A little advice please

Discussion in 'Officers' started by groover, Jan 5, 2007.

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  1. I am looking for some advice and as I wasn't too sure where to ask I though here would be as good as anywhere.
    I am in my second year of RD and I have been medically downgraded. I have had an injury for the last year which has still to be properly diaognosed. The problem is two fold...firstly my appointments seem to be so far apart (anywhere between 6 weeks and 3 months) that I am getting nowhere with getting fit again, which has already meant me missing out on one operational deployment. And secondly I am left only able to do s***ty jobs. Now I know that every junior officer has to do these but I am stuck doing only that which is driving me to want out at the end of my three years return of service.
    Now for the advice part please...is there anyway that I can push the Army/MOD to try and get me sorted out quicker? Up to three months between appointments seems a little long even on NHS waiting lists, especially as I have yet to even have a confirmed diaognisis of the problem.
    And secondly I have been told that whatever it is will take some time to resolve, so is there anyway to get a posting where I can be more useful than just being the Regt's rep for soldiers going to court/Court Martial, and organising differingforms of paper chases?
    I'd be grateful for any advice, so thanks in advance.
  2. ViroBono

    ViroBono LE Moderator

    I cannot help with the second part of your post, but may be able to shed some light on the first part.

    The first thing to do is to see your RMO, and ask for an explanation as to why your injury remains undiagnosed after so long, why the time between appts is so long, and what he thinks the options are. If that does not get a satisfactory result, you can ask him to arrange for a second opinion. You could also ask him to check DMETA's OPD waiting times lists, and perhaps refer you to another MDHU with a shorter waitlist.

    You may also find that posting the medical part of your question on the RAMC forum will produce more advice.
  3. Thanks for the advice. I'll try the RAMC Board, and I have asked the MO but have had little joy there as I have seen 4 consultants now as it is, so a second opinion is not what is needed...an actual diaognisis would help.
    Once again thanks for the advice.
  4. I have noticed a change in the way soldiers who are downgraded are now being allowed on Op tours. A P3LE soldier may now go on most Op tours if the SMO and unit are willing to get a cert signed stating that the soldier is fit for limited duties and will not be snurrdeling around trenches etc.

    I should imagine that it would be the same for Offrs. There are always posts to be filled in places like BATUS for the training season. Range Safety staff (Red Tops) may not be an Op tour, but its a bloody good way of getting known and showing your abilities where it matters.

    Very much worth looking into.
  5. This is your problem, you must accept that you are the one who must take the lead in sorting it out. No one else will do it for you.

    Go back to the Med Centre daily asking for progress. If you have been referred to a specialist get hold of his details and phone his secretary directly asking how to jump the queue or get seen earlier. Ask if you can spend a day in his waiting room just waiting for a cancellation. Ask what his private rates are.

    Get onto the internet and familiarise yourself with the possible injuries you could have and the possible treatments or outcomes. If you have not educated yourself then you are being idle.

    Get hold of and read LANDSO 3208 (I think) that deals with Unit Health Committees (UHC). This is held frequently and will consider every down-graded individuals case by case. Ask to sit in on the committee.

    Make sure your CoC see you as willing and not a whinging biff. Do the jobs you are given well. If you don't like them get involved in something you prefer. Start planning an exercise, battlefield tour, adventure training expedition, social event, mess function, etc. Use your time to do MK1. Ask the Adjutant's advice, offer to ease his work-load. Prove your worth to the CoC and they will work harder for you.

    Be polite but persistant throughout and people will always think more highly of you. If this is that important you will go private.

    Good luck.
  6. Good Advice Mr L.

    If you show the CoC that you are frustrated with being a cripple and not just happy to have a sick chit they willperhaps let you do more interesting things. Have you had a chat with your OC about it. He is really your first point of call.

    Good luck
  7. Groover,

    There is a medical 'fast-track' system which is primarily aimed at orthopaedic (sp?). Not sure how you get on it but remember:

    "the wheel that squeaks the loudest gets the most oil".

    I was fast tracked for an ACL reconstruction and almost a year to the day after the injury and following three bouts of rehab at Headley Court was back to FE and the knee has never felt stronger. This is a lot quicker than a mate of mine who is going through the standard procedure and took 5 months to get the MRI scan done.

    Hang in there tough guy.
  8. Consider going private for a consultation.

    I saw a consultant on the NHS, who said it would take surgery to make a diagnosis. That waiting list was 12 months long.

    Not happy at the thought of surgery (or a 12 month wait) , I went private for a second opinion.

    One MRI scan later, the consultant said it wasn't the issue the first consultant thought it might be - (note "might be" and thus un-needed surgery) and referred me to someone else.

    This new consultant ordered some other tests, and now there's no requirement for surgery, I'm on some tablets, and more or less back to normal. I've seen him every three months for a year, and after the next one, he'll discharge me. Just about the time the NHS consultant would have been performing "let's see what the problem might be" surgery.

