to be angry with friend when it doesn't really affect me

(63 Posts)
landsahoy Sat 05-Jan-13 20:31:59

My friend is a nurse who works for the NHS, and in the past five years she has been off work over 3 years of that (this includes a year of maternity leave). She has massive chunks off work up to a year but as soon as sick pay runs out she gets miraculously better. Her problems range from intense migraines, rectal and vaginal bleeding to severe back pain and even laryngitis for four weeks. I do think she does suffer from some of these problems but not to the point where she needs to be off work for this length of time anyway. The problems seem to spontaneously clear up after a few months without any real answers to the cause. When we meet up a few times a week when she is off sick I rarely see any signs of problems apart from the odd limp. The time she had the severe migraines which allegedly rendered her debilitated, yet she could still manage to drive a 300 mile round trip every weekend to see relatives.

It is made worse by the fact the GP are willing to give her sick notes. She was given a three month sick note in November so she did not have to stress about work over xmas. Her workplace are being so accommodating it is nauseating and have meetings with her where they bend over backwards to support her.

She often brags about how well off she is and I have calculated she must have cost the NHS over £150,000 when you consider her sick pay and the need to cover her position when she is off. I think I would be well off if I sat at home and collected full pay.

I am almost at the point where I am not bothered if I never see her again.

KittyFane1 Sat 05-Jan-13 20:41:36

She may well be pulling a fast one and she seems to flaunt her pay and is able to do things but if the doctor and Occupational health think she's unfit for work, she's unfit for work.

KittyFane1 Sat 05-Jan-13 20:44:33

BTW, my Aunt who suffered dreadfully with Chronic fatigue and was off work for a year in total went on 3 holidays, travelled the country on weekend breaks, talked for England and loved her shopping trips... so I know where you're coming from. hmm

VictorAndBarry Sat 05-Jan-13 20:45:44

You don't sound like a friend, or not a sympathetic one. If she is taking the piss her employer will/ would have tackled it, they will know much more detail than you.

However, you have been very specific about her job and her conditionsn a public forum, for that you are definitely being unreasonable and some 'friend'.

landsahoy Sat 05-Jan-13 20:46:25

This is the same friend that told me she had leukaemia as a child but when I mentioned it in passing to her mum, she looked at me strangely and I must have her mistaken for someone else

VictorAndBarry Sat 05-Jan-13 20:49:35

I can see why you doubt it, esp with that extra drip feed.

Howver, I don't see why a real friend would practicaly name and shame her.

End the friendship if you doubt her morals and values, and move on.

cocoachannel Sat 05-Jan-13 20:50:21

I can't believe you have taken the time to calculate what she may have cost the NHS. Very unreasonable.

Two scenarios to consider - her symptoms are absolutely genuine and stress induced, so makes sense for them to reappear when she returns to work; she has a MH issue which is causing her to report symptoms to get out if work.

Either way she could use a sympathetic ear and a good friend.

landsahoy Sat 05-Jan-13 20:51:05

People put more details on here than I have, and I guarantee she won't read it

cocoachannel Sat 05-Jan-13 20:52:02

Hmm. Somewhat salient info to miss in the OP, but makes me lean Ben more to the fact that she may need support for MH issues.

landsahoy Sat 05-Jan-13 20:52:23

I have never heard of stress induced bleeding, but never mind hmm

KittyFane1 Sat 05-Jan-13 20:52:51

You don't sound like a friend, or not a sympathetic one.
It's hard to be sympathetic when someone often brags about how well off she is and I have calculated she must have cost the NHS over £150,000 when you consider her sick pay and the need to cover her position when she is off. though isn't it Victor?

VictorAndBarry Sat 05-Jan-13 20:53:08

Her boss might read it. You asked if I thought you were being unreasonable. I do think so.

I get why you doubt it, I don't get why, as a friend, you are sharing this.

cocoachannel Sat 05-Jan-13 20:53:29

Ben, who is this Ben? Sorry, should read 'even'.

