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Fibromyalgia Action UK
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Problem with work

Hiya just wondered if anybody could help me please. To cut a long story short I asked my hospital manager if I could drop a shift from 33 to 22 hours that's 2 12 hours instead of 3 12 hour shifts. I asked her a wee while ago and she said she would look into it but never actively said anything else about to me , so today I asked her if she had thought anything about if she could help me . She said that my contract is for 33 hours per week so I said back to her but I thought I might be able to drop a shift with my illness ( fibro) she answered me back don't use that as a excuse to drop a shift . I then said would it be better if I go to oc health ! she said no because you my be deemed unfit for your work, I then said that is very unfair as I have never been off my work with fibro ever. She then said well maybe you might want a carrier change then . OMG how uncaring is that for a charge nurse to say . Wondered if anybody else who works for nhs has ever come across this and can help me with advise please. I am sorry for being a pest guys but I am so upset I don't know what on earth to make of all of this it's awful to feel unwanted. Xx Billie

15 Replies

You wouldn't been seen as unfit to work , I have been let go as I have been off work for 6 months ,O C H , said as I had no immediately return to work I was let go due to ill health , I was worked into the ground by my team leader , and my body gave up , there is disability law ,take advise from your union ask un officially if that makes you happier ,but he or she can't say that to you ,you are being victimised by this person in my opinion. Your not unwanted this person is very wrong , sorry I am annoyed for you ,don't let yourself get you stressed I am sure when are Ken see your post he will give you the proper advise and the links to arm yourself with ,I am sorry I can't help any more keep your chin up ,don't let that scaremonger frighten you into losing your job , if you are able to manage your condition you will be fine ,I was not ,the woman who bullied me is being retrained now but they are thinking of getting rid of team leaders because of what she did to me.

Take care shadow. X


I didnt thing they could refuse you seeing occ health as you are trying to stay in your job despite being ill! I agree with Shadows-walker see if you can have chat with a union rep if you are in a union. There is the equalities act (DDA) there maybe some info if you google it (sorry not good at linking). I too am in the process of having occ health appointments due to being sick since April. I had one appointment with OH a few weeks back where they asked what I wanted to get from this and what could my employer do to help me recover. I already have tried reduced hours but my condition has worsened because my work load didnt decrease with my hours it got more and I was expected to do as much work as a full time employee and I got more stressed and more ill. I dont think I will be able return to work which is a worry but my work is impacting on my health and my health is more important. Your manager sounds like she needs training in employment laws and people skills. Sorry dont have much of an answer but hope you get some help. Gentle hugs Joolz.x

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Hi Billysmini

I am dismayed that you could be treated this way by a hospital employer in 2014! I have pasted you some information below:

This link is to ACAS, and specifically the health and well-being act of 2003. am I right in thinking that you would have a union rep at your hospital? If so, please speak to them and ask them to intercede on your behalf. As there is a slight sang in that most Occupational Health Assessments come along after an employee has been off from work due to their illness. However a union rep can negotiate with a higher positioned manager and bypass your direct manager!


Disputes and problems at work:

ACAS can also discuss your situation with your employer to help you, I have pasted a link to their Disputes and problems at work page:


I have also pasted you a CAB page on rights at work, so I hope that you find this useful: The CAB can advise you on what action you can take in this situation.


I think overall, talk to a workplace union rep and assess their opinion of this issue, and ask them to approach either HR or your a senior manager and explain the issues that you have. They may not opt for an occupational health assessment since you have not had any time of work. If they do, then your employer will 'almost certainly' follow OCH advice as this is why they pay them.

I want to wish you all the best of luck and please keep us up to date with how you are getting on?

All my hopes and dreams for you

Ken x

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Hello Billymini,

Sorry you are experiencing such stress at the moment, many comments have provided good advice about any union rep you may have, ACAS & CAB info (from our volunteer Admin Ken) and mention of your rights Equality Act 2010 formally Disability Discrimination Act (DDA)

Please find this link from our FibroAction website about Fibro & Work;


Also please feel free to email us using info@fibroaction.org for some information guides which may be helpful.

How is your Fibro controlled at the moment? If you are struggling do you think you need to speak with your GP and/or referral to a Pain Clinic? Or is it mainly the fatigue?

We have a range of factsheets you can download and print 'All about Fibro' found here fibroaction.org/Pages/About...

Also information about pacing & learning to listen to your body from our Expert Patient Range below.


I appreciate this is hard in a busy stressful environment like a hospital while working but hopefully after you've taken advice reasonable adjustments will be taken to help you continue to work despite the disability of Fibro.

