Letter to Ms Maria Fernandes
from Mr Vyan Gresty
Thank you for your letter of 24 May, I am sorry that
it has taken so long to reply, but, as you can imagine, our world
has been turned upside down by Rita's illness, and there are very
many issues to sort out.
Our doctor visited Rita on Tuesday, and is pleased
with the progress that she is making. She is on a high level of
medication, and will remain on that dosage for a further two weeks
at least. A medical certificate covering a further 4 weeks will
be forwarded to you when collected from the surgery on Friday.
In discussions with Rita and her doctor, it is clear
that the main cause of her illness is the enormous stress placed
upon her by her job, especially the sheer volume of work she was
required to do, in an environment where she had no other contact
with people for many hours on end. Because of her renowned conscientiousness,
she worked hours far in excess of what is generally accepted for
such a post, frequently without a break, and lacking companionship.
The imposition of a requirement that she record, on a time sheet,
her work every ten minutes further added to the stress and pressures
Rita's absence from work is also clearly going to
put a financial strain on us, as your letter does not offer the
security of full sickness pay during the period she is absent.
It is unfortunate that you were not able to draw up an employment
contract with Rita, on commencement, as issues such as holiday
and sick leave, annual increments and other employment benefits
would have been resolved, negotiated and agreed much earlier.
Whilst we fully appreciate that, as a sole practitioner, you may
not be in the same position as a large company, I am sure you
appreciate that the job Rita accepted in August 1998 is very different
to the one she is now doing, both in complexity and volume. The
practice has moved and grown, as has the workload, and the resultant
stress on both you, and Rita, was, with regrettable hindsight,
We hope that you will reconsider your decision to
pay her only one month's sick pay, and extend that to the three
months that she is expected to be away on sick leave, (including
the statutory sick pay she would receive in any circumstances).
It is, as you say in your letter, too early to make firm decisions
as to the future: our main concern must be to ensure that Rita
is free from all worries and anxieties, and able to recover her
strength and confidence in her own time, with the help of doctors,
family and friends. I know that she very much places you, Keith
and your family highly in that third category, as do I.
With our collective care and prayers, she will no
doubt fully recover within the expected time frame, and be able
to renew her career with fresh application and enthusiasm.
With best wishes to you and the family.
8 June 2000