Arthritis and finishing my current job.

Hi Guys,

A little about myself I'm 55yrs old and work as a plasterer/tiler. About 4 yrs ago i started having pain and swelling in my left knee, after seeing my doctor and after having my knee examined it was decided a course of physiotherapy was needed, after around 6 sessions of this the pain and swelling subsided. After about 8 months the pain and swelling reappeared so again I went down the physiotherapy route that worked on the previous occasion. This time however the physio didn't work as well so I was offered a course of hydrotherapy which seemed to work albeit just for a short while. After suffering pain and stiffness in the knee I went To see the doctor again, this time my knee needed fluid drawing off the knee and a prescription was given for pain killers and anti inflammatory medication. Again the pain returned after a few months and I was now finding it difficult to both work and walk and the pain was becoming unbearable at times even whilst at rest in bed. Needless to say another doctors appointment was needed, this time I was referred to my local hospital and had to see an orthopedic consultant and to have X-rays taken of my knee.These X-rays showed osteoarthritis of my left knee so much so that an MRI scan was needed to fully show the extent of the damage caused by the disease. In the end the X-rays showed with out doubt a knee replacement was need as the meniscus was all but gone, by this time it was the middle of March 2020 and yes you've guessed it right at the start of the corona virus pandemic so I was put on a waiting list , I couldn't work as a plasterer do to the severe pain I was now suffering in my knee but the furlough scheme came to my rescue I was on this till I think September 2020 (still waiting for my knee replacement) when the Government decided it was safe for all construction workers to return to work. I was now in a position where I couldn't do my job due to arthritis so I had no alternative but to use my accrued holidays which were 5 weeks worth I then had to register my self as sick after seeing the doctor and getting a ''not fit for work note''...Just before Christmas 2020 I started having pain in the other knee so I was given a scan of the right knee and got another positive diagnosis of osteoarthritis in that knee too although not as bad as the left knee my consultant thinks it will also need replacing at some point although as expected he cant say when. On the 7th of April 2021 I eventually got my left knee replaced but I'm now getting increased pain in my right knee, My consultant as advised me that its probably better for me not to go back to being a plasterer /Tiler to both protect my new knee and to try and give my right knee some longevity. I'm due to return to work by the middle of July but I'm now beginning to fear for my job and I'm feeling a little anxious as I want to tell my employers that i want to pack in my old job as a plasterer to protect my health.What help if any is there for me ,do I have any employment protection and would I qualify for any personal Independent payment due to my limited mobility issues. Its all very confusing and worrying for me.