Hey I wonder if you lovely people can help?

During my last admission I was saying to my consultant about all the pressure I am under at work to improve my sickness rate. They have started disciplinary action with sickness reviews etc and I have been warned that I could be redeployed :( (redeployment isn't going to fix anything though as my triggers are not at work)

My consultant suggested that I registered disabled but I don't really know what that would mean for me work wise does anyone have any idea wether it would give me more protection from disciplinary action? I'm a nurse in the NHS.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated



5 Replies

  • Hi Becca, I spent 14 years as a qualified nurse in the NHS and have been through what you are describing.

    Your consultants suggestion puzzles me, and demonstrates a lack of understanding. There is no such thing as 'registering disabled' and no register of disabled people exists. What he could have explained to you, is that because you have a serious and disabling condition, you are protected in law by the DDA (disability discrimination act) and your employer is expected to give support and make reasonable adjustments. The reality is of course that you need to also be able to perform your role at work when you are there - I did end up leaving nursing because of my health, but prior to this a few years earlier, the trust tried to force me to medically retire (at the age of 32!). I got the RCN involved and with the threat of a DDA tribunal, they redeployed me into a job which I could do health wise (community nursing sister). I eventually left six years later as I was spending more of the year off sick than I was working and it wasn't fair to the patients on my caseload, or a realistic long term proposition.

    It's important to involve occupational health, as they can really support you - and I would strongly advise you getting support and advice from your union. One mention that you understand the disability discrimination act and things are likely to quieten down! Ensure that any sickness related meetings you go to, you have union representation with you.

    From my vague memory, I also am fairly sure that if you have a chronic disabling condition covered under the DDA that any sickness related to this cannot be counted when they are doing their 'scoring' for sickness absence (which is what triggers all the damn meetings and disciplinary stuff). They wanted to discipline me for ending up almost ventilated in ITU with severe pneumonia - I was in a wheelchair for months cos I couldn't breathe enough to walk! Good old supportive NHS...

    Get some union and occy health support pronto x

  • Thanks for replying nurserurby :)

    I am aware that you don't register as disabled anymore so I'm not entirely sure what she meant by that. She did say that she would be happy to write a letter to my superiors outlining the severity and also the reversibility of my asthma in the hope that they will then have a better understanding of what they are dealing with and stop putting quite so much pressure on me. As for occy health they are actually next to useless and just said that it is out of their depth so my cons has kind of taken over that side of things with the occy health cons to try nd come to some sort of agreement to keep me in work ( I work and am a patient at the same hospital).

    I am hoping to have a meeting with my charge nurse, matron and head of nursing next week to try and work out what the best thing is going to be for me until things settle down (I am supposed to be on a rotational programme, and am due to rotate again in a few weeks)

    Thanks again


  • Hi Becca, thats a real shame about Occ Health, but at least your consultant is supportive. I would *seriously* urge you to take a union representative into that meeting with you, I learnt the hard way! (Im very much hoping you are in one...). Sad to say you can get walked all over without union representation, as senior staff tend to be totally unaware of the disability laws regarding employment (DDA) - and they are also looking after their interests (staffing) not yours. If you're not in one, you are entitled to take someone in to support you, who can also take note of what is said. Please at least contact your union for advice..

    Lynda :)

  • Yes I'm in the RCN I did think about phoning and asking them for some advice!

    I worry though that I will put the backs up of the senior management by taking a union rep as I would quite like to keep things as friendly and informal as far as possible but by the same token I don't want to be walked all over either.

    Ugh why is this so difficult! I blooming hate asthma lol

    Thanks again


  • Union reps are very good at keeping things friendly, and senior management will be well used to their involvement, it doesnt mean it wont be friendly - or informal. Stop thinking about it and ring them - that wont put anyones backs up as they wont know! At least get some advice from them over the phone - once they have all the info about your situation, they will be able to advise you about both the meeting and moving forward. They will also know all about the DDA and how this protects you :) x

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