Ill Health Retirement from the NHS

Hi, I have worked in Admin for the NHS for 15 years but feel I can’t cope any more.

I have been diagnosed with BC x 3 in the last 16 years with bilateral MX in 2014.  I received Chemo and Rads for the first two Dx.  On Dx 3 I was not offered Rads as I have had my maximum safe treatment and turned Chemo down as I felt I needed to ‘keep chemo options in the bank for when I really need it’. Throw BRCA into the mix and thats me. I broke my arm early this year and have been suffering with severe pain in limbs and hips.  

My consultant told me in 2015 that It is a case of when not if it returns and I feel the clock ticking.

I have been signed off sick by my GP for the past few weeks and want to apply for Ill Health Retirement as I am really struggling mentally and physically, but my line manager is doing all she can to get me back to work.  I have tried to tell her that I am not well enough, but she is determined to make me return to work and put the pressure on during weekly phone calls (Trust policy).  My GP says that I have to ‘go through a process’ before I can apply but  line manager is putting the pressure on.

What do I have to do to get to the stage where I can apply?  I am really worried that Line Manager will make me return to work - I am signed off for another 3 weeks but she has arranged a formal review of my sickness with HR 10 days before my sicknote runs out.  I have previously had an excellent sick record, only having been off for 6 months after last Dx and MX, any Ops and broken arm.

Any help/advice will be a great help.  Many thanks, Ella.



Are you in a union, if so it would be worthwhile getting in touch with them.


Has your manager referred you to occupational health, if not then ask that they do., this should have been done as a matter of course with your diagnosis. so that they are managing your health and wellbeing whilst going through treatment and thereafter, it may be that you will be able to speak with them about the possibilty of illhealth retiremnet.  Also you are protected by the Equaities Act 2010  You could also ask to meet with your Line Managers’ manager if you are not happy with the way in which your case is being handled.

Hi Ella


sorry to hear about where you are.  Most NHS organisations follow similar policy, my comments are made on the back of being a VSM employee of the NHS for many years.  as you will know having had BC you are covered by the DDA, so do keep that in mind for any adjustments you might want to go for instead of full retirement.  That aside, I would ask for a review by the occupational health department, they can support your application, the service is confidential and they will advise your line manager of what is, and what isn’t possible for you.  Good luck.

Thanks for your replies. I am worried that my application will fail but will contact OH to see if they can help.  LIns Manager has called me into a disciplinary meeting with HR to review my sick record whilst I am still signed off.  can she do this? I am concerned that she will try to sack me; she has been my line manager for only a year and work has been really stressful. I have never taken ‘duvet days’ . I will try OH to see if I can get advice and start the ball rolling. I am 53 and feel I am unlikely to reach 60. Hard times. 

Hi, thanks everyone for your help.  I have seen my GP at the start who said she is happy to support me but we have to go through a process to get there.  My line manager is now pushing things along and insisted on a face to face stage 1 sickness meeting recently and then suprised me last Friday by scheduling stage 2 within 5 weeks of the stage 1.  I have now re-read the policy which gives 3 months for improvement between stages so I have posted off a letter to her today asking that it be delayed until nearer the end of the 3 months.  I haven’t even begun treatment for lymphoedema yet (a result of recent physio but that is another story) and I am waiting on a further tests, which she knows about. I will keep my fingers crossed about geting the delay I need.

I think PatriciaMay is right about her being over enthusiastic and yes I do have over 2 years of employment.  I feel exhausted and in pain 90% of the time with evenings and weekends catching up on sleep and recharging with very low quality of life.  ThanksAnn-m for suggesting Macmillan Cancer Support, I spoke to them before initially going to see my GP and they were very positive but gave conflicting advice to that of my GP who said to take it slow. I think I have no choice but to speed things up and contact my OH when I get back from a short break away next week.  I found Macmillan to be amazing and they helped me to feel more positive; I will contact them again as they seem to be more on the ball than my GP.  I have now joined the union but I wish I had known before they signed me up that they can not deal with ongoing issues.  I will contact my local rep anyway to see if he can help.  Thanks again for all your advice.  I will try not to worry about it whilst I am away. It is really helpful to chat with people who know what living with the consequences of cancer is really like.  Take care everyone  x

Thanks for your advice. HR weren’t a great help but I found the union rep was. It’s been quite a journey with HR & manager trying to push me along in another direction. Thank god for Clive the union chap as he has been a brick. I don’t believe I would be close to IHR without him. It has been exhausting and drawn out with comments in our meeting from line manager (with HR) starting with “I know it sounds callous but…”
Luckily for me my Line Manager has offended Occupational Health Consultant, Union Rep, and astounded HR managerment which can only work in my favour. I hope there are lessons learnt and other staff are treated better.
Thanks for the all the advice again, I truly needed it ?