Forum

Ill Health Retirement

I’m seriously considering applying for ill health retirement. I work for the NHS as a GP practice manager. In April we were taken over by a large group of GP’s and business managers, who obviously only care about a profit and seem to have little interest in their staff. Already about a quarter of the staff have left, including the previous practice manager who was ‘encouraged’ to retire. He gave three months notice but they made him leave much earlier so therefore I took over with very notice or induction. I’ve been at the practice for four years as a deputy practice manager so all the partners were aware of my MS.

Since then the job has become a nightmare! The main Business Manager Partner is forever telling me, my productivity is not good enough, my time keeping is poor, this is because under the previous partners I was allowed to go a little early if I was tired. On this particular day I had got to work half an hour early and only had a short lunch break, so left 10 mins early.

I’ve just had a week off with another relapse, my consultant wants to move me to Gilenya. Yesterday I had a review with the said manager and yet again she ripped into me. The meeting was supposedly to discuss what support I need, but she told me she didn’t know what support she could offer, the work load is not excessive, my work wasn’t good enough etc etc. I work 4 days a week, 8.00am to 6.00pm and they won’t let me change that. I don’t stop from the minute I get in, for the next 10 hours, most days I don’t even get 10 mins for lunch.

All of my team seem quite happy with me and I’ve had no complaints from any of them at all. I just think it’s not worth all of this stress, it’s making me ill. I seem to come home every night in tears. I’ve asked for an occupational health referral which the manager has done.

If I can hang on until April, a car loan will be finished and maybe if I can get my pension early, with a little part time, less stressful job things would be so much better.

I’m 51 on Friday and the thought of 15 years more like this is just too much.

Lynne

Lynne how awful for you. This job looks like it is costing you your health and happiness.

I changed jobs because I was being treated in the same way and the stress was unbelievable. I used to cry everyday on the way home. Believe me it’s not worth it. I was unemployed for a while before securing another less stressful job. Yes I took a pay reduction but I return home happier and more contented and that to me is worth more than money in the bank. Yes we struggle financially but rather that than be distressed every day. I am older than you and managed to find alternative work that is more flexible. See what occupational health come up with but whatever they suggest will probably not improve the way the business manager partner behaves and it seems it across the board if so many have left already. Sorry to be negative but I been there and still got the blood on the t shirt to prove it! I hope I am wrong and occupational health can make the manager see the error of his ways and be more considerate. Fingers crossed that your work life improves whatever course of action you decide to take. Chin up.

If you get a letter from your specialist stating your hours are too much, then your employer, by law, must accomodate. Or atleast compromise Speak to the CAB and see what they say. Making you feel this uncomfortable is not on, and i am sure any tribunal will find in your favour.

Thanks everyone, unfortunately the manager is like this with everyone not just me! She just has zero personal skills I think. I really don’t think things are going to get any better. The job is just too much for me and with all this added pressure and stress it is going to make the MS even worse. Life’s too short to be so unhappy. I’m spending most of the weekend in bed because I’m so exhusted.

If I was just sitting back and doing nothing, then the constant criticism would be justified. But I don’t, I’m working my fingers to the bone. Hopefully OH can help, or at least help me to stay until April. I’ve already been told there is no other position to go to if this doesn’t work out, something I wasn’t told when I took the Practice Manager position on.

Lynne

So sad for you. It’s bad enough having to endure health issues without colleagues making it harder. I used to come home in tears and just sleep. My ex boss was just as bad with other colleagues and although one managed to work her notice I did not. I just walked after being sworn and shouted at. It was a great weight off my shoulders. I do hope you manage to sit it out until April to get what you need from them. Do you have any holiday leave you could take if things get too much just to tide you over til D day.

Hi, I identify with a lot of what you`re saying.

I took ill health retirement in 2000, from a job I really loved. Before my symptoms became problematical (that`s a posh word for a Tuesday afternoon!), my manager noticed I was slowing down. She and I had become good friends and did over an above what our jobs required.

So when my fatigue worsend and I was unable to keep up with her, she became less friendly and even suggested I was over-playing my difficulties.

I was heart-broken by her actions and like you, came home in tears every day. Shortly after that I saw my practice nurse about something unrelated, and she noticed how tired I looked and asked my how work was going. I burst into tears and told her the whole story. She was furious on my behalf and advised me to take a weeks self certified sick leave. I wasnt well enough to return the following week, so I got a doctors sick note for the next…which became 2 weeks, a month…I never went back. My condition progressed rapidly and I was deemed unfit for work. I am almost an oap now! Dont run yourself ragged for a lost cause hun! luv Poll.

Surely Lynne if you feel under pressure to leave then that’s a case for constructive dismissal and you have a case under disability law and could sue the practice for discrimination. They have to make allowances for your disability, they are breaching their duty of care to you. Consult a solicitor is my advice…one who knows employment law. Good luck x

I think, however much they say they will make adjustments etc, a lot of managers really aren’t that interested as long as they get their pound of flesh out of you. The surgery I work for is part of a group of five surgeries and I’ve been speaking to other people that work at my level and they all feel the same as me.

Hopefully I’ll hear from Occupational Health soon. My consultant and MS nurse have both told me that I shouldn’t be working as many hours. I could reduce my hours where I am but I don’t think that is going to solve the problem. I’m pretty sure they’ve decided that as I’ve got MS, they’ll just make things as difficult as possible until I leave.

