Jimbo2487

ill health procedure advice

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Having been on restricted duties for approaching 3 years now, with what has been called fibromyalgia.

I was finally put forward for the ill health procedure last November.

Am fed up of being the office lemon. No uniform, no mdt, non confrontational--feeling like a spare part at a wedding..I don't like going sick, but it really does drag you down.

It's been a nightmare long process--(I ended up going to my GP myself, paying the fee and delivering GP notes to occ. Heath myself).

I understand I should be referred to SMP within 28 days? Is that binding?

Occ. health don't even reply very well to emails in my force.

Anyone else got experience of the procedure/time scales etc.

Currently contemplating if to put in a complaint re occ. health, but I hate upsetting the apple cart.

I just feel in limbo, can't plan anything and so any advice appreciated.

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I went through the process last year, in my force there was no set time scale for SMP, it all depended on when they had enough people to merit the SMP being paid for and for them to travel to our area. My force paid a company called Healthworks to undertake the role, I can't anwer for what other forces do.

I saw the SMP 9th March and my last day was 30th April, but again that was because the SMP reported back within a week, then a meeting to discuss cases was held by the deputy chief shortly afterwards. Some people see the SMP, they report back, then it takes ages for it to be looked at from there.

I hope it all goes quickly for you, I also suffer from FM, but was pensioned for eye problems.

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I am 9 months into this process and expect to be pensioned off within two months.I have to say the force have been excellent.The hold up was a long wait for a report from my GP and a change of sergeant who I dont think understood the procedures.I have PTSD, severe tinnitus severe hearing loss and 'flat feet'.I have one final appointment with an independent doctor provided by the force.

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Hello, I have over 27 years service, I'm approaching 49 and I too am going through the ill health retirement procedure due to fibromyalgia. Having managed to continue working full time for a number of years with reasonable adjustments agreed with my line-manager, a sudden and unplanned role change sent both me and the management of my fibro into a spin some months later, leading to a lengthy period of sickness absence and application for ill-health retirement.

The process thus far has taken over 21 months and is ongoing with an appeal within the next couple of months hopefully. The stumbling point has been the issue of likely permanency of my disability.

The SMP has agreed I am disabled with fibromyalgia but does not agree with my Consultant Rheumatologist that it is undoubtedly permanent.

There has also been an issue regarding what minimum length of time the SMP should consider constitutes 'likely permanency'. The SMP was asked to decide if my condition was likely to be permanent for at least 12 years (i.e. until I am 60) although I have less than three years to serve.

It is my understanding that in at least one other Force area the period of likely permanency is considered to be until at least the completion of 30 years service.

I have found the whole process confusing and upsetting with little support from the Federation.

The stress of the ongoing situation for me and my family is immense and is also seriously affecting my health and the management of my condition. I hope that the process for yourself is a lot quicker and less upsetting and stressful. My sincere best wishes for a swift and positive resolution.

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Arton, that sounds horrendous. The all too common remark about the Fed's lack of support sounds worrying. Have you asked why they are not supporting you? It sounds like a case that they absolutely should be supporting.

 

The Police seem to have gone from the sublime to the ridiculous when it comes to ill health retirement. The Winsor Review highlighted clear abuse of the ill health retirement procedures in the 80-2000's with some forces recording up to 55% of all retirements falling into this category! It was  regarded almost as a right to retire early on the most tenuous of ill health terms, once you hit the 26 year mark.

 

I fear you are reaping the results of historical abuse of ill health retirement.

 

You need to be knocking constantly on the Fed's door or talking to an employment lawyer.

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Thanks Rikshawallah, I appreciate your post and sentiments. Due to the ongoing situation and process I feel unable to post full details. Rest assured if I did they would make your toes curl - as it stands my hair has begun to fall out - honestly! Best regards Arton.

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They should be able to say FM is permanent as most sufferers have had it to some degree for many many years. I can trace it back to my 20's, and it's well known that it gets worse as you get older. Can you ask for a report from anyone who actually understands the condition?

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Hello Whisper, my Consultant Rheumatologist specialises in fibromyalgia and has written reports in support of my application however as the SMP considers it is not a permanent condition my case is now going to appeal.

I have been diagnosed for over five years now and having done all the research (probably like yourself) am well aware I am more than likely looking at living with this condition for the rest of my life or until a cure is found.

Having tried all the pills and potions suggested that may help my FM, I have come to the realisation that the best thing I can do to help myself is actively manage my condition positively. I try and exercise in moderation, I enjoy gentle (and slow!) swimming, using sauna and steam to put heat in my muscles, take my meds on time and am positive in my frame of mind and outlook on life. I enjoy socialising in circumstances that I feel comfortable (having FM, you will understand what I mean i.e avoiding noise, not over stimulating my senses, ensuring I can find a seat and avoiding pushing and shoving on already sore arms and legs etc). I appreciate being able to go my local Fibro group meetings and keeping up to date with the latest developments in the treatment of the condition.

I am devastated that I can no longer cope with work as I used to since the change in my role however I am where I am and I am sure it will all work out in the end. Many thanks for your post Whisper. Best regards Arton.

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Thank you everyone for your own experiences.

It's really interesting to hear.

I have finally got a SMO appointment on 24th March, at least there is movement.

I am v v nervous.

Fibro is a funny illness (not in a funny way).

I have great days and horrible days.

Work have tolerated me, and am grateful for some good oppo's.

I find myself hiding away, avoiding others, unable to organise anything.

I went to a professionals meeting the other week, I could hardly get words out--it's horrible.

Yet, don't feel poorly, look poorly and try and play it down constantly.

Hope I don't shoot myself in the foot with the SMO.

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Jimbo, IMPORTANT ADVICE. Take a friend with you to the interview as a witness and adviser, you are entitled to. In my case I took my wife who is an RGN and a rottweiler as well.

Someone preferably knowledgeable, a Fed Rep of someone similar.

You would be surprised at some written reports that leave you wondering if you were at the same interview.

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I find myself agreeing with Zulu....... ;)

When I went to my SMP appointment, I went alone, and it was completely different to what I expected, and not in a good way. I had anticipated him concentrating on the condition I had been referred for, but it turned in to an inquisition about every health problem I'd ever had, and I worried the real issue had not been looked at. I came out upset and without asking the questions I really needed to because I had been thrown by the experience.

Fortunately because my eye condition was so cut and dried, mine went through quickly, but the wait for the decision was very stressful.

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Jumbo, also make sure you take any new evidence that may not have made it into the SMP.'s bundle. He/she will already have received your specialists' reports, medical records, OHU records etc but if you have anything new eg CBT/Pain Clinic reports or anything at all which will show the treatments you have had make sure they've been made available and if not take them with you (one of the things the SMP will look at is whether you have tried all available treatments prior to coming to a decision on the permanency aspect). Good luck. Arton

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Thank you everybody for your information, experiences and advice--it was so informative and useful.

Good luck to all those going through what is a stressful and horrible experience.

I had my SMP experience in London today--it was awful.

A total lack of interest in me as a patient.

All very polite in a officious type of businesslike.

It was certainly like an interrogation by a HR official than a probing medical examination.

It felt like many loaded questions, and was often interrupted while trying to answer questions or explain symptoms.

I took my partner but he was told he was not allowed to make any notes as it becomes "you said and I said" , so I have now forgotten half the 40 minute experience.

I was told about pain in my left foot, which I have never had. Tried to explain I never had, but might as well have spoke to the dog.

Advise any one to take some one with them if they have a SMP medical....that was such valuable advice.

Now it's a waiting game, but I know I came out raging mad and feeling I listened to.

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