Chinese Parmesan

Aunty Sophia is a redoubtable woman and a very good cook. Ask her anything about food and she will have the answer, from how to make the perfect Eggs Benedict to how Spaghetti Bolognese does not exist in Italy.

She will explain, with an exasperated sigh, that in Bologna they make a minced beef ragù with minced pork, onions, celery, carrots, wine and other ingredients, which is served tossed through Tagliatelle, Fettuccine or the wider Pappardelle, but (and at this point her voice raises in volume and a finger wags admonishingly) it is never, never, served with spaghetti.

She is scathing about the globalisation of cuisine. She simply refuses to accept that Cheddar cheese can be made in Australia, Canada, and even Scotland, and yet legally be called Cheddar. Yes, it is cheese, but it can not be proper Cheddar cheese.

The same goes for Parmesan. In Italy, one is judged by how good is the Parmesan you serve to your guests. It has to be authentic, for it is not unknown for unscrupulous retailers to pass off lesser hard cheeses as genuine Parmigiano-Reggiano. What really gets Italian Aunty Sophia’s goat is the deep suspicion that Parmesan is now being made in China. Chinese Parmesan! Oddio! Che cosa sta succedendo? What’s going on!

Aunty’s amazement and utter rejection of Chinese Parmesan is so often expressed by her that it has become a sort of meme within her family. If something is not right, fake, a deception or just plain out crooked, then it is ‘Chinese Parmesan’.

Which inevitably brings us to focus on selected cheesy medical practitioners who take on the role of SMP.

For new readers, a Selected Medical Practitioner (‘SMP’) is a doctor, usually qualified in the branch of medicine known as occupational health, who is selected and paid by a police pension authority to make medical assessments and medical decisions in connection with fitness to work and, especially, decisions affecting the pension rights of serving and former police officers.

IODPA is usually very critical of SMPs. With good reason. Whenever IODPA lists their numerous shortcomings, exposes their woeful ignorance of the police pension regulations, or when we report on how they deliberately flout data protection law, then IODPA will name and shame, but always in the spirit of constructive criticism. IODPA hopes, perhaps forlornly, that exposure of SMP’s deficiencies might encourage them, and their paymasters to realise they need to change their ways and begin to conduct themselves lawfully and ethically.

Unusually, in this article we are not going to recount some new or repeated wrongdoing by a corrupt or incompetent SMP. I’d be spoiled for choice. Instead we are going to sing the praises of one doctor who fulfills the role of SMP in a caring and professional manner.

Several of our members have told IODPA that this doctor is a rarity. An honest and impartial SMP. A round of noble Stilton on a table groaning with counterfeit Camembert, fake Feta, analogue pizza cheese substitute, and ersatz Emmental.

IODPA has heard nothing but praise for the professional and respectful way medical examinations and interviews have been conducted. Decisions made have been in tune with the medical facts and have thus been acceptable. The strict requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation have been adhered to. Members report no objections or difficulties being raised when being accompanied by a chaperone or helper, nor to sessions being recorded.

This doctor demonstrates that the police injury and ill health regulations are not difficult to understand or to apply. The regulations do not require that a SMP holds a law degree or that the SMP should act as though they were a presiding magistrate or High Court Judge. The role of the SMP can be described as simply as this – interview and examine an individual as necessary with the objective to identifying illness or injury which might erode an individual officer’s ability to carry out the full range of duties required of a constable, and, in the case of former officers in receipt of an injury pension, determine whether there has been any alteration in their degree of disablement.

A SMP is there to consider the medical evidence – not just from their own examination and interview, but all evidence supplied by the individual, such as reports from eminent specialists, consultants and grounded GPs.

The SMP delivers a decision on certain medical questions which are contained in the various regulations.

The questions, so far as the Police (Injury Benefit) Regulations 2006 are concerned come down to these:

(a) whether the person concerned is disabled (or totally disabled);

(b) whether the disablement (or total disablement) is likely to be permanent;

(c) whether the disablement is the result of an injury received in the execution of duty, and;

(d) the degree of the person’s disablement.

On rare occasions a SMP may be asked to revisit a decision made by a different SMP, who for whatever reason is not able or willing to reconsider their decision themselves (commonly known as a Regulation 32(3)).

The SMP we are praising has had to address all of these questions and has done so consistently, with no apparent difficulty and without giving any cause for either the individual concerned, or the police pension authority to feel that some skulduggery was involved.

