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Fit For Work Initiative (UK Govt funded) & ME and CFS

Discussion in 'Finances, Work, and Disability' started by Yogi, Oct 31, 2016.

  1. Yogi

    Yogi Senior Member

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    The UK government launched 'Fit for Work' in 2015 to assist GPs and employers keep employees in work.In theory sounds good but the execution of these projects by the government are very bad and usually a failure. I would be supportive of this if done sensibly and intelligently if people who could do some work be supported. No sensible person could dispute that people who could work should. However it is probably another one of the Goverment's initiatives into forcing ill people into work (when they need time off) and making them more disabled in the long term. They will probably deny the person's illness and claim that they are fit and should work regardless of the ability.

    They have provided a library of advice and refer to CFS as Chronic Fatigue.

    Health Management Ltd are part of Maximus

    http://fitforwork.org/about/

    What is Fit for Work?
    Fit for Work is a Government-funded initiative.

    Fit for Work is designed to support people in work with health conditions and help with sickness absence. Being in work is an important contributor to good health. The longer someone is off sick, the harder it is for them to get back to work. Research suggests that being out of work for long periods of time is damaging to social and financial wellbeing, and health.

    Who is delivering Fit for Work?
    Fit for Work is being delivered in England and Wales by Health Management Ltd and in Scotland by the Scottish Government. In Scotland the service is called Fit for Work Scotland.

    The official Government guidance notes on Fit for Work can be found here.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2016
    Woolie likes this.
  2. Yogi

    Yogi Senior Member

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    FOR GP'S

    http://support.fitforwork.org/app/answers/detail/a_id/742

    CHRONIC FATIGUE AND WORK
    PUBLISHED 30/06/2015 12.20 PM | UPDATED 21/04/2016 08.29 AM


    The effects of chronic fatigue on work

    Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) causes persistent fatigue (extreme tiredness) that affects day to day living and isn’t relieved by sleep or rest. CFS can cause long-term illness and disability, however, many people improve over time. CFS is also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME).

    It is estimated that around 250,000 people in the UK have CFS. CFS can affect anyone, although it is more common in women than in men and it usually develops in the 20s, 30s or 40s.

    The main symptom of CFS is persistent mental and physical fatigue although there are other common symptoms that your employee may experience:

    • Muscular and/or joint pain
    • Severe headaches
    • Poor short-term memory and concentration, difficulty organising thoughts and problems finding the right words
    • Painful lymph nodes
    • Stomach pain and other problems similar to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), such as bloating, constipation, diarrhoea and nausea
    • Sore throat
    • Sleeping problems (unrefreshing sleep, insomnia or sleeping too much)
    • Sensitivity or intolerance to light, loud noise, alcohol and certain foods
    • Psychological difficulties, such as depression, irritability and anxiety
    There are also some less common symptoms, such as dizziness, excessive sweating, balance problems and difficulty controlling body temperature.

    CFS affects people individually, health professionals may use the following terms when describing CFS:

    • Mild: your employee is able to care for themselves, but may need days off work to rest.
    • Moderate: your employee may have reduced mobility, and their symptoms can vary. They may also have disturbed sleep patterns, and need to sleep in the afternoon.
    • Severe: your employee is able to carry out some simple daily tasks, such as brushing their teeth, but they have significantly reduced mobility. They may also have difficulty concentrating.
    Most cases of CFS are mild or moderate, but up to one in four people with CFS have severe symptoms.

    There is no cure for CFS and the aim of treatment is to reduce the symptoms. Everyone with CFS responds to treatment differently, so your employee’s treatment plan will be tailored to them. Some of the main treatments include:

    • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
    • Graded exercise therapy
    • Medication
    • Alternative therapies
    What are your own, and your employee’s responsibilities?

    It is your employee’s decision whether they choose to disclose their CFS to you as their employer. This can be a difficult decision. They may need to take some time to think about the benefits and disadvantages for them personally. If they choose to disclose their CFS to you it may be helpful to discuss their symptoms with them in order to assess whether any reasonable adjustments can be made to support them in work.

    Many people with CFS find pacing to be a useful self – help technique to help them manage day to day activities. Pacing involves:

    • Taking short, regular rest periods throughout the day
    • Identifying activities which use energy (physical, mental or emotional)
    • Establishing a realistic, manageable baseline for each activity
    • Once a baseline is established, increasing that activity by no more than 10%, until a new sustainable baseline is achieved.
    Everyone’s needs are different so general assumptions about a person’s abilities should not be made.

