Dr Hamilton’s story

“It made an enormous difference. It gave me hope.”

About five years ago, I had been on sick leave due to post-viral neuritis. A return-to-work interview had gone well, and I was really looking forward to resuming my job as a psychiatrist. On the same day as the return-to-work interview I had an accident, which caused concussion and significant soft tissue damage, eventually diagnosed as acute Charcot foot.

It was devastating to have this further setback when I was so close to coming back to work. I needed regular assistive care, with the cost that entails, and the use of a wheelchair.

As I’d had to take an extended period of sick leave recently, this counted against my sick leave entitlement, even though it had been over a year ago. This meant that my sick pay ran out much more quickly.

After using mortgage overpayments I had made over several years, I applied for a mortgage holiday, but I was refused. None of my friends or family were in a situation to help financially.

Being partially sighted, paperwork is difficult for me unless it’s provided in large print (which it usually isn’t). Trying to sort out mortgage insurance, talk to my employer about sick pay, all the other things: the admin required to navigate these challenges created a huge additional stress.

I’ve always been very careful with money. But now I had to drastically cut my outgoings: I relied on cheap tinned food, and wore thermals indoors instead of turning the heating on, even though it was a nasty winter and I needed to keep warm due to my immobility. I lost weight. Despite all this, I was still facing the very real possibility of losing my home.

Things were miserable. One day I searched the internet to see if there was support available for doctors in my position, not expecting much. That’s where I found out about the RMBF. I called up and talked to a Caseworker, who was incredibly kind and understanding.

When the news came back that I was eligible for financial support, I was so impressed with how thoroughly they had assessed and understood my situation. The grant provided was enough to cover some mortgage payments and most essential bills.

I’d assumed that I wasn’t entitled to any state benefits, but the RMBF Caseworker informed me that actually there were some I could claim, and helped me through the process.

It was such a huge relief, knowing that I would get to keep my house. It made an enormous difference – it gave me hope.

I now donate to the RMBF, because I want others to have the help that I had. I know that there’s no obligation to pay back the support I received, but I’ve decided it’s important to me.

Name has been changed