Going back to work after surgery

I have been off 10 weeks following radical resection of stage 4 recto-vaginal endo with catheterisation and myomectomy and have received a letter from my manager telling me I have been off longer than he anticipated so will have to have an appointment with Occupational Health (I have no problem at all with this).

I have also been informed that if I get to 12 weeks sickness I will have to have a meeting with HR.... no pressure to get back to work then !!!

I never have any time off with my endo and go into work when I am at my worst... HR have also informed me that because I have broke the Trusts 19 day sickness policy I will not be entitled to my yearly increment... it is only £300 but I am really angry as I don't choose to have endo and I certaintly didn't choose to have surgery for the second time.

I am seeing my GP on Wednesday and the plan is to go back to work on Thursday this week.. I feel very unsupported and let down and am not sure what to do next.... can anyone offer any ideas??

5 Replies

  • Unfortunately employers do not distinguish between types of sickness but can seem to be totally policy and guidelines driven. I worked for the NHS and experienced something similar. It makes you feel devalued and guilty - which is wrong - you did not ask to have this disease and it would be nice if employers could be a bit more understanding and supportive at times.

    Hang in there. You are not alone in what you are experiencing. Have you looked at the guide for employers on the Endometriosis UK website? It might be worth letting your employer have a copy of this.

    After having 10 weeks off work, talk to your GP about a phased return - 3 days maybe for the first 2 weeks if you are full time (e.g. work Mon, Wed, Fri as this gives you a rest for a day in between). My GP suggested this to me particularly as I had a senior managerial role. I found it very helpful. Endometriosis and the extensive surgery you have experienced will make you feel very tired and you need to look after yourself.

  • graduated return is a really good idea and an appointment with Occupational Health would probably add some umph to this suggestion if it was made part of your wellness plan for return to work.


  • Thanks for the replies, it is good to know I am not alone. I have been to my GP this morning and he has agreed I can return to work on a phased return.

    I have an appointment with Occupational Health on Monday morning but my immediate manager has just informed me that the department manager has said that if I come back on phased return I have to use Annual Leave...

    I am livid and waiting for a phone call back from Unison... it is beginning to feel a bit like victimization now and I am not happy. :-(

  • I am so feeling your frustration Gabrielle, I returned to work in January after major surgery (similar to yours). I work for local government and I was allowed to do a phased return (but apparantly because I had less than 6 months off within the year, I din't have to use Annual Leave, something to do with SSP, and payrolls claiming some of the money back etc). I have hit numerous triggers because of my sickness and now I am having to attend a case review hearing on Monday, which may result in a written warning or dismissal. Although, I have written up a evidence pack and so I am hoping this helps my case. I am so sorry to hear what you are going through and you have my sympathy. I am sorry I don't have any advice for you and I hope Unison can help. X

  • If your GP states on your sick note details of phased return, my understanding is that it is down to your employer's discretion. A sympathetic employer should not necessarily expect you to use AL - it may be more classed as sick time as your GP is explicitly stating what your return to work should be based on. I hope Unison can give you the support you need.

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