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Application for Navy Medical Officer. Previous back pain/sciatica.

KernowDoc

Midshipman
Hello all. I have read a number of the threads here with interest but wondered if anyone had any advice for my specific circumstances.
I am an NHS GP with 19 years of medical experience, now aged 43 and looking for a different challenge.

I have made an initial application though my local AFCO and been passed Permanently Medically Unfit due to a history of back pain with sciatica. This was a fairly short lived, single episode caused by heavy lifting while working on an extension at home, and is now completely resolved.

My questions are really around the inconsistencies in the documentation available. The medical screening questionnaire itself states:

"Recurrent back pain or sciatica. " would be a bar to service - implying this a single episode would not.
On the other hand, according to JSP 950:
"d. Candidates with a history of sciatic pain with or without back pain are graded medically unfit"
JSP 950 Lft 6-7-7 (V1.5 Jun 19)

Interestingly, the JSP 950 also states that candidates with a history of disc surgery may be graded as fit if symptom free 2 years after their surgery. Given that disc surgery would most frequently be done for sciatic type pains, this advice seems inherently contradictory.

I have made arrangements to appeal with the support of my local AFCO including a supporting letter from my GP.
Does anyone have a feel for how likely this might be to succeed and what else I might be able to do to increase my chances of success?

I am completely well otherwise and can manage to PJFT run in well under the time needed (with no back pain :) )
 

dapperdunn

War Hero
Book Reviewer
I wish you luck Jan boy, but and advice given on here towards your enquiry should be taken with a very large pinch of salt. In fact, you're most probably the only one qualifed to give the advice you're looking for.
In essence, Physician, heal thyself.
 
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KernowDoc

Midshipman
Thanks for the reply Dapperdunn.

What you say is probably true and I have written many a supporting letter for my patients when they have applied in the past.

It's a bit different when it's yourself though and tbh, I have little insight into the processes the Navy follows and how the Service Entry Medical Cell functions.
 

Stirlin

War Hero
Doc , there are a few threads on here re med appeals , use the search function top right.

Here is one for starters.....https://www.navy-net.co.uk/community/threads/appealing.169232/#post-1405468
 

fishhead

War Hero
The board that scrutinises your first medical are employed by Capita and are risk averse. There are no grey areas for them so you are either A1 or PMU/TMU. The appeal system passes you to military medicos who are there to sort out the wheat from the chaff. If you can prove to them that your back problems were a one off event long since passed they may well smile upon your application. The ball is in your court and given your background no applicant seeking advice on medical appeals on this forum(and there have been many) has been better placed to confront the rather puzzling guidelines.
This is a personal opinion and I am in no way medically qualified nor am I currently serving.
 

KernowDoc

Midshipman
Thanks for the replies. I have had a good read already of the very many threads about medical appeals and the process itself seems fairly clear.

I'm hoping to get as much supporting information as possible in by next week and then I suppose it's fingers crossed!

I agree that the guidelines are pretty opaque.
 

WreckerL

War Hero
Super Moderator
You should be ok, the doctors reviewing the case will be looking at their watchbill (shift rota in civvy speak). Reject you and they've shot themselves in the foot ;)
 

DocH

Midshipman
Hello all. I have read a number of the threads here with interest but wondered if anyone had any advice for my specific circumstances.
I am an NHS GP with 19 years of medical experience, now aged 43 and looking for a different challenge.

I have made an initial application though my local AFCO and been passed Permanently Medically Unfit due to a history of back pain with sciatica. This was a fairly short lived, single episode caused by heavy lifting while working on an extension at home, and is now completely resolved.

My questions are really around the inconsistencies in the documentation available. The medical screening questionnaire itself states:

"Recurrent back pain or sciatica. " would be a bar to service - implying this a single episode would not.
On the other hand, according to JSP 950:
"d. Candidates with a history of sciatic pain with or without back pain are graded medically unfit"
JSP 950 Lft 6-7-7 (V1.5 Jun 19)

Interestingly, the JSP 950 also states that candidates with a history of disc surgery may be graded as fit if symptom free 2 years after their surgery. Given that disc surgery would most frequently be done for sciatic type pains, this advice seems inherently contradictory.

I have made arrangements to appeal with the support of my local AFCO including a supporting letter from my GP.
Does anyone have a feel for how likely this might be to succeed and what else I might be able to do to increase my chances of success?

I am completely well otherwise and can manage to PJFT run in well under the time needed (with no back pain :) )

KD,

My experience in applying mirrored yours.
Left RAF and in med school applied to RN as mo Cadet. I was turned away as PMU due to back pain and sciatica 6 years previous. Despite it being one episode, if it is over 6 weeks (which mine was due to a baggage physio deciding acupuncture was the way forward) it is determined as chronic by Crapita, thus you will be deemed PMU. One letter from a physiotherapist on appeal and I was in. Hope this helps and good luck.
 

KernowDoc

Midshipman
Thanks for the reply, that's very much my position at the moment. Really heartening to hear that you were successful! Should be able to get my appeal in this week with a bit of luck.
 

KernowDoc

Midshipman
Well. I am indeed £2 poorer....
Also who knew that GPs would get white coat hypertension?
Off to arrange some BP monitoring!
Getting there slowly.
 

KernowDoc

Midshipman
An update just in case anyone was wondering.

BP monitoring all done and signed off - finally officially medically fit!
Just got to get the PJFT sorted out now - slow but steady progress!

They don't seem to have an official time for over 40s on the PJFT interestingly.
 

soleil

War Hero
An update just in case anyone was wondering.

BP monitoring all done and signed off - finally officially medically fit!
Just got to get the PJFT sorted out now - slow but steady progress!

They don't seem to have an official time for over 40s on the PJFT interestingly.

That's good news, KD, pleased to hear that it's going well.
 
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