Weighing up my options


I work in NHS, split role clinical / managerial. I was recently diagnosed with cmc osteoarthritis in my non dominant hand ( but also beginning in my other hand). My clinical role involves a high level of manual dexterity and I am not allowed to wear my splint in clinical setting. The splint would be too restrictive to carry out my job anyway. I am finding it increasingly painful to do clinical tasks although there are some days when it’s not to bad.

My consultant said to avoid tasks that hurt, so by continuing to use my hands in this way might this speed up the progress of the arthritis? I have a occupational health appointment soon and not sure what to expect. My line manager has suggested I take on my managerial tasks and spread the load that way but I like being with patients.

I am in the fortunate position that I was considering taking early retirement in next couple of years, but had planned on continuing to do some clinical hours and letting someone else do management side.I now feel that this choice is being taken away from me - but is it right to continue if I am making the condition worse when I don’t need to? The earlier I go, the more of a reduction will apply to my pension. I also have caring commitments outside of work which would not change.


  • jamieA
    jamieA Member Posts: 738

    Hi @EleanorJP

    I wouldn't consider trying to give you any advice on what to do - I realise that everyone is different and have different circumstances. However I found myself in a not too dissimilar situation in 2017. I'd worked for 45 years, the last 27 for the same company. I enjoyed my job most of the time, managing a small IT team with a great degree of independence - my senior manager was 600 kilometres south. But in 2015 I had had to take an extended time off after being diagnosed with disc problems in my back and neck so I was less mobile and couldn't travel as much as I'd previously did for work. Then in 2017 my company outsourced my department to a company based abroad. So in my case I had no real option but to take early retirement 4½ years before state pension age. The chances of me getting a similar job locally were nil.

    I worried initially about the financial impact of a reduced company pension. The top line figures for salary vs pension were stark. So I sat down and listed everything I could think of that would change financially. I took into account my reduced income but also took into account the fact I wouldn't be paying national insurance or pension contributions and far less tax. I also calculated my savings in costs from not going out to work - car costs, fuel costs, lunch and coffee costs, costs of business suits/shirts/shoes - everything I could think of. Lastly I factored in drawing down on my pension tax free lump sum over an extended period as a top up to my pension. That all closed the gap between salary and pension considerably.

    I also got myself another dog - my last one had died of old age in 2015 - and I threw myself into my hobbies of photography and walking and also visiting my family more. Then in 2020 along came psoriatic arthritis which changed things again.

    I hope you are able to make an informed decision on what to do that suits you.

  • EleanorJP
    EleanorJP Member Posts: 8

    Update: Following my occupational health appointment, reasonable adjustments have been put in place and I’m feeling more positive. Unfortunately it means my clinical workload will reduce which adds to the burden on my already overstretched colleagues. My manager is very supportive as she says there are plenty of things I can do and continue to contribute to the running of the service. I’ll see how it goes.