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Occupational health!

This afternoon I have an appointment with my Occupational Health Department at work. I have been referred by my manager, originally at my request, to see them regarding my problems. I was off sick for 3 weeks with the severe pain, weakness and numbness of my left arm and hand in January. I was started on Amitriptyline at the time and since then things have been much improved and I have been able to work. On a separate note I’m also awating a tonsillectomy so have been absent from work (signed off by my GP) for acute tonisillitis. I’ve had a third absence for a D&V bug a few weeks ago too (I work in a hospital so very easy to pick up bugs). To summarise, I’ve been off work 3 times in the last 6 months, which means I’m on a verbal warning at work and had to be referred to Occupational Health anyway. I’ve been told that if I’m off sick once more in the next 6 months, I’ll be on a written warning and then one more after that and I risk being sacked!! I had already been referred back in January, and was given an appointment about a month ago, but was unable to go due to how busy the ward that work on was on that day. I rang them to inform them I wouldn’t be able to go and was told “you do realise this is a management referral? This is a 45 minute appointment!!”

Anyway, the point of this is I’m nervous. After what they said to me on the phone last month, I’m worried they’re not really going to understand. I’m currently not showing many symptoms. Just a bit of numbness in my arm and back and a slight weakness of my left hand. Nothing like I was back in January. I’ve seen my neurologist once and he has requested an MRI of my head which I will have on 20th May. I don’t yet have a diagnosis or know why have have been suffering for the last 16 months.

I’m really just wanting to talk to them about my risks of moving heavy equipment and patients around when I’m experiencing more severe weakness and what happens if it does flare up again and I am unable to work? Am I going to be fired for being genuinely ill?!

Hopefully I’ll have some answers after May 20th but I’m not currently booked in for my next neurologist appointment until October. He did say once I’ve had the MRI, he’ll try to bring it forward but there are no guarantees because I know he’s just so busy and he has no spare appointment slots.

Sorry for a a bit of a rant and just pouring my worries and nerves down in here. You all just listen/read so well.

Nat

Sorry to hear that Nat and I’m hardly an expert on the subject but I would say that these occupational health people usually do have a good idea about things. And they certainly can’t dismiss MS. Good luck with everything, I think if they see you’re genuine and don’t want to be ill or swing thw lead, then hopefully they’ll be good allies.

Sonia x

Hi Nat,

Please do not worry; first for the Equalities Act disabled is defined as someone who has an impairment that does not allow them to carry out their job; you do not need a diagnosis. See http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/about-us/vision-and-mission/our-business-plan/disability-equality/ and http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/15/section/6

This Act states simply http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/15/section/15

This means that if they are aware of your problems you cannot be disciplined for sickness owing to your problem. Obviously if you have a diagnosis it is more clear cut but without you will probably have to argue that such and such sickness was caused by your problem.

Your Union should be well aware of this. If they need any advice contact the EHRC.

George