Consent For SMP to Obtain Medical Records.

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Consent For SMP to Obtain Medical Records.

Post by Beachcomber on Sun Apr 30, 2017 4:27 pm

The subject of medical records is becoming very contentious. Our forces will already be holding medical and occupational health records on officers and former officers and there are good reasons why this should be. However, over the last decade or so, many injured officers have become very concerned regarding the requirement of unnecessarily comprehensive medical records to be released to our forces and also the way that data is held and exactly who has access to it.

There was a time when this issue would not have arisen because we trusted our forces and expected that records would be dealt with properly and professionally. How things have changed and there can be very few of us who trust our forces – this is not our fault – that distrust has been earned by our forces.

Prior to a review, we are required to give consent to the SMP having access to medical files held by our GP's and Specialists. This is a reasonable enough request provided that the records are going to be used properly. Test results, X Rays and scans together with the reports of specialists and other medical professionals will give the most accurate assessment of the health of that particular patient. Those reports will be unbiased and will have provided a proper diagnosis upon which treatments for the patient will have been determined.

Incredulously, we have reports from some IOD's saying that, although the records have been demanded and provided, the SMP has disregarded them and relied on their own diagnosis which is likely to be have been based on a cursory medical examination. Furthermore some IOD's have apparently been told by the SMP that the GP and Specialist reports cannot be accepted because they are 'biased' in favour of the IOD – it is a good job that the SMP isn't biased!  I think GP's and Specialists should be very insulted if that were the case and also the NHS and GMC should take a long hard look at at SMP's if they are doing this because it stinks.

On the subject of consent for the release of medical records: If an IOD is reviewed, then  the purpose of that review is to establish if there has been a substantial change since the last review, so why are some forces demanding medical records going back to birth? Surely there can be no justification for for going back beyond the date of the last review, even if the records have been lost or destroyed.. So why do they want them?  One reason is to show that they have a power or control over the IOD - “we can do it so we will do it” even if they then disregard the information that is supplied. Another point that has been referred to by IOD's is that the SMP wishes to conduct a 'forensic' examination of the record. What on earth is that all about?  you may well ask. It can only be that the SMP is fishing to find something, anything that can be used against the IOD such as mental health issues or any vulnerabilties not related directly to the index injury that can be used to exploit or intimidate the IOD.  Non IOD's might find the idea of intimidation implausible but they should look at some of the IOD questionnaires sent out by some forces which threaten that the IOD could lose their IOD pension under Reg 33 for non compliance i.e. not giving consent or answering all the questions on the form.

Just to illustrate this point, Reg 33 refers to 'Refusal  to be medically examined' not failing to comply with answering questionnaires or medical recors access consent or any other hoops they want to make us jump through:-

Refusal to be medically examined 33.

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 susion, 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 ach medical examination or to attend such interviews as the medical authority may consider necessary in order to enable him to make his decirises on an appeal to a board of medical referees, the appeal shall be deemed to be withdrawn.

My interpretation of that Regulation is that you have to attend a review if required and that is all. To use the Reg to coerce compliance with anything else is a bit of a stretch or they don't understand the Regulations – nothing new there then!

As referred to above, this is an area causing concern to IOD's and we would appreciate your views, opinions and experiences regarding medical records and SMP's.
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Re: Consent For SMP to Obtain Medical Records.

Post by Beachcomber on Mon Jul 31, 2017 9:31 am

Further to the previous posts on this subject, we have now had the situation clarified somewhat by a Judicial Review in Merseyside in which the Chief Constable abandoned his defence and conceded the case.

"Merseyside police have abandoned an attempt to force a former police officer to disclose medical records and fill in a capacity questionnaire in advance of a police injury pension review. The former PC had agreed to be examined by an SMP and give limited disclosure of relevant medical records to the SMP but refused to hand over all his medical records to the Force or fill in a questionnaire about his health for the Force to review in advance of an SMP referral. He pointed out that the Force had no legal authority to demand copies of any of his medical records or force him to complete a Force questionnaire."

The force suspended his IOD pension in a seemingly stupid response. In my view this was a serious instance of institutionalised bullying and it didn't work. The pensioner stood his ground and the force compounded their stupidity by allowing this to continue until the eleventh hour resulting in a very embarrassing climb down by the Chief Constable.

I have been puzzling about how this situation was allowed to occur in the first place never mind develop so far.  We know that the people involved will stretch and convolute the regulations, they will twist, spin and constantly try to re invent the meaning and substance of the regulations to suit their own aims.

The answer to how this could have occurred might lie in a set of draft amendments to the Injury Regulations made back in 2011 but never enacted. This document was recently discovered by our colleagues in IODPA.

The Police (Injury Benefit) Regulations 2011 (Draft)

The draft ammendments need to be examined closely but the bit that is interesting here is:

Refusal to co-operate in medical examination
32.—(1) This regulation applies where a relevant medical question is referred to a medical
authority under regulation 29, 30 or 31 and the person concerned wilfully or negligently fails to—
(a) submit himself to a medical examination;
(b) attend an interview; or
(c) consent to the disclosure of medical records
which the medical authority considers necessary in order to enable him to make his decision.

(2) Where this regulation applies—
(a) if the relevant medical 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; and
(b) if the relevant medical question arises on an appeal to a board of medical referees, the
appeal shall be deemed to be withdrawn.


Although it didn't involve forfeiture, at least not directly, it was clearly intended that medical consent was to be compulsory. Could it be that the force proceeded as though the statutory instrument had been enacted or did they just push their luck?

If you take a peek at Home Office Circular 14/2015 you will see that administrators are, in this instance, encouraged to implement amended Regulations before they have become law:

The changes will be made by amending regulations. While the amending regulations won’t be made until after the new Parliament is formed, we intend that the changes will have retrospective effect from 1 April 2015. Essentially, the 2015 scheme will be mapped in to match the interaction that the 1987 and 2006 schemes already have with the Injury Benefit scheme. Administrators should apply this circular with immediate effect, in anticipation of the amending regulations being made.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/circular-0142015-the-police-injury-benefit-scheme-consequential-amendments/circular-0142015-the-police-injury-benefit-scheme-consequential-amendments
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