<shreds English GCSE cert. Polishes amateur psychologist badge.>

Her employers will have looked into her problems far more closely than you. YABU and mean, and unsympathetic. If you don't like it or believe her end the friendship.

VictorAndBarry Sat 05-Jan-13 20:54:37

Kitty, I get that. I get the doubting, I get a hardworking friend being frustrated and pissed off.

I dn't get why she posts so much info about a friend on a public forum.

fuckadoodlepoopoo Sat 05-Jan-13 20:55:06

She made up a childhood illness?! Sounds like there are serious problems there and not with her physical health.

LadyBeagleEyes Sat 05-Jan-13 20:55:09

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

LadyBeagleEyes Sat 05-Jan-13 20:57:36

Oh, and you're first post too Op?

Being a person who works for above mentioned employer and who has been off nearly 2 years out of the last 3 with pregnancy , PND and genuine illness I'm quite saddened that you as a supposed friend would judge your friend,
The only person your friend needs to explain herself too is her employer and believe me they don't make it easy for you to be off without genuine reason .

ShellyBoobs Sat 05-Jan-13 20:58:41

Oh yes, she's got MH issues and needs your support.

She can't possibly be a fucking skiving cunt taking the piss while 'working' in a public sector organisation. Oh no.

delmonton Sat 05-Jan-13 20:58:52

>>if the doctor and Occupational health think she's unfit for work, she's unfit for work.

Not a truism.

cocoachannel Sat 05-Jan-13 20:59:26

I had stress induced vaginal bleeding during pregnancy. Spotting and irregular periods may also be a stress symptom. Rectal bleeding can come from heamarroids, which can be a stress symptom.

Anyway, see this is goin to be one of those 'AIBU?', 'Yes', 'No I'm not type threads'. <Sigh>

Trying to work out if you are one of my so called friends? :-)

KittyFane1 Sat 05-Jan-13 21:01:22

Victor I think posting on here allows the OP to say things she possibly can't in RL. She can't tell this friend what she thinks so she's telling us. Illness is complicated and the OP probably won't break off the friendship because this person may be genuinely ill. The OP feels like she and others are being taken for a ride but can't be sure. It's a difficult position to be in.

SirBoobAlot Sat 05-Jan-13 21:01:34

OP YABU. If she has been ill for that long, she will be setting it in the neck from her employers. Be a better friend, or fuck off.

And Kitty, try actually researching Chronic Fatigue Syndrome before you start spreading the usual "She actually DID something, she can't possibly be ill!" bullshit.

LovesBeingAtHomeForChristmas Sat 05-Jan-13 21:04:55

At the end of the day if this is how you feel then don't see her anymore. If what you are saying is true and it conflicts enough with you then cull her.

landsahoy Sat 05-Jan-13 21:06:27

Well, obviously I am being unreasonable. I will carry through on my convictions and stop being a friend. I have been through enough stress of being led to believe she has advanced cancer then weeks later the problem has gone away. I cannot take it anymore, so I will join her other friends in jumping ship as I am the only one left sad

KittyFane1 Sat 05-Jan-13 21:06:48

SirBoobAlot In my Aunt's case, she was pulling a fast one. My cousin, her daughter told me. It happens.

landsahoy Sat 05-Jan-13 21:08:39

For the record, I am not a troll and I have namechanged. Maybe I just needed to vent....

No one will suspect who she is as I changed lots of details in the original post

landsahoy Sat 05-Jan-13 21:12:43

I have spent numerous times wondering if her two children are going to lose their mum. It is hard sad

Feelingood Sat 05-Jan-13 21:12:56

YANBU she is costing the NHSa lot of money that's a fact, I think she may have these illnesses or she would be able to get some of what you've mentioned diagnosed BUT it does sound like she milks it. What tipped my over was the childhood thing.

