Transfer rejected due to failed medical. Appeal advice please!

Discussion in 'Join the Army - Reserve Recruitment' started by Elmboog, Sep 7, 2012.

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  1. Hello,

    Have been in the TA for 3 years, albeit in a UOTC (no taunts please) and applied for a transfer to another unit (the name of which is irrelevant).

    Everything was going swimmingly until I was failed medically for prolonged/recurrent back pains associated with a car accident that happened nearly 4 years ago. I do not have prolonged recurrent back pains now and have passed two other army medicals since the accident. Nevertheless, in supporting documents from around the time of the accident that I stupidly provided for my RG8, a specialist clearly states that I came to him with back pain a few months after the accident although he also correctly predicted it would go away.

    I am appealing the decision because I am medically fit for service, the pains were very much related to having been smashed about and I recovered remarkably well all things considered. Today I am active, fit and healthy and soon after the accident I went back to a back-breaking job with no issues.

    I'd like to hear from anyone who has successfully appealed a rejection before and can suggest how best to approach compiling my case. I've looked at the PULHEEMS document and can see why they failed me, but I want to know if there has ever been a case of flexibility shown with the regulations.

  2. I think you'll be lucky-JSP346 states 'Candidates with a history of a prolonged period of back pain (greater that 6 weeks) or three or more episodes of back pain the last 12 months should be graded P8.' I'd translate that as saying you are a no-goer as you say you had the pain a few months post-RTC.

    If you'd had the incident whilst you were already in the OUOTC you probably would have been okay as you were just transferring units but as it's on your RG8 I'd not be hopeful.

    Of course there have been cases of flexibility shown with regulations but I can't see what it would be in your case. Maybe you could play on the fact you are already in service rather than being subject to the new recruit guidelines. Good luck anyway.
  3. jsp 346 has been replaced, (jsp 940? can't remember) however the content is pretty much the same. I will check when I get chance.
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  4. Whilst JSP346 may have been replaced it's still in use in clinic for the purposes of Entry and Retention Medicals and it's what medics and the Occupational Health physicians are still using so I'd not hold my breath on that account.
  5. Sorry, I disgree.. the injury was 4 years ago and, according to the OP, associated pain has not recurred after the six week point. How does this translate into "prolonged period of back pain" or "three or more episodes in the past 12 months"..

    Unless the OP is not telling us something, I call confusing acute injury assocaited pain with chronic non-attributable pain, which is clearly what the JSP is about..

    If there is truly no recurring symptoms, that call seems a bit harsh, and I would appeal..
  6. HE117,

    It's prolonged back pain as he went to see a specialist a few months after his accident with the same pain, 'a specialist clearly states that I came to him with back pain a few months after the accident'.

    As for confusing acute and chronic pain, the references that the JSP gives to Waddell's review of the evidence Occupational health guidelines for the mana... [Occup Med (Lond). 2001] - PubMed - NCBI and Cherkin's prospective study Predicting poor outcomes for back pain... [Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 1996] - PubMed - NCBI which is cross-referenced in the BMJ Article by Silman Predicting who develops chronic low back pain in primary care: a prospective study | BMJ would all seem to suggest that the 6 week episode criteria is based on the fact that the best single predictor of back pain is the duration and severity of a past episode of back pain. On that basis they've used 6 weeks as an arbitrary cut-off.

    Tha sentence I quoted from JSP346 isn't the one used to filter the chronic non-attributables -that's done by Footnote 19 -you can have back pain as long as you didn't see a doctor for it.
  7. Thanks for the clarification..
  8. Thanks for all the comments so far.

    Nearly have all my documents together and although I have had extremely mixed responses from friends and family in the forces, I have a bad feeling about the appeal sadly.
  9. Noodles,

    I have just looked at the studies you highlighted... which are interesting.. however are clearly looking at patients with histories of chronic back pain which have a psychosomatic or lifestyle factor. They list the following as predictors of long term lower back complaints:

    Psychological distress
    Below average self rated health
    Low levels of physical activity
    History of reporting low back pain
    Current/previous smoker
    Low alchohol intake (!)
    Not employed or dissatisfaction with employer or work situation..

