Dental Protection welcomes High Court pensions rulingNews
Posted by: The Probe 20th January 2020
Dental Protection have welcomed the High Court decision handed down on Friday that it was unlawful for the Government to suspend the payment of pensions to NHS professionals who had been charged with certain criminal offences but not yet convicted.
Public sector pension schemes contain provisions for the suspension of a person’s benefits but only after the point of conviction. The Department for Health and Social Care changed NHS pension rules last year, which meant that NHS professionals would be the only public sector workers to have a threat to their pensions at any time from the charges being made.
Dental Protection wrote to the minister last year setting out serious concerns about this policy, arguing that it went against the principles of natural justice which assumes that one is innocent until proven guilty. The changes also run the risk of dentists and their families experiencing an additional psychological and potentially economic strain from what is already a stressful investigation process.
Raj Rattan, Dental Director at Dental Protection, said: “I wrote to the Secretary of State last year setting out our opposition to the proposals and we are very pleased that the judicial review brought by the British Medical Association has been successful.
“Dentists facing unproven allegations should not find their pension rights put at risk prior to any conviction being made. This change went against the principle of natural justice which assumes that one is innocent until proven guilty.
“Dentists are increasingly working under pressure. When things go wrong they can face complaints and claims from patients, reputational damage in the media and restrictions on their license to practice by the regulator. These changes to pension arrangements only added to the profession’s fear of being exposed to excessively punitive consequences.”