Anyone can make mistakes, but there is a world of difference between genuine unintentional error and the sort of ‘error’ that some SMPs make, hoping they won’t be noticed, and therefore drive a 987 horsepower Bugatti Veyron through the regulations. Errors, which the offending SMP’s police pension authority will inevitably do their utmost to deny.

We have to say that the SMP, who we thank and congratulate here, is first and foremost a caring human being who happens to be a doctor, who happens to work as a SMP. His or her work is in glowing contrast to the Machiavellian manoeuvrings of other SMPs whose behaviour strays right across the spectrum from careless inability, incompetence, ineptitude, and inexperience through to full-on criminal intent to defraud.

We haven’t named this doctor, for we fear the powers that be would find some excuse to dispense with his or her services. Sounds far-fetched? Not a bit of it. Ill-intentioned police pension authorities have successfully driven out nearly all honest and decent SMPs, who have been replaced with the Chinese Parmesan type of doctors who Italian Aunty Sophia would readily sniff out and scornfully reject as not the real deal.

She would say, ‘Where you find Chinese Parmesan, there you will also find a useless Chef.’

Chinese Parmesan

29 thoughts on “Chinese Parmesan

  • 2020-09-14 at 7:21 pm

    SMP’s were described to me by a GP as doctors who couldn’t get a job in a hospital or GP practice and had resorted to selling their signature to the highest bidder.
    Great to hear of one who won’t sell their soul.
    As for the rest of the bent, unscrupulous, criminal SMP’s up and down the country – your day of judgement is coming.

  • 2020-09-14 at 6:31 pm

    A surgeon who also happens to have several decades of experience recently mentioned to me that to be accepted by their peers, besides education and the necessary skills they should constantly demonstrate empathy and a very strong desire to achieve the best outcome for their patients.
    No surprise there, after that’s exactly what we all expect from a Medical Doctor however It is quite apparent is that many of these occupational health SMP’s don’t meet these standards at all.
    The notion of these particular individuals having empathy for the poor soul before them is disturbingly absent.
    They simply don’t give a rats ass about achieving the best possible outcome for the injured officer, in fact most seem to wrongly disagree with the notion that there is any sort of Doctor Patient relationship with the injured officer/former officer before them.
    Again and again certain SMP’s demonstrate that the only sense of duty they have is to provide the outcome required by those who pay their fees.
    Quite honestly in too many cases a review performed by these individuals is nothing but a bloody sham. They deserve nothing but scorn.
    As for the particular SMP who treats those being reviewed by him with empathy and a strong desire to abide by his hippocratic oath he truly is to be admired and worthy of the title Medical Practitioner.

  • 2020-09-11 at 11:34 am

    He who pays the piper calls the tune.

    Police pension authorities have sole responsibility for hiring the doctors to perform the role of SMP. That alone is cause for concern.

    Serving officers and most former officers have no knowledge whatever of the police pension regulations and are ill equipped to know what their rights are.. Until recently they had to place complete trust in their police pension authority and SMP to act lawfully. That trust, we have learned to our cost, was entirely misplaced, but the word is getting out, and more police pension authorities are learning, the hard way, that they can no longer abuse the pension regulations.

    Over time, and under the influence of some very ill-intentioned people, most decent SMPs have been squeezed out – with the odd notable exception.

    We have ended up with SMPs who are not capable of acting in an unbiased way.

    The solution long term is to change the system, but in the short term officers and former officers should refuse to be seen by SMPs who they ave reason to believe are biased or incompetent. They should ask their police pension authority to provide a SMP who can be trusted to act lawfully.

    As the sign in the corner shop says, ‘Do not ask for credit as a refusal often offends,’ Of course it can be expected that the police pension authority will refuse a request for a different SMP, but the request will be on record. Register enough requests and no police pension authority could continue to ignore the situation – especially if an individual takes a case to judicial review.

    The message to all serving officers and former officer is this – do not meekly put up with anything you believe to be wrong. Read all the information that is here on the IODPA web site.

    Stand up for your rights.

    • 2020-09-30 at 10:49 pm

      I believe I have had the fortune of dealing with this SMP – THANK THE LORD! Showed empathy, wrote a fair and balanced report, read all my case file and medical history prior to the appointment, wrote the report quickly. I appealed the intitial decision in an internal appeal with further medical evidence and he listened to it! I’m grateful that with all the hell I’ve been through, he made it possible in the end.

