does their bidding with gusto. He is not concerned should anyone find the strength to appeal his decisions, as he will earn another fee for attending each PMAB. For HR and Legal Services, and the bean counters, the appeal process is there to deter the vast majority from making any challenge. It is a win-win arrangement for Cheng and his paymasters. Over time Cheng saves them money. An injury pension paid at a lower band for the next thirty years, set against the single outlay of Cheng’s fee is a good deal. Every serving officer who is refused an ill health pension represents money freed up to be spent in other ways. Never mind that the Regulations are intended to support and compensate, in recognition of the inherent dangers present in police work. Never mind the obligation to see that the Regulations are applied fairly and correctly. Put such considerations to one side wherever there is an opportunity to save money.
Any suggestion that Dr Cheng is biased is portrayed as an assault on the entire medical profession and is seen as an affront to the vested interests in HR, as represented by the inner cabal within the NAMF , who would no doubt fall behind a campaign supporting Dr Cheng. We would hear from them that he is, in their view, independent and the appeals against him are just a consequence of the work that he does.
Yet from the evidence, the amount of appeals he generates appears to be a giant ball of flame hurtling into an abyss of despair.
These figures obtained from the Home Office show Dr Cheng has been responsible for a remarkable 28% of ALL PMAB hearings in the five years between 2010 to 2015.
|Total appeal hearings
|No. hearings that Dr Cheng attended
|No. these hearings that were appeals against Dr Cheng’s decision
|No. these upheld (appellant’s appeal successful)
So out of all the SMPs in the UK – of all 43 police forces, just one doctor has caused over almost a third of all appeals to PMABs.
|% of Cheng PMABs appeals
|% of Cheng Appeals Upheld (successful for appellant)
In 2015 almost two thirds of PMABs nationwide were because of Dr Cheng. Over the full five year period 28% of appeals were found against this doctor.
The woeful number of successful appeals hides a truth. It is surprising that even this many appeals are won given the very real David v Goliath situation faced by the disabled former officer, but the truth is that it’s not just Dr Cheng who disabled former officers have to fight – it is the strength in numbers provided by the closed of ranks of full bureaucracy some forces chose to bring to bear against vulnerable damaged individuals – it can be breathtaking in its audacious scope and scale.
Any disabled former officer daring to challenge a decision by Dr Cheng is immediately faced with a wall of resistance from HR, and all others concerned. They close ranks behind their shields, as to admit any error is simply not within their collective psyche. Push against the shield wall and what results are accusations of vexatious behaviour and insane warped spouting of concepts of ‘duty’ wrapped up in wrongly interpreted extracts from the Regulations.
The Legal Services departments of some forces can and do provide a supportive environment for someone like Cheng to thrive in. HR use them to attempt justification for their maladministration, but the old saying, ‘garbage in, garbage out’ applies. The answer you get depends on the question you ask, and HR never ask the right questions. A HR manager seeking to protect themselves from blame will never ask an impartial question. If, by some fluke, they get a legal opinion which does not support their actions, then it never sees the light of day. Whenever HR say, ‘We have taken legal advice‘ they always, always, refuse to divulge what that advice is, thus avoiding the rightness or strength of that advice being subjected to objective scrutiny.
Do we have examples of how legal services conspire with HR to make life extremely unpleasant for anyone unfortunate to be placed in front of a SMP such as Dr Cheng? …
Of course we do.
The link below is to a discussion which is repeated in similar form in every meeting room, in every force that uses ‘gun for hire’ SMPs:
Avon & Somerset uses the services of gun for hire Dr ‘Deadeye’ Philip Johnson but the thought process are the same. Use the might of a public body to hammer aside the inadequacies of the doctor.
Official / Secret / Top Secret
Date of minutes Action # Action Update Date due RAG Owner O C
It was agreed that the Pension Authority could write to the individuals requesting that they release their information and that failure to do so would mean that a full review has not been able to be conducted and therefore based on the information available the award will be reduced to zero within a specified time limit.
Legal Services to provide advice to Pension Authority on wording of such a letter.
DJ advised the Pension Authority that when sending out letters to individuals who have withdrawn consent that a reduction in banding given can only be implied as you cannot predetermine and outcome if release is not made. The Pension Authority should advise what information can and will be taken into account when making a determination. This template letter will be sent in the first instance to TH, PT and AP who have all withdrawn consent.
