I’m currently going through the whole occupational health process as I really can’t do my job anymore due to Parkinson’s. Everybody knows that I’m struggling and nobody can suggest any further adjustments but the feeling is that I ‘look well’ and still seem able to socialise. In spite of the obvious implications of such comments, I have continued to be open about the problems I’m having as the alternative is is to be taken down the capability route based on poor performance and so I have asked if exploring retirement on health grounds is possible as this is built into my pension scheme. While the thought of retiring at this point in time terrifies me on so many levels, I have to be realistic and find a way of being able to buy food and pay the mortgage and the bills as I live on my own and I pretty much have myself to rely on.
There are lots of advice lines out there, I think I have tried them all, but it seems that there’s not much actual advice. I keep getting caught in the all too familiar and never-ending spiral of signposting, help sheets and web-links to advice sites - none of which I understand. The union reps are fire-fighting due to the endless number of cases that keep rolling in now that abusing workers rights seems to have become standard practice in order to reduce organisational expenditure on staffing and I’m not nearly in enough trouble yet to qualify for more support from them.
Everybody I have contacted has been very keen for me to seek private financial advice however, which I did, but the adviser in question advised me that it was not his role to help me with the questions I need to ask as my employer or pension scheme should be able to support me. He then went on to suggest I contact the agencies and organisations who referred me to him in the first place.
I truly wonder if the current approach to managing those of us who look like we are going to become something of a burden on society is to keep on signposting us until we collapse on route or just give up.
I’m finding the whole thing completely foggy and totally stressful and I have no idea how to navigate half the challenges it poses. I dread going into work every day because I know that I can’t do my job. I keep forgetting to do things, I’m slow and disorganised and I can’t physically do half the things I am suppose to at periodic intervals throughout the day. I’m letting everybody down and I just feel useless and pointless. I can go off sick but then I will never go back because I’m as good as I’m going to get right now and I don’t really want to go down this road; I’m also not sure how it will look if I do so at this point in time anyway.
I spoke to an occupational health adviser by means of a telephone consultation (so much cheaper than face-to-face contact - though at least we have occupational health support); she could not suggest any adjustments but felt that I could probably keep working if some were made. She did suggest a referral for an independent medical assessment which was rejected, but nobody could tell me who by.
Everybody then advised me to self refer to Access to Work in order to get advice so I did. In a sea of fog, they have been the only organisation who have been clear, informative and very easy to deal with. I was actually allowed to speak to people and they even came out to meet me but I don’t meet their criteria for support because I need too much support.
Three months of total stress after the initial assessment and I have now been referred for an independent medical assessment. I was asked to sign a form giving occupational health permission to release a medical report to my pension company without me seeing it, which I have refused to do, and now three weeks after I signed a consent form giving the company in question permission to write to my consultant, I have a letter stating that they have done this but I now apparently have to find a way of contacting him in order to see the report before it is released and I have been told that the longer I take in doing this, the more I will hold proceedings up! I suppose I had stupidly assumed that a copy of the report would be posted to me. I have absolutely no idea how to contact my neurologist to arrange to see the report, or how to find out if he has even written it, which is not helped by the fact that he informed me at my last appointment that he was passing me on to somebody else but I don’t know who and I don’t know when my next appointment is as I have not had any letter in follow-up.
I have a great Parkinson’s nurse but she is totally overwhelmed with cases and I can’t get to see her before my next appointment otherwise I think she would help me with this.
I have seen my neurologist regularly but briefly over the past few years and in all reasonableness I have to say that I am totally unremarkable and I cannot expect him to know me or my situation and I can’t imagine that he has any understanding of my job role so I have absolutely no idea what he will write and therefore I do want to see any report before it is submitted.
Besides writing to have a rant and let off steam I actually did have a question :-S Does anybody have any idea how I contact my neurologist in order to read a copy of a report requested by occupational health? My GP didn’t previously manage to contact neurology directly when he tried to chase something up for me so I’m not fancy my chances.
In the absence of any actual advice, I am making this up as I go along and for all I know I am making things worse rather than better by asking to see reports but I have done it now so I need to follow up,
I lost the will myself when re-reading this but if anybody does get to the end of my never-ending rant, I’d be grateful for any advice that could be offered.