    Now... call me a cynic, but this does not look like our lad..! These studies are clearly looking at the chronic, and possibly work shy elements of the patient population. They do not seem directed at the post-trauma population which is what the OP is suggesting; Indeed I would suggest that the OP exhibits far more contra indicators of long term symptoms than positive ones, and the articles suggest that all indicatiors are equally relevent...?

    It is interesting that the JSP has picked them as filters for selection..! Cherry picking perhaps?

    Of course we are indulging in arm chair diagnosis here, but it would be nice if the evidence was a little more consistent, and its application a little less narrow..
  10. Ha,

    Oh how I wish I could just put that in a letter to the Medical Officer.

    My Physio almost does actually and found the regulations quite perplexing given that he considers the cause of the pain to be more significant than its duration.

    Still, no more certain of how this will pan out. I know the regs, but I also know that they are flawed, and as you say HE117, the application is a little narrow.
  11. Hiya,

    Sorry about tardy reply -completely dropped off my radar. See bold above in conjunction with footnote 19 ch 3/3-12 -it's the fact that our man had back pain and went to see someone for it which the Army has, as you say, cherry-picked as a single discriminating filter. The other predisposing factors you point out may well not be relevant to Elmboog. That single factor of a history of over 6/52 lower back pain is, whether you like it or not, P8. You're absolutely right, it is narrow, but it is there.

    Having tried to sneak a number of candidates with similar histories under the noses of the Occupational Health physicians and being put under review myself as a result, I would predict the outcome of this application with a reasonable degree of confidence. Good luck anyway Elmboog, hope for the best but expect the least.

    Pleased to report that I was successful in appealing the decision and also passed the Unit's own medical.

    My service to date, supporting documents from both my CO, GP and I helped to prove that I am fit for service.

    Advice to others would be: Remember that the regulations are there for a reason, primarily to protect you from damaging yourself further if you have an underlying issue but also to protect those around you, therefore honesty is the best policy. However, when filling in an RG8 don't be a pratt and list every minor issue you've ever had if its not actually an issue for you now, it delays things. Also, don't trust GP Admin, they have no sense of urgency and can fob you off alot whilst your appeal documents sit in their office going nowhere. Finally do your research - get hold of the JSP regs so you know exactly why you were failed and what you need to prove in order to overcome the setback. The above should apply to similar situations to mine but don't quote me for eczema or asthma, they sound like another ball-game entirely.
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  13. Very pleased to hear this Elmboog.. I hope you have a long an successful military career..

    Noodles - I gather from your reply that we are not materially in conflict over this issue ...! It really need to be challenged more. There are far too many of these arbitary filtering "rules" being built into the sytem IMHO..

    Smacks of professional cowardice in some ways..? An unwillingness to apply common sense and sensible judgement; too much arrse covering and risk aversion at the cost of losing willing and capabable soldiers
  14. Well knock me down sideways with a catatonic hippopotamus! Well done chap!

    HE117, you're right -I've no objection to someone with Elmboog's history passing the medical but there are certain occupational health physicians out there who who are absolute sticklers (they're the only specialty who voted against the doctors' strike) and I was anticipating that in Elmboog's case. I've been providing some advice on the medicals bit of the forum only to see myself proved wrong by the eventual outcome and I can only surmise that they're not from the old 2 DIV recruiting area.

    As for arrse covering -once someone does get an injury that you see could could have been prevented by more rigourous application of the recruiting standard and lawyers are called in I can see why the Army does what it does.
  15. Quick question for the gents in the know here; I had my RG8 completed and sent off to Glasgow a few months ago. When filling it in my GP screwed the nut and described a postural problem I was having earlier this year as 'muscular lower back pain' and went on to note that it had cleared up. This was only caused from sitting at a desk all day and I've since binned the office job. Will this likely be a problem? I'm almost certain Occ Health will be casting a close eye over my docs as I had an arthroscopy on my right knee whilst I was still in the Army - I have checked my FMED and it says fit for duties, plus I was never downgraded. A bit worried all the same - sounds like good blokes are getting turned away all the time.

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