I'm so worried. Can anyone help

ritwren
ritwren Member Posts: 928
Ok guys I'm going to cut a long story short and say.
I've been living with what was diagnosed last year as OA. I was so stiff and sore back in march and had to take time off work, I'd already been off a couple of times with the same thing only not as bad. Just when things settled down and I was hoping to get back to work I stepped and broke my ankle. I was in plaster and crutches for weeks on end as it took much longer than expected to heal. Still with me? Thank You.
I endured long physio etc..... to get me to a stage where I was going back to work on reduced duties, phased return when my Other leg swole up and I could'nt put my foot to the ground. After trying to bear with it and my GP not knowing what was wrong ? thought it might have been tendonitis. :roll: I went to A&E and the Dr. there immediately told me I'd have to see a Rheumatologist that day and that I obviously had a very bad Psoriatic Arthritis flare up, when I saw the Consultant that day he says last years diagnosis was a misdiagnosis. Anyhow they confirmed the diagnosis of PA and admitted me to hospital for a week. I had im steriods and drainage and more steroid injections into the foot. Since discharge I've been on different pain meds and Methotrexate. I feel I am getting there all be it slowly. When I had my first review last week they said the disease was still quite active they will give me injections from this week on and then increase the dose.
Today I saw Occy Health at work and she has scared the wits out of me. I've been on half pay since June, due to run out next month. But Rheumatology last week say I should'nt go back to work yet, my GP agrees and he gave me another sick line for 4 weeks yesterday. Occy Health are now scaring me with dismissal as I am coming up to no pay. Can they do this? I work for the NHS. The OH Dr,. is going to write to Rheumy and ask how long I can reasonable expect to be off. I did remind her that I was mis diagnosed last year and have only very recently started treatment for the type of Arthritis I have. She also says that I may have to go in front of a committiee to see if they can dismiss me or offer me alternative work if there is any available and if there is'nt then I will have to leave. :( I got the feeling she was trying to get me to agree to Medical Retirement as she mentioned it a few times but I would'nt get any money as I've only been paying in for about 5-10 years.
I live alone and would not be able to manage without any money or if I lost my job. Please can anyone help or tell me what I should do? When I asked last week about going back to work at the Rheumatology they said I should be resting and taking it easy and not thinking about going back to work at the moment. I don't know what to do and im a bit of a state. Thank you for listening.
Rita
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Comments

  • janie68
    janie68 Member Posts: 1,186
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I'm just Bout to go to work for NHS this morning so I have to be quick. If u go for I'll health retirement, u will get something as they enhance yr pension. Pls phone yr payroll up today Nd find out, the rules were changed. Could u go for dla, ESA to help bolster your income? Start researching.

    Will look in later, must go

    janie
  • markc1
    markc1 Member Posts: 253
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    janie68 wrote:
    I'm just Bout to go to work for NHS this morning so I have to be quick. If u go for I'll health retirement, u will get something as they enhance yr pension. Pls phone yr payroll up today Nd find out, the rules were changed. Could u go for dla, ESA to help bolster your income? Start researching.

    Will look in later, must go

    janie

    If its anything like medical retirement from the prison service Janie then you would have to be dead!!
  • ritwren
    ritwren Member Posts: 928
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thanks very much for taking the time to answer me. I know how busy folk are and it helps to know someone is listening.
    The thing is that I want to go back to work and the Rheumy team are very hopeful that I will be able to and so am I. I've only been on treatment a matter of a few months and now they're going to increase the Methotrexate and give it by injection I'm even more hopeful. Occy Health seem to forget this and also that most of my time off was taken up by me having a broken ankle and in crutches. :roll: I just can't see how they can put me out to pasture when all along my manager has been saying that when I come back I can still do so many things I won't have to leave my current post.
    I just feel that I'm slipping down a dark road of low mood instead of being happy that something is being done at last to help treat this awful disease.
    I'm hoping they can't just let me go without giving me a chance once the drugs properly kick in which I'm hoping will be in the not too distant future.
  • topgirl
    topgirl Member Posts: 290
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I think they would be on very dodgy ground if you:
    Want to go back
    Havent had enough time on medication

