Musculo Skeletal

Muscle & Joint Problems

At the Wellness Centre, we appreciate the impact long hours, working at screens and manual handling has on our bodies. With MSD being the number one occupational illness in the UK, we recognise the need to support staff to ensure that muscle and joint problems are kept to a minimum. 

We have teamed up with our partners Ayrshire Medical Services and Cram Osteopaths to bring you the best possible advice and information. Ayrshire Medical Services carries out a wide range of ergonomic and workplace assessments to compliment your health and safety in house risk assessments. 

Cram Osteopaths have been in business for over 70 years with a proven track record second to none. They specialist in occupational MSD and we are delighted to team up with them to offer our clients the benefit of both occupational health specialists and osteopathic treatment. 

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What is a Musculoskeletal Disorder (MSD)?

Musculoskeletal disorders do not come in any one form. They can be strains, sprains and areas that are overused causing a repetitive injury. Areas can include back issues, slipped discs and work-related upper limb disorders.

What are the Symptoms?

Symptoms vary from person to person and depend on the affected area but might typically include:

  • Pain
  • Numbness
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling
  • Tingling

What is the Cause?

The causes of common musculoskeletal problems are:

  • Lifting heavy or awkward loads.
  • Repetitive activities such as packing and stacking.
  • Sitting in awkward positions for prolonged periods.

What can you do to help the situation? 

  1. Ensure you attend all manual handling courses. 
  2. Do not put yourself at risk. Look at your workload and ask if yourself if it can be done differently. Is it a two-man job? Can I change my location or my layout? 
  3. Ensure all necessary workplace risk and ergonomic assessments have been carried out.
  4. Report any injuries or adverse effects immediately and arrange for treatment of same. 

Whatever your MSD needs, the teams at the Wellness Centre can help achieve them and ensure you are working safely, practicing effectively, and preventing injury meticulously. 

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Healthy Heart

How Healthy is your Heart?

All too often, we take our health for granted. We cannot see what is going on in the inside, so we naturally presume everything is as it should be. There are many factors that ensure we have a healthy heart and below is just some of them:

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Diet
  • Blood Pressure
  • Cholesterol
  • Glucose Levels
  • Diabetes

  • Stress
  • Food and Diet
  • Alcohol
  • Exercise
  • Physical Activity
  • Hand Hygiene

I know what you are thinking, some of these are out with my control and you are right. You cannot change your age or your sex, but you can make simple changes like making sure you wash your hands regularly – this will reduce your risk of viral infections that could put greater risk on your heart. 

Then there is stress and we all get it from time to time but it is how you deal with it. Blocking it out just means it will come back one day therefore facing it head on is the best way to ensure that you do not add any further pressures on your heart. Diets high in fats, salts, sugar, or cholesterol can lead to the development of heart disease. You have the power to prevent all of these.

Risk Factors

High Blood Pressure

Blood pressure plays a significant role in heart health. If a person has high blood pressure, their blood pumps through their coronary arteries at a much higher rate than normal pressures. High blood pressure often shows no symptoms and can damage the heart, arteries, and other organs. Damage to the heart can lead to stroke, heart attack and other conditions such as kidney damage, vision loss and peripheral arterial disease.


Cholesterol is naturally present in the body and the foods we eat. When we have too much cholesterol in our bodies, plaque forms in the artery walls, making it difficult for blood to circulate. Too much plaque forming creates a blockage and this means that less blood gets to the brain and can cause a stroke. Clogged arteries may also lead to a heart attack. 

Making sure you eat the right foods is essential to lowering your cholesterol and maintain a healthy heart. Read more at our eating healthy section on what you can do to protect your heart.

Healthy Eating

What can you do?


  • Eat healthy 
  • Regular exercise
  • Keep hydrated
  • Watch your alcohol 
  • Good sleep pattern
  • Hygiene etiquette
  • Watch your weight


  • Drink to much caffeine or sugary drinks
  • Smoke
  • Eat too many saturated fats

Remember you only have one heart and you need to make the most of it. 


Cancer & You

At the Wellness Centre, we know how difficult it is to hear that six-letter word Cancer. Cancer has no friends and instead it is a battle to see who is the stronger the Cancer or You. Cancer in simple terms is where cells grow and reproduce uncontrollably in specific parts of the body. 

