Work and Arthritis

Mark65
Mark65 Member Posts: 5
edited 25. Jun 2021, 22:14 in Work and Financial

A little about myself I'm 55yrs old and I'm employed 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 and hopefully be redeployed to a less strenuous position.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.

Comments

  • Mike1
    Mike1 Member Posts: 1,706

    You will not necessarily get PIP just because you have limited mobility, it is designed to provide for the additional costs inherent with disability and the process is not that straight forward, seehttps://www.gov.uk/pip/how-to-claim . I would suggest that you speak with someone from the CAB. You may be eligible for something else, see https://www.gov.uk/browse/benefits/unable-to-work, hope that helps.

  • Mark65
    Mark65 Member Posts: 5

    Well guys we are now in the middle of August and I have still not returned to work. After getting letters in the middle of July from both my Orthopaedic Consultant and my GP saying I could now return to work but advising me not to carry on plastering and tiling . I forwarded these letters to my employer who then got in touch with an Independent Occupational Health advisor who came to the same conclusion as my Consultant and GP following a telephone appointment with myself. Since that appointment I have been advised by my employer to attend a capabilities meeting at my employer's office next week with a view to terminating my contract which i have held for nearly 23yrs. I have been in contact with my union and they are looking at the Equalities act 2010 but just wondered if anyone else can offer any advice as i didn't really expect to be looking at being finished on ill health but rather being redeployed .

  • PeterJ
    PeterJ Moderator Posts: 140

    Hi @Mark65 have you tried our Helpline

    They may have some guidance

    Best of luck

    Peter

  • Mike1
    Mike1 Member Posts: 1,706

    If you have a pension scheme with your employer you may get it paid immediately plus a lump sum if you are given retirement on medical grounds. Meanwhile get some advice as detailed above and/or from the CAB and see if you can raise the subject of redeployment at the meeting.

  • MoWW
    MoWW Member Posts: 65

    Hello @Mark65

    Thank you for reaching out to the forum, you have certainly been through a lot. It is good that you have had one of the knee replacements done, however appreciate that your trade is no longer suitable for you to continue and to try to manage your condition, you need to consider another role.

    ACAS will give you information on your rights, your employer should consider redeployment and any training that may help you move to a new role. Disability at work | Acas Your local disability employment adviser DEA, at the job centre may be able to work with you and your employer to support you or refer you to an employability service, I have no idea of your location, however if you check this link you should be able to access your local DEA. About Disability Employment Advisors (jobcentreguide.co.uk)

    In order to ensure you understand your rights I have put together some links. The Equality Act 2020 definition of disability can be found here, Definition of disability under the Equality Act 2010 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) and Disability discrimination | Equality and Human Rights Commission (equalityhumanrights.com) from what you are experiencing it does sound as if you would be covered as you are living with a long term progressive condition.

    Your union rep should be able to help you to discuss your condition with your employer and explore solutions. Your unions website will have details of the support available. The TUC has a disabled workers network that you may find of interest, TUC LESE Disabled Members Network | TUC and information for disabled workers, Disability | TUC

    Anyone living with a long term condition or disability can apply to the Access to work scheme for additional equipment, travel support, a support worker or mental health support, depending on your job and the impact of your condition you can ask for an independent assessment to look at what, if any of these options, you might need in a new role. Get support in work if you have a disability or health condition (Access to Work) - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) If you are moving internally to a new role or externally to a new job, any application to the scheme within the first six weeks of starting work will mean your employer would not be required to contribute to the costs (there are exceptions for public sector jobs).

    You also mentioned claiming PIP, as above answer it is always recommended that you get support from your local disability welfare rights team or Citizens advice - use your postcode to check what is in your area. I have also looked at the likelihood that you may be able to claim IIDB Industrial injuries disablement benefit, Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefits: technical guidance - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) This is specific to conditions and types of work, one of these mentions a OA of the knee, the guidance explains it as referring to employees who undertook 'Work wholly or mainly fitting or laying carpets or floors, (other than concrete floors) for a period of, or periods which amount in aggregate to, 20 years or more.' I am unsure whether this is relevant to you, however it may be useful to check this out with the welfare adviser too or if your union has legal advice. Some useful sites about PIP, Take the PIP test (benefitsandwork.co.uk) How to claim PIP - Citizens Advice and Personal Independence Payment (PIP) - What I Do - Kester Disability Rights

    I appreciate this is a lot of information to take in and that you will be anxious about the forthcoming meeting with your employer. If you wish to discuss any of this information please get in touch, my details are within this link Working Well with Arthritis (versusarthritis.org)

    take care

    @MoWW

  • Mark65
    Mark65 Member Posts: 5
    edited 23. Aug 2021, 11:33

    Hi @MoWW

    Thank you so much for all the information you have provided me with I will be for ever grateful.

    Cheers Mark65

  • Mark65
    Mark65 Member Posts: 5

    Thank you so much for all the helpful advice you have provided really Appreciate it, will let you know how I get on.

  • MoWW
    MoWW Member Posts: 65

    Hi @Mark65

    glad that it might be of some help, living with a long term condition is challenging especially if you do not have the support or information you need to assert your rights. However being able to discuss your condition with your employer and working with them to find a solution to help you continue to work is the start. I hope your meeting goes well.

    kind regards

    Maureen @MoWW