I look forward to your email

Best Wishes

Emma :)

FibroAction Administrator

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hi B, I have been where you are but I was lucky. It took a lot of guts to admit I was struggling at work with fatigue. I was a ward manager and have been a nurse since 1984. It was all I ever wanted to be. I referred myself to occ health and I think its better to do that before you do go off sick and youre seen as not coping with your job. I was lucky that the doctor agreed with me that clinical practice was too much and I was redeployed to clinical governance. Its not nursing but im still there and have not had a day off in 12 months as im much more able to manage fatigue in this sort of role. I hope you will get the same support in your hospital. Best of luck xx

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You have been offered some very good advice by Emma & Ken - you are protected by law where your health problems/disabilities are concerned, particularly in the workplace.

It is my belief that your employer has to make every reasonable effort to accommodate you, whether that is reduction in hours, a less strenuous job... or even moving you to a department nearer to home (if commuting is involved).

I am appalled at the attitude of the 'charge nurse' you spoke to, although I have to say that it doesn't surprise me! The NHS, as an employer, don't have a good reputation for the best needs of their employees. I speak from past experience myself & from the experience or relatives/friends who have worked for them too. It actually doesn't make sense that as a 'health provider' they can be so cold & uncaring - something definitely needs to change within the organization!

I am sorry that you have been treated so badly BUT don't loose heart, follow the advice given by Emma & Ken.. you'll soon get it sorted out & remember you are not alone. We have all experienced some kind of prejudice where our health problems are concerned & with the right support, you will get through this too.

Sending supportive hugs x

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Hiya guys just want to say than you very much indeed for your help. I will let you know how I get on .

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Good luck Billysmini

Ken x


Hi, fibro is covered by the equality act as it is an ongoing illness, your employer is required to make all reasonable adjustments to help you stay in work. I work in a hospital and have had similar problems in the past. I would get help from oc health and your union. Take care kath. X

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Hiya Kath thank you for your advice . I certainly will be joining the union this week and also be speaking to och. Feel very lucky to have such caring people on this site . :-) x Billie


I worked for NHS . when I was in your position My union rep and OH were brilliant I had my hours cut from full time to 30 hrs.

Gook luck fight them all the way and keep OH informed all the time .


I am also a newbie but had to give you a reply. I also work for NHS and have just been accepted for I'll health retirement.I have had 3 episodes of sickness lasting between 9 and 11 months in the last 6 years.once you are off sick more than 4 weeks you have to see occ health.Fibro is covered by the disability act and they cannot hold it against you.occ health see you every 4weeks until you are fit for work again and they are brilliant as they are on your side.just go sick or go to occ health there is nothing to fear xxxx


Hi B, just want to say how disgusted I'm at what your going . as if it isn't hard enough getting through the day with fibro you have to put up some ignorant persons shit that you don't need.... Sorry I'm so annoyed and feel for you! Some people really have opened my eyes since becoming unwell and i take no nonsense now from those that don't have the time to understand and b rude........small minded. Wishing you all the luck and just remember you arnt alone. Hugs Tammy xx


That's really awful - how callous of her! Even more surprising that it's a nurse that said, that, you'd think she would be more aware of the demands and limitations of Fibro. I'd suggest that you go down the OCH route to be honest, like many others have said. Sounds like she was just being particularly bitchy to me! It reminds me of playground bullying in a way, the second someone reveals an illness like this they are perceived as somehow weak they seem to become an easy target for the venom of others. I hope you can get things sorted, but your employer is duty bound to accommodate your needs to a certain extent as far as I am aware.


Hi i was treated very badly when i was working for nhs as a practice nurse . There were 3 female gp's and a practice manager.the practice manager was the worst, whAt a manipulative ,two-faced awful women,.

I now realise she was the problem, and one of the dr's agreed that she was but only whispered this to me. Then when they would all be together , they acted differently. Altho' i involved the rcn,the first rep was great but he advised me to get out as they obviously had it in for me.

As i was employed so the senior practice nurse left, as she couldnt stand how they treated her etc esp the oractice manager. So i had to leRn the job as i went along.got final written warning for 6 months,worked this then got. Better paid job at a surgery where the other nurses were just great and normal and not bitchy , and the practice manager who had been a nurse was fine too.

I went on for as long as i could diagnosed with m.e and fibro nov 2009 left wirk aug 2010 then fought with the rcn for ill health retirement pension, which was finally granted june last year.

Im 53 yrs. so im not at all surprised that you were treated this wAy by the nhs.probably the best place iworked in my 33 yr career was the local bupa hosp private, surgeryand they only take pts with no additional problems .

In the end any caring thAt i had as anurse had been wrung out of me,and when iwas in pain and suffering i then had to figt for my treatment, referral to pain clininc, applying for DLA

I also have longstanding anxiety and depression , in the end the RCN paid for me to see independent psychiatrist for a report, he wrote that just on my mental health alone i should not be at work.

Whenever i had to claim sick pay. ESA etc i never feel guilty just feel that i am owed this help for the way i was treated by nhs employers. The people who get higher up the organisation are the "bum lickers

Or the really two faced nasty ones. How they are ever drawn to a caring profession i will never know.

Anyway was justtrying to say have been there with nhs and its not you. Its THEM!!! The system , whatever! Good luck for the future


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