Martyn Hooper MBE – Chair of the PAS

~ The Chair’s Blog ~

Another Employment Tribunal

by | Mar 1, 2018 | 5 comments

So, here I am on the last day of February with forecasts of heavy snowfall for Wales and I have to go to London which has already seen major disruption to transport due to snow. Yet, even though travellers are being warned to make only necessary journeys I cannot cancel my trip because I have been asked to appear at yet another Employment Tribunal concerning one of our members who, just like me fourteen years ago, is being forced to take early retirement on grounds of ill-health because he is still experiencing the worst of the symptoms of Pernicious Anaemia.

Irrational Behaviour

This flies in the face of perceptions held by most people, and certainly the vast majority of doctors, that once the B12 Deficiency that has been caused by Pernicious Anaemia has been corrected, then the patient’s symptoms disappear. We know that this isn’t the case and even when a patient has a treatment regimen tailored to his or her own particular requirement, the symptoms do not miraculously vanish. This means that patients who experience the continual and ever-present extreme fatigue, confusion, irrational behaviour etc. will struggle with work or education.


Today’s tribunal concerns a professional who has really struggled to carry out his duties satisfactorily and, even though his employers have been understanding and allowed ‘reasonable adjustments’ to his hours of employment, he has come to realise that he simply isn’t able to carry on and needs to end his career.
So what am I doing there? Well, I appear as an ‘expert witness’ to tell the hearing what I have described above, that some patients with Pernicious Anaemia do not make a recovery and will continue to experience the often debilitating symptoms of the disease and this will mean that they will not be able to carry on with their work or careers.


Nobody has been able to explain why some patients continue to experience the worst of their symptoms once treatment to correct the B12 Deficiency but most doctors and other medical professions who I have discussed this with tend to think that it’s due to brain damage, probably due to a late diagnosis, but nobody is really investigating this thoroughly. And that’s perhaps because it isn’t widely known that patients with Pernicious Anaemia still experience the symptoms of B12 Deficiency even though that deficiency has been corrected. So what I am going to be doing today and tomorrow is just what I have done in the past and will continue to do in the future – Raising Awareness of the problems patients face when dealing with the disease; as I’ve said before, as a patient support group that is all we can do – raise awareness.

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  1. Linda Cadle

    So sorry for this person,I am already retired but for about 5/6 weeks out of 12 weeks I was useless and often go to bed in the afternoon as felt so bad.I finally got my injections down to 10 weeks but said no way would he do it any less.I have started to SI and it is helping me feel a lot better.I still have times of tiredness and being forgetful but no where near as bad without SI which I hate doing myself.Thank You so much for what you do.

  2. susan childs

    We just need the researchers to find proof about the lasting damage. Praying it will happen. Maybe then GPs will believe people but the protocols remain restrictive for now. Great that you help so many martyn.

  3. Astrid nova

    It was pretty well recognised in psychiatry in the 20th century that B12 deficiencies, including Beriberi, and those due to destruction of the intrinsic factor would improve with injection of the appropriate vitamin, except to the degree that the damage was permanent. Two main syndromes were named: Wernickes encephalopathy, which was supposed to be reversible, and Korsakov’s psychosis, which was not reversible.

    There were (and still are) specific neurological tests, both to establish these diagnoses and to simply evaluate the degree of memory, perception and motor problems. I cannot see why, at such hearings, a neurologist is not employed to carry out the full battery of neurological tests and to make a diagnosis with B12 deficiency in mind.

    It is as if we are losing all the good things from medical science, carefully established over a couple of centuries, to be replaced by utter cant and sales-spin passing for science.

  4. Rob Cary

    Dear Martyn,
    Reading the latest blog, I’m very glad I don’t have to go through an employment tribunal like the one you described.
    I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism and Hepatitis C at around the same time a year ago and it would be difficult for me to try to describe my symptoms usefully because all three diseases cause fatigue somewhat like ME.
    In my case it seems possible that a long term Hepatitis C infection of more than 40 years is the cause of both the other diseases but I’m very grateful that I’m recovering well. My vitamin B12 deficiency was noticed before any serious damage was done but, as we all know, none of us ever really recovers from PA; regular top ups with Cobalamin, in whatever form it is available, will be necessary for the rest of our lives.
    It is clear that we have to live with a gap in our knowledge and I am surprised that the NHS is not able to do so, as well. Its failure to take into account the variation in the way patients respond to injections of cobalamin is alarming. Thank you for all your efforts to change this sorry state of affairs.
    If there is one thing, which I can share from my own experience, it is that three months between injections is too long to wait. I live in Kenya and inject myself with 1 ml Cobalin-H every two and a half to three weeks. I have great sympathy with anyone who is unable to self treat like I do. Without doing so I notice the usual symptoms returning but I must admit to having difficulty recognizing them and part of the reason is that they never completely go away. This is probably a familiar scenario to many fellow sufferers.
    I would be very interested to try methylcobalamin and will try and find a supplier locally.
    Keep up the good work,
    Rob Cary

  5. megatube

    If you agree a settlement with your employer through Acas, your case will usually be automatically withdrawn from the tribunal and you won’t normally have to go to a hearing.


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