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Phased Return to Work - advice needed pls

Discussion in 'Health and wellbeing' started by LawCitizenshipPHSE, Jan 2, 2019.

  1. LawCitizenshipPHSE

    LawCitizenshipPHSE New commenter

    Hi everyone,

    I have been off work for 6.5 weeks following a minor RTA which has left me with pain all over my body, particularly my leg and back. I am due to go back to work tomorrow as my doctors certificate expires. I still don't feel 100% and I'm feeling really anxious about returning to work at full time hours. Due to the pain in my leg and back I am unable to stand or sit for long. Whilst being signed off I have been alternating sitting, and laying down. I am worried that I will not be able to cope with returning full time tomorrow as sitting/standing for long periods of time is unavoidable with teaching. So do I extend my doctors certificate? Or not go to work tomorrow and go to the doctors and get a fit note with reasonable adjustments (no break duty which is 30 mins of standing/walking) and possibly reduced teaching hours for a short while? Or do I request a phased return? If so, what phased return plan would you suggest?
    This is all new to me so I would appreciate any advice. TIA
  2. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    You definitely need to go see your GP and potentially get another 'sick note' as it sounds as if you couldn't return to teaching in your present state of health.
    Phone the surgery today & email the school that you will be seeing your GP asap and will let them know of your availability to return to work. That will no doubt trigger an 'absence' but will probably enable you to be contacted by HR and see about either a phased return or adjustments to your work environment to be put into place.
  3. LawCitizenshipPHSE

    LawCitizenshipPHSE New commenter

    Thanks for the reply. I've been trying to get a GP appointment since this morning but they are short staffed due to the holidays so I can't get an appointment. I will have to email my school today and say I won't be returning tomorrow, and will send them an updated certificate asap. I think I need a few more days. Maybe if I extend by 2 days so that I go to work on Monday with either phased return or adjustments.

    Re phased return/adjustments to work environment - what would you suggest?
  4. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    I wouldn't presume to advise.
    Your GP may be in a better position to do so and HR will obviously have some ideas, though their motivation will be different as they will need to take onboard any financial considerations on behalf of the school, so do stick with what you know you need.
    JohnJCazorla likes this.
  5. ATfan

    ATfan Star commenter

    You haven't mentioned Occupational Health. Does your school have an Occupational Health Department? If so, I would recommend speaking to someone from there as that's normally how phased returns etc are organised. In the meantime, I would suggest speaking to your line manager or someone from HR about what you wrote in this post and ask whether a self-certificate would so for now.

    By the way, my GP surgery has an hour where a GP is on call for us to speak to and a set of emergency appointments that we can make at the end of the day (not necessarily with our named GP but at least there is someone to ask). Failing that, we can also take any last minute appointments if we call first thing in the morning. Does your surgery offer these service? I understand the situation at your surgery but you someone needs to confirm that you are fit to work before you return to school. The only other thing that I can suggest is trying to get into a walk in clinic or calling NHS direct and asking if someone can advise you on this situation.

    Good luck and hope that you feel better soon!
    JohnJCazorla and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  6. LawCitizenshipPHSE

    LawCitizenshipPHSE New commenter

    OH are an external organisation and I don't even have their details. I'd have to request them from HR.

    We have on the day appointments too if we call at 8.30am but they all got taken this morning. I am going to try the GP again tomorrow morning and won't be going back to work tomorrow. I'll have to email work today and say I won't be in and that I will update them on my return date once I have seen my GP.

    I'm just afraid that if I go in tomorrow without a fit note with reasonable adjustments or a request for phased return, then work will assume I am 100% better and fit to work as usual which I'm not. I will then struggle to get either phased return or reasonable adjustments. Hate this. Wish I was 100% better so I could avoid this hassle, it's such a headache
    Lara mfl 05 and ATfan like this.
  7. ATfan

    ATfan Star commenter

    I agree that your strategy is a sensible one. Doesn't matter if OH is external or not. You're still entitled to use it. I would deffo ask HR/your line manger to contact OH for you. I'm surprised that OH hasn't already been in touch with you as OH normally contacts people after 3 weeks.

