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NHS nurse. Worried about what happens if you are in stage one sickness monitoring and you then have pregnancy related absence?

(16 Posts)
BettyBi0 Fri 17-Jul-15 19:55:03

I hope there are some wise NHS people out there who can advise me.

I'm wondering how any pregnancy related absence affects things if someone is under a stage one monitoring phase.

Some background info if it helps:

I work as an NHS nurse and I'm recently back at work post maternity leave. I've always had a good attendance record until my back was injured in a patient transfer whilst I was pregnant. I was signed off for the rest of the pregnancy because of back pain. I recovered well post birth with physio and was symptom free for a while but since returning to work I've seen my symptoms return sadly and my GP had signed me off as fit to work but only on restricted duties - ie non clinical work only.

My employer was happy for me to do non clinical work for the first six weeks or so but they are putting a lot of pressure on me now to get back into the numbers despite the fact that my GP, physio and occy health have all said I need more time. So... My matron has told me I have to have a stage one meeting next week followed by a 6 week monitoring period where my attendance in a clinical capacity will be monitored. If I fail to return to full duties then I'll be moved on to stage 2 ie talking about redeployment or dismissal on grounds of capability. Stressful!

I had a consultation with a spinal surgeon post MRI and he has recommended another 6-8 weeks of physio. He has also recommended that should I become pregnant again I should be placed on non-clinical duties for the duration of pregnancy.
This is important as I'm planning an IVF frozen embryo transfer for next month so technically I could fall pregnant during the stage one monitoring phase and be signed off clinical work.

Do you know if the pregnancy related restrictions would protect me from being redeployed?

Hotbot Fri 17-Jul-15 20:34:25

You need to get really good Union advice and take you're
Rep in tbe meetings with you.
I think technically if you were pregnant they would be on a sticky wicket to do anything
BUT it sounds like you're not fit for a clinical role now, never mind when you're expecting.
Why are you in a stage one , is for absence not related to pregnancy usually or at least in my trust pregnancy absences are monitored but not counted in with normal absence

Orangeanddemons Fri 17-Jul-15 20:40:11

Did they do a risk assessment when you were pregnant?

I don't know anything about nursing, but the fact that ou injured your back whilst pregnant sounds like an industrial injury to me. What were the H and S issues like?

Either way, they sound on dodgy ground to me. How long have you had the injury? Longer than a year? They should be redeploying you elsewhere, not trying to dismiss you

girliefriend Fri 17-Jul-15 20:44:38

Blimey your employers sound harsh!

Have you contacted your union and spoken to them, the fact that this is a work related injury I think puts you in a good position. In fact am pretty sure you could claim compensation from them?!

Todayisnottheday Fri 17-Jul-15 20:49:45

Get onto your union. They can't implement stage one until you are fully back to work as I understand it. The pregnancy thing is difficult because pg related illness cannot be held against you however, strictly speaking, this may not be pregnancy related. You need specialised advice asap.

BettyBi0 Fri 17-Jul-15 20:53:04

The stage one is because, although I'm still going in every day to work in the back office, and so not technically absent, I'm not doing the clinical work I am employed to do.

My matron has said they can't support me to do that for much longer and is putting a lot if pressure on me to get back on the floor sad

I'm still considering making a claim against them but it wouldn't be 100% guaranteed to win as the symptoms I experienced post injury could be explained away as pregnancy related stuff like SPD that might have happened anyway... It was just that I was fine before the accident and then it started straight after..

Frolicacid Fri 17-Jul-15 20:54:16

I'm pretty sure that sickness related to pregnancy is exempt from the normal absence policy. At least that's what my line manager (also nhs) has told me. I hope she's right because I've had loads of time off with hyperemesis and hormonal migraines.
Both maternity and sickness absence policies should be on you intranet. Have a good read and speak with your Union if you are feeling pressured to take on clinical work when advised not to.
All the best with the embryo transfer flowers

code Sat 18-Jul-15 07:05:06

Why were you lifting a patient while pregnant- did they not do a pregnancy risk assessment with you or know that you were pregnant at the time of the accident?

In the NHS, sickness in pregnancy isn't taken into account when calculating sickness absence. This is because only women can be pregnant so it might be classed as sex discrimination.

But at the moment you're not pregnant so your sickness absence will be monitored and addressed in the usual way. What does your Union rep and the occupational health department say? If the injury was caused at work and through your managers negligence then they should be doing everything to support you. It would also be reasonable to deploy you if you cannot work on the ward, even if the redeployment is only temporary.

chanie44 Sat 18-Jul-15 08:14:22

OP you have my sympathies.

In understand how it must feel unreasonable for work to pressure you into returning to clinical duties, but from their point of view, you aren't fully fit to do the work they employed you to do and this is impacting on the service. It is one of those unfortunate situations, but it doesn't sound like they can accommodate you working lighter duties indefinitely.

In terms of next steps, getting pregnant may buy you some time in that a risk assessment may mean they have to put you on lighter duties. They can't take any pregnancy related issues into account for sickness absence monitoring.

However, after maternity leave, you may still be in the same situation in terms of not being able to fulfill all of your clinical duties. I know it sounds scary but the point of redeployment is something positive - it's about finding you work that you can do.

Hotbot Sun 19-Jul-15 06:58:28

Op needs to very careful as they are under. No obligation to redeploy once it's been ascertained that op cannot do contracted job.

Orangeanddemons Sun 19-Jul-15 10:55:29

But if it's been going on a long time then she would be considered disabled. How long has the whole thing been going on for? If it is a work related injury then she has ever more reason to think about redeployment

BettyBi0 Sun 19-Jul-15 11:05:54

I'm definitely aiming to move into a safer role but I'm having trouble finding appropriate jobs at my salary band that I want to do that will offer part-time and are within an hour and half commute each way. They do come up but are few and far between so I'd rather I wasn't rushed into accepting something horrible just because it met with the redeployment schedule I might get forced into.

It would be awful to have to accept a band 5 job in an outpatient clinic that is part of my trust but and impossible commute etc. If they offered me something like that it would meet their minimum obligation to me and if I refused the job I'd be dismissed from the trust.

It's so stressful! The original accident was almost 2 years ago now but because I was off on sick leave then maternity leave for a year, then all my accrued annual leave, it gave me almost 20 months away from work and it's only now that I'm having to deal with the reality of it. I was pain free until I started back at work sad

BettyBi0 Sun 19-Jul-15 11:08:18

I know that in some nhs roles like paramedics, pregnant women can be temporarily redeployed for the pregnancy and then resume their normal time after the mat leave. Does anyone know if nurses can be offered this too?

FabULouse Sun 19-Jul-15 13:51:54

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FabULouse Sun 19-Jul-15 13:54:22

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BettyBi0 Sun 19-Jul-15 21:54:54

Thanks so much. That's lots of points I hadn't considered checking yet. I'm just in the process of trying to make the chronologist list of events and email correspondence to send to my rep. It's really hard work tryin to edit and make sense of nearly 2 years worth of emails. My poor union officer who'll have to read it all!

It really bugs me that I might have to take a pay cut, drop a band, take a job that will look crap on my cv, lose my childcare friendly fixed shifts etc. I wish I'd just sued them straight away instead of trying to make things work.. Ugh!

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