The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) has recently announced plans to give the Secretary of State the power to suspend a healthcare professional’s rights to NHS Pension benefits in cases where a criminal charge has been brought but a conviction has yet to be made.
Dental Protection has serious concerns about this proposal as it goes against the principles of natural justice which assumes that one is innocent until proven guilty.
DHSC has argued that this change would enable them to start the lengthy process of removing pension rights sooner prior to a conviction being made. This proposed change will put healthcare professionals and their families in a very difficult situation at an already distressing time.
Although the medical and dental unions lead on pension issues, Dental Protection has strong concerns given the implications these proposed could have for dentists facing criminal charges.
Raj Rattan, Dental Director at Dental Protection, said:
“We are strongly opposed to the Department of Health and Social Care’s proposal, which goes against the basic principle of natural justice of being innocent until proven guilty.
“If this goes ahead, it is unfair that dentists facing unproven allegations could find that their pension rights put at risk prior to any conviction being made.
“Dentists are increasingly working under pressure and are understandably concerned about the possible consequences for them when things go wrong. Dentist may face action from their employer, reputational damage in the media and restrictions on their licence to practice. These new proposals will only add to the profession’s fear of unfair allegations.
“I have written to the minister to set out our concerns. I hope the Government reconsiders its position and takes the view of Dental Protection and others when continuing with the development of this review.”