    According to the Equality Act 2010, employers must consider making ‘reasonable adjustments’ to employment practices and premises. These can vary according to the needs of individuals but examples of adjustments commonly required by people with CFS may include:

    • Alteration to working hours
    • Flexible working (e.g. altering start/finish times, particularly during acute episodes; working from home where appropriate, part time working, job sharing)
    • Changing tasks or the pace of work to avoid exacerbating the condition
    • Allowing for reasonable time off for appointments and treatment
    • Changing layout of workspace (e.g. desk)
    • More frequent and/or longer breaks
    • Providing a quiet place for an employee to rest without being disturbed
    How can the Fit for Work Advice Line help?

    The Fit for Work advice line can offer advice on the adjustments you might like to consider in the workplace if you have an employee who has CFS. Alternatively, advice can be given on how to plan a return to work or on the potential length of absence.

    Sources of further information

    To find out more and speak to a specialist advisor, please call 0800 032 6235 (English) or 0800 032 6233 (Welsh).
     
    Woolie likes this.
  3. Yogi

    Yogi Senior Member

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    FOR EMPLOYERS

    http://support.fitforwork.org/app/answers/detail/a_id/741


    CHRONIC FATIGUE AND WORK
    PUBLISHED 30/06/2015 12.20 PM | UPDATED 21/04/2016 08.29 AM


    The effects of chronic fatigue on work

    Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) causes persistent fatigue (extreme tiredness) that affects day to day living and isn’t relieved by sleep or rest. CFS can cause long-term illness and disability, however, many people improve over time. CFS is also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME).

    It is estimated that around 250,000 people in the UK have CFS. CFS can affect anyone, although it is more common in women than in men and it usually develops in the 20s, 30s or 40s.

    The main symptom of CFS is persistent mental and physical fatigue although there are other common symptoms that your employee may experience:

    • Muscular and/or joint pain
    • Severe headaches
    • Poor short-term memory and concentration, difficulty organising thoughts and problems finding the right words
    • Painful lymph nodes
    • Stomach pain and other problems similar to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), such as bloating, constipation, diarrhoea and nausea
    • Sore throat
    • Sleeping problems (unrefreshing sleep, insomnia or sleeping too much)
    • Sensitivity or intolerance to light, loud noise, alcohol and certain foods
    • Psychological difficulties, such as depression, irritability and anxiety
    There are also some less common symptoms, such as dizziness, excessive sweating, balance problems and difficulty controlling body temperature.

    CFS affects people individually, health professionals may use the following terms when describing CFS:

    • Mild: your employee is able to care for themselves, but may need days off work to rest.
    • Moderate: your employee may have reduced mobility, and their symptoms can vary. They may also have disturbed sleep patterns, and need to sleep in the afternoon.
    • Severe: your employee is able to carry out some simple daily tasks, such as brushing their teeth, but they have significantly reduced mobility. They may also have difficulty concentrating.
    Most cases of CFS are mild or moderate, but up to one in four people with CFS have severe symptoms.

    There is no cure for CFS and the aim of treatment is to reduce the symptoms. Everyone with CFS responds to treatment differently, so your employee’s treatment plan will be tailored to them. Some of the main treatments include:

    • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
    • Graded exercise therapy
    • Medication
    • Alternative therapies
    What are your own, and your employee’s responsibilities?

    It is your employee’s decision whether they choose to disclose their CFS to you as their employer. This can be a difficult decision. They may need to take some time to think about the benefits and disadvantages for them personally. If they choose to disclose their CFS to you it may be helpful to discuss their symptoms with them in order to assess whether any reasonable adjustments can be made to support them in work.

    Many people with CFS find pacing to be a useful self – help technique to help them manage day to day activities. Pacing involves:

    • Taking short, regular rest periods throughout the day
    • Identifying activities which use energy (physical, mental or emotional)
    • Establishing a realistic, manageable baseline for each activity
    • Once a baseline is established, increasing that activity by no more than 10%, until a new sustainable baseline is achieved.
    Everyone’s needs are different so general assumptions about a person’s abilities should not be made.