    By the way, I know this from personal experience. I have had the pleasure (if you can call my recent experience that) of dealing with OH 3 times now (for 2 different health issues in different work places). Let OH deal with the hassle of this situation for you. That's what the school is paying the company for. :)
    JohnJCazorla and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  8. LawCitizenshipPHSE

    LawCitizenshipPHSE New commenter

    Thank you. I'm going to speak to my GP in the morning if I can get an appointment. Will let u know what he says :)
    ATfan and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  9. LawCitizenshipPHSE

    LawCitizenshipPHSE New commenter

    OMG I'm so sorry I clicked on 'report post' rather than 'reply' to your last comment sorry :( Hopefully they will see it was done in error as I typed my response to you in the 'reason for reporting'. I don't know how to undo it!?
    ATfan likes this.
  10. ATfan

    ATfan Star commenter

    LOL! Don't worry. I know how pain can do weird things to the brain (excuse the unintentional rhyme there) Failing that, you could always e-mail the tes team here:


    As for your GP, it might be worth emphasising to the receptionist the fact that you need to speak to someone that day because your cert has run out and you don't feel well enough to go back to work and will be disciplined if you cannot show written documentation for your absence.

    Good luck! Hope that you get help from someone! :)
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  11. LawCitizenshipPHSE

    LawCitizenshipPHSE New commenter

    I have emailed them to explain
    ATfan likes this.
  12. ATfan

    ATfan Star commenter

    Hope tes helps soon and good luck for tomorrow.
  13. ATfan

    ATfan Star commenter

    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  14. LawCitizenshipPHSE

    LawCitizenshipPHSE New commenter

    Hi, so I finally got a GP appointment today and my GP signed me off for a few more weeks (which I wasn't expecting at all) as he said I can't work in my current health. Will be speaking to OH soon too and hopefully discuss my return to work.
    ATfan and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  15. LawCitizenshipPHSE

    LawCitizenshipPHSE New commenter

    But I am so worried about my yr 13 and yr 11 classes. Year 11 will have any cover teacher... no subject specialist; and year 13 won't have a cover at all. Year 13 just have to get on with things themselves... they have exams in May/June yet so much content to get through :-(
  16. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    You may have been surprised, but many of us on here won't have been. It takes much longer than one realises and Drs may well have met many others in their surgeries to know.

    Just seen your latest post.
    But actually with you being signed off for longeriot may actually be easier for the school to get in a supply, especially if they have insurance, so leave the worrying to them.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2019
    ATfan likes this.
  17. ATfan

    ATfan Star commenter

    Hi @LawAndBusinessTeacher

    Listen to Auntie Lara (@Lara mfl 05) as she's a VERY experienced and knowledgeable tes poster! :) I totally echo what she says. Of course you feel guilty and are worried about your students because you are a hard working person who cares about your students. However, it is clear that you are not ready to return to work yet! Next time you feel guilty, please remember the following:

    1. As Lara said, your managers are paid FAR more to worry about matters like this, so let them get on with it (I mean this in a friendly way)!

    2. My contract contains a clause saying that if I am off sick, I MUST follow the doctor's advice about how to get well as soon as possible. Otherwise, it is a disciplinary offence. I am sure that yours contains something similar, so please listen to your GP and concentrate on getting well instead of trying to go back to work before you're fully fit!

    3. Your GP has given your school via OH time to organise the adjustments that you need to return to work safely without aggravating your injuries, which means the time spent away from your students will be minimised in the long-term!

    4. If your school and students are caring, all that will be on their minds is welcoming you back when you're fully fit!

    5. Make sure that you're honest with OH about your diagnosis and your concerns as detailed in your original post and make sure that you get to see the OH report before it is sent to the school as if there is any wrong information on it (as was the case with me, recently), you have the legal right to get it corrected. I'm not saying this to worry you but to reassure you that you're in no trouble and will have nothing to worry about (apart from what you're paid to worry about) when you return to school.

    6. Make the most of your extended holiday! Lucky you! :)

    I'm really glad that you got things sorted! Were things sorted out yesterday as well? Were your managers ok?

    Enjoy your rest and take care! Feel free to post back on here if you want further info about OH.

    Hope that you feel better soon! :)
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  18. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    And 'Auntie' Lara says, Listen to ATfan.
    She's very knowledgeable & experienced dealing with OH and workplace adjustments. :)
    ATfan likes this.
  19. ATfan

    ATfan Star commenter

    @Lara mfl 05 You flatter me! If I am, this is due to unfortunate circumstances recently which I won't bore you with @LawAndBusinessTeacher as well as my recent research on the BMA and Faculty of Occupational Medicine websites. The guideline documents were most illuminating (if long)! :) Anyway, I digress! Sorry! :)
  20. LawCitizenshipPHSE

    LawCitizenshipPHSE New commenter

    Thank you, you're right I need to stop worrying about work. I got out, stopped in the car park, almost walked back into the surgery to tell my GP I can't be off this long because my students need me. Crazy!!

    And I honestly am surprised. But I'm so glad he signed me off as I have been in so much pain today and would not have lasted the whole day at work if I had gone in.

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