Occupational Health

I am really pissed off today. I received in the post a copy of the letter sent by the occupational health doctor to my employer. It contained several inaccuracies.

When the doctor started dictating his letter into the tape in front of me, he told me to stop him if he says anything inaccurate.

So imagine it, I am sitting there bombed out of my head on pain killers (husband drove me to the appointment) and this guy thinks my head is working as fast as his is, and that I can easily correct him going at talking speed with no thinking time.

So today I have written a reply listing the inaccuracies and I will copy my employer.

The doctor said he has reviewed my history, but he never asked me how bad the pain is or what other medications I have taken in the past amongst other things.

I feel so stressed out because of it I feel like leaving my job. I won't do anything rash because I know I'm not thinking clearly, however I thought this was going to be helpful and supportive but it is like a kick in the teeth and it has really emotionally set me back.

It has really hurt me and god knows I have already had enough.

Anybody else had a bad occupational health appointment and how did it turn out?

14 Replies

  • I was referrerd to a OH last week but she was lovely and told me what she was going to write in my report, I told her just because I look ok does not mean I'm ok on the inside, hope you get this sorted chic xx

  • Oh what a lovely experience. My friend at work was off with a rare disease and she had a really good experience like you did. Maybe that's why I was so shocked to be invalidated and not listened to. I had heard good reports and did not expect to have a bad experience.

  • Oh goodness, yes. My experience with it was so bad I ended up with my Head of Department complaining on my behalf. Our OH 'nurse' was self-employed and had never been a real nurse in her life. Apart from her behaviour during appointments, which included answering personal calls on her mobile phone (!), she didn't listen to anything you had to say and was downright belligerent at times.

    I had a laparoscopy which didn't go terribly well and ended up really quite ill. I was off for three weeks instead of one, and when I got back to work I was finding it very difficult to get through the whole working day, so my GP sent me back with one of those 'fit notes' recommending a slow phased return over six-eight weeks. OH didn't like this at all and told me, quote-unquote, that she didn't have to take anything my GP said into account and started threatening me with either having to use my annual leave or go down to a part-time contract!

    She reduced me to tears in appointments on more than on occasion and my GP (quite rightly) said, "Who is the doctor in this situation? Get her to ring me". She wouldn't, took ages to send a letter, and then wilfully ignored the response that I would need a bit more time.

    (It turned out I had a raging infection which got into a sebaceous cyst in my back and caused total havoc.)

    When my DoH got involved, HR said that they had to take the recommendations of the OH nurse, but she mysteriously withdrew and said I could manage my own return for the last couple of weeks...

    She doesn't work for us any more. The person who came in after that worked for a big OH company and told me that the conditions I have probably come under disability legislation, requested adjustments to the absence policy for me and all sorts! Thankfully I've also had very supportive managers who have done their best in the face of what conditions I have and our absence procedure.

    If she was still in post, I probably wouldn't be.

  • I am sorry you had a really horrible time with it. I have noticed that my letter is not signed, and I think this is on purpose so they can deny the contents later.

  • People have had mixed experiences with OH at my work. I've learnt the hard way that it is best to ask to see the report before it is disclosed to your employer so that inaccuracies can be addressed. Last time they couldn't even get my name right!!! xx

  • Good god and these people are supposed to be helpful! I am going to post my reply today. I hope I never have to see him again

  • My bad experience was in 2002 - contract terminated due to OH misdiagnosis. Obviously these people don't improve over time!! Basically, they are jack of all trades so don't trust them . Don't leave the job - that negates your employment rights. Do write back with all inaccuracies. Can you get a report from your treating specialist? Have you sought employment advice from CAB? Have you thought about your rights under the Disability Act?

  • Thank you very much for your reply. I am really sorry that your contracted was terminated in 2002. These people can really hurt us.

    I am not at the stage yet where we are talking termination of contract, I just really don't like how I was treated. I do have a copy of the report from treating specialist, and at least OH agree I have been appropriately assessed by them, at least that is one good thing.

    He is totally downplaying my pain, and basically ignoring and not recording anything which goes against 'get back to work ASAP!'

    I have been in touch with my union rep and I think I am going to go for a reduction of hours. That would suit me.

    These people obviously don't know anything about endo, but sit there wearing the Dr hat pretending that they do.

    The saving grace in all this is that my GP has been fantastic and knows all about endo because he has a family member with the condition.

    You guys have been a godsend.

    Thank you to everybody here who replied, it has got me through one of my darker days.

  • It is a very stressful situation indeed. Write back to OH and list all yr symptoms & how it affects daily work life. It never harms to have things on record in your own words as long as it is kept concise & factual. Once it is on record it can't be ignored. Check with union rep on your rights on reduced hours & perhaps let him see yr letter before it goes to OH ?? Glad GP is understanding. Perhaps send a copy of your reply to GP as well ?? can't harm. Persevere and educate the ignorant OH Dr.

  • Good idea. The union rep has already seen the letter for reduced hours and that's good to go. One good thing the OH doctor did say is that he does not need to see me again. I could not have put it better myself!

  • I had one many years ago, where the doctor blatantly said I deserved all I got from my employer, as he didn't believe in Fibromyalgia. Thankfully I now have a OH doctor who is extremely understanding and supportive. Ask if you can see a different doctor next time. I work for the NHS and have a choice, however.

  • Its horrible we have all had these experiences but I feel better that I'm not on my own

  • Hi, My place of work sent me to OH a few months back as I had to take time off as I was in too much pain whilst I was waiting for an Operation and still under investigation as to what the cause of my pain was (I have since been diagnosed with severe Endo), the nurse I saw there was pleasant but she didn't seem to listen to what I was saying and seemed to have already decided before I even got there that I had IBS and stress, she'd even printed off information on these for me before I even arrived.

    The way they worked it for the information to go back to my employer was that she wrote a report, it got sent to me in email and I had 48 hours to read, review and confirm what was written was what had been discussed before they sent it to my employer.

    I'm currently off work after having a large Dermoid cyst removed from my Ovary (that's how they discovered the endo) and I have a feeling when I go back I'll be faced with another OH appointment, where I'm tempted to take back her IBS and Stress leaflets and shove.....ha, sorry, return them to her gracefully.

  • 48 hours to review and reply is a lot better than telling me to stop him as he is dictating his letter! Fancy printing out information on stress for you! Talk about making their mind up without even listening.

    Thanks for the reply

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