    It's cost me a few quid, but the problem is fixed in a time scale that's worked for me. I'm TA, so illness affects my weekends, plus my day job - in your case, it's affecting your entire career.
  9. Guys thanks for all the advice. As a quick response to some of the advice posted I would just like to say I have been pushing as many buttons as I can with regards getting things moving by regularly goingto the MO and speaking to the CoC. This has helped a little, but not much. In the main I get told to go back to the MO and seek his advice. My 1 up has been very helpful, but further up the chain as been about as much use as a chocolate fire guard.
    In response mainly to Mr. Logic but others too. I agree that going private is one option but I do have a couple of problems with this. Firstly the cost. I do not have private insurance, and can't get it for a pre-exsisting condition. So I would have to pay for all this myself. Which is something I cannot afford to do. And secondly I am actually not that happy about having to go private. Why should I have to do that? I pay into the NHS the same as everyone else, and on top of that, being a member of the HM Forces we are supposed to get medical care to keep us fit for duty...this is something that falls under the military covenant in my opinion. Having searched the internet for what might be wrong...a long and labourious task, but something I have done...have you ever tried telling a doc you have done this? My MO is very good and will sit and listen, but most of the consultants I have had have been less than polite about this.
    Also Mr. Logic as for moaning about the jobs I am given. I may have been a little misleading in this. I do not do this to the CoC, I get on with what I am told and I have done lots of other 'self-appointed jobs' to make life more interesting. My point on this was more to the fact that sitting behind a desk and dealing solely with admin tasks is not what any of us joined up for. It is just f***ing frustrating.
    I do not want to be seen as a whinging biff on this...I just want to get fit and do my job.
    Again thanks for the advice guys and sorry for such a long boring post! :thumleft:
  10. Groover

    My advice is well intentioned but it probably comes over as being a bit blunt. Take of it what you will but no offence was intended.

    In principle I agree with what you say about going private. You are correct in that you should not have to. I do sympathise as I was in a very similar position. I paid £80 (I think) for a hour of a professor's time as he was the best I could find, having done some serious internet research. The advantage of going private is that it is quicker and the news is given straight to you, not to the Army as your employer. I have no health insurance and I didn't get the answer I wanted. But it was worth it for me as I got high quality service and was able to review my career planning from a firm knowledge basis.

    A year after that I had surgery on the NHS that I had arranged through a local GP. The Army claimed it couldn't refer me to this particular hospital, so I sorted it out myself. My surgery has transformed my life and I am back to my old self, in most respects.

    Going private does not necessarily mean huge expense as a consultant can refer you back into the NHS for treatment or surgery. Paying to see a consultant means you get a diagnosis early. You may not agree with the principle but I choose to be pragmatic. If you can live with the waiting then do so. It all depends on the value you place on your time and those funds required for a decent consultation. Think in terms of the potential difference in earnings over five or ten years. Think how you would advise a friend of it was his problem.

    Sorry if I am lecturing a bit but that was my thought process.

    Good luck.

  11. Agree with the private thing. The cost (outside of london) is about £80-100 for a consult. That is actual face time with the doctor not in the sodding waiting room. Three appointments £300 or 12 months waiting the choice is yours. Sorry to be so cynical but its the NHS for FU$K sake! of course we all pay taxes and it should work but it doesnt - its a question of practicality over what should be right.
    What is your A & S as, as mentioned before there must be the option to go on tour - i know of an Inf Bn that took a one legged soldier to Telic !!
  12. I always find that a letter from the CO (copied to Bde Comd) to the relevant APHCS Clinical Director works wonders. Your CO should do this without prompting. I cannot believe that he will have one of his officers sitting comparatively idle and contemplating leaving the Army. This is appalling man-management.


  13. That's because the next sentance almost invariably involves the person coming for your advice telling you how to do your job. :yawnstretch:

    Precisely. I found this out last weekend when it took 14 hours to get emergency surgery for my one-year-old. The NHS is not, and never has been, designed to provide a convenient service. It is there to provide a basic, safe standard of care run for the common good and ease of service provision rather than the individual. If you want to work to an individual timetable, the individual has to pay for that level of service. I don't do private work (before anyone shouts "Bias!"), but I don't apologise for this. We get what we pay for.

    Beyond that, good luck.

  14. Pensionpointer and FF thanks for adding a little advice. FF I hope you little-un is doing OK.

    Quick update. I camped myself out in the MO's office and told him I would be willing to sit outside any office I needed to in order to get seen and hopefully sorted. I am now off to see another specialist to try something different...I hope this will see some progress.

    I take it, you're a Doc FF...I see your point, but it is not just a case of the NHS providing a basic level of care. I have said it before and don't mind repeating it. There is a little thing called the Military Covenant. I know I am a small fish when it comes to this...especially considering I have not returned from somewhere like Iraq or Afganistan with a limb missing. And my thoughts go out to anyone who is in that kind of position. However the army has still made a large investment in me which I would like to repay. In order to do this the army does have a duty of care to get me fixed. I know it sounds like me, me, me, but sometimes you do have to be selfish. And I would think that 18 months without even having been diognosed yet would not exactly be working to any timetable I am aware of in the NHS.

    PP as for my CO getting involved, he has not sat down with a single officer while I have been here to give them their OJAR, so I hold out little hope that he would go as far as writting a letter on my behalf without being so much as prompted. He only sat down with me to discuss my injury when I pestered to get an interview to try to help things move forward...if I had thought about getting him to write a letter then I would have done. But I will try to get this done now...so thanks for that advice.
  15. cpunk

    cpunk LE Moderator

    The 'military covenant' is a great concept, but it's something that the Army came up with and it isn't accepted by the government. It isn't going to push you up the waiting lists. The Army may think it has a duty of care to you, but if the government won't fund it, you're fucked.