    According to the Equality Act 2010, employers must consider making ‘reasonable adjustments’ to employment practices and premises. These can vary according to the needs of individuals but examples of adjustments commonly required by people with CFS may include:

    • Alteration to working hours
    • Flexible working (e.g. altering start/finish times, particularly during acute episodes; working from home where appropriate, part time working, job sharing)
    • Changing tasks or the pace of work to avoid exacerbating the condition
    • Allowing for reasonable time off for appointments and treatment
    • Changing layout of workspace (e.g. desk)
    • More frequent and/or longer breaks
    • Providing a quiet place for an employee to rest without being disturbed
    How can the Fit for Work Advice Line help?

    The Fit for Work advice line can offer advice on the adjustments you might like to consider in the workplace if you have an employee who has CFS. Alternatively, advice can be given on how to plan a return to work or on the potential length of absence.

    Sources of further information

    To find out more and speak to a specialist advisor, please call 0800 032 6235 (English) or 0800 032 6233 (Welsh).
     
    Woolie likes this.
  4. Yogi

    Yogi Senior Member

    Messages:
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    FOR EMPLOYEES

    http://support.fitforwork.org/app/answers/detail/a_id/737

    CHRONIC FATIGUE AND WORK
    PUBLISHED 30/06/2015 09.33 AM | UPDATED 21/04/2016 08.27 AM

    The effects of chronic fatigue on work

    Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) causes persistent fatigue (extreme tiredness) that affects day to day living and isn’t relieved by sleep or rest. CFS can cause long-term illness and disability, however, many people improve over time. CFS is also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME).

    It is estimated that around 250,000 people in the UK have CFS. CFS can affect anyone, although it is more common in women than in men and it usually develops in the 20s, 30s or 40s.

    The main symptom of CFS are persistent mental and physical fatigue although there are other common symptoms that you may experience:

    • Muscular and/or joint pain
    • Severe headaches
    • Poor short-term memory and concentration, difficulty organising thoughts and problems finding the right words
    • Painful lymph nodes
    • Stomach pain and other problems similar to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), such as bloating, constipation, diarrhoea and nausea
    • Sore throat
    • Sleeping problems (unrefreshing sleep, insomnia or sleeping too much)
    • Sensitivity or intolerance to light, loud noise, alcohol and certain foods
    • Psychological difficulties, such as depression, irritability and anxiety
    There are also some less common symptoms, such as dizziness, excessive sweating, balance problems and difficulty controlling body temperature.

    CFS affects people differently, health professionals may use the following terms when describing CFS:

    • Mild: you are able to care for yourself, but may need days off work to rest.
    • Moderate: you may have reduced mobility, and your symptoms can vary. You may also have disturbed sleep patterns, and need to sleep in the afternoon.
    • Severe: you are able to carry out some simple daily tasks, such as brushing your teeth, but you may have significantly reduced mobility. You may also have difficulty concentrating.
    Most cases of CFS are mild or moderate, but up to one in four people with CFS have severe symptoms.

    There is no cure for CFS and the aim of treatment is to reduce the symptoms. Everyone with CFS responds to treatment differently, so your treatment plan will be tailored to you. Some of the main treatments include:

    • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
    • Graded exercise therapy – (a programme of increasing activity)
    • Activity Management – Increasing activity in a way that allow you to manage your fatigue
    • Medication
    What are your own, and your employer’s responsibilities?

    It is your own decision whether you choose to disclose your CFS to your employer. This can be a difficult decision and it may be worth you taking some time to think about the benefits and disadvantages for you personally. If you choose to disclose your CFS to your employer, it may be helpful to discuss your symptoms with them in order to assess whether any reasonable adjustments can be made to support you in work.

    Many people with CFS find pacing to be a useful self–help technique to help them manage day to day activities. Pacing involves:

    • Taking short, regular rest periods throughout the day
    • Identifying activities which use energy (physical, mental or emotional)
    • Establishing a realistic, manageable baseline for each activity
    • Once a baseline is established, increasing that activity by no more than 10%, until a new sustainable baseline is achieved.
    • Everyone’s needs are different so general assumptions about a person’s abilities should not be made.
    According to the Equality Act 2010, employers must consider making ‘reasonable adjustments’ to employment practices and premises. These can vary according to the needs of individuals but examples of adjustments commonly required by people with CFS may include:

    • Alteration to working hours
    • Flexible working (e.g. altering start/finish times, particularly during acute episodes; working from home where appropriate and possible, part time working, job sharing)
    • Changing tasks or the pace of work to avoid exacerbating the condition
    • Allowing for reasonable time off for appointments and treatment
    • Changing layout of workspace (e.g. desk)
    • More frequent and/or longer breaks
    • Providing a quiet place for an employee to rest without being disturbed
    How can the Fit for Work Advice Line help?