  • 2020-09-11 at 9:24 am

    An excellent blog as usual. I have a dream, and in that dream Police officers who have been injured on duty through no fault of their own and can no longer serve due to that injury are treated fairly and with respect.
    Yes, it is public money, and yes, there has to be machinery in place to prevent anyone from obtaining money or advantage to which they are not truly entitled, but the lengths that forces go to in order to pad the whole thing out hoping that you will get fed up and go away are unbelievable. Also the SMP’s who have been caught out telling downright lies are despicable people. They have brought disrespect upon their profession by selling their signatures to the highest bidder. One of the first lessons learned in natural history is that all spineless creatures have hard shells and I suppose they just regard IOD’s as parasites crying for what is truly and fairly our due rights..
    I guess the whole thing is in line with modern Police thinking, shut down Police stations we don’t want public contact. Don’t answer phones, or at least if you do be vague and unhelpful, have web sites that never really answer the questions. Mess people around and they will go away. Well I have news for these people, “look up the word Nemesis” because yours is coming.

  • 2020-09-11 at 7:40 am

    When you wish the odds where in your favour is the day you are awaiting an appointment with an SMP to be announced and their name. It’s like a postcode lottery! It’s something where I got a useless chef 👨‍🍳 last year and it’s hopefully going to be the Italian chef👨‍🍳 on my internal review soon. This SMP will be a new one and they have not given it back to the useless chef 👨‍🍳 🤔 💭 to overturn what he decided wasn’t enough to retire yet he failed in his report to acknowledge my Mental Health impact to my physical Health and therefore individually going through my medical conditions and 1 by 1 kicking it out but never looked at the whole picture!! 2 medical specialists gave responses to the report and basically classed him as being wrong in his findings and have both provided reports in the matter. 1 said his 3yr old grandson could have provided a better a report !!!! 🤞 this new one is a Italian genuine chef 👨‍🍳

  • 2020-09-10 at 9:45 pm

    quite shocking to know there is only one honest SMP amongst all the SMP’s used. it’s a disgrace that there are so many dishonest doctors , they are supposed to be people we can trust !!! why are they constantly allowed to get away with these corrupt practices …as police officers we would have been sacked for constantly lying and manipulating the truth

  • 2020-09-10 at 9:37 pm

    There is no doubt that something very stinky is going on with these disgusting money-grabbing quacks. OK – they are just pond life, but they could not exist without the corrupt Chief Constables who employ them.

  • 2020-09-10 at 8:42 pm

    This is why the SMP should be employed by a central agent not directly employed by the force as they should be impartial giving a fair honest assessment of the individual person’s illness. Obviously the SMP is rare and clearly has retained the qualities that made them choose the medical profession in the first place. They should be the bench mark but sadly they will likely be fired off for giving honest fair reports.

  • 2020-09-10 at 7:20 pm

    It’s genuinely heartwarming to see that there are honest, even handed, and professional SMPs out there.

    • 2020-09-10 at 11:12 pm

      Well, one anyway!!! but I guess every journey starts with a single step…..Until about ten years ago the FME at my old force was an honest and decent caring man. The replacement is on the opposite end of the spectrum in every regard, he should be behind the bars not swanning about outside fraudulently claiming loads money for loadsa crap.

  • 2020-09-09 at 7:10 pm

    To be treated fairly and in accordance with statute legislation is surely not too much to ask. However, individual former Police Officers have been subjected to downright lies and deceit. I am one of those affected when a Police Pension Authority employed Medical Practitioner made an alteration to a certain document (without my knowledge) after it had already been signed and accepted. That ‘Doctor’ then went on to deny what he had done. It makes one wonder what pressures might have been applied to cause such wickedness. Please allow me to plead with all Selected Medical Practitioners employed by Police Pension Authorities to comply with the law. The Police Pension Authorities may be your paymasters but each and every one of you has a duty of care to each forcibly retired former Officer.

  • 2020-09-09 at 6:32 pm

    Crikey, I am a huge lover of cheese (I’m not referring to my size here btw… :-). I now realise that over the last several years I have been served two repeated large servings of “Chinese Parmesan”. The first one by the Force’s FME- so incompetent he had me married off (I’ve never been married) and also had me down as a criminal who had been arrested (I hadn’t – I’d been the VICTIM of crime). His doses of “Chinese Parmesan” left me feeling very ill indeed, and in fact very sick. The second laughingly titled “Doctor” – the SMP – left me gagging on his cheese (so to speak) when he refused to accept that in fact I had never been arrested but had been the victim of crime instead. That second producer of Chinese Parmesan instead treated me like a criminal – this despite the Federation representative also telling him that I had never been arrested, the purveyor of parmesan even wrote back to the Force that I’d been arrested and refused to remove said libellous mention until the Force confirmed. Truly quite remarkable production lines of parmesan. Without wishing to “milk” this, there is no “whey” that this won’t result in a good toasting of those purveyors at some future point. Do these hilariously titled doctors and forces forget that we were police officers who will have kept a dairy of events? Misconduct in public office by the cheese filled vat I would suggest.

