Endometriosis UK
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Occupational Health referral for phased return. Worried!

Hi ladies,

So I have been off work for nearly 5 months due to a laparoscopy and then chronic pelvic pain.

Last week my GP agreed that I was ready to start a slow phased return to work over 2 months. I met with my managers (who have been really supportive throughout) and we arranged for me to start with 2 hours a week. During this meeting I mentioned about the fact that I may need to bring morphine to work with me (depending on the shifts) and I asked if they needed to speak to our health and safety about this.

Then next day my manager called me and she had spoken to HR regarding the morphine and also my return and that HR had advised to cancel the plans we had made to return and that I was unable to return until Occupational Health have seen me.

I do understand this and to be honest was shocked it wasn't mentioned to begin with however now I'm really worried that they are going to say my pain isnt real or that Im not ready to return.

Has anyone got any experiences of this???

Thanks in advance. Xxx

8 Replies

It sounds like they're just covering their backs and going through the correct procedures. I wouldn't worry about it. I've been off 7 months and have agreed I won't be able to return with my manager & HR but even though there's been all the agreements, it still has to go through occupational health officially. it's just procedure.

You just have a case of the imposter syndrome where we start to worry people think we're faking it etc but that's not how they'll be viewing you. People don't need to take morphine if they're pretending to be in pain!

I sure the agreement will be reinstated once you've met with occ health. Just try and enjoy the extra bonus time off.



Thanks for replying. Have you seen occupational health yet then?

I think you are right about the imposter syndrome. You are so right about the morphine haha. I always just think people won't believe me when I explain how much it hurts. I dunno I think thats because of the battle to get to where I am and all the medical people that didn't believe me along the way.

It's just difficult as I have never seen occupational health and I have no idea what to expect like. Xx

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Yes I've met with them a lot while I've been off. They were very understanding and really focused on wanting to help, ultimately with my return to work as the goal but in a 'what's best for me' way. I never felt pushed by them at all. When I first went off, they actually told me I wasn't fit to work and told me to not even think about returning any time soon. I really needed to hear that as I kept thinking I was over reacting and just needed a week or two off. 7 months later I'm no better and realising I was delusional! I can't even believe I managed to work at long as I did.

They were also quite separate from managers so they would often say what we advise may be different to what your manager wants so I got the impression they were more working with my health in mind. My manager was really supportive though so they're was no disagreement but I think if a manager was super pushy and not supportive, that's when occ health may be helpful to back up what your and Dr's are saying.

I think with any illness that you can't see, we end up worrying we won't be believed and people will think we're pretending. It doesn't help that with endo we often have to battle with the doctors too because they can't see what's causing the pain/symptoms. It doesn't mean it's not real though. I don't know about your experiences but for me, they're is absolutely nothing to gain for me being like this. I am desperate to live a full life and feel I'm just surviving rather than living. I don't get sympathy or extra care, life is really hard and lonely. I am constantly looking for ways to make myself better and spend what little energy I have making sure I do all the 'right' things. I'm definitely not 'playing the sick card'. But I still get that imposter feeling, I just need to know to not trust it. If people think I'm faking, we'll that's on them.

I've only just got a diagnosis and that's definitely helped me feel more validated.

I know it's easier said than done but try not to worry about it. It'll be ok. X

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Thats good to hear, I am just worried as I didnt know what to expect so it is really helpful to hear your experience and that they are supportive. My managers are really supportive and I think they want occupational health to help guide them on what they can do to help.

I do think it is hard with endo because we all spend so long fighting and arguing sometimes with health professionals I find it hard when going to see a new health person to not expect a fight to be believed.

You sound the same as me hun. I just so badly want to be well and get on with my life and part of that is getting back to work. I will literally try anything to help myself and like you spend alot of my time trying different things to get a little better.

Im glad you have a diagnosis I definately feel that does help you feel better.

Thanks for your kind words I hope its all ok. 😊 i will try to not worry too. Xxx

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Occ Health are independent of your employer and there to help support both parties. It's usually a qualified nurse and they explain the process to you at the start of the phone assessment. Afterwards they write a report, which I got to see and correct before it got sent to my employer.

They were extremely helpful in my case and in fact (with hindsight very rightly) recommended that I wasn't quite ready to go back with all I was dealing with and I ended up delaying a further month. It also helped me get any reasonable adjustments I needed to support my phased return. It's definitely not something to be scared of but to see positively. It just means that your employer is doing the right thing.


Thanks for your reply and sharing your experience.

I think I am just worried because I don't really know what to expect and what they will say. I do feel ready to go back now but like you say maybe they can help with adjustments.

Did you have to see anyone or was it all done through Telephone consultation?

I have tried to have a look online but they seem to vary company to company.

Thanks. Xxx


It was just over the phone. I was worried too. Xx My company used Nuffield.

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Thanks hopefully it will all be ok. Its nice to know it isn't just me that is worried. Xx

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