Cancer often starts in one part of the body and spreads to others – this process is known as metastasis. In the UK there are four common cancers.

With 1 in 2 people developing cancer during their lifetime and over 200 different types of cancers, it’s important that you can sport the signs, reduce the risks and know what to do if you are concerned or worried that you may have cancer.

Follow the links to find out more about each condition including signs, symptoms, and treatment.

Bowel CancerBreast CancerLung CancerProstate Cancer

Signs of Cancer

No one knows your body better than you so looking for changes to your normal processes or unexplained symptoms can often be an early indication that something is not quite right in the body. Symptoms and signs to look out for include. 

  1. Changes to bowel habits
  2. Lumps that suddenly appear on the body. 
  3. Unexplained bleeding
  4. Unexplained weight loss 

Remember in lots of cases symptoms are not related to cancer but can be related to other treatable conditions so early detection is key. 

Reducing your risk of cancer

Looking after yourself is the key to reducing your risk of cancer. 

For example:

  • Healthy lifestyle 
  • Non smoker
  • Minimal Alcohol 
  • Regular Exercise

The Macmillan Cancer Support website has more information about how a healthy lifestyle can help reduce your chances of developing cancer.

Macmillan Cancer Support

Treatments & Next Steps

Cancer treatment

Decisions regarding treatment always take place with your Consultant or Specialist Nurse. In most cases, surgery is the first line of treatment unless there are underlying medical conditions which would preclude this. 

If this is the case, then other treatments may be considered. 

  1. Chemotherapy – this comes in the form of cancer killing medicine. 
  2. Radiotherapy –   controlled use of high energy x-rays. 
  3. Long term medication if appropriate.

Waiting times

Waiting for a diagnosis is probably the worst part of any illness. Do I have cancer, is it something else? The despair that is felt at this time is insurmountable. If we consider that cancers usually develop slowly over several years, then a few weeks waiting time should not impact on treatment. 

That said, you should not have to wait any more than two weeks to be seen by a Consultant if your GP suspects a diagnosis of cancer. 

not have to wait more than 31 days from the decision to treat to the start of treatment.

A-Z of Cancer Treatments

Cancer Research has brought together a full list of all cancer types along with information, treatment, and guidance to help you or your loved ones through this difficult journey. 

Types of Cancer

What Next?

If you think you or your loved one has cancer or are concerned about changes to your body, then contact your GP or Practice Nurse for an appointment. They will carry out a battery of tests which may include blood tests and referral to specialist appointments for further treatment and advice. 

For more information or guidance email


Addiction and You

At the wellness centre, we know only too well that no one wants to be an addict. Life happens and circumstances hit us that make some choices in our life not the best. Addiction does not have friends and affects everyone in every corner of society. 

Addiction is described as not having control to the point that your actions may be harmful to yourself and others. With 1 in 3 people being addicted to something and that someone could be gambling, drugs, alcohol and even nicotine, there is help there, right now. 

Putting things in perspective, its not just harmful substances that people are addicted to, people can become addicted to any number of things including. 

  • work – some people are obsessed with their work to the extent that they become physically exhausted; if your relationship, family, and social life are affected and you never take holidays, you may be addicted to work
  • internet – as computer and mobile phone use has increased, so too have computer and internet addictions; people may spend hours each day and night surfing the internet or gaming while neglecting other aspects of their lives
  • solvents – volatile substance abuse is when you inhale substances such as glue, aerosols, petrol, or lighter fuel to give you a feeling of intoxication 
  • shopping – shopping becomes an addiction when you buy things you do not need or want to achieve a buzz; this is quickly followed by feelings of guilt, shame, or despair

What causes addictions?

There are lots of reasons why addictions begin. In the case of drugs and alcohol, these substances affect how you feel. They change both your physical and mental state. With both drugs and alcohol, you can begin a cycle where you have felt so good and created an emotional high that you cannot curb the powerful urge to use the substance again. This urge is addiction. 

Addictions become out of control when we can no longer satisfy our cravings and the need for the ‘high’ becomes greater. 

How addictions can affect you

Managing addiction can cause strain on both your physical and emotional relationships. Addiction can have serious impacts at work through poor time management or poor quality of work. You may become distracted and become a danger to yourself and others. Addiction is often used as a coping mechanism to block out difficult issues or ongoing pressures at home. Unemployment, poverty, and poor living conditions are all known to increase the chances of addiction.

