Work and RA

Hi, this is my first post as I have only just been diagnosed with RA having seen a doctor and blood test due to having the typical symptoms of early RA.

I wonder if anyone can help me regarding my questions concerning work. I do work which basically involves driving a HGV vehicle in order to deliver rather heavy items to businesses or domestic property. I struggled a little on one day last wee, and coped during the others. I had a couple of days off around September due to shoulder pain which I thought was a frozen shoulder but I'm wondering now if it was the onset of RA as it was a recurring pain. Anyway, if I would be unable to carry on with my employment, is it likely my employers would find me another job within the company. It's a large company. I would say a household name for what it delivers. And recently, due to the driver shortage, they have increased my wages twice in a year so the pay is pretty good at the moment. If I was assigned to another type of work, could they then lower my wages if the new role was usually payed less?

I haven't told my employer yet as I would like to see how things transpire. I am supposed to visit the rheumatology department of the local hospital in the next couple of weeks my doctor said. Incidentally, my employer does apparently have a HR department and there's at least one occupational therapist I believe the title is.

I am not a member of a trade union which I now regret for their support.

Any help would be much appreciated.


  • chrisb
    chrisb Moderator Posts: 663

    Hi @Ader1  

    Welcome to the versus arthritis forum. 

    I see that you have recently been diagnosed with RA. You drive an HGV and are concerned that if you have to give up driving that, whilst your employer may find you a different position in the company, you may have to accept a pay reduction. You’d appreciate any input/advice from other forum members who can shed any light on your employment rights. 

    On a positive note, you’re due to see rheumatologist shortly who may be able to help with the management of your shoulder pain and your employer has some support mechanisms in place. 

    This link to the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society has a booklet and your employment rights that may be useful: 

    The booklet is free and can be ‘bought’ as a PDF of booklet through the post. The nras website also has a helpline that you may wish to consider calling for further information. 

    This link suggests a variety of exercises that may help ease your shoulder pain: 

    I hope you receive some useful information from members and that you are able to manage your symptoms such that you can carry on with your current employment. 

    Best Wishes

    ChrisB (Moderator)

    Need more help - call our Helpline on 0800 5200 520 Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm

  • Ader1
    Ader1 Member Posts: 4

    Thank you. Unfortunately, I now have swollen hands and feet too. I should have mentioned. What happens when I meet the Rheumatologist? Does he/she try out some drug to see if it works or is there a standards first drug that they administer?