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NHS: Stopping work

Hi all, I hope you’re having a good day.

I was diagnosed with RRMS in 2015. I have been working since then, reduced my days in 2017 due to fatigue, but it’s now becoming clear that though I’ve been trying to carry on as if I’m OK and can cope, I really can’t. Work is making me feel incredibly depressed because I can’t manage it - I can’t concentrate, forget everything, and the fatigue is awful. I’m working from home at the moment but can’t imagine going back into the office, though even being at home I just constantly dread work and am so scared of making a big mistake all the time, have to read emails over and over before I can make sense of them etc. The situation is making me constantly depressed and anxious and having a real impact on my family.

I’ve worked out what I think I’d be entitled to from my pension which isn’t loads but should just about keep us afloat, though I think the money is less important than my emotional well being, and my health - I’m worried that the stress of work is going to cause a relapse.

I’d really like any advice from anyone who was working in the NHS who took ill-health retirement, I just don’t know how to do this. Do I need to go off sick and go from there? I’m assuming I can’t just say ‘please can I retire?’.

Thanks for any help

I don’t work in the NHS this response is just general :slight_smile: i used to work and took voluntary redundancy for some of the reasons you discuss. I think you should take some sick leave and just allow time to exhale. I wish I had been less hasty, I still feel it was the right decision but when you are working for an organisation that has a good policy for workers it is best to try and find a way to make it work. I can fully relate to how you are feeling but you might feel different after a few weeks. Try not to be too hard on yourself for taking sick leave. You will benefit from a few weeks of just being able to rest and not worry about work. Take some time off and see how you feel after a few weeks. Also talk to occupational health or any other support service that the NHS has to offer workers. Take some time, but you really have to not think about work and just look after you for now. Then you can look at options when you are in a better place. :slight_smile:

Perhaps it’s time to get your Union involved and discuss how best to approach the problem.

I hope you get a decent settlement.

I retired on ill health about 7 years ago (was AHP role). Initially got my GP to sign me off sick for 3 months then started discussions with occ health about the retirement through ill health. Was straightforward & they were very understanding. Good luck! X

I worked for the NHS and had no problem getting ill health retirement. After a particularly bad week, when my legs weren’t functioning properly and the brain fog was particularly dense, I went home saying I couldn’tdo it any longer. It may or may not have been a relapse. I went off ill, and when I returned 3 weeks later my manager said my walking was still not good (no sh.t Sherlock!) and to see my doctor again. I never went back to work. I was referred to Rehabilitation Medicine (far more help than Neurology), got a detailed letter from them, and my manager referred me to Occupational Health. They were extremely helpful, said if I wanted to carry on working they would support me, but equally they would also support an application for ill health retirement if that was what I wanted. There was never any problem, and I officially retired 8 months after I initially went off ill. I have never regretted it for a minute. I feel far better now, both mentally and physically. You’ll know when the time is right. Only you know when that is. Best of luck, hope things work out as you want.

I think you go ‘on the sick’ and if you aren’t well enough to return to work after a period of time HR become involved.

Familiarise yourself with what may happen next and keep an eye out to ensure you get the possible deal you can. As whammell has said take union advice. And, being a tad cynical, you may have to fight to get the best possible deal for yourself.

Thank you all so much for your advice, it has really helped. I’ve been in denial for so long and tried to pretend everything was ok when it really wasn’t, I was just so scared of letting people down, or people thinking I’m just skiving. I’m having Counselling at the moment as I’ve been so depressed and my counselors really helped me work out what’s best for me without worrying what others think.

Luckily I joined a union last year as I felt it was probably a good idea - being potentially vulnerable due to MS, so I’ll speak to them on Monday.

Take care all.

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Hi Munki,

Some years ago now, and like you I retired early because of ill health - MS. I can’t remember where but I once read a little and very true saying - ‘no one approaches their last days thinking ‘dam, I wish I had spent more time at work’. So, what I did was set about planning at a personal and financial level. On the latter, and as others have said, I would take time off sick - and after that and if you felt up to it, see if you could go part time ( a couple of days a week?) . This will all provide a little more income and pension contributions and also provide a good opportunity/ good space to think , adjust and reflect on life ahead. In general, my advice would be to try to have you own plan on the way ahead rather than letting MS and work ‘dictate ‘ things . Also research all things to do with money - lump sums, income etc