Getting help for addictions

At the Wellness Centre, we believe that every type of addiction is treatable. 

There are many routes for recovery for both drug and alcohol addictions and we have detailed below just some of those at your disposal.

Speak to your GPDrinkawareAlcohol ChangeAlcoholics AnonymousFrankRehabSamaritansNHS Addiction Help

Physical Health

Peak Performance

At the Wellness Centre, we appreciate how important both physical and mental health is.  Physical health is defined as the condition of your body, taking into consideration everything from the absence of disease to fitness level.

When we think about physical health we look at an overall package.

Being physically health means looking at every aspect of your health including lifestyle, genetics, environment, and mental health.  (See our mental health factors).  Factors that affect your physical health include a balanced diet, proper sleep, and cutting down unhealthy habits such as smoking, alcohol, and drugs are some of the key physical health factors that can promote mental wellbeing. Some of the things that can affect mental wellbeing are stress, working too much, and being too inactive.

This section covers a wide variety of physical health indicators and advice to help you become the best version of you.

Learn about issues

Stress Management

Stress Management at Work 

Did you know that workers in the UK work harder than our counterparts in Europe and America?  Our hard work reaps rewards but the downside of this is that we can feel overwhelmed, under pressure and this manifest itself in the form of work-related stress. 

Not all stress is bad.  Being just that little bit under pressure can motivate us to get that long awaited task done or to plan our day better.  How much is too much?  When we get to the point where stress is taking over our lives and we are feeling pressure both mentally and physically, we need to stop, take a breath and act on ways to improve this.

HSE Management Standard

HSE’s Management Standards represent a set of conditions that, if present:

demonstrate good practice through a step-by-step risk assessment which identify needs for change along with areas for improvement.  The standard allows employers to focus on underlying causes and prevention of stress in the work place as well as tacking the key causes of stress. 

They cover six key areas of work design that, if not properly managed, are associated with poor health, lower productivity and increased accident and sickness absence rates. 

The Management Standards are: 

This includes issues such as workload, work patterns and the work environment

How much say the person has in the way they do their work

This includes the encouragement, sponsorship and resources provided by the organisation, line management and colleagues

This includes promoting positive working to avoid conflict and dealing with unacceptable behaviour

Whether people understand their role within the organisation and whether the organisation ensures that they do not have conflicting roles

How organisational change (large or small) is managed and communicated in the organisation.

HSE Stress Guidelines

Tips for work & home

Start Your Day off Right 

If you start off the day with good nutrition, proper planning, and a positive attitude, you may find the stress of the workplace rolling off your back more easily.

Be Clear on Requirements

Know your limits at work and what is expected of you.   This can relieve stress for both of you!

Stay Away from Conflict 

Try to avoid those people at work who don’t work well with others. If conflict finds you anyway, learn how to deal with it appropriately.

Stay Organised 

Keeping yourself organised means avoiding the negative effects of clutter and being more efficient with your work.

Be Comfortable 

Make sure you are comfortable at work.  This could be your desk, your chair or other surroundings.  Even office noise can have a huge impact on your wellbeing so make sure you address any issues with your line manager before they escalate.

Walk at Lunch 

Many people are feeling ill effects from leading a sedentary lifestyle. One way you can combat that, and manage stress at work at the same time, is to get some exercise during your lunch break or even better, walk or cycle to work. This can help you blow off steam, lift your mood, and get into better shape.

Keep Perfectionism in Check 

Being a perfectionist, on the other hand, can drive you and the people around you little nuts. Do you best every day and don’t push yourself too hard and too breaking point. 


Tax & Retirement

Retirement has little effect on how you’re taxed, but it can often feel very complicated as you now have different sources of income with possibly additional pensions or a spouse to consider. 

Even after you retire, you still have to pay income tax.  If you have a personal allowance each year – you can receive up to £12,500 in the 2019/20 tax year and not pay any tax. Once your income exceeds £12,500 – from pensions, savings, property or employment – you pay income tax. You can check the current income tax rates at GOV.UK.

Once retired, there are other tax allowances that you be entitled to. 

