Signaller medical blood pressure pass/fail

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Justin71

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13 Jun 2016
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Hello everyone,

I've recently been offered a signaller position and have yet to take my medical. Don't ask me why as it's totally ludicrous but I hate having my blood pressure taken; so much so that my blood pressure reading's always through the roof.

However, the last time I had it taken the doctor tried to get me to relax and he took the reading about six times in a row, and each time it dropped until finally I gave a normal reading.

Can anyone please tell me what the blood pressure pass/fail limit is for a signaller and if the company who carry out NR's medicals will allow wet blankets like me time to relax?

Thanks for your time.

Justin
 
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scotraildriver

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For traincrew it is 160/100 so imagine it will be similar. I have the same issue as you, just tell them to do a few readings or bring a letter from your doctor. They are very used to this issue.
 

Justin71

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Thanks to you both for your replies. My doctor is aware I have this issue so a letter sounds like a good idea.

Scotraildriver, thanks for providing the figures. They seem really high as I would have thought the pass/fail limit would have been much lower. 160/100 is definitely right up there in the high blood pressure category. I should be able to get lower than that even on a bad day! When you say train crew does that mean drivers? As yes I would have thought the limits for drivers and signallers would be similar due to being safety critical roles.

Thanks again for your help

Justin
 

TomBoyd

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I'm assuming this isn't a generally nervous disposition, and is specific to having your blood pressure taken?
 

fatlad68

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My blood pressure was too high on my medical. They told me it wasn't uncommon and got me to go back to my GP and get a normal reading recorded by them and forward it on. Didn't cause any problems and certainly wasn't an instant fail.
 

Justin71

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Hello again,

Thanks for your replies. You assume correctly Tom, I'm not generally nervous. RAF 12 years and currently a police officer having served a few months short of 10 years. People often get bothered by injections, which I can understand, but they don't fuss me one bit, but a little squeeze on the arm having my blood pressure taken and I feel like I'm going to pass out. I cannot explain it and I know it's completely irrational but that's the way it is.

Thanks Fatlad, that's good to know. I had a similar situation in the police when I applied to be a public order officer. They took my blood pressure which was sky high and subsequently wouldn't let me take any of the fitness tests, instead referring me to my doctor. My doctor gave me time to relax and I provided two good readings. He then had to write a letter to the police basically stating there was nothing wrong with my blood pressure, I was just a bit of a baby. I was given the green light and I've been a public order officer ever since. Out of interest, can you recall what your pass and fail figures were please?

Thanks to you both

Justin
 

fergusjbend

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Justin,

This phenomenon is well-known and referred to as 'white-coat hypertension': i.e. an abnormally high reading provoked by the stress of having your blood pressure measured. Unfortunately, there does seem to be a weak relationship between this and subsequent cardiac events, so it is not quite so benign as it might at first seem.

Go to Boots and buy yourself a digital blood pressure cuff and take serial measurements for a couple of weeks before your medical. Take your results with you as evidence of your average blood pressure.

Good luck!
 

scotraildriver

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Thanks to you both for your replies. My doctor is aware I have this issue so a letter sounds like a good idea.

Scotraildriver, thanks for providing the figures. They seem really high as I would have thought the pass/fail limit would have been much lower. 160/100 is definitely right up there in the high blood pressure category. I should be able to get lower than that even on a bad day! When you say train crew does that mean drivers? As yes I would have thought the limits for drivers and signallers would be similar due to being safety critical roles.

Thanks again for your help

Justin

Yes that is the figure for drivers. I got 174/112 at my medical! Was freaked out so went straight to my gp on the way home and got a reading of 124/83 less than an hour later. I just always get a doctors letter a few days before my medical, just in case.
 

mike345

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I suffer from white coat syndrome. I've had it for 20 years or so. Every time Im due to go for a medical I ask my doctor to book me in for a 24hr blood pressure monitor. This involves having a cuff fitted for (you guessed it) 24hrs, the cuff automatically inflates every half an hour to get your average reading. After about 2 weeks my doctor receives the results and I take a copy of the readings along with me to my medical.

My last 24hr blood pressure reading gave me an average bp of 133/78, well within the normal range. On the day of my medical my bp was 168/105, a massive difference. The Doctor who conducted my last medical was happy with the printout my doctor provided, it had been signed, stamped and dated. I was also told that without the printout I would have failed the medical due to having high bp.

Be warned, they may not take your word for it that you have white coat syndrome. My advice would be to get a 24hr blood pressure test done and take a copy of the results with you.

Good luck.
 

Justin71

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Thank you all for the advice and sorry for the late reply; on a family holiday with two little people so as you can imagine it's hectic with no time to myself.

I've got my medical next week so I'll post which way it went. Fingers crossed I guess.

Thanks again to you all for the advice, much appreciated.

Justin
 

JohnFM

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Do not go and buy your own BP machine. Whatever you write will not be worth the effort nor the cost as the examiner will not take it as evidence. A Doctors letter is also not worth the effort.