I had a friend like this once, colleagues had to cover for her, no one liked her becaus elf this so when she did return to work no one wanted to work with her or support and their were complaints made. I knew she was lets say doing extra stuff outside work hours. She did had some nasty infections etc but she didn't help herself in many ways. They bent over backwards to help her and she still was not able to maintain a decent level of attendance. She was a teacher who eventually lost her job.

Though I do recognise there are some illnesses that are made worse by not beig out and about active at ones own pace, for example going shopping or for a coffee when suffering depressions entirely different to go in a face a stressful job at a set time and pace.

Feelingood Sat 05-Jan-13 21:17:46

So sorry I meant to say I found it quite conflicting in that I felt some loyalty to her but I increasingly disagreed with her decisions and behaviour. It was very awkward at times. And yes I knew the supply cover cost £160 per day.

Oh and drama when she returned about her room, resources, books management. She was a one off though, complete drama queen. Eventually I distanced myself as she made a pass a friends husband and then started an affair which I just disagreed with completely was a bit of a car crash, she wouldn't listen.

VictorAndBarry Sat 05-Jan-13 21:19:08

If you changed the details I take back my criticism for sharing on a public forum, OP

landsahoy Sat 05-Jan-13 21:21:02

Feeling Good. That is how I feel. What is more worrying is the fact this is carrying over to her boys, as she often rings me with stories of how ill they are and when I see them they look fine to me.

I am not suggesting Munchhausen's by Proxy here, it is more lying about them being ill.

LessMissAbs Sat 05-Jan-13 21:28:36

YANBU. High levels of absenteeism in the public sector are a public concern.

I don't think this is Munchausen's by Proxy (at least not a classic example) but I did have to deal with a case of it once. I researched into all of the symptoms and apparantly it is not unknown for sufferers to contaminate blood and urine samples, or to create infections by rubbing dirt, bleach, etc into small cuts.

Other symptoms, such as bad back, migraines, and so on, are very difficult to disprove and possibly other health professionals are reluctant to argue against a nurse.

I too have a friend who has been on long term sick leave in the public sector, due to a bad back, who nevertheless competes in a particularly active sport involving heavy lifting.

The fact her friends are drifting away I think is notable.

ShellyBoobs Sat 05-Jan-13 21:33:37

I don't think this is Munchausen's by Proxy

It can't be.

Unless you're talking about the children's 'illnesses'?

LessMissAbs Sat 05-Jan-13 21:35:07

Should have said simply Munchausen's, ShellyBoobs. Diligently spotted.

Wishfulmakeupping Sat 05-Jan-13 21:36:23

There might be people who take the piss- I'm sure I've been accused of it in the past. I have had 3 long term sick leave period in the past 4 years due to stress- the levels of sick leave in my dept is stupidly high but I do believe that the people were all genuinely ill when signed on long term sick- majority due to stress. It's no coincidence that we are understaffed to start with causing people to gave to work long hours leading to fatigue and stress.
I'm not saying every nhs/public sector person on long term sick really is ill but I would believe the majority really are.

landsahoy Sat 05-Jan-13 21:38:15

I mean the children's illnesses sad. For example, one son was alledgely diagnosed with a condition that could severely affect their development but it was treatable.

Fast forward a month or so - I asked whether DS had been to hospital about problem recently as she had not mentioned it in a while.
She replied... he had been discharged as treatment was not needed at this point

landsahoy Sat 05-Jan-13 21:43:57

I work in a highly stressful industry, not nursing and we have a lot from our dept on long term sick too, but it is with stress and such. I think she is highly stressed, as I believe nursing can be with short staff wards, but there is just so many things that lead me to believe she is not being 100% truthful. She is brilliant at putting on the mascara and bursting into tears as soon as she goes into a meeting or to see GP. And she is very naturally thin and a bit hyper so she can make it look as though she is stressed and up a height.