What Tax Allowances am I entitled to:
The Married Couples Allowance is available to couples,  where at least one person was born before 6 April 1935, to get a reduction in their tax bill of up to £891.50 (in the 2019/20 tax year).  Find out if you qualify here Married Couples Allowance

And, if you’re married or in a civil partnership and one of you hasn’t used up all your personal allowance for the year (because you’re on a low income), you may qualify for the Marriage Allowance.  This lets you transfer up to £1,250 (in the 2019/20 tax year) of your unused personal allowance to your partner, providing you’re a basic-rate taxpayer.

There are three easy steps to finding out if you are a tax payer once retired. 

  • Add up all your taxable income
  • Work out your tax-free allowances
  • Take your tax-free allowances away from your taxable income If your taxable income is more than your tax-free allowances, you are a taxpayer and must contact HMRC. If your tax-free allowances are the same as or more than your taxable income, no action is necessary. If you think that you should not be paying tax but are, you should be able to claim a tax refund.

Pension Enquiry Form 
If you receive a pension enquiry form from HMRC, then you should complete this (P161 form) and return it straight away.  This will ensure you pay the right tax for your age bracket.

Tax RatesTax Rates EntitlementMarriage Allowance

Inheritance tax

Inheritance Tax is the tax that is paid on your ‘estate’. Basically, this is everything you own at the time of your death, less what you owe. It is also sometimes payable on assets you may have given away during your lifetime.  Although not everyone is eligible to pay inheritance tax, it pays to know if you fall into this category or not.

Inheritance Tax and You

State pension age

State pension can be drawn once you reach state pension age. 

Private pensions are dependent on company scheme rules. 

Make sure if you are considering retiring that you contact the pension trustees or your local HR department for advice on how to start the process.  All pension providers are different with some benefits such as ill health ceasing at state pension age, therefore, it is important that you know all the facts before you make any decisions. 

Income support

Income support is a means tested benefit but ceases once a claimant reaches pension age.  There are a variety of income supports and one which many people in the UK qualify for is Pension Credit.  Find out if you are eligible Pension Credit

Other benefits that you may be eligible to qualify for include: 

  • Working Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit 
  • Council Tax Reduction Scheme
  • Winter Fuel Payments
  • Free Travel Pass

Benefits in Retirement


The possibility of needing nursing care is a scary thought for many.  Although local authorities have a legal obligation to carry out assessments to establish care needs, the provision is based on funding and in particular any funds that you may have yourself to assist with the funding of your care in the future. 

If primary care needs are required then this is usually met in full by the NHS.  This also applies to many short term stays of less than six weeks in a care home. 

However, most people will be required to contribute to their care including accommodation and care package.  The position varies in the UK.


People over 65 are entitled to claim both free personal and nursing care if they have a primary care need.   To arrange a Care Assessment Need, find your local authority


Both income and capital is assessed. If you have capital over £23,250 then you will be expected to pay the full fees until your capital drops below that figure. If your capital is under £23,250 but over £14,250 then you will have to make a contribution from your capital and income towards the fees. Once a person has capital of under £14,250 they no longer have to pay a contribution from their capital but will still have to contribute from their income.

You should always seek legal advice or get help before you agree to anything involving finances and moving to a nursing home. 

The value of a person’s former home is usually included as part of capital assets but the Local Authority must disregard it if it is still occupied by: –

  • Your spouse or a civil partner. 
  • An elderly relative over 60 or under if they are incapacitated. 
  • Children under the age of 16 who are under the care of the person seeking the care home provision. 
  • Local authorities can disregard the value of homes under certain circumstances and this is why it is essential that professional guidance is sought to protect your rights. 

Your legal representative will look:

  • The Value
  • Assets
  • Your current situation
  • Questions around disposing of your property 
  • Guidance on the best possible action to protect you


It is imperative that if you have a will, it is held securely and someone knows where this can be located.  Whilst you are in control, you should ensure your will is up to date and fit for purpose.   Many people make the mistake of putting this off because they believe it is a costly expense only available through a solicitor.  This is not the case and information on how to make up a legally binding will can be found below. 

Providing that such a will complies with the legal formalities required to create a valid will, this can be the cheapest way of getting a will. Care does need to be taken to ensure that the legal formalities are met and it is wise to take legal advice about what these are before you go down this route. Saving money on drafting the will could be false economy if the will is held to be invalid!