The medical examiner will not base his reputation and possibly his registration with the General Medical Council on stuff you bring to mitigate what you think is a problem.

White Coat syndrome is perfectly normal and easy to disassociate from hypertension. The fact that it drops on the second reading will give the doctor the reassurance he needs. Doctors are very experienced in such matters.

Getting all bothered trying to arrange 24hr BP tests will only exacerbate your anxiety if your GP says that you don't need one or does not have the kit to hand.

Do your medical, enjoy the day. Smile.
 

Slimjim

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13 Jun 2016
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Hi Justin,

I had my medical a couple of weeks ago for a signaller position.

I did the blood pressure test fairly early, and the result was a little high (maybe due to having to climb 5 flights of stairs to get to the room, maybe due to it being my first ever medical, who knows) but the nurse tested me twice more at the end of the medical.

He left the cuff on my arm and chatted away for a few minutes to make sure I was relaxed before taking the final reading and everything came back fine.

Hope it all goes okay.
 

JohnChuchu

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My blood pressure was too high on my medical. They told me it wasn't uncommon and got me to go back to my GP and get a normal reading recorded by them and forward it on. Didn't cause any problems and certainly wasn't an instant fail.

How high was your blood pressure?
 

scotraildriver

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I'm not sure exactly how qualified some of these occupational health people really are. I've personally had some major concerns regarding my medical, such as a half inch gap around the "soundproof" booth for the hearing test, along with a cleaner hoovering outside. We had 2 drivers taken off as the ECG showed a previous heart attack only for the machine to be found defective and worst of all a driver who was suddenly deemed colour blind after 20 odd years - he wasn't. These places tend to be very busy - I've never been taken on time - don't be afraid to ask for an extra blood pressure test or whatever. After all its your career at stake.
 

JohnFM

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Do not ask for another BP test. That's just wasting a clinician's time.

An ECG cannot be found to be defective. It really does either work, or it does not. If it does not work then the issue is obviously the machine NOT a suspected heart attack by mistake!

The issue is that the trace does not show a previous heart attack, that was your friend telling tall tales, it shows an lot of stuff to be investigated. For safety your friend was probably removed from operations pending the result as the trace can also show an early indicator of something. An investigation into the trace, which is complex, would have showed that all was well then the individual was returned to duty. Easy as that.

With regards to colour blind test - completely incorrect! Testing using Ishihara Plates is easy and cannot be got wrong. It might be that your colleague had nothing interesting to say and just made up something for something to say or made up some rubbish in order to explain his trip for something else.

Be wary of extreme medical stories, more often than not they are totally made up just because someone thinks you don't have enough of a medical understanding to realise the story is nonsense.

25 years as a military medic and the phone calls and conversations with me saying "no, that's nonsense" to someone confirming a story were numerous and regular.

I have not seen one soundproof booth close properly. I don't think they're made to close! :) Whoever did the audiometry should have told the cleaner to go away, that was unprofessional on their part.

Asking for another BP test though? The nervousness and desperation to get another test would increase your BP anyway!

You either do have a BP issue or you do not, and it is a basic and very, very easy thing to understand, perform and recognise if there is an issue with the individual.
 
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Justin71

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13 Jun 2016
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Hello everyone,

Just wanted to thank all of you for your advice. Passed my medical today! My initial reading was high but within limits. Second reading took at the end of the examination just out of curiosity and it had dropped to a much better level.

Thanks again

Justin
 

fatlad68

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Hello everyone,

Just wanted to thank all of you for your advice. Passed my medical today! My initial reading was high but within limits. Second reading took at the end of the examination just out of curiosity and it had dropped to a much better level.

Thanks again

Justin

Good news, what box are you going to?
 

Justin71

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Lewes, East Sussex and hopefully starting signalling school on 5th September. It's a great box and has a 1970s EnEx panel. Sadly though it's likely to be closed in a few years where I'm told the controls will be changed to VDUs at the Three Bridges ROC. Further for me to commute but I've travelled further before so it's not an issue.

I'm busting to hand my notice in and with any luck I'll be able to on Monday. Funnily enough I've recently been posted to Lewes with Sussex Police and start there on Monday, so one way or another I'm definitely going to Lewes. Not sure my new sergeant will be too pleased (as I've been keeping it to myself other than my current team) but he'll understand, he's a good guy.

Thanks again for your help

Justin
 

BRblue

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Lewes, East Sussex and hopefully starting signalling school on 5th September. It's a great box and has a 1970s EnEx panel. Sadly though it's likely to be closed in a few years where I'm told the controls will be changed to VDUs at the Three Bridges ROC. Further for me to commute but I've travelled further before so it's not an issue.

I'm busting to hand my notice in and with any luck I'll be able to on Monday. Funnily enough I've recently been posted to Lewes with Sussex Police and start there on Monday, so one way or another I'm definitely going to Lewes. Not sure my new sergeant will be too pleased (as I've been keeping it to myself other than my current team) but he'll understand, he's a good guy.

Thanks again for your help

Justin

Welcome to East Sussex signallers Justin, we're not a bad bunch down here. :)
 
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