Occupational Health

Hi all, i have in recent years had problems with pain in my back and elsewhere. I am in a fairly physical job and have been for many years but it obviously isn't helping my issues. I asked my employer if they could help with maybe paying for physio or something but they've avoided any expense and instead referred me to Occupational Health. I've since had my work area assessed and had a OH doctor assess me too. So far no help apart from offering me new safety shoes, a heat pad etc. I can't help feeling that anything i say or agree to now may be used against me as a reason for pushing me out or something. Can anyone help with any advice on what i should do in this situation? Should i refuse anymore OH help? Ask for redundancy? Carry on as i have been? Refuse to consent to the OH report being passed on to my employer?
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  • elsien
    elsien Posts: 32,255
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    It’s not going to be redundancy because your job is still there.  
     Can you not look at getting physio on the NHS - it’s not something your employer has to pay for. 
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
  • INAMESS
    INAMESS Posts: 149
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    I’ve had physio through the NHS a couple of times but they only offer you 2 sessions and advice, no hands on. I’ve also paid private for physio, osteopathy and acupuncture. I was hoping my employer might offer to help out cost wise with private manual therapy but it’s looking unlikely hence my other questions re where I stand job wise and with the occupational health people. 
  • elsien
    elsien Posts: 32,255
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    edited 7 February at 8:45AM
    You can refuse to engage with occupational health if you want to.  If things get worse in the future, your employer can look to let you go on capability grounds whether you engage with occupational health or not. Is there another job role you could shift to which is less physical?

    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
  • gwynlas
    gwynlas Posts: 1,620
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    A physiotherapist whether private or NHS should be advising on posture and exercises to prevent or minimise any pain. If you have had both and acupuncture are you exacerbating your condition in some way? Obviously you are not a productive employee if you are taking time off with a bad back. By being referred to OH you have laid yourself open to being managed out on healtth grounds I'm not sure that you can refuse to have a report sent to your manager as they are the customer purchasing the service. Would it be possible for you to move to a less physical role within your organisation?
  • I have no advice but I sympathise. I'm coming to the point of having to return to work soon in a manual job after being signed off for 3 months with a back injury. Added to ongoing issues with my back I'm terrified of causing further pain and damage and haven't even yet had an OH review so no idea how my return will be managed.
  • TELLIT01
    TELLIT01 Posts: 16,243
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    I wouldn't expect too much from NHS physio at present.  My wife had surgery on her leg in the middle of last year which affected mobility both of the knee and ankle.  She asked about physio and was told there was a wait of anything up to 6 months for referral.  She wasn't even given a sheet of exercises.  Fortunately I had knee surgery some years ago so she has been doing the exercises I was given.  When she saw the consultant he said her mobility was very good so we must be doing something right.
  • Grumpy_chap
    Grumpy_chap Posts: 14,389
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    INAMESS said:
    Hi all, i have in recent years had problems with pain in my back and elsewhere. I am in a fairly physical job and have been for many years but it obviously isn't helping my issues. I asked my employer if they could help with maybe paying for physio or something but they've avoided any expense and instead referred me to Occupational Health. I've since had my work area assessed and had a OH doctor assess me too. So far no help apart from offering me new safety shoes, a heat pad etc. I can't help feeling that anything i say or agree to now may be used against me as a reason for pushing me out or something. Can anyone help with any advice on what i should do in this situation? Should i refuse anymore OH help? Ask for redundancy? Carry on as i have been? Refuse to consent to the OH report being passed on to my employer?
    I would have thought that OH are the correct people to assess any "reasonable adjustments" related to any medical condition.
    It seems as though OH have assessed the "reasonable adjustments" as being better footwear and the heat pad.  What "reasonable adjustments" were you hoping for?

    The need for treatment for the bad back does not seem to fall to the employer unless it has demonstrated that the employer has caused or contributed to the condition.  Have I missed something there?
  • Go and and see your GP, explain your situation and that you need a diagnosis.  With that OH may be able to provide better help for you.
  • INAMESS
    INAMESS Posts: 149
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    Lots of comments there, firstly ive been to the gp many times and had a diagnosis last year. I'm now waiting to see a consultant. The condition has probably been caused by doing my job over a number of years. I asked my employer for help but i wasn't demanding or expecting physio through them but saw no harm in asking. I guess another job role may be possible but only if there is one available that they think i am qualified to do. The reasonable adjustments OH have suggested are not likely to make a significant difference if any at all to my condition and daily pain. I guess the reasonable adjustment i was hoping for would be a contribution to some sort of therapy for pain relief, if you think that is unreasonable then thats your opinion. I've not had any time of work yet related to this condition apart from going to a few appointments etc. I do exercises advised by physio to help but theres not much benefit so far. Private therapists do do hands on work which has proven to give me some brief pain relief. 
  • Savvy_Sue
    Savvy_Sue Posts: 45,809
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    I've seen colleagues off sick for long periods, and having OH assessments, not once was any contribution made towards treatment or therapy outside work. Receiving normal salary while regularly taking time to attend such appointments, possibly reasonable - paying for such therapy I'd say not. So that is my opinion. 

    I have once seen OH myself, and all the conversations were about how soon I'd be fit to return, and what might be done to make things easier within the workplace. In my case (a shoulder replacement) I was uneasy about the stairs, so agreement that once I was up I could stay up until the end of the day! Normally I'd have been up and down multiple times each day. 

    I arranged physio at the start or end of each day. 
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