Hi folks I have RA and the hardest part for me at the moment is keeping my job, our company doctor is not a rheumatologist and as such I'm not keen on allowing him to "pull, twist or squeeze my joints,but don't want to get in trouble with my employer they bug me about my meds and my condition to the point that I fed up and stressed over the whole situation as if it's not bad enough

Any advice ?


28 Replies

  • I know how you feel at the moment I'm off work due to having a flare up of psoriatic psoriasis I attend hospital rheumatology and the meds are not working the pain in my hands and shoulders and feet is so sore but no body understands what it's like to live with this.

    I wish you good luck

  • Hi jackies49 what medication are you on I have PsA and psoriasis and was put on sulfasalazine and take co codamol too for the pain I was at my consultant last month and he wants me to take Lefluunomide as well i also use Betnovate scalp application for my psoriasis that help a lot

  • Hi I'm on Sulphasalazine. But is not helping at all I take 7 tablets a day along with Pregabalin and Co codamol at night I take a Tramadol so maybe I can get a sleep but the pain is bad as it affects my shoulders aswell being reffered for some hydrotherapy again as I have plantar Fasciitis and Achillies tendinitis

  • I was just diagnosed with PsA and psoriasis in May last year but have probably had it longer I was diagnosed with planter fasciitis and Achilles tendinitis a few years ago I also have COPD and have just found out that I have a low immune system been referred to a consultant about that also have OA it not fare what life throws at you the older you get we just have to carry on the best we can. I hope the hydrotherapy helps you x

  • I understand your pain and know one really gives a shit eh ..some do but they have no idea!

  • Hi I know I'm a bit late but I completely relate too you shoulder pains I get frozen shoulders regular also lately, wrist problems before my Depo injection I had to bind my left had and wrist so I could use my hand to change gear when driving the car, sometimes I feel like a fake, as we, on the whole look normal......

  • Hi guys just come out of a really bad falre with the help of a depo injection, you can be suffering and people don't really get it unless they got it I learned that early on in my illness, I feel like I have a giant parasite in my body that is trying to destroy me from the inside..... I often say to mysef when looking at other "normal " people "can't you see?"

  • They have to by law give you thing to help you do your work have a word with disability rights and see if they can help

  • Hi Amanda

    How sure are we about the law and weather or not we are legally classed as Disabled?

    As I am singled out whenever my meds change then forced to drive 50 miles to our company doctors for no real reason this is so stressful it makes my condition worse I'm completely fed up have been in my job for 27 years and now I feel I'm being treated badly so I will leave.



  • What country are you in? If you're in the UK, you are certainly considered disabled if you have RA and it affects your daily living (which of course it does), and the Equality Act gives you some protection at work and elsewhere.

  • Hi yes I'm in the uk and yes there certainly are times when even walking upstairs is a chore even pouring the Kellttle, but then there are times when I feel normal even cured even though I know that's no possible, depo injections are great but do make you feel like you are cured,

  • Most people have good and bad days I would look in to what help you can get

  • Yes, depo injections are fantastic! I had one 2 weeks ago and I'm feeling cured at the mo!

  • Thank you

  • I think you will find it is a disability you can claim PIP if you have RA look in to it

  • PIP is not awarded for certain conditions or diagnoses, like DLA used to be. It is awarded depending on your abilities - what you struggle to be able to do because of your disability. They assess your problems with specific 'daily living' tasks like getting dressed, cooking, washing yourself (but not others like shopping or cleaning) and with getting around/walking. It is awarded on points - some people with RA do get it, and others don't, depending on how badly affected you are and how much your medications control your disease.

  • Thanks I know tha I was just saying RA is classed as a disability I am going to day for a pip assessment for how my PsA OA and COPD affects my daily life

  • You've got your assessment today? Good luck! I had mine in Dec and got my award through pretty quickly. :)

  • Thank you flow4 x

  • You might like to join this group too, Pedz: healthunlocked.com/nras

  • To answer your original question, Pedz... If your RA affects your daily living, then you are considered disabled and covered by the Equality Act. It would be a good idea to tell your company that, preferably in writing; you just need to say something like "Dear X, I am writing formally to tell you that I have rheumatoid arthritis, and am disabled under the terms of the Equality Act".

    The Equality Act means you can ask for 'reasonable adjustments' to help you do your job effectively, if your disability is affecting what you can do. What counts as 'reasonable' depends on how big your employer is: a large company is expected to do more than a small one. Since your company has a company doctor, I guess it's pretty big. You can ask for any adjustments you think are reasonable and will help you do your job effectively, including flexitime arrangements, a different shift pattern, extra breaks, somewhere to sit down. If your company does not think something you've asked for is reasonable, they have to explain why. If they seem unhelpful, you should seek formal advice immediately - for example from your Union or an advocacy organisation or employment lawyer. Hopefully it won't come to that!

    As for the company doctor, I don't know what the law says specifically. I think you need to keep your employer informed and send them medical reports and other evidence of your RA, but i think you can politely explain you don't want a non-specialist examining you and give them your rheumatology report(s) instead. If you are in a union, however, check that. Your company may also have a written sickness management policy that says what they will do. They are not allowed to discriminate against you because of your disability, so the question would be, are they sending you to see the doctor more often than is reasonable? This is a difficult question that needs a specialist to answer it for certain.

    If you feel like they're hassling you, then I strongly advise you to get formal advice now, again from your Union or an advocacy organisation or employment lawyer. it may be that they need to be warned about potential discrimination.

    This factsheet gives an overview of the law but might not be easy to read: dls.org.uk/Pages/Advice/Fac...

    If you work in a sector where unions represent workers (even if you're not in a union yourself) then this guide is useful and comprehensive: tuc.org.uk/sites/default/fi...

    Hope this helps :)

  • Hi just an update I had my visit with the company doctors and a very amicable out come , he completely agreed with me about the equalitys act and is writing to my line managers with proposals for reasonable adjustments to my work.

    Great result

  • Hi Pedz , glad you got a great result and didn't have to give your job up keep us informed take care x

  • Hooray! Glad it went well! :)

  • That is a fabulous response thank you very much.

    I work offshore and they seem to make the rules up as they go along,

  • You're welcome. I think it might be wise to join a union if you're not in one already. Unite and RMT have off-shore branches, don't they? The very special circumstances of off-shore work, and the extra safety requirements, will affect what adjustments are seen as 'reasonable' for disabled people. I think you need probably advice from someone who knows the industry as well as employment and disability law.

  • Yeah I know what you mean I've been referred to the works OT which is fine with me I'm also going to hydrotherapy just ask your work to refer you to OT they are really understanding and they will tell youyr work what reasonable adjustments can be made for you at work x good luck

  • It s also worth looking into access to work (DWP) I now have a 'PA' who works with me for 5 hours a week along with taxi fares and specialist work equipment etc through this service. I do still worry loads about keeping my job though as I know I m not as effective as I used to be mainly through the fatigue and I don t know if anyone else suffers with this or not but a lot of the time my sentences  come out all back to front and I can t remember the words  I want to use!! 😱😱😱😱 this alarms me as I m a teacher and have always been a wordy bird!! Take care 😊

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