All medical chat and queries in here. Please don't start a new one for every single medical question.

Sorry if this has been mentioned before, but I couldn't find a specific thread on my problem.

I'm 32 male, very fit and physically active, with a manual heavy lifting job. In 2017, I attempted to join the Army Reserve in a non-frontline role.

I was rejected as P8L8, due to "a history of sciatic pain". This "history" refers to a minor rugby injury sustained 15 years ago in 2005, with one flareup in 2006. I had a slight twinge in my lower back after training and was annoyed that it temporarily prevented me from playing rugby and so went to my GP who sent me on to a consultant who said there was "no evidence of any red flags" and that I had only been "slightly hurt". Physiotherapy and rest in between seeing the GP and the consultant, left me largely without symptoms. Subsequent to that consultation, I have never had back problems again.

I appealed, but my initial appeal did not make reference to the consultant's notes, instead my GP wrote a supporting letter, saying I had no symptoms from 2006. The Army rejected this appeal on the grounds that I "had symptoms of lumbago and sciatica in 2006" and "such a history is a permanent bar to army entry".

Feeling discouraged I abandoned my application, moving abroad to Australia for work. On my return I decided to re-apply and the Army have flagged my outstanding "level 1a appeal".

I am being asked to provide "new medical evidence" again. My question folks, is what more do they want? Other than reference to the consultant notes, there isn't any more. I haven't had any symptoms for 14 years. What new evidence can I show them, other than to stress this point - with support from my GP - whilst also hinting that I am joining a unit which will not see the frontline or be engaged in heavy lifting?

My GP at present (different to the last), will write another support letter, but is being slightly difficult over the wording of the Army's medical regulations. My contention is that "a history of back pain" means frequent occurrences of back pain, which is not true - this has happened to me twice in 32 years. He argues that "a history of back pain" means just one instance. Should I also get a support letter from a private GP or back specialist? The recruiters have said the wording in the regulations has subtly changed meaning I have a chance of getting in, but I'm unconvinced. Having read the JSP online it still seems "Candidates with a history of sciatic pain with or without back pain are graded P8L8", that is to say, no chance of joining.

Does anyone have any experience of passing an appeal after a first rejection and does anyone have any experience of sciatic pain in the context of Army recruitment?

Apologies for the essay, I just really want to give it my best shot and to serve.

Cheers,

Griff
 

Bob65

Old-Salt
I appealed, but my initial appeal did not make reference to the consultant's notes
This is what you need, for new medical evidence - it means evidence they have not previously considered. The level 1a appeal is just a re-reading of your file to see if anything was missed or misread, as far as I know. Good luck.
 
This is what you need, for new medical evidence - it means evidence they have not previously considered. The level 1a appeal is just a re-reading of your file to see if anything was missed or misread, as far as I know. Good luck.
Yeah I'm just not sure what "new medical evidence" there can be if their claim is that because sciatic lumbago is on my medical history, I'm permanently barred.

I wonder if anyone on a P8L8 successfully appealed. The recruiters couldn't say.

I'll appeal with the consultant notes at the very least, but I'm doubtful it'll get through.
 

Bob65

Old-Salt
Yeah I'm just not sure what "new medical evidence" there can be if their claim is that because sciatic lumbago is on my medical history, I'm permanently barred.

I wonder if anyone on a P8L8 successfully appealed. The recruiters couldn't say.

I'll appeal with the consultant notes at the very least, but I'm doubtful it'll get through.
It will need to say something like "this patient definitely did not have sciatic lumbago, it was just a minor injury that healed by itself, he's been fine ever since" but in doctor-speak (if indeed that is the case).

If you don't succeed you can take comfort in the fact that there are any number of fit, smart, motivated lads who the Army has turned down for seemingly whimsical reasons. But you do have 2 appeals left.
 

S7015642F

Swinger
Yeah I'm just not sure what "new medical evidence" there can be if their claim is that because sciatic lumbago is on my medical history, I'm permanently barred.

I wonder if anyone on a P8L8 successfully appealed. The recruiters couldn't say.

