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Ill Health Retirement

Discussion in 'Retirement' started by madcow100, Mar 29, 2019.

  1. madcow100

    madcow100 New commenter

    I would really value some help and advice!
    I’m being advised to apply for Ill Health Retirement tier 2 by my union and it seems like a mountain to climb to gather all the evidence. I’ve made a start and my gp will write a letter but does anyone have an example letter that they’ve received for this? What should/could it say and how long should it be? I want to give her as much guidance as possible.
    What else should I try and include? I’m waiting for my consultant to do a report as well.
    Thank you!
  2. LadyForlorn

    LadyForlorn New commenter

    The best place to start is the ill health retirement application form from TPS. This includes a section for a medical professional to complete. This form ‘part B’ when I applied, MUST be completed as part of the application. If it’s ‘in service’ (ie you are still in employment) then it is usual for this to be completed by an OH doctor. It can be completed by a GP or hospital consultant/specialist. What TPS are looking for with this and any supporting documents is that:

    - you have a diagnosed medical condition
    - the condition makes you unfit to teach in any reasonable capacity in any subject that you are reasonably qualified to teach
    - for tier 2 (enhanced) applications, that you are unfit to carry out any meaningful paid employment whatsoever
    - all medical interventions have been exhausted and there are no further treatments available
    - any ‘reasonable adjustments’ have been explored and/or tried
    - the current level of incapacity is not going to change between now and normal retirement age

    TPS have their own medical board who will assess the application based on the medical evidence, medical opinions from the forms and their own medical knowledge. From reading around on these threads it seems that applications are most likely to be successful when there is an unambiguous medical condition, a history of interventions that have been proved unsuccessful and absolutely no chance of further improvement. In my case, there is simply no treatment for my condition, and I had 7 years’ worth of evidence of my school providing extra support to enable me to continue teaching. The OH doctor who filled in my part B form did a pretty shoddy job of it (some boxes weren’t completed correctly), but the other supporting medical evidence was sifficient.

    I hope this gives a starting point for you. If you have any questions, I’m happy to help.
  3. madcow100

    madcow100 New commenter

    Thank you! I really appreciate your help. What did your gp and consultant write? Was it anything extra And special just for this? Did they fill in that section b as well?
    I’m trying to gather my evidence but it seems an impossible job to tick the TPS boxes!!
  4. LadyForlorn

    LadyForlorn New commenter

    My GP has never heard of my medical condition and my hospital consultant did not reply to my request for a supporting letter. However, I was ‘in serveice’ when I applied and my school referred me to the LEA’s OH doctor. I took with me all the relevant medical evidence (clinic letters and test restults) and the OH doctor filled in the part B form based on that. My condition is rare but very unambiguous; when I showed the OH doctor my scans and challenged him to guess what was wrong with me he got it completely wrong. He then went on to suggest my parents were related to each other, which was rather insulting!

    I did also include all relevant copies of clinic diagnosis letters and a lengthy statement from me as supporting evidence.
  5. madcow100

    madcow100 New commenter

    Thank you - that’s really helpful and I’m thinking about doing a supporting statement too although I think I will end up writing a lot as there’s so much to say! I was worried about the OH doctor as it’s a new company and this is a new doctor and I can only have telephone appts as I’m housebound so a bit worried about it all and whether the dr will be any good at filling in section B. Did you have more than one appt with OH?
  6. LadyForlorn

    LadyForlorn New commenter

    I only had one appointment with the OH doctor. The HR department from the LEA referred me when it had been agreed that the school and LEA would support the application.

    I turned up and the OH doctor had no idea what the appointment was for. He had no computer available, so didn’t know what the referral was for or what medical evidence I had. Luckily I’d taken multiple copies of all the relevant medical evidence including my own statement which he looked through during the appointment. He completed the part B form there and then, but didn’t do a particularly thorough job of it (looking back on it). For example, one of the boxes said ‘summarise the medical evidence to support the claim that the applicant is permanently unfit to teach’ (or something like that). He literally wrote ‘2 clinic letters, scan results and CVI seen’ and that was it. However, I do get the impression that the TPS medical board make their own judgments based on the available medical evidence and diagnosis rather than on the supporting medical opinions of OH/GPs.
  7. madcow100

    madcow100 New commenter

    That sounds awful for you and really stressful! You hope the OH doctor knows what they’re doing as you rely on them to do a good job for you.
    I’m so pleased it all went well though and you were awarded your pension. I bet that was a relief! Did you have a lot of union support?
  8. LadyForlorn

    LadyForlorn New commenter

    Thank you for your kind words. The OH report wasn’t particularly awful for me at the time as I didn’t really look at it. The report was sent straight to HR who were collating all the IHR documents and sent them off for me. They emailed me a scanned copy of all the application forms and evidence but I couldn’t face looking at them at the time so just ignored it. It wasn’t until after the application was approved that I went back and looked at what the OH doctor had written. To be honest, I was more disappointed that my hospital consultant didn’t even respond to my request for a supporting letter.

    The union were sort-of supportive. They sent a regional rep to my meeting with my head and the HR rep but didn’t help put my mind at ease about the process at all. They initially told me it was highly unlikely that I’d be awarded IHR as I had no involvement with Access to Work to date, even though my correspondence with them clearly stated that Access to Wrok had been paying for a full time support worker for 7 years.