The Law DepotLeaving a Gift to CharityMaking A Will


Where do you stand?

Redundancy is a form of dismissal from your job. It happens when employers need to reduce their workforce.

There are two types of redundancy:

  • Compulsory redundancy is when your company’s business has been relocated, reduced or ceased trading altogether and the job no longer exists.
  • Voluntary redundancy is an alternative that opens up the choice to all employees to offer to take redundancy. However, just because it’s offered the employer does not have to accept it.

Employees have certain rights when facing redundancy. Employers should follow a code of good practice, which means:

  • Advance warning of the situation is given (the DTI issues formal notification time scales)
  • Selection criteria that are fair and objective
  • Alternative employment within the company is considered – while this happens, the employee may be on Garden Leave. Contractually you are not allowed to take up a new position during this period; this prevents employees from sabotaging confidential information or going to competitors while still employed.
  • Assistance with job hunting is offered – e.g. use of a computer and telephone, or the Internet
  • There are open lines of communication with trade or employment bodies
  • Redundancy package (there are payment criteria).

If you are in any doubt about the validity of your redundancy you should consult a legal professional. There are incidences of Constructive Dismissal where an employer has allowed actions to be taken which made someone feel that their job no longer exists; or Unfair or Unlawful Dismissal where correct redundancy procedures were not followed. It is very important to seek professional advice before accusing an employer of either of these.

When we do face redundancy, it is almost like the stages of grief we feel anger, resentment, uncertainty and worry.  There is a sense of loss and a feeling that we have in some way let down the people around us.  These feelings are natural and will go away but they do take time. Remember, redundancy is not a sign of failure or weakness.  Turn the negative into a positive and think of the many adventures ahead of you. 

UK GOV Power of Attorney

Dealing with Redundancy

If you’re being made redundant, you might be eligible for certain things, including:

  • redundancy pay
  • a notice periods
  • a consultation with your employer
  • the option to move into a different job
  • time off to find a new job

You also have specific rights if your employer is insolvent.

You must be selected for redundancy in a fair way, for example because of your level of experience or capability to do the job.

You cannot be selected because of age, gender, or if you’re disabled or pregnant. If you are, this could be classed as an unfair dismissal.

Being made redundant usually brings along a great deal of emotional impacts.  There is the sudden culture shock of no longer having a job.  The intense worry of what to do next (this can happen even if you have a large payout).  The effect on relationships, finances and life at home can all cause you to feel overwhelmed, stressed and unable to cope.  When a company chooses someone for redundancy, this is an unemotional action – that means that they have not singled you out personally and instead made a business decision.  

When we do face redundancy, it is almost like the stages of grief we feel anger, resentment, uncertainty and worry.  There is a sense of loss and a feeling that we have in some way let down the people around us.  These feelings are natural and will go away but they do take time. Remember, redundancy is not a sign of failure or weakness.  Turn the negative into a positive and think of the many adventures ahead of you.

Top Tips

At the Wellness Centre we appreciate that this life changing decision can have huge impacts on you.   Below are some top tips to consider with redundancy as well as links to help you with the redundancy process along with your rights in greater detail.

1. Ask

Is it a genuine redundancy situation? Is the redundancy genuine or could a negotiation of a change of job be a possibility? 

2. Understand your entitlements

Make sure you know your entitlement and what you are eligible for both in payments, pension contributions, bonuses and holiday pay.

3. Check whether you have redundancy protection

Does you mortgage hold redundancy protection.  Check all the fine print and see what is available to you.

4. Consider your bargaining position

Check where you stand with approaching other employers.  Is there a non-competition agreement in place.

5. Speak confidently to future employers. 

Future employers should be approached and there is no harm in explaining that you are being made redundant. This is no reflection on you and future employers always like prospective employees to be honest from the outset.

6. A New Adventure

Above all remember that this is a golden opportunity for new adventures.

Redundancy Payments UKRedundancy Payments IRE

Managing Change

Managing Change

Changes at work and home can have a huge impact on your physical and emotional wellbeing.  At the Wellness Centre we recognise that change can be a good thing if managed in the correct way.  Whether it is a change in job, a promotion or a new manager, it is important that you know the best way that you can manage these changes.

