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I am being assessed by an occupational health doctor on Wednesday so I wondered if anyone has any experience of this type of assessment. My health insurance was agreed prior to this visit so it feels a little strange.
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Here in the UK when we see an occupational health person they are often a nurse and employed by a company with a role of designing a program for you to get you back to work. They can arrange councilling sessions and other programs which the employer funds.
Because we have a welfare system, we do have an assessment done by a doctor if you can't work and need a certain type of benefit which people suffering from CFS are likely to have experience of.
I have been to several Occupation health “interviews” over the years they are normally Doctor’s who work in the private sector and companies want to know your condition medically, they carry quite a bit of weight in the HR departments decision making concerning a person’s health.
I always make sure I’m very positive and committed to work, as I want to stay employed as long as I can (I have had ME for 20 years and it’s no fun being sick and poor…). The role of Occ Health nowadays, is to seek out a way at getting you back in the workplace, the day when they would sign you off as medically unfit to work appears to have come to an end, as people were using it to claim pension payments.
Using the doctors report the employer can make reasonable adjustments for you, and you can ask for Access to Work to assess you in the work place. My report told the employer I need a private rest area where I can simply lie down if needed, I also have a recommendation to have a reclining chair if I need one, plus a mobility scooter to get about in the work place… all to be provided by the employer on the doctors suggestions.
So if you go in knowing your rights and the Equality Act 2010 they have to make it work for you.
However go in and appear work shy and not wanting to work anymore and you could find a different outcome. The employer might have suggested to the doctor they want to find a reason to get rid of you due to your sickness record. As ME is a fluctuating disease with “peaks and troughs” good and bad days/weeks. My suggestion would be if you could go in positive and make the employer take notice and support you. The cheaper option for them is to let you leave and terminate your employment... but from bitter experience I found its best to stay employed, as in a while you might need to work and your new employer would want a full report on your health, once you fill in the application form and the little section relating to your health… put in an untruth and they can just sack you for it which makes it harder to get work.
I wouldn’t rely on any government sickness payments as the major political parties in the coming general election are about to do further reforms to save money at our expense.
Good luck at your Occupational Health meeting I would advise taking someone with you for support, as the stress could play havoc on the old brain fog and mobility, remember they assess you from the moment you walk in the building from the carpark or footpath. know in your own mind what you want from the meeting before going, make notes to read from and think of solutions that would help you when you return back to work. Such as extended sickness monitoring trigger points or working from home some days, or perhaps to avoid commuter times and to be able to come in late for work, due to the extra time you might need on some days due to medication or just ME mobility issues. The Doctor can put forward for you a change in the type of work from physical to non-physical type of employment with in the company as well.
I had an assessment by the cfs service which requested reasonable adjustments such as working from home and flexible hours, all of which were refused.
I think as my employer is no longer paying me they are the ones happy to see me remain on long term sick. You really can't win some times can you.
Thanks again for sharing your experiences.
I too have visited an occuapational health doctor because of my sick leave. I too was very positive and the report suggested adjustments etc and a phase return to work. Long story short, this never happend as I was made redundant due to restructure. Unfortunately, organisations are aware of the Equality Act 2010 but as dragontest stated it is cheaper for them to get rid of you. You do not have to state your condition when applying for a new job, but would be wise to as if you had lot of time off and no adjustments in place, you would come worse off. I think, but stand to be corrected that new employers are not allowed to go on previous sick anymore.
Anyway. good luck with with assessment.
All the best
I find the phased returns very helpful after being unwell. I was told not disclosing an ongoing condition that may result is extended sickness is good enough grounds for HR to get rid of a person. Which I guess as an employer you would want to know.
I always play it safe and put down ME on the application forms; I leave it up to them to look further into the condition if they wish. That way they have employed me with a known condition and all that goes with it. I rather hope a good company would look after their ‘disabled’ employees.
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