DJ is an acronym for Daniel Johnson, the solicitor advocate (lawyer) who works for the Legal Services team in Avon and Somerset Constabulary (and as far as we know no relation to the namesake doctor).
The above extract is evidence the Solicitor Advocate for A&S, was willing to condone and justify a letter to disabled former officers intended to misdirect and threaten. A threat that is in fact a blatant bluff. What kind of solicitor can willingly conspire to make empty threats to disabled folk?
We need hardly remind our readers that there is no provision whatever within the Regulations for an injury pension to be reduced to zero should an individual fail to give consent for access to their sensitive personal information. Sending a letter which implies otherwise is a deliberate attempt to pervert the intent and purpose of the Regulations. It is a shocking indictment of the complete abandonment of professional ethics by the solicitor concerned. Daniel Johnson correctly warned the Pension Authority that a reduction in banding could not be applied as desired in the circumstances described, thus covering his back. But, he then offered a work-around to HR, telling them to merely imply that a reduction could result.
So, could a reduction ever result when an individual refuses to give consent for the SMP to inspect their medical record, or their financial and employment record? The answer is that such an outcome would be very very unlikely, as the Pension Authority is only entitled to make a decision on such evidence and medical advice as they think necessary. In the absence of any medical record there would be no evidence and no doctor could give informed advice with no records on which to base his opinion?
We can guarantee that nobody receiving such a letter would know the threat was an empty one. They would see it as real and would think they had no alternative other than to give consent to allow all and sundry to pour over their sensitive personal data.
If a Police Authority were to reduce a pension in these circumstances, there would be grounds for an immediate appeal, probably by way of a judicial review. The pensioner might be criticised for failing to cooperate, but the court would then hear the full and ugly history of threats, incompetence, misinformation, and corruption which compelled the individual to be fearful, with good reason, that the process was unlawful. Why should anyone cooperate with an unlawful process?
We have written about this before, but, bearing in mind that our audience includes some decent but possibly misinformed, misguided HR managers, SMPs and force solicitors, we will once more present the relevant regulation:
Refusal to be medically examined
- If a question is referred to a medical authority under regulation 30, 31 or 32 and the person concerned wilfully or negligently fails to submit himself to such medical examination or to attend such interviews as the medical authority may consider necessary in order to enable him to make his decision, then—
(a)if the question arises otherwise than on an appeal to a board of medical referees, the police authority may make their determination on such evidence and medical advice as they in their discretion think necessary;
(b)if the question arises on an appeal to a board of medical referees, the appeal shall be deemed to be withdrawn
IODPA has no issue with lawfully held reviews of degree of disablement. We advise controlled and carefully specified consent to allow access to personal information relevant to the regulatory process. We do not advise that anyone give carte blanche consent to allow anyone to obtain, access and process their personal information. We see no reason why anyone in HR or Occupational Health should ever need to see any personal information beyond name, contact details, and degree of disablement for pension payment purposes of private citizens who were once police officers.
IODPA campaigns against unlawful application of the Regulations.
We try not to descend to personal name calling, but with the likes of Dr Cheng it is impossible not to see that the character and moral deficiency of the individual is the problem. We try to highlight the errors made by HR and others, and here we are really identifying systemic failures – maladministration resulting from a combination of numerous errors of thinking, faulty training or lack of training, the inability to accept that errors need to be admitted and corrected, the complete lack of good faith, the bias arising from a misplaced sense that disabled former officers, not the officials then in charge, were responsible for historic mistakes, and, above all, the repugnant view of injury pensions as a drain on scarce resources, making them a legitimate target for a determined and evolving attempt to reduce that burden by foul means.
So, Dr Cheng, we don’t like you, but we think you are the sort of pathetic morally bankrupt individual who is a gift to the corrupt managements which employ your services. Our real contempt is for them, as without them you could not continue to do your harm. Against this confederacy of dunces stands IODPA. We are brave enough to risk to tell the truth. We hope and trust that the decent, moral, HR managers, SMPs and legal people who work without controversy in the majority of police forces will join with us in exposing and rooting out this cancer of corruption which is in their midst.
All that it takes to enable corruption to spread is that people of good intent do nothing.