I'll appeal with the consultant notes at the very least, but I'm doubtful it'll get through.
New evidence can be sending in your medical records but it’d only worth it if you don’t have a diagnosis of sciatica. Sciatica is an instant bar and even having a history there’s no way round it. You might have recovered but if it’s on there then you’ll keep being rejected
 
New evidence can be sending in your medical records but it’d only worth it if you don’t have a diagnosis of sciatica. Sciatica is an instant bar and even having a history there’s no way round it. You might have recovered but if it’s on there then you’ll keep being rejected
Yeah it's on there, but, my consultant said he thought instead it was "mainly a low back pain, perhaps the transient numbness that he only experiences if somebody performs the SLR at the extreme range, it is of a neural nature but it would not worry me a great deal".

My only throw of the dice is to find a GP who will subtly contest the original diagnosis, whilst referring to the consultant notes who doesn't mention sciatica.

Thanks for everyone replying by the way.
 

S7015642F

Swinger
Yeah it's on there, but, my consultant said he thought instead it was "mainly a low back pain, perhaps the transient numbness that he only experiences if somebody performs the SLR at the extreme range, it is of a neural nature but it would not worry me a great deal".

My only throw of the dice is to find a GP who will subtly contest the original diagnosis, whilst referring to the consultant notes who doesn't mention sciatica.

Thanks for everyone replying by the way.
Don’t go privately as it’ll cause future problems, write to your gp surgery saying you want to contest your diagnosis and why. The gp manager will investigate it. It’s the only way but like I’ve said even that being on your medical records they won’t uplift your appeal. I was in appeal stage for a year battling the appeal side and if theres anything i learned was your medical records are what they base their yes or no on


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Hi, just recently had my medical application deferred due to a form of ongoing treatment and they said earliest I can re apply is when I’ve been fully discharged from the hospital so I have began that process and will continue my application once I have the letters to prove it.

What I am wondering is, they’ve mentioned other issues I might have in my application may be from my knees problems and have provided no more detail so I’m assuming I will be rejected and have to appeal, but from reading the JSP, it mentions you may be graded L2 if you have been 12 months free of and symptoms or treatment, which I have. However I’m aware I have been the doctors more than 3 times over a period of many years, I am only eighteen and 2 of which being growing pains which I’ll mention in my appeal when I comes to it and will aim to get the doctor to state I received a misdiagnosis of Patellofemoral Pain.

Just wondering if anyone has any experience with appealing knee problems or any knowledge on the likelihood of my appeals success because I don’t hold out much hope I will be very successful
 

Bobby_Bert

Old-Salt
Medical appeals can only succeed if the medical condition is not in itself an outright bar temporarily or permanently and you can submit qualified medical evidence to the contrary.
You cannot appeal the decision based on the information in your medical records in relation the medical standard for entry - that is non-negotiable.

Timescales and the standards applied are unfortunately non-negotiable regardless of differing individual circumstances or qualified 'expert opinion'. Chances are you will have to wait for the 12 months to pass.

The only time an appeal is upheld is if there is compelling medical evidence to demonstrate the condition was misdiagnosed or that the underlying cause was wrongly identified. Both of which will require substantialy more evidence than a letter from a GP.
 

Mrsheeny

War Hero
The whole medical side of thing I'm sure they are intentionally awkward for some reason. I understand they want fit and healthy people but if they're struggling for numbers the best they can do is not mess you about during application stage, otherwise some lads will lose interest or get better offers in civvy street or have their head turned by a bird.

If you're joining the Paras I'd understand them being strict on past history of musculoskeletal injury. But if you're joining the RLC reserves as a chef, I don't see why they would be as strict on certain things. Age also should be taken into account, if you're joining the reserves aged 30 plus, theres going to be injuries on your medical records, if you've played sport and exersized your whole life theres going to be niggles and ongoing issues that you have learned to manage.
 
The whole medical side of thing I'm sure they are intentionally awkward for some reason. I understand they want fit and healthy people but if they're struggling for numbers the best they can do is not mess you about during application stage, otherwise some lads will lose interest or get better offers in civvy street or have their head turned by a bird.

