Ill health retirement

Hello all,

I've just signed up and looking for some advice and help. I've been teaching for 17 years now (I know some may say risky with schools being a pool full of germs but it's all I've ever wanted to do and as my specialist at RBH said if it's something I enjoy and can cope then the choice is mine)

I was relatively fine for most of the years apart of the obvious frequent infections during winter months.

But the last two years my role as changed dramatically. I've been registered disabled and my employer has provided me with plenty of reasonable adjustments but even with this now I still fall ill and need time of work (nature of the beast).

I've seen Occ health over the years and changed work role to try and keep me working but at the end of the day the children are getting affected by my absence and it's a strain on my colleagues.

What I wanted to know is if anyone with PCD taken ill health retirement and is it something I would be entitled to- even though it's not something I want to resort to but might not have the choice as I physically can't teach.

I look forward to your replies and advice.

Thank you,


5 Replies

  • Hi there, I used to teach but it was so difficult managing a chronic illness and teaching with all of the added pressure, I am now an LSA but I worry about the future as it does take its toll throughout the day. Also I find that because the illness is not visible people are not aware of how us fellow PCD sufferers suffer throughout any single day. I worry that one day I will have to stop work and retire early aswell. Are you still currently teaching? I'm sorry I don't know about ill health and retirement but just wanted to send a message to say that I am in a similar position.

  • Hi Grace,

    Thank you for your reply. Yes I do still teach but I don't have my own class anymore. I have a full timetable still but take small groups of children and supporting them with their English-I'm an EAL teacher. The idea was to move away from the stresses that come with class room responsibility.

    This is proving to be difficult too now as I'm still getting ill and taking time off work and the vulnerable children are affected.

    You are right it's an invisible condition so people don't understand the day to day struggle but I try to rise above it and I know I overcompensate by working and planning more than I need to, to lessen the burden on my colleagues.

    I need to take another avenue now. As I know I'm physically struggling now.

  • Hi Iram I had to retire some 16 years ago when I was 36 I was a senior nurse. Similar to yourself not the best career to choose but I loved it! I was devastated at the time. It was rather complicated as I worked on a bone marrow transplant unit and I was colonised with atypical mycobacterium. I was having lots of time off following a miscarriage and a ccuple of surgeries. It was a very specialised job and it was very difficult to cover my periods of abscence which put a lot of pressure on me to return back to work earlier than I should have.

    Luckily I had a brilliant Occupational doctor who was so supportive and I then retired on the grounds of ill health after battling for 6 months. It really was the best thing! I went onto have my daughter whom I never thought I would ever be ab,e to have. I still miss work 16 years on but I know I am so unreliable with my health it wasn't fair on my team!

    For me then it was very straight forward I had wonderful support from the CF team and their social worker was phenomenal!! If I can be of any help please just ask

    Best wishes


  • Hello Dianne,

    Thank you for your reply. It's good to hear from someone who has taken this route and come out happier for doing it.

    I'm 39 now and I've noticed that I've become weaker and weaker over the last few years. We aren't able to have children and IVF isn't an option now as I became seriously ill from the treatment that I had to stop. Fluid in lungs and by heart as well having a clot. So I've been mentally down from the thought of never having children. But I know my health is priority.

    Juggling work and home life has taken its toll.

    You say you had a battle of 6 months to get ill health retirement. May I ask why it was a battle or is this the normal length of time this process takes? Why was a social worker involved? Is this the person who assesses your case as I thought that would be Occ health? I guess they are from same team?

    Would I need to discuss this with my union would you suggest or go straight to my head teacher and bring it up with her? I'm not sure how to raise this yet. Should I contact my consultant at Royal Brompton?

    All these questions I'm sorry! My head is all over the place with this. I'm off work again right now and I know the stress of this isn't helping me.

    I guess I'm pre-empting what management might/might not say and I'd rather be the one to make the first move then be forced out of a job. I would only choose this option if I had to- because from work point of view I think i have exhausted every avenue I can with them. It's not fair to let my colleagues and the children down. I feel ever so guilty.

    Thanks for reading this and I hope you don't mind all the questions?

    Thank you,


  • Hi Iram

    Sorry to hear you are going through such a difficult time! It is such an inner battle when you have PCD as often said it is an invisible illness other than the "cough" and always having to blow your nose.

    The battle I had was that I was off sick for 3 months which meant I had to be assessed for incapacity benefit as it was then known. All very stressful as their doctor takes one look at you and thinks you are absolutely fine! So from that point of view it was a battle. I also was desperate to keep and go back to my post but my manager lacked considerable understanding and insight! Hence the social worker of the CF unit was a fountain of knowledge and really helped me jump through all the hoops!

    The actual retiring on the grounds of ill health was pretty straight forward! I was very lucky that I had an incredibly supportive Occupational Health doctor who had been very involved for 6 months. I would definitely speak to your manager who hopefully will be supportive. You should speak to your team at the Brompton as my Professor of the CF unit was wonderfully supportive and wrote a letter of support for retiring on the grounds of ill health. I was also seeing the CF psychologist at the time who also wrote a letter of support. The main reason which helps is that PCD is a progressive disease. I was very lucky in that I didn't have to for any medical or assessment I think things may well be different now.

    It took me a couple of years really struggling with ill health and constantly having time off. The year I finally retired I had had 3 months of IV antibiotic therapy.

    The stress of battling to keep well enough to work really takes a lot of effort. It isn't until you retire you realise the daily stress you are under and it such a relief not to have it day in day out!

    It is hard adjusting but there are so many positives no pressures to get well quickly, have time to look after yourself properly, enjoy life!

    Hope I have answered some of your concerns! Everyone is different for me it was the right time and the best thing I did!

    Good luck please let me know if I can be of any further help.