  • 2020-09-09 at 1:53 pm

    As a newly promoted sergeant thrust into the hustle and bustle of a busy custody suite, I was required and expected to know every word of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act Code of Practice for dealing with detained persons. Any mistakes and I had to answer to a judge at court. Followed by an angry CPS barrister, a pissed off detective superintendent from
    CID. And then explain myself to Professional Standards.. Oh and the Press if it made the news. How come SMPs aren’t subject to the same scrutiny?

  • 2020-09-09 at 8:16 am

    I get the point but as a petrol head can I point out the Bugatti Veyron horsepower is now 1200 and you are making a good job of driving it through the offending SMPs and their forces. Maybe the just announced Police Covenant will help us all.

    • 2020-09-09 at 10:16 pm

      Very well explained, such a shame there are so many bad Apples and to date only one really good one.

    • 2020-09-10 at 8:38 pm

      Great blog as usual and glad to see there are still some SMPs who remember what it meant to be a doctor

  • 2020-09-08 at 10:41 pm

    Clone that SMP and replace all those twisted, conspiring, heartless ones.
    All any of us ever want is a fair assessment, we aren’t asking for more than is fair, but having our service ended early and our earnings gone we need to live and that was the whole point of the IOD award, I would much rather be fit and healthy working than being in pain 24/7 limited in everything I do having surgeries after surgeries & on medication probably for life. We just need to be treated properly.

  • 2020-09-08 at 10:35 pm

    Very well written and good to hear there are caring SMP’s out there

  • 2020-09-08 at 9:22 pm

    A lot of these SMPs are only too willing to exert the will of the Police Force they are employed by to save the Police Force money. And why shouldn’t they? They are being paid exorbitant amounts of money to write a report which completely ignores Consultants’ and Professors reports. They are accountable to nobody except their malicious employers.

    Then what happens if the officer appeals at Police Medical Appeal Board? Well, that SMP then gets paid twice even if he loses the appeal. The Police Force does not review the SMPs flawed reports they simply carry on paying them hoping to save the Force money.

    I am truly glad to hear of this SMP who acts properly within the legislation and with compassion. He/She is a great Doctor.

    If only they all practised like this!’

    • 2020-09-11 at 2:40 pm

      Dr Broome…Northumbia. Apparantley you can review 70 + pensioners in an afternoon, look at the High Court cases of Crude, Simpson and Howarth.

  • 2020-09-08 at 8:17 pm

    I can’t have read this right. Is there such a thing????

    Going to pinch myself and wake up from this dream.

  • 2020-09-08 at 8:15 pm

    Who would have thought it, a good compassionate SMP? You are quite right not to name him or her. She would soon be heading off onto the horizon if it was thought they were fair to the police officer.

    Well done to this doctor, you haven’t sold your soul and remember what you became a doctor for.
    It restores my faith somewhat to read this.

    Also, well done to you IODPA for also telling us there are good ones out there. It makes you fair reporters as well.

  • 2020-09-08 at 8:14 pm

    Thank God you didn’t name this honest, fair Doctor.

    If you had, then these unscrupulous forces would have ensured that he/she never received any further work from them!

    The only doctors the forces want are those who will look at their bank balance and the potential for future work, sod the truth, or being impartial, or not having already formed biased views. Let’s call them proper Charlies eh?

    • 2020-09-09 at 9:25 pm

      Funny how you said “Thank God” – because believe it or not, the second purveyor of parmesan – who left me gagging on his big portion of cheese has written article for a Christian doctor organisation! He has published his handy hints on dealing with Pressure on the local Diocese bulletin would you believe it! Let me share a couple of his quotes:
      “There will be amazing bits. When humans are faced with a crisis, we can be extraordinary in our care for each other. You’ll witness acts of kindness you’ll never forget, and you’ll do the same for others.
      Small gestures can be immensely powerful. Doing a simple act of kindness for another person can reap huge rewards”.