DreamingOfTheMaldives Sat 05-Jan-13 21:47:00

A friend of mine is a police officer and she has recently distanced herseld from a friend, who is also a colleague, because she couldn't stand to see her friend abuse the system anymore knowing that there had been redundacies and officer numbers reducing due to budget cuts.

Her 'friend' is rarely at work, always off sick because of a knee problem yet is able to go on skiing holidays, horse riding and doing physical work at the stables. She has been offered the chance to go on to restricted duties but refuses; she takes months off sick, whilst partaking in the activities mentioned above but makes miraculous recovery just as full sick pay runs out, but then goes off sick again when she is again eligible for full sick pay.

DreamingOfTheMaldives Sat 05-Jan-13 21:50:53

I should have said no YANBU Op

knackeredmother Sat 05-Jan-13 21:52:49

Yanbu, there is definately a culture of sick leave in the nhs, particularly amongst nurses. I see it with my own eyes every day .

landsahoy Sat 05-Jan-13 21:53:37

I think it is commonplace, but as long as GP's sign the sick notes there is not much you can do about it. She did admit that she picked the locums who were more likely to dish out a note sad

feellikearubbishmummy Sat 05-Jan-13 22:00:27


HollaAtMeBaby Sat 05-Jan-13 22:15:54

YANBU. I hope her boss does read this! Skiving cowbag.

hammyimo Sat 05-Jan-13 22:35:14

You can really easily come unstuck with this sort of view. It might seem like this now. But i know I've made assumptions in the past then felt a real cow after they were diagnosed with some terrible illness.

I last worked for the NHS around 10 years ago. At that time we were hauled in to personnel if we had 3 incidents of sick leave in 6 months I think.

I took one day off when a 30 stone patient fell on top of me in a toilet and I injured my back. I then took two days off when I was advised to, following amnioscentesis. Then one day when I turned up at 10 weeks pregnant (having lost my baby a few months before when left to do 12 bed baths on my own) and was told I had to work in the norovirus ward because there was nobody else to do it - I refused and went home. I was called in to explain myself to personnel at that point.

You might think why - bascially you go to see occupational health who say you must not push beds, work in isolation wards or with known infection, or do bed baths on your own - and then you're just left in the position because there is nobody else to do it, there are patients waiting, relatives complaining and the ward manager doesn't give a flying toss to protect you.

I think it's difficult to see the full position if you aren't in it.

Feelingood Sat 05-Jan-13 23:27:45

The friend I described earlier had tummy pains, ended up got herself a referral and the consultant told her it was pyschosamatic, I don't think she understood what that meant as she told me, or that n she thought I was thick.

High sickness is a symptom of a public sect that is inefficient in its use ot people and resources and understaffed over inititatived

My DH moved from public to private in same sector, bloody massive differences, sickness is really looked down upon but they are well paid resourced etc. stress exists but you can balance the demands in your head re rewards, not just monetary but being proud of work n general professionalism.

I think ywnbu to distance yourself from this colleague to be honest.

It could be that she has many unfortunate circumstances - or it could be that she has figured out how to play the system... I suspect the latter but then I'm cynical, having worked with one myself.

iluvsummer Sat 05-Jan-13 23:54:07

My mil does this, in the last 3 years she's taken 3 lots of sick and has returned to work just before full pay runs out...she still manages weekends away, shopping trips blah blah blah she's going back to work on Monday after being off since the summer...and I can put money on her being off sick again before the year is out!! Bloody sickening and there's sweet fa wrong with her!

ShellyBoobs Sun 06-Jan-13 00:23:15

I think it is commonplace, but as long as GP's sign the sick notes there is not much you can do about it.

This is smply not true, in as much as it's not illegal to sack someone who has a doctor's note.

Nor does an employer doesn't have to accept a GP's note as proof that someone is too ill to work.

