Occupational Health Doctor at work says he thinks I am too unwell to work - advice needed!

I was recently referred to an Occupational Health Doctor by my employer (NHS) because of intermittent time I have had off due to severe endometriosis, etc. The Doctor seemed to have good knowledge of the subject and was very sympathetic to what I am going through. The Doctor said that I was too ill to work. I replied that I had to work for financial reasons (basically, my income pays the rent so if I don't work my husband and I lose our home) and that it was my understanding that it was very hard for people with endometriosis to be considered eligible for any benefits; the Doctor disagreed with the second part and believed I would be eligible and I should look into this further which I agreed to do. At the very least, he said I should take the next year off work.

I had operations for endo in December 2012 (which triggered the sickness absence policy at work), April 2015 (which triggered the sickness absence policy at work for a second time) and I am currently on the waiting list for a third operation which will trigger the sickness absence at work policy for a third and final time.

A big part of me really wants to stay in work and I work exceptionally hard when I am there, but I also feel that I am gradually struggling more and more to do things...

I don't really see that I can take a year off work financially, as my life savings would only keep a roof over our heads for 3 months.

I told the Doctor that the least number of days I could reduce to at work would be 3 days but that would be exceptionally tough on us financially.

So, I would really like your advice and experiences of who I should contact to find out if I would be eligible for any benefits, how it is calculated, how much I would get, etc.

6 Replies

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  • Hi Titian, I also work within the NHS so understand the way the sickness absence policies work - but I am concerned about you saying its triggered it following surgery. Usually post surgical is discounted from the policy as is major events such as MI or CVA. Also the two previous events you have are all more than a rolling year ago so should not be counted for the current year. Are you in a union - I think you should be contacting one for advice. I would be very worried that an OH dr advising a whole year off work - I think this would give your employer ground for capability hearing. Again I think you need advice from a union rep.

  • Hi Heths, thank you so much for your kind reply. The surgeries count for the largest number of days off at a time; the endometriosis symptoms account for the remaining abscences which are intermittent and usually of one or two days duration when the symptoms are extremely severe.

    I know that my manager did include my post surgery days off for the time I first triggered the abscence policy in 2012/2013.

    My employer did consider the rolling year when calculating how much time I have had off work.

    Yes, I am a member of a union and I am in regular touch with my rep (as I am enduring a really stressful time due to a department restrucure which my job does not appear in and I have lodged a grievance as I am not being treated equally to my colleague).

    When the OH doctor mentioned taking a year off work, he was suggesting that I leave my job in the NHS and reapply for NHS jobs (or other jobs) at a later date.

  • Hi Titian,

    I'm sorry to hear you are having such a hard time at work as well as with the endo. Although I can't comment from the medical aspect I'm not sure you are getting sound advice from OH - sounds to me more like what suit them. Glad to hear you are in a union. Good luck in whatever you do decide. Heather x

  • See if you can get your condition considered as something under equalaties act ( used to be Disabillity discrimination act. They can remove some of the episodes of illness from the triggers or extend the triggers to accommodate your "disability ". I managed to get my manager to do this not at first but he gave in. There is case law on it . I work for local authority and ive not had the best time with this silly trigger business and worry about losing my job. See union rep and/or a solicitor maybe . Good luck hun

  • Thank you for your kind reply, caroljane80.

    I think my employer is now treating it as a disability, and my union rep is aware of the situation too.

  • Brilliant. These employers do seem to try it on and play on our ignorance which is shocking really saying they are the NHS. Mine is no better and I'm in local government. I had a chat with my union rep yesterday and again I find mine has been trying to stress me out about my illness and frighten me. Las thing you need when your ill. Hope you get sorted and get to an endometriosis centre at least for treatment don't see a general gyne. The endo centre ones arnt that great sometimes as well so you see what you can be uo against . You can check online whether your hospital is an endo centre and you can go anywhere in the country on nhs you don't have to stay cos its local. Best of luck. This illness has taken 15 years of my life. I'm on my 7th or 8th surgery and its looking now that I could have ovarian remnant syndrome because I have had my ovaries removed and I don't have night sweats . I'll give it a few days yet . The zolodex has now worked its way out but I usually got sweats when on it or missed a dose of hrt. Recently whenever I took my HRT I was in agony so I stopped it and I seem to be ok???? Take me 6 weeks to figure this out and my gyne hasn't figure dit out yet. A good one to remember as well is that these gynes do a lap but don't look at your large intestine/ small intestine and endo can be on these organs. However they just say no endo goodbye. Seriously I wonder why these people get paid or keep their jobs sometimes grrr best of luck and feel free to ask me anything if you wish. Carol xxx

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