    If you have house insurance with legal cover , ring the helpline and get some advice....
    I have had 6 months of work this year with RA( like you awaiting medication to work) and also had 7 months last year off as my condition was misdiagnoised( they tho i needed an op on my knee)
    Im pretty sure that your place of work has to give you enough time on medication before any decision is made and any medical expert will tell you that it takes alot of time before you see an improvement.....
    Please try not to worry and apply for DLA
    best wishes
    Kay
    xx
  • ritwren
    ritwren Member Posts: 928
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Topgirl thanks for your support and letting me know your situation. I feel reassured that you too have had time off work but are still working.
    Today I spoke to someone higher up than me and she says OH are being far too premature. She has told me not to spend any time worrying about this as there is no way in the world they will let me go without giving me a chance to get back to work and giving the medication a chance to work. She says it's far too early to be making decisions like giving up if I don't want to and they fully understand my recent diagnosis and starting medication. I've been thinking and I may even have the option perhaps of reducing my hours if things don't work out as well as we'd like them to. Thank goodness. I think OH Dr. has her own agenda or perhaps personal experience of someone else who has had a much more difficult time than me with Arthritis.
    rita
  • janie68
    janie68 Member Posts: 1,186
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Well that's good news, I had your problem but the other way round, manager was telling me to retire and oh were having none of it!

    Luckily, after being off ill for the best part of a year, I have managed to get back to work on a ward part time while I wait for the anti-tnf to work, so I'm sure that you are getting much support from your manager who understands you, and knows you best, not the oh doctor. I got told that management etc will help genuine people who have problems back to work in whatever way possible and besides surely the nhs should be gold standard with these kind of things!!

    Still I looked into pension side of things and esa because you never know....

    Glad you are feeling a little better about things

    Janie
  • ritwren
    ritwren Member Posts: 928
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Janie
    thanks for your input. It's really good to hear from anyone here especially someone who works for the same firm as it were. Glad to hear you've gotten back to work and hope you are getting on ok.
    It will be interesting to see when I do go back just how it all pans out, in terms both of what I can and can't do and how they accept that. I have my first s/c Methotrexate tomorrow am. Fingers crossed it all goes ok.
    rita
  • topgirl
    topgirl Member Posts: 290
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Im glad you are feeling a bit better about things now...
    Its bad enough having this condition plus worrying about your job..
    Take as much time off as you need.
    Keep in touch
    xx
  • penfactor
    penfactor Member Posts: 366
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Rita
    The advice you've been given is absolutely right. I had that sort of thing threatened initially after I'd only been signed off a month but when they realised what they were doing was illegal it stopped!
    I think they just try it on hoping you'll give up without fighting at first.
    You are definitely entitled to ESA when the SSP stops & your company must send you the form for this with their bit filled in. Please don't worry, hon.
    Love Pen Xx
  • ritwren
    ritwren Member Posts: 928
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Pen and Kay thanks so much for reading (again) and replying with encouragement. Like many of us I'm much better at giving it than asking for it. :) I got a letter from ESA people after filling out forms and they say they will give me the low rate but as yet I've not recieved it. Fingers crossed it will come soon.
    I spoke to the Rheumy nurse this morning when I had my 1st injection and she agrees with you all. The ball is in my court and they are way out of line. She did tell me not to worry 'tho and to stick to my guns. She also told me to take as much time as I need to be strong before going back and not to go back prematurely.
    I feel so much stronger than I did now. Thanks again to everyone. I will keep you guys up to date if anything else happens.
    rita
  • topgirl
    topgirl Member Posts: 290
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hey, thats what we are here for
    :D
  • ritwren
    ritwren Member Posts: 928
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thanks Topgirl.
    Just recieved today a book of things to fill out called Limited capability for Work questionare.
    It has things like can you answer a telephone, can you walk up 2 steps if you have a rail to hold on to,can you sit on a chair, can you bend to touch your knees. My hands almost touch my knees without me having to move much at all as I have really long arms and Thank Goodness yes I can do all of the above too. Seems the Northern Ireland form is not the same as the Scottish form I was looking at on one of the threads here. Anyhow looks like I won't be getting ESA now either as I'm obviously far too well. As work are going to stop paying me and I already have a job although I'm not able to do it at the moment. What on earth am I going to live on. I live alone and have all the usual bills everyone else has.
    It's just one thing after another. Hopefully I'll be able to get back to work in a few weeks or so. Thanks for listening.
    rita
  • penfactor
    penfactor Member Posts: 366
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Rita
    I just got a letter today telling me form was on it's way!! From what you say the questions are, I could not give a straight yes/no reply to many! Could I answer a telephone? Depends where it is - if it's too low or too high NO! Same for sitting on a chair - How high/low is seat? I have had to have my sofa raised & have to use this special adapt-ion to loo etc. Also would my company be happy for to go to work bare foot in trainers as cannot put my special work socks on!
    I would tick no, if that only option rather than yes & they can come & see for themselves if they don't believe me!
    Are you going to see if CAB/DIAL can help you with form? I am going to though can't get out to office yet so going to see if they can help by phone.
    Hope you are OK today - thinking of you as I am always thinking of my cyber mates here! love Pennie Xx
  • ritwren
    ritwren Member Posts: 928
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Pennie thanks so much, I can't tell you how much the support that's available on here means to me. I've spent the past couple of days in and out of tears feeling all sorts of emotions because of all this. I will speak to someone if I have to stay off work longer than my present sick line as after that time I'll have no money whatsoever coming in.
    These forms are dreadful for folk who have good and bad days to be truthful and want to get back to work at some stage. For now I'm going to continue trying to get through days and get stronger and better.
    rita
  • c4thyg
    c4thyg Member Posts: 542
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Rita,