      Absolutely incredible from the “Doctor” who thought that my domestic abuse situation was my fault! This a “doctor” who has consistently ignored regulations and breached them in fact. I would suggest that he “repents of all his (many) sins” because very soon – if there is a God – he will be off to a hot place (and I’m not talking the Maldives with his ill gotten gains).

      • 2020-09-10 at 7:38 am

        “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”― Edmund Burke 

        This well known expression came to mind when I read this blog.

        To understand how we have reached the current state of affairs, one needs to appreciate both the background and context.

        The Police Injury Benefit Regulations were part of the police pension regulations. They were separated as standalone regulations. Injury awards were originally paid from central government budgets ie home office. The change resulted in payment coming from local force budgets.

        This resulted in what I would describe as accountancy driven policing.

        Many or those injured on duty have paid a heavy price as have their loved ones. This price incorporates losing their career, daily physical and mental pain, life changing injuries which prevent them from livng their pre-injury lives. To add insult to injury an eye of suspicion suggesting they are seen with suspicion by some who think they are being rewarded. The ultimate slap in the face.

        The PCC for Avon and Somerset wrote to the Policing minister denigrating injured Avon and Somerset pensioners and stated that the payment added no value to the tax payers. This from someone who has not walked on our shoes. I have been assaulted multiple times, knocked unconscious, almost been stabbed, disarmed violent offenders intent on hurting members of the public, colleagues and I. I have endured surgery for five years, years of physiotherapy. I lost my promising career despite being promoted to Serheant with less than 5 years service, passing my Inspector’ exam whilst a probationary Sergeant, being invited to apply for HPDS etc.

        I have identified when the rot set in. Derbyshire Constabulary allowed some of its HR staff to set up the National Attendance Management Forum. This self appointmented talking shop started to issue “guidance” comparable to Aesop’s fables. Derbyshire passed the mantle to Northumbria.

        Now Northumbria Police took this to the next level Their Solicitor Nicolas Wirtz decided he would write guidance. Ive never read such rubbish in all my life. It would take too long to critique every error so I’ll pick my favourite. According to Mr Wirtz SMP’s are judicial office holders. Well I’ve had a look and the only Doctors that I have found who hold judicial office are those who sit on Social Security appeal tribunals a judicial office holder is selected through a process devised by the Judicial Appointments Commission, they are appointed by the Lord Chancellor, take a judicial oath of office and are governed by the Judicial code of conduct. Training is also provided by the Judicial College and not ny Mr Wirtz.

        Now Mr Wirtz I dare you, no I double dare you to find me an advert and selection exercise ran by JAC for an SMP, a letter of appointment by the Lord Chancellor, the judicial oath as well as the judicial college mandated training. You won’t be able to as NAMF and Mr Wirtz have created this fable to match any of Aesops.

        Now 50% of forces swallowed this baloney hook line and sinker. As my CID training said ABC, assume nothing, belibe no one, check everything. Any due diligence would have seen that Mr Wirtz arguments are erroneous both in law and fact. The forces who swallowed the baloney caused untold misery to the former officers, spent a fortune on lawyers and SMP’s. They also lost legal proceedings

        Let’s look at Mr Wirtz himself. Northumbria Poljce have lost the High Court cases of Crudace, Simpson, Howarth, Fisher and the Employment Tribunal case of David Curry. How any force could follow Mr Wirtz and NAMF is beyond me.

        Para 95.3 in the Crudace decision the High Court Judge said Mr Wirtz got it wrong.

        Para 107 of Howarth High Court decision Mr Wirtz again has his accountancy driven policing identified as unlawful.

        I would recommend these previous blogs for context.

        The National Attendance Management Forum has rebadged itself as The National Wellbeing Forum. Northumbria lead on it and are still issue non official, fictions guidance who 50% of forces including the Met can see through.

        Its not difficult, follow the rules including the legal as well as moral obligations. The Northumbria cases are striking insofar as the SMP Dr Broome appears to lack independence and is solely seeking to reduce pensions. He is far to close to Northumbria to be independent.

        SMP’S should be hired for their independence, competency and ability to apply the law to the relevant medical facts without fear or favour.

        I salute this SMP.

  • 2020-09-08 at 8:00 pm

    It is disgusting that one good SMP who takes into consideration everything they should and comes to a fair decision is highlighted. All SMP s should be doing this after all they should make a decision based on all medical evidence not do as they are told by corrupt police pension authorities.
    I thank the SMP highlighted for their fairness and professional approach by using the act as it should be FAIRLY

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