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Diagnosed with breast cancer: NHS sick leave?

(14 Posts)
Puddingnpie Sun 14-Jul-19 20:59:14

Diagnosed last week, will have surgery and radiotherapy and hopefully that will be all.
I am a hcp in NHS and am sure will have no issues with sick leave for surgery and recovery and for radiotherapy treatment.
However, even though I am not ill I am exhausted, mentally and physically with a very demanding patient facing role. I simply cant face the stress of work at the moment. I am going to speak to my manager tomorrow (they are lovely but need to stick to procedure) but am not at all sure what leave i am entitled to. I would like to take from now until after surgery off (mid sept) and could do a mix of unpaid, annual leave and sick leave.
Does anyone have experience or knowledge?
Thank you x

Lougle Sun 14-Jul-19 21:17:17

I'm sure that you could phone in sick, then visit your GP and they would sign you off. I had a very distressing family situation (mental health in immediate family) and when I tried to take unpaid leave to deal with it, HR told my manager that I was entitled to sick leave and that's what I should take. I was signed off with 'stress/caring responsibilities' by my GP.

blackcat86 Sun 14-Jul-19 21:32:26

Go to your GP. They will sign you off. I had an urgent operation due but had to wait 4 weeks. Work pretended to be understanding before immediately allocating me a piece of work a clearly couldn't do. I came home in tears and in pain. The next day the GP agreed I shouldn't be at work until after I had recovered. She signed me off until after the surgery and the surgeon then provided an additional sick note for my recovery. You need to be looking after yourself right now and the gp will understand that.

Puddingnpie Sun 14-Jul-19 22:10:58

Thanks Lougle and Blackcat. Do you think I should speak with GP before manager? I have work tomorrow, but I could phone in sick. Not sure how much sick leave I am entitled to and don't want t take the piss (don't think this is but I am generally anxious and the moment).

MoreSlidingDoors Sun 14-Jul-19 22:13:44

Depends on length of service. How long have you worked for the NHS? New starters get one month full (inc SSP) and two months half pay (plus SSP). It goes up for each year of service up to 5 years (6 months full, 6 months half).

Don’t use annual leave to cover sick leave.

Puddingnpie Sun 14-Jul-19 22:21:54

Worked for NHS (same Trust) over 10 years, so i guess 6 months, which would be more than I need but reassuring.
I don't have a lot of annual leave left (need to save for school hols) so was considering unpaid. I just feel uncomfortable that I'm not actually physically ill yet, more that I think it will make me so if i continue working and caring for kids and fighting cancer.

MoreSlidingDoors Sun 14-Jul-19 22:43:31

You need to maximise your mental health and energy to get through your treatment. That’s also what sick leave is for. Nobody at my trust would judge you.

sunshinedaisydo Sun 14-Jul-19 22:50:16

I was diagnosed with cancer and didn't return to work for 6 months. I'm a HCP in NHS too.

GP signed me off initially no questions and then my consultant did for long periods.

There's was no way on earth I could have gone back to the hospital to work that had just diagnosed me and was planning my treatment. Boss was very understanding.

I was off sick for a month before my first op.

sunshinedaisydo Sun 14-Jul-19 22:50:59

In nhs I got 6 months full pay, then it would go to statutory I think.

han01uk Sun 14-Jul-19 22:55:24

I am a nurse and was off for a year to look after my son with cancer. The GP signed me off with stress. I think it was 3 months 90% pay,then 6 months half pay or something along those lines. Please please don't take unpaid leave or annual leave. You are entitled to your leave for exactly that,not when you are entitled to be signed off sick. Working in the NHS means you will no doubt carry a lot of guilt being off,but please take the time to have treatment,recover and look after yourself....the job will still be there when you are better.

July2019 Sun 14-Jul-19 23:01:51


If you have worked for NHS for 10 years then you will be entitled to six months full pay followed by six months half pay.

You can self-certify for the first 7 days of sickness but I would just go to your GP as soon as you can and get them to sign you off until after the op.

You sound like a very considerate person and good worker, given what you are currently facing you seem more worried about how your employer will cope!

Wishing you all the luck with your treatment x

Puddingnpie Mon 15-Jul-19 06:12:09

Thank you all for your really good, logical advice. July2019, you're right, i think in the NHS its really hard to shift perspective and think of yourself as needing help. I needed to be told it was ok. han01uk I am so hear about your son, I hope he has made a full recovery and that you had a lot of support.
sunshinedaisydo, hope you are also recovered.
Thanks MoreSlidingDoors, I colleagues will.understand.
Up at 5 this morning going through caseload mentally in my head - a definite sign I need to take time.out.

han01uk Mon 15-Jul-19 08:15:58

He is doing ok thank you. In all honesty it has shifted my perspective to work - I HAD to put him first. Then when he went into remission I HAD to focus on getting myself over the psychological impact of what we had been through, so still couldn't focus on work. I was a complete mess. Work were supportive but to them we are just a number I realised. Right now you will be running on adrenaline,when that subsides and you have chance to reflect on how this will/is affecting you,you must take some time out. After years of giving to the NHS it's time to put yourself first. Good luck 🍀

vdbfamily Mon 15-Jul-19 08:22:54

If you think there is a role that you could undertake whilst awaiting surgery that is less tiring, I would request an urgent occupational health referral and see if they would support reasonable adjustments to your role to enable you to keep working until absolutely not able to.

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