I supported a member who’d fallen on a slippery pavement outside a patient’s house. Her injury had long-term consequences and she found herself on lengthy sick leave and facing half pay.
I was disappointed the allowance wasn’t immediately agreed, but was confident that we’d see that decision overturned on appeal.
However, the appeal held that she hadn’t been clear about what footwear she had on at the time, and that it was a poor decision to have a conversation with the patient’s daughter outside the house.
We objected to the line of reasoning and with my support the member took out a grievance regarding the process.
Fortunately the stage three grievance panel saw the clear arguments we were making and overturned the decision. They also made recommendations on how NHS injury allowance decisions should be made and for the trust to set up an appeals process involving senior managers from outside the service area.
It’s worth checking what process you have in your organisation, and if there’s not a specific procedure, ask why not.
Phil’s top tips for members
- Report the incident at the earliest opportunity. If an injury isn’t immediately apparent you should ask colleagues to confirm there was a link to the incident.
- Seek support from an RCN safety rep or steward.
- If your GP agrees the link is likely, make sure any sick or fit notes reflect that.
- Make sure your employer sees any consultant letters which support your claim.
- Prepare a clear timeline of the incident, symptoms and effects.
The RCN view
RCN Employment Relations Adviser Nicola Lee says: “This payment has been in place for a number of years now, so there is no excuse for employers not to have robust procedures in place for making timely decisions about eligibility.
“Some employers require employees to complete an application form, which you should fill in at the earliest opportunity. However, some don’t so you should alert your manager of your entitlement as soon as possible so that the ‘work relatedness’ of your absence can be recorded promptly.
“Remember, injury allowance will only be payable when your income is reduced.”
Find out more
The NHS injury allowance provides support for staff who sustain an injury, disease or other health condition which is attributable to their employment. The allowance is limited to 12 months, and employers make decisions on eligibility and appeals.
The RCN offers advice on NHS injury allowance and you can also find out more from NHS Employers.