A lot of sympathy for you - it’s an unpleasant situation you’re in. But I wonder why, with the law on your side why you’re not fighting back. You are being bullied into believing the job is too much for you. I would write to the main Business manager briefly outlining your concerns - tell her that in accordance with the Disability Discrimination act you have rights - tell her you hope a satisfactory resolution can be reached without you having to seek legal advice. The law is on your side. Be very clear what reasonable adjustments you want. And make it very clear that you will go to a solicitor. My guess is she’ll back down. Surely a medical organisation doesn’t want the publicity of having bullied someone out of their job. It’s not long since disabled people had no legal protection in the workplace and, to put it crudely, a lot of us were cra**ed on. With the present laws you have a duty to fight back and hopefully make it easier for yourself and those who follow you.

Lynne, only you can make the decision what to do. I do not know how strong you feel and whether you wish a long drawn out battle or just cut and run. Taking some time off might give you time to think and be away from the source of the stress. Listen to what occupational health say and come to an informed decision.

I had the law on my side too but could not face the stress of it all. I know it lets the bullies win but honestly walking away gave me power. it left them without staff. I felt good - the boss never thought that Mrs Reliable who had got them out of many a hole would actually do it I had phone calls and e-mails begging me to go back - I let them stew. They knew my previous job was for a solicitor and I think they were scared just what I would do. I understand where you are coming from Zetland but this manager sounds the sort who will just make life so unbearable. Regardless of the right or wrong of it letting go gave me peace of mind I moved on quickly without the stress of legal proceedings hanging over me. 6 years on now and I just smile at the constant adverts for staff in the local press - they just can’t keep anyone very long. I wonder why! I firmly believe what goes around comes around.

apologies for posting the same message 4 times. Things were moving very slowly and I clicked on ‘Post’ too hastily.

Hi Lynne

I retired through ill health 18 months ago. I was 51 and worked for the NHS too.

I was really struggling to cope with all of the pressures etc etc. I’ve got to say the process was quite painless. I was worried but it was ok in the end.

I had 12 months off sick with a broken foot caused by a fall at work and was referred to Occ Health and HR and after completing numerous forms and providing evidence of the condition I was offered ill health retirement. Obviously, we tried many adaptations first but these didn’t work for me. I was continuously being brought home from work half way through the day.

PM me if you need any more info.

Shazzie xx

I would take the early retirement option if it is offered. I worked for a local authority and for 6 years everything was fine and allowances were made for my condition which was great. Then the authority decided we needed a more"corporate image" and things changed. We had a new manager appointed who was and is very ambitious. She started a culling exercise and in a team of 6 people 4 suddenly found they had disciplinary problems and as a result lost their jobs. Their case was pounced on by a local solicitor who reckons it is a slam dunk case. That left two of us and they suddenly started questioning my work which they had never done before the efficiency drive. Luckily I was ahead of them, got signed off long term and eventually got retirement on the grounds of ill health. The ironic thing is that they caused the retirement and it will now cost them but as it is not their money I suppose they could care less. They also found problems with the one remaining team member and she was also subsequently sacked. I would get out if you can coz the everyday workplace seems to be turning into a mirror image of the condem government which has to be bad news for anyone who is the least bit vulnerable. Gsry

I’m not sure if you aware of this but many home insurnace policies also include legal advice which covers advice on employment law / rights. It’s worth a quick phone call to your insurance company to see if you are covered.

Are you in any kind of union Hun? X

Your Business Manager sounds very similar to my boss. I can’t afford to leave and I love 90% of my job so I have had to stand up to her. She agreed to most of my concerns and although I didn’t win with everything I was glad I had done it; she is definitely more cautious around me now. A 2 page formal letter declaring my MS officially and detailing my work related issues did the trick. Bullies often back off if they see you won’t be intimidated. So if, this person aside, you enjoy your job then my advice would he to go formal. Good luck. xx

Thanks everyone. My home insurance company has free legal advice so I rang them. I was told I would have grounds to make a formal complaint regarding how I’ve been treated. But I was advised to see how my occupational health referral goes first. I’d already decided this would be the best action as I want to do things by the book. It’s just the manager who is the problem, everyone else is fine. This particular manager causes problems across the whole group of local surgeries!

Don’t know if these will be of any use to you but worth a look:

http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=1461

https://www.gov.uk/browse/disabilities

Hope you get your boss to see some sense soon. Good luck! x

I retired due to my MS 3 years ago,i worked as a nurse in the NHS It was a lengthy process having to attend various meetings with managers and occupational health but was straight forwards At my first meeting with managers and HR theyw ere surprised to see i attended alone and had no representative with me eg union I said i had been upfront right from the start about my MS,i had nothing to hide and had always been ho est about how i was feeling so didnt need anyone representing me- just saying so you know they usually expect someone to be with you should you go down that road If you dont have you used access to work they come and assess your workplace and your work have to put in place what they say tou need,its more a grey area if they say it would/might help as managers dont have to agree Your manager sounds awful and i know how much stress plays a big part in relapses but can you not speak to aomeone above her or ask unions for advice or just put in a complaint against her Wishing you all the best Keep your chin up Janey xx

Occ Health/Atos were absolutely brilliant before I retired through ill health. For the two years before I left they arranged an air cond machine to be fitted in my office as I suffered terribly if I got hot, advised that I should be allowed to leave and start early if I needed to because of fatigue etc etc.

Good luck.

Shazzie xx