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Can occupational health make you "go off sick?"

speedalongspeedalong Posts: 3,347
Hi, just joined the forum.

I teach in a primary special needs school. I must say I'm now finding the physical side of things tiring and a struggle, but would like to keep working until have op, so can have as much time off as I need afterwards. Also I would go stir crazy not working!! I have a THR of the left hip. I have OA in the right hip and am on the waiting list for an op (hoping for a resurface - but might be another THR.) I also have earlier stage OA in my right knee - but is currently hard to tell if pain is mainly caused by the hip.

My current management are not very interested, understanding or helpful. I don't trust them either!!

The head is going to refer me to Occupational health (if he ever gets round to it.) I suspect he is going to suggest I'm not fit for work until I have the op.

Any comments, suggestion, advice etc

Speedalong
I have had OA since mid twenties. It affects my hips and knees. I had a THR on the left aged 30 and now have a resurface-replacement on the right - done May 2010.

Comments

  • margie1margie1 Posts: 57
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi speedalong (love the name) lol

    I work in a college with special needs students and have "mild" OA in my lumbar spine and am waiting for xray results for c3 top of spine, and i saw occ health this week having been off work for 8weeks. The nurse has said that i can start back on Monday and see how i go for the first 2 weeks doing a self assessment within my job role. she then said if i find it hard she will reduce my hours for a week or so to see how i go on and would inform my manager (who will not be happy). :roll:
    so I think they do have a say in what happens regarding sickness but not sure if they can sign you off unless you see a doctor as i only saw the nurse.
    Hope you go on ok
    take care

    marg x
  • dorcasdorcas Posts: 3,538
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Speedalong, :D

    I think I said hi to you on the chit chat forum but nice to see you posting!.

    As you have had OA for some time it is likely you have 'a qualifying condition' as described under the Disability Discrimination Act.

    Under DDA you are considered to have a disability if 'you have a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long term adverse effect on your ability to carry out normal day to day activities'.
    This means in practice that you have certain rights in law,and your employer has duties and obligations towards you. For example you have the right to have your needs fully assessed and for 'reasonable adjustments' to be made that will allow you to continue to work.

    Not all employers are aware of their responsibilities so getting the right information both for you and them is really important!.

    Your boss should have contacted OH to request an assessment to see what support can and should be given to keep you in your job...not to push you out the door!!
    It might be worth you contacting your local Jobcentre Plus and ask to speak to a Disability Employment Adviser; they can arrange an assessment of you/ your job via Access to Work who will make recommendations to your employer about support or changes to the workplace to assist you to stay in work. AtW may also fund elements of any support package.

    The arthritis care website has very useful information on DDA. If you go up to the top of this page and click on 'Publications and Resources' and then use the search bar.
    The http://www.equalityhumanrights.com website has a lot of very useful information too about your rights and employers duties.
    Also http://www.rheumatoid.org.uk has very good self help guidance on employment and RA that you can read online or send for . the booklet 'I Want to Work: a self help guide for People with Rheumatoid Arthritis' is excellent ( the guidance applies irrespective of the type of arther).

    sorry :oops: I've probably overwhelmed you :roll: but I know how important it is to get the correct information as soon as you can about this. Irisx.
  • speedalongspeedalong Posts: 3,347
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thank you Margie and Dorcas,

    I am finding this whole work/occy health thing rather overwhelming and frightening - so advice and support very welcome. I have never declared or considered myself disabled ... but have to say since end of last year - if I'm honest I am, as I do struggle to do everyday things that able bodied peeps do without a second thought. Do I need to do something to be covered by the DDA?
    Dorcas if they cut your hours - will you still be on same pay?

    Speedalong
    I have had OA since mid twenties. It affects my hips and knees. I had a THR on the left aged 30 and now have a resurface-replacement on the right - done May 2010.
  • dorcasdorcas Posts: 3,538
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi speedalong,

    It is very hard to describing yourself as 'disabled' ; I hated having to use that word when dealing with my employer as it somehow felt I had crossed over into being viewed differently at work.......but I now realise that it was the psychological and emotional impact on 'me' in admitting it that was the real barrier...not what others thought.
    It is really hard for us to admit that to ourselves never mind others!

    I say that I have a 'disabling condition' rather than 'being disabled' if that makes any sense?

    Check out the websites and you quickly will realise that with your OA (as you have described) you do come under the definition of having a condition that is protected by the DDA.....it's the long term 'impact' that arther has on us in carrying out daily tasks (and work tasks) that is the defining criteria.

    What I would strongly advise is that you begin by telling your employer that you believe you have a qualifying condition under DDA and ask that your boss refer you to an OH doctor.