If you're joining the Paras I'd understand them being strict on past history of musculoskeletal injury. But if you're joining the RLC reserves as a chef, I don't see why they would be as strict on certain things. Age also should be taken into account, if you're joining the reserves aged 30 plus, theres going to be injuries on your medical records, if you've played sport and exersized your whole life theres going to be niggles and ongoing issues that you have learned to manage.
Every restriction on medical standards is evidence based. Where there is no evidence, such as when laser eye surgery was new, restrictions are in place until there is evidence.
The process itself allows for those with no medical issues to pass straight onto the next section, those who have any possible history then go through the fun of the appeals process, unfortunately the team dealing with appeals is small and they are often swamped with people putting in appeals "because I have two more to use" and not because they have any new evidence to support their claim.
 

Bob65

Old-Salt
The whole medical side of thing I'm sure they are intentionally awkward for some reason. I understand they want fit and healthy people but if they're struggling for numbers the best they can do is not mess you about during application stage, otherwise some lads will lose interest or get better offers in civvy street or have their head turned by a bird
I doubt it's intentional, there was no cunning master plan of "let's test how keen recruits really are by messing them around for a year or more". That's a long time, and the strong candidates will be the sort of people who have options, as you say.

I don't remember who it was but another poster on here once said anyone with their heart set on a military career would be well advised to avoid rugby, skiing etc as the chance of picking up an injury that would bar you is quite high...
 
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Medical appeals can only succeed if the medical condition is not in itself an outright bar temporarily or permanently and you can submit qualified medical evidence to the contrary.
You cannot appeal the decision based on the information in your medical records in relation the medical standard for entry - that is non-negotiable.

Timescales and the standards applied are unfortunately non-negotiable regardless of differing individual circumstances or qualified 'expert opinion'. Chances are you will have to wait for the 12 months to pass.

The only time an appeal is upheld is if there is compelling medical evidence to demonstrate the condition was misdiagnosed or that the underlying cause was wrongly identified. Both of which will require substantialy more evidence than a letter from a GP.
According to the JSP, knee pain is ‘normally’ graded P8, rather than a bar to entry and therefore would suggest a chance to win an appeal and a history of people doing so, e.g. with the likes of a new special consultant and physio examination and letter proving no present problems and a GP letter with a training diary I’m going to begin.

I have visited the doctors about my knees 6 times between 2013-2019 but all in isolated incidents of pain that didn’t last any longer than 2 weeks or so, most likely growing pains through the years, and didn’t need any treatment, and according to the JSP, “12 months symptom and treatment free during activity compatible with military training for 3 months, may be graded L2”.

Would quoting this in my cover letter, along with the medical evidence to back this up prove a good appeal? I’m not sure what more I could do considering it is clearly on my medical records that yes I have been with isolated issues with my knees, but with dissecting the JSP, there is contradicting evidence to help my case, so difficult to see whether I’d be successful.
 

Bobby_Bert

Old-Salt
With respect you obviously thought the knee pain was severe enough to visit a doctor. Your assessment of it being growing pains is of little value I am afraid.

Clearly, the advice is not to cease medical care offered until the healthcare professionals advise it is safe to do so. Once the course of treatment is deemed fully complete, the rehabilitation period commences.

A good, structured fitness programme should ideally be maintained throughout, not just because of your career goal, but also for yourself as it can certainly help recovery.

It is stressed that although this type of query is not uncommon on this thread, very few on here are qualified to give definitive medical advice (the ones that are won’t as they will not have sight if your record) however it is worth giving your local AFCO a call to discuss your circumstances and determine the way ahead.

Unfortunately you cannot have it both ways, you are an adult and you visited your doctor numerous times for knee pain. It seems incredulous that you wish to write this off as a mere training niggle.