Acceptance and working through change are almost always the best places to start. 

Think positivity.  No matter what the change is trying to turn that negative into a positive. 

From a family point of view, children grow up going to further education or leaving home and this can have a huge impact.  Make those changes good changes, organising lunch dates or an impromptu get together will not only bring you closer to each other, but it makes that change more manageable. 

Plan ahead for the change – what can you do to restructure your day to allow you to cope with this better. 

Pace change out – too much change too quickly can have a huge impact on health and wellbeing.  

Big changes such as house moves, or relocation can be minimised by asking friends and family for help or outsourcing the move completely! 

Be part of the change.  Make sure you are involved in any decision making which allows the transition to be much smoother. 

Talk to family and friends and don’t be afraid to share your fears about change.  A problem shared really is a problem halved. 

Draw on your skillset and make sure you are in control of any change.


Look for external supports whether it be groups or forums where you can share your fears and apprehensions.  These platforms are great to share your positive feelings towards change as this can really help not only you but others around you.   Swapping ideas or what you did can have a huge positive impact on others. 

Remember that during change your health can suffer so eat well, exercise as often as you can and de stress as much as you can.   In other words – make time for you! 

When the train of change comes along, make sure you are on board and not left standing on the platform having missed your chance.

Look forward and not backwards and remember that change is a challenge and an adventure.  Embrace change and find the new you.

Coping with ChangeACAS Managing Change


LGBT and You 

There are many types of discrimination and sadly in this day and age the LGBT community can be at the forefront of this discrimination. 

At the Wellness Centre we want to ensure you know your rights and what to do if you think you are being discriminated against.

LGBT Discrimination

Consumer Discrimination 

If you’ve been treated unfairly by a trader or a service provider, like a shop, bank or energy provider, you might have been discriminated against.  The law that covers this is called the Equality Act 2010 and states that you cannot be discriminated on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity. 

Leisure Activities

It is illegal to refuse someone entry into a social club, gym or leisure facility because of sexual orientation.  They must be afforded the same rights as all individuals which includes appropriate changing facilities to meet their needs. 


Doctors, nurses and other health professionals cannot refuse to see you because of your gender orientation. 

Treatment must be fair and to the same standards as heterosexuals.

School or Higher Education

Schools are not allowed to exclude a child or refuse to register a child on the basis of sexual orientation of either the child or their parents. 

Students must be afforded the same opportunities as those in the heterosexual community. 

Students gender identity must be respected at all times.  Students should be addressed by the gender they wish and be afforded toilet facilities appropriate to their identifying gender. 


Tenants cannot be refused rental properties or the option to buy on the basis of gender or sexual orientation. 

A housing agent cannot turn away a tenant or refuse to sell or rent their property to someone because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.  Councils are expected to tackle any homophobic nature in the same way as racial abuse.


You can’t be turned away from pubs, bars, restaurants or nightclubs because of your sexual orientation. This applies if you’re gay, lesbian, bisexual or heterosexual. So, for example, you can’t be asked to leave a bar just because you’re gay or lesbian. And a gay bar can’t turn you away simply because you’re heterosexual. However, they can turn you away if you make nasty comments about gay people or don’t respect the fact that you’re in a gay space.


Clothing outlets must afford a trans person the use of the appropriate changing rooms. 

Short Breaks or Hotel Stays

Same sex couples cannot be refused a hotel rom. 

Wedding venues which are non-religious cannot refuse a same sex marriage or a same sex civil partnership. 


Sexual orientation discrimination legislation has been in place in the UK since 2003. Sexual orientation is a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010. The law is primarily designed to protect lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) employees and job applicants against direct and indirect sexual orientation discrimination, and harassment and victimisation because of someone’s sexual orientation.

“Gender reassignment” is a separate protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010. This means that transgender individuals are also protected against discrimination in the workplace.

Staff are afforded protection from application right through to interview process.  This protection carries through to employment, probationary periods and notice periods.

Exceptions for sexual orientation and gender identity 

The Equality Act does allow for LGBT people to be treated differently in exceptional circumstances.  In order for this to apply, there must be clear guidance on why the treatment has been different and a rationale for any decisions made. 

Citizens AdviceCitizens Advice (IRE)