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NHS Ill Health Retirement advice

Hi all,

I was diagnosed with MS when I was 15 years old (now almost 39). I haven’t had a relapse in over 12 years and was very well until about 5 years ago when my mobility started worsening and other symptoms have emerged - fatigue, cog fog, painful spasticity. I have really struggled at work due to fatigue and the impact that going there has on the rest of my life, namely taking care of my kids. I feel like work gets the ‘best’ of me, so that when I come home I spend my time sleeping with very little energy for anything else. I use crutches for walking very short distances and a scooter for anything longer than 5 minutes. I haven’t officially (Ie through neurologist) been labelled as SPMS but all signs and symptoms appear to point that way - have have gone from EDSS 1.5 to EDSS 6 in 5 years.

I have worked 3 days a week since having my kids and made some changes when my MS started playing up, such as place of work (hospital rather than out and about in the community) and adjusting my days so that I am not in more than 2 days in a row, but it hasn’t made a difference. I am currently off on sick leave and really feel like ill health retirement would be the best option for me at this stage - but my question is how to go about it? I know the NHS is under pressure and my manager has implied that if I know that I am not going to be coming back, that they can start the process for dismissal due to ill health (as they want to fill my post asap). But I have also spoke to my union who say that it would be best to be in work when ill health retirement in granted. I read that you need to speak to your manager about applying for ill health retirement, so I feel like I am in a catch 22 - I need to tell them to get the ball rolling, but I risk being let go before the retirement comes through. Would retirement even be agreed? I struggle with fatigue, walking, concentration and numb hands when typing, so I feel like I would struggle with ANY job for 3 full days, though typically because I use all my energy at work, I am functioning with my work load ok, it is just the impact that work has on my life with my family. I don’t want to waste all my so-called ‘good’ years giving everything to work and my young family missing out as a result.

Has anyone else been though similar? Thanks for reading.

Jenny

Hello Jenny.

I retired from teaching through ill health. I did it after occupational health declared me unfit and the subsequent assessment from Access to Work. All this was done whilst I was on sick leave. That seems the best route. If your manager wants to replace you he/she must offer a temporary appointment. They have no business to let you go. In such a massive institution like the great lumbering giant that is the NHS (while on a personal level they are mostly brilliant), there should be certain procedures for this.

Best wishes, Steve

Hi Jen,

MS is such a pig of a complaint; you are right in your thoughts; do not let them dismiss you on Ill Health. I think they must cross many bridges until that happens.

Speak to Decisions On Ill Health Retirement - The Pensions Advisory Service there the people to point you in the right direction and explain how it is done.

If you feel well enough and want to return to work; lots of help available see Get support in work if you have a disability or health condition (Access to Work) - GOV.UK

Stephen Fry is right; what type of God allows normal people like yourself lead a normal healthy life; and let other pigs chop people’s head off and blow people up.

All the luck n the world.

George

[quote=“ggood”]

Hi Jen,

MS is such a pig of a complaint; you are right in your thoughts; do not let them dismiss you on Ill Health. I think they must cross many bridges until that happens.

Speak to Decisions On Ill Health Retirement - The Pensions Advisory Service there the people to point you in the right direction and explain how it is done.

If you feel well enough and want to return to work; lots of help available see Get support in work if you have a disability or health condition (Access to Work) - GOV.UK

Stephen Fry is right; what type of God allows normal people like yourself lead a normal healthy life; and let other pigs chop people’s head off and blow people up.

All the luck n the world.

George

[/quote] should read does not let people like yourself

George

Thank you Steve and George for your replies :slight_smile: I am feeling really anxious about it, because I know that ill health relies a lot upon the medical evidence side and my neurologist is not the quickest at responding (and I last saw him in September). In addition, though I have discussed my worries about my progression, and that I feel that I am now SPMS, he continues to treat me as RRMS as my last MRI 3 years ago showed a patch of inflammation.

I will take the advice from my union rep and try to ensure that I am still in post (even if on sick leave) when I apply for ill health retirement and keep my fingers crossed for the best outcome.

Many thanks,

Jenny

1 Like

Thank you so much for your replies, Steve and George. I will keep going with my Occupational Health appointment tomorrow and keep my fingers crossed for a good outcome in regards to my application for ill health retirement. My neurologist isn’t the easiest to get a hold of, so I worry that the medical evidence may take a lot of time and effort to get hold of.

Thanks again,

Jenny

Hi. I’ve just got tier 2 ill health retirement from nhs. I was in my second long absence due to a relapse in 2 years, I was in regular contact with occupational health and after a failed phased return they and my manager mentioned ill health retirement, my neurologist also supported this decision. The whole process was very quick and thankfully not at all stressful. Are you a member of RCN? Even if your not go on their website and they have information on the process. The main thing is not to be dismissed at this point or the rules on applying for ill health change. Be very precise about how MS affects you and be very clear that if it weren’t for MS you would continue to work. Good luck.

Hi Jenny

I took ill health retirement at the age of 52. I was a medical secretary working in the NHS for 12 years.

Firstly you have to be off sick for 6 months and OT and HR have to have offered adaptations to your work place.

I spoke with my line manager to say that I wasn’t coping well even with the adaptations and drop in hours.

I would get to work then have to be driven home by my line manager as I would fall at work or feel really fatigued.

You will be asked to complete Form AW33E and submit this to NHS Pensions. Your Line Manager/OT have to complete some of the form too.

The process went smoothly for me and I was awarded Tier 2. There are two tiers Tier 1 (you can take ill health retirement but still be able to work) or Tier 2 (You are unable to work anywhere).

Hope this helps Jenny. Let me know if you need any other advice.

Take care.

Shazzie xx

Thank you so much for your replies! I am sorry that I have been away for some time, still trying to work it all out in my head. I am still off work and have met with both OH and Access to Work, who mentioned working non-consecutive days (ie Mon/Wed/Fri instead of my current Tues/Thurs/Fri). I don’t think that this will make a difference to be honest but willing to try if I need to to show that. The thing that I worry abut is the fact that the OH Physio (I have not yet seen the doctor) said that ‘hardly anyone gets Tier 2’ so he didn’t think that I would be likely to. We would struggle so much of I didn’t, so it has been very stressful worrying about that.

In regards to adaptations we have tried:

Change of workplace and less community visits (hopefully reducing risk of falls)

Backpack to carry items as can’t carry a bag

People that I line manage coming to see me as far as possible (again reducing travel)

Change in working days - now work no more that 2 days together. I used to work Tues/Wed/Thurs, now Tues/Thurs/Fri

Access to work noted the need for disabled door openings and potentially a workstation in the same room that I provide therapy, but if I am honest, I think that it is the fatigue of working 22.5 hours a week which is taking it out of me rather than the issues I am having opening doors. Constant concentration and work stress is exhausting, isn’t it?

My boss is already talking about medical dismissal, so I don’t know if I should just go ahead and apply for ill health retirement now rather than trying to do the ‘right thing’ by trying yet another change in working days, even though I think it won’t make any difference. I just worry that if I haven’t tried it all they will reject my application.

Ahhh! It is all so confusing. Thank you for reading,

Jenny