You won’t get a clear answer here. Best of luck
 
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Mrsheeny

War Hero
Every restriction on medical standards is evidence based. Where there is no evidence, such as when laser eye surgery was new, restrictions are in place until there is evidence.
The process itself allows for those with no medical issues to pass straight onto the next section, those who have any possible history then go through the fun of the appeals process, unfortunately the team dealing with appeals is small and they are often swamped with people putting in appeals "because I have two more to use" and not because they have any new evidence to support their claim.
I know a lad who was knocked back for high blood pressure at selection who'd been in the Marines who was joining the reserves.
Even Colin McLoughlin was knocked back at medical for the reserves and he's ex-SAS, said he had flat feet.

I just think there are easier ways of checking you out medically, or quicker ways.

For instance, a form should be sent to your GP for them to do the medical and pass or fail by them, they know the patients history and has access to records so you're not messing about between the army and your doctors. If your doctor fails you, you appeal to the Army but have to have a strong case.

You'd still have a medical at selection but not as intrusive, once you get to that stage you'd be weeding out the biffs. I know you have the RGMD form which kind of does this but when something flags up you as a candidate are fannying around waiting for the army medical to get back to you, then you've got to speak yo your doctor.

I found it very frustrating. They wanted all sorts of history from me from years ago, daft things about an ECG from 2008 which said everything was fine, even though they did one at selection the month before they asked for more info.

I can see how keen lads will just say 'F**k it' and withdraw their application.
 
I know a lad who was knocked back for high blood pressure at selection who'd been in the Marines who was joining the reserves.
Even Colin McLoughlin was knocked back at medical for the reserves and he's ex-SAS, said he had flat feet.

I just think there are easier ways of checking you out medically, or quicker ways.

For instance, a form should be sent to your GP for them to do the medical and pass or fail by them, they know the patients history and has access to records so you're not messing about between the army and your doctors. If your doctor fails you, you appeal to the Army but have to have a strong case.

You'd still have a medical at selection but not as intrusive, once you get to that stage you'd be weeding out the biffs. I know you have the RGMD form which kind of does this but when something flags up you as a candidate are fannying around waiting for the army medical to get back to you, then you've got to speak yo your doctor.

I found it very frustrating. They wanted all sorts of history from me from years ago, daft things about an ECG from 2008 which said everything was fine, even though they did one at selection the month before they asked for more info.

I can see how keen lads will just say 'F**k it' and withdraw their application.
I bow to your clearly superior knowledge of medicine.
take up your issues with the Army (capita only do what they've been contracted to do)
Don't forget to calculate the cost of all those who would turn up to assessment/phase one and get binned straight away as well as paying GP's for medicals they'll possibly only pay lip service to. They are not the experts in what is suitable for the Armed Forces and are not going to read the whole of the JSP.
The system is far from perfect - it'd be great to have recruiting offices with a GP (would be massively costly) or regional GP's potential recruits could visit. Neither is going to be practical or cost efficient

many people get through the online medical without any issues, some do not. (people who have ever been to any kind of heath worker for example)

If you'd like to argue further, please do it on another thread*


*and don't include me, I don't care
 
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ch1985

Crow
We question if anyone can help, currently in the RNR have been for 5 years, thinking of moving over to the Army reserves as the combat aspect is where I'm wanting to head towards (to old for marines 34). I know I'll need to apply in the usual way afco etc, but with medical stuff does anyone know of they will take my current military medical standards, or will I have to go through the whole nightmare of basic medical tests, going to Dr's to fill form out etc etc
 

Bobby_Bert

Old-Salt
We question if anyone can help, currently in the RNR have been for 5 years, thinking of moving over to the Army reserves as the combat aspect is where I'm wanting to head towards (to old for marines 34). I know I'll need to apply in the usual way afco etc, but with medical stuff does anyone know of they will take my current military medical standards, or will I have to go through the whole nightmare of basic medical tests, going to Dr's to fill form out etc etc
Are you coming across as an internal transfer?

Might be one for @amnesia but I have a feeling if you are coming across internally you won’t have to. I’ve a feeling it’ll be a case of your appendix 9 being sent over.
 

ch1985

Crow
If I can get an internal transfer, need to speak to the D.O, reluctant to do that the now until Im 100% I'm going over, you know what officers are like, all about the numbers. If not I'll need to leave the navy and apply for the army, just curious as I'll still be medically fit and have SC in place
 

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