Stricken nurse in fight for pension; BEDRIDDEN MUM, 45, DESPERATE TO TAKE ILL-HEALTH RETIREMENT.Byline: JAMES McCARTHY
A NURSE at Coventry's Walsgrave Hospital has told of her frustration at being forced to fight for a pension at a time when she is bedridden by illness.
Jane Bell has worked at the Walsgrave for 18 years of her 27-year career as a nurse.
But although the hospital supports her claim for retirement on health grounds - she is aged 45 - Mrs Bell says she is being denied her pension. She has been trying to take early retirement from her pounds 15,000-a-year job since being struck down by myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), or chronic fatigue syndrome chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), collection of persistent, debilitating symptoms, the most notable of which is severe, lasting fatigue. In other countries it is known variously as myalgic encephalomyelitis, chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome, and , 14 months ago.
She and husband Leslie, aged 52, now survive on a mix of his army pension and her benefits and pounds 60-a- week sick pay from the hospital.
Mother-of-one Mrs Bell, of Selworthy Road, Holbrooks, Coventry, said: "I'm completely incapacitated and in bed 24 hours a day. How am I meant to live with this illness when I'm constantly fighting battles?"
A spokeswoman for Walsgrave Hospital said: "We totally sympathise with Mrs Bell's situation. Payment of pensions is a decision that can only be made by the NHS NHS
National Health Service
NHS (in Britain) National Health Service Pensions Agency. The trust does not have any influence, though we are supporting Mrs Bell as much as we can to try to put her case forward for ill-health retirement."
Mike Garrity, of the NHS Pensions Agency, said: "Under the NHS pension scheme The NHS Pension Scheme is a large pension scheme for people who work for the English and Welsh National Health Service. It is administered by the NHS Pensions Agency, which is now a Special Health Authority at arm's length from the Department of Health. , when we receive an application for retirement, we have a firm of medical advisers which performs a medical assessment. We've to look at that and make a judgement based on the balance of evidence.
"Mr Bell has also been onto our medical advisers. Though his wife's claim has been rejected, it is currently undergoing a review.
"If a person remains unhappy, they're advised that they can go to the Pension Advisory Service. If they think there is a case to answer, they can push it to the pensions ombudsman."
DRAINED: Career nurse Jane Bell is finding it hard to fight her incapacitating illness and the NHS Pensions Agency. Picture: MICHELLE MICHELLE Mid-Infrared Echelle Spectrograph SPERRY