Long hours at desk causes blood clot15 July 2009
An administrator who suffered a life threatening blood clot from long hours sitting at her desk has received a substantial sum in compensation.
Angela Lamberton, 53, from Leicester, now has to take medication for the rest of her life to avoid another potentially fatal clot from developing.
Angela, an administrative assistant for HM Revenue and Customs in Charles Street, Leicester, developed the clot behind her knee after her working routine was changed so she was effectively tied to her desk.
Targets were set so employees had to complete a certain amount of work and routines were changed so staff no longer had to leave their desk to complete their job.
Angela had suffered a previous blood clot and although it was successfully treated and she no longer had to take medication she was told by doctors to take breaks from her desk every 15 minutes.
The old work routine meant she was naturally taking those breaks to collect work from the printer.
When the new system was put in place she complained to her line manager but she was told she must abide by the new rules.
Within weeks she started to suffer pains in her legs. Her GP diagnosed a blood clot and she had to receive emergency treatment to disperse it.
She must now take blood thinning medication on a daily basis and wear specialist stockings. She is too frightened to fly in case she develops another clot and when driving must stop every hour to stretch her legs.
She must attend the hospital every four weeks and still suffers from tired and painful legs.
She said: “My whole life has been changed. I’m terrified of flying and if we drive anywhere it takes a long time because we have to take so many breaks. My legs are sore and what used to be a 20 minute walk to work now takes me over an hour.
“I felt I had no choice but to accept the new working system because my complaints were dismissed. Now I will be on medication the rest of my life and the fear that I will develop another blood clot will always be with me.”
Angela had to take four months off work. She contacted her union the PCS which instructed its lawyers Thompsons Solicitors to pursue a claim for compensation. HM Customs and Revenue admitted liability and settled the claim out of court.
Pete Lockhart, national officer for HM Customs and Revenue at the PCS said: “It is disgraceful that Angela’s complaints were ignored despite her medical history. It is a classic case of management putting targets above their staff’s health. It should never have taken the threat of legal action for Angela to be allowed to take a break from her desk.”
Peter Magee from Thompsons Solicitors added: “Angela must live with the threat of another potentially fatal blood clot for the rest of her life. She argued that the new working system was damaging her health but was ignored. Employers must make sure they take into account their employee’s physical ability to undertake a job and must be prepared to make allowances.”
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