I would be very surprised is a public sector employer took the bull by the horns, though, so to speak.

somedayma Sun 06-Jan-13 00:30:22

yes you are being very unreasonable. None of your fucking business. Tell her how you feel. Do her a favour. She'd never come near you again. Problem solved

fuckadoodlepoopoo Sun 06-Jan-13 13:16:21

wow somedayma! That's a strong reaction. Why i wonder? (suspects your one who takes unnecessary sickies and so this thread has hit a nerve)

And actually it is her business if her friend is lying about her illnesses and so is stealing money from the nhs, its all of our business.

Vev Sun 06-Jan-13 14:58:16

Apparently, work or play sick leave is going to be stopped for public service employees. Unions are negotiating this at the moment.

knackeredmother Sun 06-Jan-13 19:13:18

Honestly if sick pay was stopped in te NHS the absences would more than half overnight. It's not acceptable on here to say people take the piss but having worked in hospitals for many years and now as the GP asked to sign the sick notes, I can tell you first hand it DOES happen. The NHS generous sick pay And the culture of absenteeism partly fuelled by this is to blame. I've distanced myself from a very close friend (nurse) who thinks nothing of ringing in sick for a week to go on holiday, but is careful not to do it more than 3 times in a year though ...

VictorAndBarry Sun 06-Jan-13 19:17:18

I read somewhere a consultant saying he was amazed by the recuperative powers of his self emlpoyed patients, compared to his salaried with sick pay ones. Amazing difference, he said.

Dawndonna Sun 06-Jan-13 19:22:16

Ulcerative Colitis can be stress induced. It can cause really quite severe rectal bleeding.
Oh, and maybe she's actually off with stress or depression but didn't want her nosy mare of a 'friend' to know.

Oinkypig Sun 06-Jan-13 20:49:17

You can actually be fired even if you have perfectlly legitimate reasons for being off. The nhs is starting to crack down. They have to do it very carefully to avoid discrimination.

Wishfulmakeupping Sun 06-Jan-13 21:23:49

Think that you have to take into account the work that a nhs worker would be undertaking compared to someone in the private sector. For example a nurse or doctor going to work when poorly could have more serious consequences than someone in the private sector- I'm not saying that there wouldn't be consequences in the private sector obviously but that the difference needs to considered.
I work in an emergency reactive service if im in work and not 100% I would be putting people at risk therefore when I am poorly it's for the best that I'm honest about it- I have been off with stress leave before and accused of 'playing the Game' but in my opinion I wasn't well enough for work end of- I'm sure people judged me as I was about to go out and about BUT I was not able to do my job because of how it was affecting me.

lunar1 Sun 06-Jan-13 22:16:58

We had a similar case on my ward, she was on the old contract which meant you didnt need to build up time for sick leave again. the first day you returned her clock would reset to 6m full pay 6m half.

She was off sick every thurs/fri before annual leave and every mon/tues when she was due back. she was sick every time she was on the rota at christmas.

she would have at least 3 blocks a year off sick ranging from 3 weeks to 8 weeks, a few times in the 6 years i worked with her she had a full 6 month block off sick.

I feel very sorry for her if it was all genuine but at the same time she was so lucky that her ailments meant she was always better before her wages changed to half pay.

landsahoy Sun 06-Jan-13 22:29:52

Sounds familiar ;( She has not worked a xmas or new year in five years and much of her time off seems to coincide with every school holiday, so she does not have to pay for childminder. She was complaining last week that other staff on ward bitch about her hmm

knackeredmother Sun 06-Jan-13 22:35:45

Wishful, I don't think that's true, generally doctors take very little sick leave and will drag themselves in when feeling worse than the patients. They are on the se sick pay terms as the rest of the NHS but the culture is different. Nurses and admin staff know that if they are off cover is generally found. Not the case for doctors and the expectation is that you do not go off sick.

Wishfulmakeupping Sun 06-Jan-13 22:42:27

That's probably true to an extent, I will say that at my work there have been a couple of doctors off but far more nurses and other emergency staff especially with stress.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now