So having read plenty of scare stories on forums about benefits related medicals and needing to appeal unfair decisions that are clearly unjustified, I attended my medical. Following the advice of one poster, I took someone with me. A friend who also works as a nurse and for a charity that are involved in advocacy.

The signing in process was amusing as the security guys did a relay race escorting us up to the correct floor. The reception staff were friendly and dealt with the booking in process competently.

I was called in withing 10 minutes of arriving. The lady taking my medical was a friendly and empathetic. It surprised me that I was assessed by a nurse, not a doctor with an interest in mental health.

We spent ages going through all the medications, creams and inhalers I am prescribed, that I had brought with me. She noted each one down, along with dosages and when I take them and why.

She then said she had to go through a typical day and how my health effects me day-to-day. Questions included

  • What time do you go to bed and get up?
  • Do you have a shower or bath? How often? How long?
  • Do you do your own housework?
  • Do you get your own groceries? How often?
  • Do you cook for yourself? Are you able to use a microwave to make yourself a snack? (as if that counts as cooking (rolls eyes))
  • What do you do with your time? Reading? TV? Supplementary questions about the things I do.

Can’t remember any of the other questions but just found the whole process fairly pathetic. She asked the questions as prompted by the computer and filled in each box. My friend felt she acted impartially and said that she had been writing down exactly what I’d said. The questions were less that what I had already filled in on the questionnaire and did not demonstrate well how my health prevents me from working at present and how debilitating it can be.

She then checked my peak flows (which are currently low) and checked my pulse (goodness knows why??) At least the peak flow was one of the new EU regulated ones, but it did read differently to mine, as if frequent use had made it easier to push the air through. My readings in the previous 48 hours had been consistently 310. Her readings read 340-350. The next day my peak flows continued to be 310. Today, 6 days after medical and 8 days after doubling up symbicort and taking 4 puffs of blue inhaler twice a day, my peak flows are at 3 attempts – 370, 340, 350. Puts some doubt into her equipment I feel.

I’m really concerned what the report will say and if they will decide to stop my benefits. I need to have the pressure of work or pressure to work off me in order to improve. If they simply assess me as not likely to be ill indefinitely but simply for the short-term and thus encouraged to attend courses (much like what I’m already doing) then it’s not a problem (especially as I can do Pilates amongst other things!)

Need to request copy of medical from job centre, once it is published.