    I'm so sorry that you are going through this. I'll have to try and make this brief as I find it upsetting as I was sacked for the same reason this year.

    There is one question I have that is, are you on probation? If not them they cannot get rid of you by law. Your sick pay might run out by they have to hold your job open for at least 12 months depending on your contract. I was sacked a week before my probation ran out on the grounds of not being able to prove that I would never have problems again!! I have a heart so I cannot prove that i will never have a heart attack. Anyway, before I get angry again I'll stop.

    Don't let them force you out. You are better off with no pay but a job to go back to than with no job at all.
  • brokenwings
    brokenwings Member Posts: 5
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hallo Rita,
    I'm really sorry to read of your troubles and what you are going through.
    I homed in on your comments about the attitude and policies of your Occ Health Dept because as a nurse of some experience, I too developed serious disability, and I experienced all the stuff you are hearing and going through.
    I told myself at the time that this couldn't be real: this is the caring-sharing NHS, and I'm an experienced, therefore valuable, health professional. But it WAS real, and the Trusts managers were ruthless and completely unsupportive. No answers were given to my requests for help and advice about my employment rights, and no "accommodation" was made for disability in my workplace.
    I was put under a lot of pressure to make a choice: to struggle on, in my present work-role, however painful and difficult, or sign up to a "redeployment policy", which once accepted, would have given me a 4 week time frame to compete (yes, compete!!) for any more suitable post that might (repeat, might) come up - failing which, 'thank you and good-bye'.
    It is vitally important to know your basic rights under the Disability Discrimination Act (see EHRC website) because given a chance, the NHS can and will seek to abuse them. Obviously most NHS Trusts are of a size that they have absolutely no excuse for failing to accommodate and support employees who become disabled but yet I had to sue mine for the salary their actions denied me. These cases never receive publicity, because victims have to sign 'gagging clauses'.
    But its a very poor way indeed to end a 20 year nursing career, I promise you. So. Good luck. (But don't, whatever you do, trust these people).
  • ritwren
    ritwren Member Posts: 928
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Cathy and Brokenwings thank you so very much for sharing your stories and responding to my post. I'm so sorry to read that from the sounds of things you've both had the most difficult of times yourselves.
    I'm not on probation, never have been, I've never been ill before this.It's good to know they can't sack me without giving me a chance. I will take your advice and all the advice from everyone on here and will not leave or sign anything to do with redeployment. If it comes to that I'll make sure my Union rep is with me. OH did say something about redeployment at some stage of the conversation but also said they'd talk about it another time. :?: I had no idea that is how it works Brokenwings, I thought it just ment moving me to another area. :oops:
    The stress all this is causing is immense and I am trying hard not to let it get the better of me.
    Thanks again for all your help and support.
    rita
  • brokenwings
    brokenwings Member Posts: 5
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Dear Rita,
    Yes, its only natural to think that managers you've maybe known for years will help and support you, and simply move you to a more suitable post by negotiation and agreement. And sometimes, yes that might happen. But NHS Trusts are increasingly run like businesses and the over-riding factor is the drive to cut costs. Of course its never the plethora of "intitiatives", or the ever-increasing numbers of shiny-badged managers who are cut back on - and because sick front-line staff cost them a fortune (because they have to continue to pay you, AND someone to cover your post) it suits them to treat you as disposable. This is patently illegal, but they'll take that risk, knowing that theres a pay-off more often than not, simply because people do not know their rights, are under stress, and will probably cave in to pressure - and leave.
    The problem is that if you are NOT redeployed by your NHS employer, who else is going to have you? You may well have transferable skills, but, if you've had substantial sick leave, and a history of complex health needs, then in a job market like todays, you may as well forget it. (As my Jobcentre Disability advisor told me). Sorry to sound gloomy, but thats the reality you have to protect yourself against. (One of the first questions on a job application form these days is "How much sick leave have you taken in the last year?")
    I agree entirely that it is an extremely stressful experience. I went into shock: I could not believe that managers I had regarded as friends, that I had worked hard to support year in, year out, could suddenly 'turn their backs'. I'll never, ever, get over it. Its good that you have union support (but do check out the DDA for yourself).
    Best wishes, take care.
  • dorcas
    dorcas Member Posts: 3,515
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    ritwren wrote:
    Pennie thanks so much, I can't tell you how much the support that's available on here means to me. I've spent the past couple of days in and out of tears feeling all sorts of emotions because of all this. I will speak to someone if I have to stay off work longer than my present sick line as after that time I'll have no money whatsoever coming in.
    These forms are dreadful for folk who have good and bad days to be truthful and want to get back to work at some stage. For now I'm going to continue trying to get through days and get stronger and better.
    rita

