Occupational health query- or maybe Occupational Health rant!

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.

Poor you. Sorry you are feeling like this

I am sure that you have a right to see what is written before it is sent and you must state this .
I don’t know if this will help:
Access to Medical Reports Act 1988.
Hopefully someone else on here will be able to help.

Another thought (sorry)
Do list of help you get.
What help you need.
Then tick them off .
Then you gave something in case you need it to fall back on and say look this is what I have and need.

Gosh. Really sorry to hear about your situation - you must feel as if you have been cast adrift.

I couldn’t see any reference to an employer/line manager who could support you. When I was still working it was the line manager who provided support and was the intermediary with the occupational health team and HR.

I haven’t really kept up with all the requirements of data protection and information sharing but I am sure that there is a requirement for sharing the content of reports. GPs normally act as the intermediary with the Consultant but this is often difficult. I have found that contacting the Consultant’s Secretary can be an effective way of progressing things - contact details should be on the Hospital web site. With regard to the data and report sharing issues the Citizen’s Advice Bureau might be able to provide some support or point you in the right direction. I think you need advice in this area regardless of whether you wish to stop working or be retrained/re-deployed.

I was a bit confused by the comment that you did not meet the criteria for Access to Work support as you need too much support. Were they able to identify what support they thought you might need?

You have identified two potential ways forward - early retirement on the grounds of ill-health, and leaving on the basis of capability/poor performance. Information requirements for these are different. Early retirement on the basis of ill-health usually requires the individual to demonstrate specific ill-health factors which limit the ability to perform. Poor-performance requires the employer to provide details/evidence of the individual’s poor performance and the actions taken to overcome this…
You have said you do not want to go off sick as you ‘would never go back’. You also mention that you are aware of things that could be improved by making adjustments to your work. If you can take some time looking at these you might come up with a list of specific PD features and their implications for your current job plus any proposals for changing things to make them possible for you. This should give you greater understanding of the situation and whether or not there is any light at the end of the tunnel. Don’t volunteer to go down a capability route.

Good luck

Hi @Jackson,

It seems like you’ve been going through a lot and your frustrations are completely justified. You’ve received some really good advice from the community which is great, I agree with Marigold’s suggestion to contact your consultant’s secretary, which is a good option. I know you mentioned that your Parkison’s nurse is busy, however, she should be able to contact the consultant or give you a name and a number for the consultant or the secretary.

Of course we would be happy to advise on your rights and options at work and what the financial implications of stopping work could be, but that would require a referral from the helpline and I assume you’ve already contacted us. We’d be happy to arrange for you to speak to a specialist Benefit and Employment Adviser over the phone. You’d just need to call us on the helpline - one of or advisers will take your details and a BEA will call you back within 3 working days. Feel free to give us a call on 0808 800 0303.

I hope you find this information helpful.

Best wishes,

Hi - many thanks for your replies - they’ve really helped me in looking more clearly at the whole situation and I’ve usefully occupied the early hours of this morning writing things down :slight_smile: better than eating or shopping - especially better than shopping.
I have contacted all support lines and agencies that I’ve been able to access over the past year or so and have downloaded lots of information (and I still have links that I need to follow up) but I haven’t been able to reconcile or apply the information that I’ve been given with/to the process that I’m involved in so far. Getting a very large organisation to follow the various rules and regulations is not easily achieved by a shaky lady with no real understanding of employment law who can forget her own name on a bad day - and the challenge is not just in understanding the rules in a general sense, it’s also in understanding them as they apply to any given organisation! Support to manage an individual situation, however, is in seriously short supply unless you can pay in the current climate (too many people needing too much help) so re-visiting this makes sense and I’ll follow up.
My employers tell me that they are pursuing the ill health retirement route and I really can’t do my job anymore so I am just going to have to cross my fingers, keep stumbling over the hurdles and through the hoops and see where I get to :-S .
I can also see that I’m getting in a mess because I really don’t want to give up my job, I know that I have to - my tremor alone is now an insurmountable challenge and I’m just much too slow. I’m very public facing and I can’t manage my symptoms at work emotionally or physically - I know this pragmatically but I don’t want to let go either so I’m giving mixed messages. I’m in work because my team are short staffed and under pressure and if I go off on long term sick I won’t be covered. I suppose I feel that I’m more useful being in work doing what I can while I’m still employed and being paid, but what I’m doing doesn’t constituting an actual job that anybody would pay me to do in the long term. I’m not helping myself because I’m going to have to admit my inadequacies if I’m going to meet the required criteria - and I really don’t want to, I want to be useful :frowning:
I’ll try calling the neurologist’s secretary and on a positive note, it seems that I may not run out of time to see his report before I see my PD nurse (it depends when/if he has written it but I guess if I miss the chance then I can’t do anything anyway)·
Sorry - rambling again.
Thank you