    The Fit for Work advice line can offer advice on the adjustments that may be beneficial to consider in the workplace if you have CFS. Alternatively, advice can be given on how to plan a return to work or on the potential length of absence.

    Sources of further information

    To find out more and speak to a specialist advisor, please call 0800 032 6235 (English) or 0800 032 6233 (Welsh).
     
    Woolie likes this.
  5. Yogi

    Yogi Senior Member

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    http://fitforwork.org/blog/me-the-equality-act-2010-and-the-workplace/

    ME, the Equality Act 2010 and the workplace
    Written by: Fit for Work team | Posted in: Blog
    Monday, May 9, 2016

    ME (myalgic encephalomyelitis) is a condition that affects roughly 250, 000 people in the UK and is shrouded in a lack of understanding to a great degree. To begin with, there is some dispute as to the correct name to give the condition. It is also known as ‘chronic fatigue syndrome’ (CFS) because the main symptom for many is often fatigue and the condition is chronic. However, fatigue is not always the main symptom (others include muscle pain, problems with short-term memory and concentration, sleep disturbances and emotional imbalances). To further complicate matters, the causes of the condition are unknown – though it has been suggested that a viral infection can trigger it – and there are no tests available to definitively diagnose the illness.

    One thing that is clear, however, is that the condition can be extremely debilitating. The symptoms can range from relatively mild, to extremely severe. Somebody with mild symptoms may need the odd day off to rest when the fatigue is bad. Those with severe symptoms, however, may have reduced mobility and can sometimes only carry out the very simplest of everyday tasks. Unfortunately for those affected, despite having been recognised as a neurological condition by the World Health Organization since 1969, it’s believed by many to be a ‘made up’ condition, partly because the condition fluctuates, and partly because the symptoms can vary so greatly and can’t be categorised as clear-cut ME symptoms.

    Because ME is a long-term and fluctuating condition, those affected may be protected from discrimination under the Equality Act 2010 if the illness has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities (and those who have been off work for four weeks or more due to their condition can be referred for a free Fit for Work occupational health assessment). If an employee meets the requirements of the Act, employers need to ensure that they do not treat that employee any less favourably than any other employee.

    The Action for ME website has a number of resources on how to manage ME, as well as how employers can manage and support those with the illness. Further useful information on work, occupational health and ME can also be found in this leaflet.

    Many people with ME find that pacing helps them manage their illness. Pacing is learning to successfully manage activity and rest, and usually involves taking short breaks throughout the day. Other therapies that may help are cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and graded exercise therapy (GET).

    Those returning to work after a period of time off should consult an occupational health professional, who may be able to help with organising a phased return or adjustments at work. If you have been off work for longer than four weeks, you can ask your employer to refer you to Fit for Work for a free occupational health assessment. GPs can refer sooner than four weeks if they think you are likely to be off sick for four weeks or more.

    Employers can refer their staff members to Fit for Work by visiting fitforwork.org/employer and clicking on ‘refer an employee’. GPs can visit fitforwork.org/general-practitioner and click on ‘refer a patient’. For more information on referrals, see this post.

    Information about organisations’ responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010, as well as on a vast array of other work health-related topics, can be found on the Fit for Work AAdvice Hub. You can also call 0800 032 0635 (English) or 0800 032 0633 (Cymraeg) to speak to a dedicated advisor.

    Those in Scotland can visit fitforworkscotland.scot or phone 0800 019 2211.
     
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  6. Yogi

    Yogi Senior Member

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    It is not as bad as it could be.

    I particularly liked the reference to HFME website which was set up by Jodi Bassett (RIP) but it is an odd article to say the least.

     
  7. Woolie

    Woolie Senior Member

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    Wow, who would have thought that being out of work could ave financial consequences? Glad we had proper scientific research to tell us that! And as for it affecting health, well, I guess the rich and idle are going to have very short lives! Or, er could we perhaps be confusing correlation with causation.....:rolleyes:
     
  8. Woolie

    Woolie Senior Member

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    No you're right. Its pretty reasonable. It not only sets out the symptoms and level of disablement accurately, but actually offers some information that could actually help MECFS patients.
     
    Yogi likes this.

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