    Assume that your boss knows nothing about DDA (which will probably be true anyway) So, insist that the referral ask specifically for the doc to give an opinion on whether your condition comes under DDA and to recommend what can be put in place to support you in your job (what is called reasonable adjustments).
    This can include changes to the work environment, reduction in hours, changes to starting/ finishing times and adaptations (chair etc). The occy doc will also make it clear in his report that your employer has obligations towards you that are legally binding.

    At the same time you can (I think you should) contact JobcentrePlus and ask for an Access to Work Assessment (ATW).....they assess folks who have been off work long term sick BUT ALSO peeps in work who have a disability (that word again!!) but struggling with some aspects of work. A Disability and Employment Adviser (DEA) will speak with you on the phone, ask a few questions to establish that you do qualify for their help under DDA and then s/he will complete the application for ATW assessment and then send it out to you for signing. They will then arrange for an assessor to meet you at work to assess your needs. It's a fairly quick process (from the time you are assessed to a report being done takes only ten days) and should help you enormously.

    Always always begin by saying to any of these bods that you believe you have a qualifying condition under DDA...that way there is no room for doubt and they must consider you seriously!!

    Please take action...do not leave it to your bosses to be benign towards you.....do not assume they will know what they should be doing to support you...or that they know about their responsibilities under DDA...........because THEY will not!

    Get everything in writing and always have a union rep with you at any meetings.....this is your job and it's important to you.

    The only reason I know about DDA and Atw is because I had to go through what you are going through. Don't let it drift as the only one to suffer will be you. You just need to read some of the awful stories on this forum to realise that.
    good luck and keep on posting.

    I've done it again, haven't I...rambling on.. :oops: Irisx
  • speedalongspeedalong Posts: 3,347
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Iris - thanks for all your advice - real food for thought.

    I like your comment about considering I have a disabling condition - yes that is currently true.

    I have had OA since mid twenties ... but then after THR (at 30) was arthritis free until late 30's ... and once I have recovered from the hip op I'm awaiting I will only have mild OA in my knee ... (until the next time ...) Would going the disability route make me a fraud, as I am going to hopefully improve within next year?

    Speedalong
    I have had OA since mid twenties. It affects my hips and knees. I had a THR on the left aged 30 and now have a resurface-replacement on the right - done May 2010.
  • dorcasdorcas Posts: 3,538
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    speedalong wrote:
    Iris - thanks for all your advice - real food for thought.

    I like your comment about considering I have a disabling condition - yes that is currently true.

    I have had OA since mid twenties ... but then after THR (at 30) was arthritis free until late 30's ... and once I have recovered from the hip op I'm awaiting I will only have mild OA in my knee ... (until the next time ...) Would going the disability route make me a fraud, as I am going to hopefully improve within next year?

    Speedalong

    absolutely NOT!!! you will not be a fraud.

    Having the THR will alleviate the problem in your hip but it will not (unfortunately) make you OA free will it?

    You have described in your thread the problems you are experiencing with arther and the tiredness that goes with it. That is all real..... not imagined or exaggerated.....you are no fraud!
    Iris x
  • speedalongspeedalong Posts: 3,347
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thanks Iris,
    no I suppose not.

    I spend my life helping the (special needs) children in my class and my foster son (who has autism) strive to reach their maximum potential ... and believing in their ability to do so. I seem to be going in the opposite direction. However I also use lots of techniques and equipment to help the children and young people do as much as they can - I guess adaptions fall under this criteria?!

    I will get to grips with this. How lucky I am that I discovered this forum. Thank you to yourself and everyone. I definitely feel less alone with all this - it is hard to know who to discuss it with amongst friends and work colleagues.

    Speedalong.
    I have had OA since mid twenties. It affects my hips and knees. I had a THR on the left aged 30 and now have a resurface-replacement on the right - done May 2010.
  • dorcasdorcas Posts: 3,538
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I so admire what you are doing in working with children with special needs.....and helping your foster son who also has his difficulties.

    You do have a lot of responsibility and obviously care very deeply for others...that comes across loud and clear in your posts.

    But sometimes carers forget or just don't see that they too need (and deserve) a little of the same TLC that they so freely give to others? My mother used to say to me 'you cannot get water from an empty barrel, so take time to stock your own energy reserves'.

    You need to take care of you! OA is a painful debilitating condition and I've read when you've answered other peeps posts around the forum just how bad the OA has been at times for you.

    The forum is a life line for me and for lots of others and it's great that you have joined us and finding it supportive too. you need never feel alone here!

    take care.....and keep posting. Iris x
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