    Hi ritwren, I am new to this forum but not new to the problems you are experiencing with your employer! There IS help out there.... I too have PA and have been off work for seven months following wrist fusion op and have to have further surgery (wrist replacement other wrist) in 2010. I was very worried about the impact this was having on my employment and contacted my union for advice- they provided me with info & support and have been with me when meeting with HR/ Managers (remember you are entitled to have someone with you as a representative when meeting with your employer). You RA ,& PA are qualifying conditions under the Disability Discrimination Act & employers are obliged to make 'reasonable adjustments' to the workplace to accommodate your disability and if you are medically unable to continue in your current job to look at alternative employ within the organisation (depending on size of the organisation). It would also be worth your while contacting 'Access to Work' via your local Jobcentre Plus (can find this via dwp website- look under disability & employment). They provide advice, support and information to enable you to continue / return to work & will arrange for you to have an independent assessment of your condition in relation to the impact this has on your ability to do your job- at no cost to you!. They also contact your employer & provide them with recommendations to enable you to stay in work eg. reduction in working hours, provision of ergonomic 'hardware', physical support. Do not lose heart! employers are required by law not to discriminate in terms of disability. good luck & if I can be of further help, shout!
  • ritwren
    ritwren Member Posts: 928
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thank you Brokenwings and Dorcas for all your support and advice and information. You've all been smashing and have really opened my eyes. I realise I am very niave in these things, expecting the best from everyone.
    I am seeing my Rheumy nurse weekly at the moment and hoping the injections kick in and let me get back to work in another few weeks. Even if I got back to 2 days a week it would be a start I think. I can hardly bear to think of this all at the moment.
    Also despite a letter saying I was going to get ESA I've still not been paid any money and they said I could have it from september 7th or 9th. After I'd been told I was granted it I gave them a couple of weeks then rang to say why had'nt I got any money. They said they'd not gotten a sick sert from sept. I sent them a duplicate nearly 2 weeks ago.
    I honestly don't think I can make one more phone call about it. :roll:
    rita
  • dorcas
    dorcas Member Posts: 3,515
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    No wonder you have reached the end of your tether... with all the bureaucratic red tape and incompetence of everyone- employer & now the dwp staff! If you still don't get money contact CAB and ask them to make the calls on your behalf. It is soul destroying and I am vexed for you... but remember you are not alone Rita and folks in this community will support you.
    Hope your injections start to kick in soon.... keep your chin up! Dorcas x
  • ritwren
    ritwren Member Posts: 928
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Dorcas I honestly can't tell you how much your support and advice means and that of the other kind folk who have posted here. I'd never have thought of getting in touch with CAB to ring for me. I think I'll make an appointment for next week and have a chat with them. Although at the moment even that seems stressfull but if I've not gotten any money into my account that's what I'll do. I will need advice to fill out the latest form to arrive, Limited capability for work questionnaire.
    Big hugs to you all and many many thanks.
    rita
  • penfactor
    penfactor Member Posts: 366
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi again Rita!
    I have posted this link for you - it is a booklet written by independent advisor's to help fill in the form that's bugging us both at the mo!
    Take your time going through it - I've nearly finished my form now with help from this & my lovely son. Hope you see this post - let me know, hon?
    love Pennie X

    http://www.nwdial.org.uk/training files/esa_physical_lcw.pdf
  • ritwren
    ritwren Member Posts: 928
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Pennie thanks very much for the link. I've had a good look at it. Even reading these things stresses me out at the moment .In truth it still seems to me to be unreasonable and does not take into account how I am.
    I will see how it goes as at the moment I'm still determined to get back to work at the end of this sick cert. It's all so difficult.
    Thanks again, rita
  • ritwren
    ritwren Member Posts: 928
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi guys I'm delighted to say I got my money paid into my bank account this morning. I think you all know what a relief it is. :)
    Now I just need to get some help to fill in the limited capacity for work form although I think once they read it they won't give me any more money.
    Thanks again for all your help and support.
    rita

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