Friday 28 June 2024





Introduction and welcome

Dr John Ballard, Occupational Health [at Work]

  • Trends in ill health retirement (IHR)
  • Prevalence of appeals against IHR medical decisions
  • Different types of schemes

Role of occupational health – Part 1

Dr Simon Sheard, Health Partners Group

  • Understanding the scheme’s health criteria
  • Required medical evidence
  • Medical examinations
  • Medical reports from primary/secondary care
  • Consent and confidentiality in practice
  • Audit/quality improvement activity

IHR and the law*

Prof Diana Kloss, barrister

  • Pensions regulations – a brief introduction
  • Consent, confidentiality and data handling
  • Age discrimination and disability discrimination
  • Key cases *(This is a UK based course, so the legal session covers UK law, and in particular, the law of England of Wales)

Tea break


Role of occupational health – Part 2

Dr Tony Williams, Working Fit Ltd

  • Role of OH doctors and OH nurses
  • Skills, training and competence
  • How to become an approved doctor for a particular pensions scheme*
  • Writing the report/recommendations to the employer’s scheme
  • Internal dispute resolution/medical appeals processes
    • (*Including local government, fire, NHS, teachers and in-house schemes, but excluding police schemes)



Is IHR always a good option?

Dr Simon Sheard, Health Partners Group

  • Prognosis following IHR
  • Discussing medical retirement (and other options) with employees
  • Ethical decision-making
  • Difficult issues for OH
    • Death-in-service benefits v IHR in terminal illness cases
    • When IHR is seen as an ‘easy option’ to medicalise individual out of the business
    • Managing situations where an employee requests IHR

Fitness and age

Dr Tony Williams, Working Fit Ltd

  • Pensions, lifestyle factors and chronic disease

Working with HR, line managers and the pension administrator

Dr Tony Williams, Working Fit Ltd

  • Best advice – timely and good value
  • When to refer
  • Support with appeals and reviews



Case studies

Led by Dr Mark Groom, Dr Simon Sheard and Dr Tony Williams

  • A series of case studies examines the process of reaching a decision in complex cases
    • Facts of the case
    • What does the scheme require?
    • Assessing the evidence
    • What additional evidence is required?
    • How to reach a decision

Expert panel Q&A

  • Your chance to ask Dr Simon Sheard, Dr Tony Williams, Dr Mark Groom and Clair Alcock your pre-submitted and live questions

Final questions


Close of day



Benefits of attending

You will gain:

  • A detailed knowledge of how to give evidence-based advice in ill-health retirement (IHR) cases
  • A comprehensive understanding of your roles and responsibilities – either as an OH doctor or OH nurse
  • An insight into the complexity of scheme rules and relevant law
  • Enhanced comprehension of the ethical issues
  • An opportunity to learn from experience of others in our case studies and to benchmark your opinions with peers
  • Improved knowledge and understanding to assist in decision-making

PLUS – you will receive printed documentation to keep for future reference.


About our expert tutors


Dr John Ballard

Dr John Ballard has been researching and writing on OH and disability issues for over 30 years. He is a director of The At Work Partnership and edits its bi-monthly journal, Occupational Health [at Work]. He jointly edited Discrimination Law and OH Practice (The At Work Partnership, 2012) with Prof Diana Kloss. He is an honorary fellow of the Faculty of Occupational Medicine (FOM).


Dr Simon Sheard

Dr Simon Sheard is medical director at Health Partners Group. After a career in OH in the Royal Navy, he has spent over 25 years working in the outsourced occupational health service environment. He has provided medical advice to a number of significant public sector pension schemes including PCSPS and SPPA (Scottish NHS, Teachers and LGPS) and to several large private sector pension funds. He is chair of the SOM Special Interest Group on Pension Scheme Working.


Prof Diana Kloss MBE

Prof Diana Kloss MBE is a barrister, former employment judge and honorary senior lecturer in OH law at the University of Manchester. Her publications include Occupational Health Law (Wiley Blackwell, 2020), and she jointly edited Discrimination Law and OH Practice (The At Work Partnership, 2010) and contributes regularly to the Occupational Health [at Work] journal. She is an honorary fellow of the FOM, an ACAS arbitrator, and honorary president of the Council for Work and Health.


Dr Tony Williams

Dr Tony Williams set up Working Fit Ltd, an occupational health consultancy, in 2003. He has an extensive portfolio of clinical OH work in the NHS and for a variety of public and private organisations. He was chair of the Government review into the Normal Pension Age for firefighters, and advised on pension age for the RNLI and prison officers. He advises on ill health retirement under the local government pension scheme.


Dr Mark Groom

Dr Mark Groom is a consultant occupational health physician whose primary current role is the clinical lead for Police and Fire Service Medical Appeals, a service provided by Health Partners under contract with the Home Office. He has broad occupational medicine experience and, having been the pensions lead for Health Management, has developed considerable knowledge of pensions work in a wide range of settings.


Clair Alcock

Clair Alcock is head of police pensions for the National Police Chiefs’ Council. She brings a wealth of experience and knowledge in the public sector pensions arena, having formerly worked in the management and governance of the Fire Pension Scheme. Clair has over 24 years’ experience in the pensions industry, with over 18 years gained specifically in police and fire public sector pensions.  Clair is passionate about good communication enabling members to make good decisions and establishing a strong and transparent governance regime to the management and administration, so that those who serve as public servants understand the benefits of a pension and can make life changing decisions accurately.


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