    Anyway, I think the most important thing for me was that, despite being heavily dosed on anti-depressants at the time, I managed to put together a 2-page supporting statement indicating why I was permanently unfit to teach and giving examples and evidence of where my support worker was effectively carrying out my role for me. The OH report basically just confirmed that they agreed with this and that the medical evidence supported it.
  9. pmichelmore

    pmichelmore New commenter

    Hi, I got Tier 1 very recently, the most important things are:
    Your condition is deemed permanent and may deteriorate
    All statements from specialists include the statement that you are unfit to teach.
    The school and medical professionals have exhausted all possible avenues to help you teach, ie OH, going part time and Physio, Surgery, medication, etc...

    I also added a personal statement, which is below for you:

    To whom it my concern.

    For reference I have been a Secondary School Teacher since 1994 enjoying a successful and fulfilling career until the last few years.

    I have had a history of cervical disc issues since 2008 but these were severely exacerbated following a serious Motorway Car accident in March 2016, this led to all my cervical discs becoming herniated (confirmed by an MRI Scan shortly afterwards) and causing me a large number of symptoms and issues. These are impacting on my ability to teach effectively and at a level which I am professionally happy with. Therefore I feel I am unfit to teach for the reasons set out below.

    Due to injuries sustained in the accident and following advice from Physiotherapists, Surgeons, my GP, my family, the school and Occupational Health I reduced my contracted hours to 0.7 (70%) in Sept 2017 and then further to 0.4 (40%) from Sept 2018.

    Despite the reduction in hours I am still finding the day to day rigours of classroom teaching very challenging. This is due to a lack of mobility in my neck, sensation loss in my left thumb and forefinger- causing fine motor skills problems, pain in my left arm and general pain and discomfort from the physical nature of the job as well as side effects from the medication I take.

    I find that the rigours of classroom teaching- bending, stretching, marking, carrying, etc very difficult and after my 2 days a week I am extremely sore, uncomfortable and fatigued- physically and mentally exhausted.

    I also have to take a number of medications for my conditions, these are taken daily and have side effects such as drowsiness, fatigue and discomfort:

    @@@@ 30mg (x8 daily)

    @@@@ 300mg (x6 daily)

    @@@@ 10mg (x6 daily)

    @@@@200mg (x 6 daily)

    I have had help and good support from Occupational Health organised by the school which led to alterations to my classroom (desk, chair, etc) this helped, however since Sept 2018 and my reduction to 0.4 I am ‘mobile’ between 6 different classrooms in 3 different buildings carrying equipment between rooms, again this is very challenging.

    I find marking and general data collection/ record keeping difficult as I am unable to strain my neck and often have shooting pains down my left arm- this takes me a every long time as a result.

    As well as the medication I have to take I also underwent a surgical procedure (Cervical Epidural) in Feb 2017 which helped for a few months but has since ceased. A repeat procedure is not available on the NHS. I also had/ have weekly Physiotherapy and Acupuncture since the accident, this had some limited results but there has been no real gain.

    Due to my finger and thumb nerve conduction (caused by my discs pressing on my spinal cord) I find sensory tasks very challenging (I am unable to button a shirt without help) hence problems with marking, filing, etc.

    The issues caused by my condition has resulted in lots of time off work- from the accident date to going to 0.4 (40%). This obviously puts a lot of pressure on the school and following a meeting regarding this with my Headteacher I feel no choice but to apply for Early retirement on Health grounds, he supports this.

    My condition is progressive and will get worse or at best deteriorate gradually over time and at this stage I feel I have exhausted all treatment options available to me- Physiotherapy, Acupuncture, Surgery, Pain Clinic/ medication, Occupational Health and two reductions in hours culminating in now only working two days a week.

    Yours sincerely.


    Dec 2018.

    Hope this helps, good luck, my application from start to acceptance was about 3 months.
  10. madcow100

    madcow100 New commenter

    This is absolutely brilliant and a huge thank you - especially for sharing that statement. It gives me a guide now on what to write and include but I think it will take me ages to write it and I’m worried I will include too much so will try and keep it succinct but relevant.

    3 months gives me a good target and an idea of what to expect. It feels like a huge mountain to climb but I will take it a step at a time.

    I wondered about the actual form and who took responsibility for collating everything? I know there is a section I need to complete but do you then send it all and the evidence to the OH?

    Thank you!
  11. pmichelmore

    pmichelmore New commenter

    A pleasure, you need to take responsibility for collating everything. I didn’t use my OH much, just the report they sent whilst I was still teaching. My GP filled in the medical form but I included a lot of other evidence- 7 other specialists and all hospital reports, MRI scans, Physio, Surgery, etc, etc.
    I ensured that 4 of the reports included the words “unfit to teach”, I paid for a couple of them and it was really worth it.
    My Union weren’t very useful, when I contacted them they said I should take up my 6 months paid sick leave before applying!
    Once your school have completed their part of the form they send it to the LEA to complete the final bits then send if off for you, you should send your medical
    evidence, personal statement, etc are the same time.
    I had around 70 pages but have known people send off a lot more and a lot less, basically everything you can get your hands on.

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