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(5 Posts)
Sunflower49 Sat 08-Feb-14 10:30:57

My friend who I am a carer of sorts for, has an ATOS meeting on Tuesday (11th Feb).

I'm reading the bumf now-Occupational health consultation.

I want to accompany him, does anybody know what I should expect?He and I attended a meeting with his boss last week, and she said one thing they may 'push for' is medical retirement.

He has only just been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

He has been off work for some time but has been misdiagnosed before this diagnosis was finally done by a psychiatrist-so has only in the last 3 weeks been given the correct medication. He is still signed off sick (until the 17th), his medication has not properly 'kicked in' as yet, it can take a long time apparently.

His psychiatrist also has said to him that the trigger for his Bi Polar disorder may have been caused by his being bullied by a previous boss at work, some 3 ish years ago.

What can I expect in this meeting?

What am I best off saying to them?

I don't want them to dismiss him, or to try to get him to accept early retirement on medical grounds-this is not what he wants, he wants to get to a stage where he can return to work, and he has had a lot of time off but this was all pre correct diagnosis and pre correct treatment.

I wanted to provide ATOS with some official documentation regarding the fact that bipolar was very likely triggered by problems at work, but his psychiatrist cannot provide this until they've seen him again-earliest appointment being Wednesday-obviously this is after the meeting sad.

I guess I will emphasise the fact that work is the likely trigger for his illenss, that his GP failed to put the correct measures in place to get him diagnosed correctly, misdiagnosing him with depression, and failed to send him to a psychiatrist until 3 years after the suspected event that triggered bipolar, and also I'll emphasise that now he is on the correct medication, he is likely to be able to return to work soon and work as efficiently as anybody else. Is this right?

Thank you in advance, there is another thread I began some weeks ago that some may remember-when I was trying to get his unhelpful GP to send him to a psychiatrist.

SilverStars Sat 08-Feb-14 10:42:37

Hi. I would remind them that he has only just received an official diagnosis and is doing his very best to return to work - such as going private for diagnosis due to NHS waiting times. Then remind them it is an illness, with treatment but as he has only just commenced treatment then it may take a few more weeks until can look at a phased return. Therefore to talk of medical retirement is totally unacceptable and would cause unnecessary stress. That is what I would state and stress.

What timelines are I would use the phrases above! Weeks can become months but not relevant now! Personally I would not talk about historical bullying as if cannot prove it it is not relevant. Use that for another meeting with OH. Ask for a further appointment to discuss things one he has had time for medication to work. Also if it is not current work place bullying is there anything he wants adapting to help?

How long is he allowed off on sickness policy? Sme places have an allowable time on full pay, half pay and then unpaid before look at leaving the job.

Whether he can return to work or not varies, on how he is on medication and how he responds to work. But definitely worth trying a return to work when more stable. Then if it does not work he can be signed off sick again on pay if the policy allows that until he works out benefits and retirement sick pay. If older being medically retired may be better than having to resign. Definitely worth asking for all policies on this - sickness, absence, how they adapt workplace for those with mental health illnesses, retirement on ill health grounds policy.

Sunflower49 Sat 08-Feb-14 10:53:39

Hi SilverStars waves and thanks again.

Okay, I will definitely say that about medical retirement being unacceptable at this stage.

I can quite possibly prove the historical bullying as I cannot see his psychiatrist having a problem with putting that in writing if my friend notes that his is when all his problems began.
However I doubt I can do this before Tuesday.

Yes I'll ask for another meeting when we 're no longer in the situation where hes' only just been diagnosed and medicated.
He's already on unpaid (SSP). I'll ask for policies particularly regarding adapting for mental health issues and phased returns-although his meeting with his boss already did discuss that.
Thanks again . smile

SilverStars Sat 08-Feb-14 22:56:15

Also the SSP is usually for a set time. Often 6 months. But some companies also allow time off unpaid after that. So worth asking about that.

He is also entitled to take paid annual leave ( I think, check with OH) in his illness period. Worth finding out if that prolongs his absence. That could help a lot:
If fully paid could boost finance at a difficult time
If it is extra to his sick leave, then could give him longer than the standard 28 weeks SSP period.

I would take pen, paper and make notes. Also a sheet with all you questions on. Show that you are recording the information, are organised and do not wish him to be treated differently to anyone who has a newly diagnosed and as yet unknown how it will affect him illness.

Worth being polite, formal. No point being antagonistic as a good OH person can support. Especially when extended sick leave is at discretion of employer! I would smile, keep good eye contact, be positive and ensure you talk about him being proactive about recovery, being frustrated with NHS not being involved promptly meaning a longer time off work until sought private treatment.

Sunflower49 Sun 09-Feb-14 20:09:57

Thank you xx
I'm going to speak to his union tomorrow and suggest they postpone as at this stage, I cannot really see what good a meeting is going to do any of us,but if they can't/won't-I feel much more confident now about what to say and do.

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