Has anyone been ill health retired due to thyroid cancer?

I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer which had spread to my lymph nodes in July 2012. I had a total thyroidectomy and neck dissection in Sept 2012 followed by RAI in Nov 2012 and July 2013. Sadly my cancer does not respond to the RAI and I still have cancer in my neck. The medical plan now is to wait and watch and when it is big enough to operate on, I will then have surgery followed by chemo and radiotherapy. I have the awful symptoms of no thyroid going from hypo to hyper. My meds have not been right at anytime since my thyroidectomy. Now with the stress of all this, I suffer with anxiety and related poor cognition, memory and poor decision making.

I have counselling via the Mac Nurses.

I returned to work as a Social Worker following my first RAI and struggled even with reduced hours.

My Occupational Health nurse put me forward for medical retirement 3 months ago. The bureaucratic wheels turn slowly and nothing feels much further forward. Does anyone have experience of medical retirement that could offer me any advice on what I need to do to support my case? I am not being paid anymore and am terrified this won't go through. I have heard that under employment law I could be dismissed because of my incapability to do my job!

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7 Replies

  • Under the Equality Act, you cannot be dismissed on capability unless you have been given a Reasonable Adjustment. If reduced hours was your RA and did not wo4k, technically the statutory obligation is ongoing so they should be looking at what else they could be doing for you. If you agree with IHR, then get your nhs gp to support you by producing a report that shows you can no longer work. Usually the employer will commission their own report from a dr via the IHR provider. You could chase up for this assessment to be done.

  • Ps. It wont hurt to make sure your employer knows you know you are covered by the Equality Act

  • Thank you bluedaffodil. That's reassuring!

  • Hi Sharmz,

    I'm sorry to hear about your awful plight and fight with cancer. I too was diagnosed with thyroid cancer last February 2013 after various tests and then having the right lobe of my thyroid removed. My cancer was follicular variant of papillary thyroid cancer and even though it was removed and I didn't need RAI because it was encapsulated I could not return to my job, I was just too ill and still am. I was working as an administrator and had been in the job for 8 months when I went on sick leave. To cut a long story short my employers decided to terminate my contract but rather than they do it they put pressure on me to leave. I got my union involved and they negotiated an exit package. It wasn't much 2 months pay and some of my accrued holidays paid but it helped to ease the burden of no money coming in. Whilst employed I claimed on my employers sick pay scheme, then I claimed statutory sick pay (SSP) and then when this ran out I claimed Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). Are you claiming any welfare benefits? If your employers have stopped paying you from their own sickness scheme then you should be able to claim SSP and when this is exhausted Employment & Support Allowance. SSP pay is paid for 26 weeks and then ESA is paid at the lower rate of £71ish for 13 weeks and then you are put on the higher rate if you still qualify. You're supposed to have a work capability assessment within the first 13 weeks of claiming ESA whereby they assess your fitness for work and put you into either the work focused activity group (whereby you have to attend work focused interviews at the job centre and prove that you are looking for work) or the support group whereby you don't attend the job centre and they leave you alone. Unfortunately, ESA is only paid for 1 year based on NI contributions and then you have to apply for the Income Support ESA. Unfortunately, my ESA runs out in August and I won't qualify for the Income Support ESA because I'm married and my husband works full time, I will have to sign on for 6 months and claim Job Seekers' Allowance even though I'm too ill to work. It's a farce really but you have to jump through hoops and play the game just to get some money to live off. I hope this information has given you food for thought.

    Are you part of a union? If so, I suggest you contact your rep as soon as possible and get their support.

    Bye for now and good luck but, if you need to PM me please do so and I'll try my best to help you.

    Take care and God bless,

    TT xx.

  • My goodness! You have been and are still going through difficult times.

    Thank you for your words of advice and support.

    I heard today that I will be able to claim ESA but they will only back date 3 months. I only heard of this benefit from a lady I met whilst walking my dog! Why on earth are there not reliable systems to keep people informed of their entitlements!

    I am in a union and have contacted the local rep for support.

    All these things exacerbates my stress levels when I should be looking after myself. It really doesn't support your ill health and recovery.

    Thank you again xx

  • Your welcome, Sharmz. If you need any help don't hesitate to contact me and I'll do my best to help.

    Take care xx.

  • Hi Sharmz,

    How are you doing?

    TT xx.

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