Unfortunately, when we use the expression "a history of.." in a medical context it means that the event described has occurred , even if it is only once. It does not matter how long it lasts for or how many times for it to qualify as part of your medical history.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.
Specifically looking at back pain, the Army is rightly concerned at recruiting anyone who has had to have time off work or sport due to back pain as military service is linked to causing or worsening back problems and there is a considerable loss of service personnel due to back problems. If your medical notes make any reference to sciatic pain then current JSP regulations are not going to be in your favour.
If your GP is being difficult over the wording you want him/ her to use then it is probably because to support you the way you want would involve them either lying or stretching the truth more than they are comfortable with. (please note I am not accusing you of lying but your interpretation of your medical record will not be as strict as theirs) Also to a GP this is not part of their routine job contract and particularly in the current climate all they have to do is provide a copy of your records to the MOD and no supporting letters can be forced from them if they don't want to do it.
A letter from a private GP would be a waste of your money time and effort as they will probably not have access to your full medical records so they will effectively be producing a letter that says "this person has paid me to write this letter that says they have no back pain" and the MOD will still look at your original medical records and they will carry a lot more weight than a private GP letter written without the notes
Sorry to be negative but the detail of exactly what is in your medical records is what counts here