selected medical practitioner

On the shoulders of Giants – Laws & Turner

On the shoulders of Giants – Laws & Turner

It is no understatement to say that without Stephen Turner (versus PMAB 2009) and Belinda Laws (versus PMAB 2009 & Appeal Court 2010), police injury on duty pensioners would be in an extremely precarious position with police pension authorities riding roughshod over the regulations without impedance.  There was a wave of successful judicial reviews after them (regarding automatic reduction to band 1 at aged 65) but Turner and & Laws reaffirmed the regulations and arguably gave others the strength to challenge unlawful guidance.  They are truly the 0.001% who stood up and were counted and their efforts are held high in esteem.  The case-law can be found here

But what does Turner and Laws mean?

Turner V PMAB concerned substantial change and apportionment (the level of the index injury causing the degree of disablement when other non-IOD injuries are present).  It can be summarised into these points:

  • Causation can not be revisited at review.
  • A review of the degree of disablement can only occur if there is medical evidence of an alteration to the condition.
  • Apportionment can only be a factor if there was apportionment at the original decision.
  • No other illness can be considered at review other than that on the original certificate of disablement.
  • New skills or functional capacity can be considered if substantial alteration has been evidenced.

Laws reaffirmed Turner and, as it was challenged by the police authority and went to the appeal court, it is now the primary case-law that defines the application of the regulations at review.

  • A review does not allow the SMP or the Board to redetermine the merits of any earlier decision. They are only to decide whether there has been an alteration since the last decision.
  • The earlier decision as to the degree of disablement is a given; and the duty – the only duty – is to decide whether, since then, there has been a change: “substantially altered”.
  • Acquisition of new skills can be a factor that determines how a disability of a duty injury affects the capability of work.  But the effect on earning capacity must be proven and more than speculative.
  •  The clear legislative purpose of the regulations is to achieve a degree of certainty from one review to the next such that the pension awarded does not fall to be reduced or increased by a change of mind as to an earlier clinical finding where the finding was a driver of the pension then awarded.
Laws stipulates that a review is a comparative exercise  this means a comparison of the degree of disablement between the date of the grant or the last review.   The natural corollary of this is that medical records prior to the last decision are unnecessary.
There will be a post soon about what the SMP actually can and can’t do.


secret or illegal cooperation or conspiracy in order to deceive others.
“the armed forces were working in collusion with drug traffickers”
synonyms: conspiracy, connivance, complicity, intrigue, plotting, secret understanding, collaboration, scheming

“there has been collusion between the security forces and paramilitary groups”

The regulations state the police pension authority shall refer for decision on the degree of the person’s disablement to a duly qualified medical practitioner (a selected medical practitioner or SMP).

You’d have thought that the SMP should be independent and blind to the process and only interested in answering the sole question put to them – the only duty on such a review, is to decide whether since then there has been a substantial change.

Here, not only is he referring to former officers injured in the execution of their duty as experts in process, legislation and points of law, he wants to revisit causation:they know the score.  Just because the federation exists (and we know how helpful they’ve been) there is no excuse to be ‘direct’ and not treat disabled individuals with respect and dignity.

It isn’t very good to discover that the SMP has been in contact with the force all throughout the process and has actually advised the HR department of the force how the former officers should be treated. It is also unnerving to find out that the same SMP has been working for the force before they have been actually contracted to perform their function.  SMP started in May but the force said he didn’t start his duties until late July !

Q2. Please tell me the date he commenced his duties.

Dr Johnson commenced his duties on 24^th July 2014.

Why does the SMP think that refusal for full disclosure of medical records since birth is a manipulation of the process:  GP reports arent good enough.


When the sole question is substantial change since the last review then surely seeking to revisit causation and apportionment prejudices the decision making process

When the same SMP declares that the former officers ‘know the score’ and can seek legal assistance if they don’t like it – you know that this SMP isn’t actually independent and has an agenda.