Back to work

After 18 months and being very unwell, I've found a supportive job as a GP doing just 8hrs40mins a week. This is all I can manage at present but it's a start and was told last year that I'd never work again. The only down side is that I'll probably loose my benefits (ESA and PIP) so will be financially worse off.

14 Replies

  • Dear Julie,

    Whilst being extremely sorry to learn about your prognosis, I am pleased that you have 'defied the doubters’ and, notwithstanding that you may end up sightly worse off, will be able to re-start the valuable work for which you have been trained (and working so hard to qualify in the first place). I suspect you will be an even more meticulous GP, thanks to the experiences you have now undergone. In this regard I noticed the article in the Sun about Georgina and am so pleased that an ‘efficient’ GP, conducting what I would term a 360 degree check-up, or systemic approach, discovered what was going on in time. Despite it’s complexities, I am hoping that this sort of outcome can become more prevalent with Behçet’s diagnose also. If you ever have any ideas on this please get in touch.


  • Thank you Tony for your kind words. How did you come across the Sun article?

  • Dear Julie, well nothing spectacular I'm afraid. I just typed your name in to Google ... And I'm so glad I did. I am convinced that if we can collectively 'capture' the positive aspects of an 'holistic approach' to analysing an individuals 'circumstances' (symptoms), just as occurred with Georgina that it can make a real difference. I suspect you have already worked out that I am the new Chair of the Behcet's Syndrome Society - and although no clinician, nor one that suffers from this damn disease, I hope I can help to make a difference; as was requested a little while ago. Cover blown! Tony

  • Hi Julie, I think it's absolutely fantastic that you are going back to work. The world needs more GPs who are more live to the symptoms of chronic invisible illnesses. I appreciate financially it may be difficult but the boost that going back to a daily routine will give you will make all the difference to your long term recovery. I was out of work myself for 14 months (I'm a solicitor) I went last year and was delighted to be able to do so. The trick is getting the work life balance right so you get enough rest which it looks like you are. I wish you well.


  • Thank you Mary. Hoping a return to work makes me feel useful again. Just worried the stress will make me flare but I guess I need to suck it and see.

  • I can understand that Julie. As you say yourself there's no way to know how you will manage in work until you actually go back. When I got the right treatment I was then able to stay in work, I was initially on the wrong treatment for me and it was then that though I tried to work, I wasn't able to and ended up out sick again. It's good to feel part of normal life again though and I know you will enjoy this too when you return. It's a brave decision though at the same time so please give yourself the credit for this too and be good to yourself😀

  • Happy for you and hope you continue even better and more powerful.

    I'm also a GP with Behcet's !!

  • Thank you! I am interested to meet with fellow docs who have BD.

  • I would also be interested in joining you in conversations/discussions, particularly to identify how we can improve the time to diagnosis - and what gets in the way of this. I suspect that the odd NHS 'bureaucratic' interjections might not always be optimal! T

  • Good luck in your new post Julie. Let us know if we can help in any way in the future.

    Enjoy making a difference.

  • That's very kind 😁. I need advice 're what to put on my PIP form so I don't lose all my benefits. I am much better than I was but still have significant disability which is why I can only work 8 hrs a week.

  • Hi Julie

    Congratulations on being able to return to work. I work but have very understanding employers who allow me to work from home if I begin to feel ill. I'm currently at home and am able to adjust my hours to suit the condition, howrver i still have quite a lot of time off sick as I have more bad days than good. I made a claim for pip using information available on this site along with a helpsheet from DIAL which is a charity which helps with disability issues (I'm not sure if there will be one in your area). Good luck.

  • Hi Julie, you can find lots of info re PIP etc here. Also, if you are a patient at one of the Centres of Excellence, you can put questions like this to their fantastic Support Coordinators. I don't think PIP is means tested, but double check. I also think you can work up to 16 hours before it affects other benefits. Good luck with work and everything.

  • Hi Juliebover. You shouldn't lose your PIP - it isn't dependent on your employment status or income.

    Here is CAB page that confirms you don't have to inform DWP about starting work, if that is the only change in your circumstances.

    There are some permitted work rules under ESA but I imagine your earnings will take you over that threshold.

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