Institutional Support: Human resources, Occupational Health, IT support, and Unions
Jo Z was referred to occupational health after a period of sick leave and found it a useful process to take stock of what support she needed.
© Disability Narratives
Because after I'd had a period of sickness, when you come back you do the return to work form. I think there's a tick box on it, 'do you want to be referred to occupational health?' And I think before, every time I'd had the odd day off with back pain, it's been ticked 'no'. But because this followed a period of quite a few days off, he said "Well, do you want to?" And I thought 'actually, yeah - I think this would be a good idea'. “Let’s, let’s try it, can't do any harm." [When I got to] occupational health it was very in-depth. Because I thought it would be sort of ten, fifteen minute chat. But it was sort of well over an hour.
And we went into the sort of nature of the injuries that I had when I was a teenager. And any recurrences of back pain I've had since then. Went through things I'd had done, like physiotherapy, acupuncture, osteopathy, chiropractic. Tried everything [laugh]. And all the different painkillers that I've tried. So it was – so it felt like they were really trying to get a rounded picture of my case, and then make the best recommendations. [It was] quite daunting. Yes, it was. Because I don't think I'd ever sat down and really talked about it before in that much detail, because whenever I go and see my GP - if I see a different GP, because one never sees one's own GP - you get the brush-off. Because GPs aren't interested in back pain. They'll give you painkillers but they never really seek to understand the underlying cause. And they might refer you to a physiotherapist and it'll take six months to get an appointment [laughs].
So it was the first time that someone had said "Right, I'm interested. Talk to me about it." And it was like 'ooh, okay' [laugh]. It was quite illuminating, to reflect on my own health history. And in sort of thinking about coming here today, I was - it really struck me that yes actually, I do get anxious when I go to other places for meetings, because I do worry. And it hadn't really struck me before, because I hadn't really thought about it.
Okay. So it's a fairly useful process, to just reflect on -
Mmm. Definitely. Just to stop and think for a while.