Support with having a LTC

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Sam1987
Posts: 59
Joined: Wed Jul 17, 2013 1:11 pm

Support with having a LTC

Post by Sam1987 » Wed Sep 04, 2019 6:17 pm

Hi

I don't know if this is posted in the right place, apologies if not. I'm wondering about other people's experiences of working in IAPT with a long term health condition. I'm having to try and get gp appointments, clinic appointments, etc outside of working hours or take annual leave for appointments. Is this something that is supposed to happen? Or might it depend on the employer?

I'm not feeling all that supported at work at present, which makes me lose motivation for the day and I have had sick days since I started in April this year. My probationary period has been extended a further three months on top of the initial three months for a variety of reasons, which personally I think are a bit petty. I've had my manager say to me before "you're not getting paid for sick days you take", I'm quite aware of this but its as though I should be at work when I cannot fully function. She is also supposed to be trained in LTCs and apparently knows nothing about mine! Which I find baffling. I'm finding everything frustrating at the moment, hence why this post may appear bitter and as though I'm hard done by.

I'd appreciate other's responses on my initial question. Thanks!
IAPT the tiger

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hawke
Posts: 107
Joined: Tue Feb 07, 2017 11:10 am

Re: Support with having a LTC

Post by hawke » Wed Sep 04, 2019 8:08 pm

I'm sorry you're having such a bad time of it. I am assuming you are fairly new in post, and I think it especially hard to deal with it when you're new in a service.

I also have a LTHC, and have generally had good experiences with services (including 2 IAPT services), but it definitely varies between employers and even managers within the same team. Heck, even the same manager has treated me very differently at times, depending on anything from their current mood to the pressures on the service. I have found HR departments to be pretty useless, but I have now joined a union to make sure I have back up in the NHS if ever needed.

My understanding is that legally they have to let you go to appointments during work hours if you have a disability, but they can ask for it to be A/L or flexi-time, depending on what is in your contract. I much prefer flexi-time and so pretty assertively seek that from any services I work for. I book things in my admin slots, and then make up the admin time elsewhere, at home if I can. But sometimes missing therapy appointments is unavoidable, so I would often cover a course for a colleague to make up for it. I found the more pro-active I was about arranging things, the more autonomy I was given. I have also found that presenteeism matters - if I am seen to be working late a few times, people seem less fussed when I have an appointment. (I acknowledge that being commitment free in the evenings makes that possible, whereas for others it won't be... and that I may be fuelling the problem of services not treating people well by my willingness to 'make up for my disability'.)

I was very lucky when I was diagnosed that I worked in a team with several other people with LTHC. The main thing they taught me was to be compassionate to myself, which makes it much easier to be assertive about what you need and less stressed about inevitably needing some time off. Find your LTHC tribe!

One IAPT manager shared with me that it was much harder for her to deal with occasional and unpredictable sick days compared to more planned sick leave. Obviously LTHC don't tend to be that predictable! But for example, she found it helpful to be kept updated about potential flare ups so she could do some provisional planning for cover, rather than me hiding it until I was actually in one and calling in sick at 8am. Having since worked in an IAPT SMT and been part of the cover rota, I can also see how useful it is to know even half a day in advance that you might be called upon.

While I think there is definitely a skill to managing a LTHC in the helping professions, ultimately some services will just treat you better than others. If you're not feeling supported, do what you can to try and improve it, but ultimately your health is more important than any job.

Sam1987
Posts: 59
Joined: Wed Jul 17, 2013 1:11 pm

Re: Support with having a LTC

Post by Sam1987 » Mon Sep 09, 2019 1:14 pm

Hi Hawke,

I'm new to this position and this service, but I have worked in IAPT since 2013. I've recently finished my CBT training and currently in a qualified post, but actually not fully qualified yet! (although full caseload). To add to everything mentioned in my initial post, I had a meeting this morning with my manager and now my absence is being monitored. I explained that there was not much that can be done with having this condition and how it can be unpredictable at times. I had time off last week as I was not coping well at all, to the point of feeling suicidal, and I told my manager this and the response was "Do you feel well enough emotionally to see clients?" I didn't know what to say as I'd just been told that my absence is being monitored! So I felt quite cornered at that point, it felt as though I should be here seeing a full caseload day after day and making them money for the sake of my own wellbeing. I've been in a difficult place, should I say, with my mood for a few months now and with work issues on top it does not make it any easier and I feel trapped at the moment. My apologies for sounding like I am moaning, but this is the first IAPT service I've worked in where I've felt 0% supported.

Your thoughts on this would be appreciate, if possible.

Thanks :)
IAPT the tiger

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