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Fitness to practise throughout undergraduate education

  1. 10. Under the terms of the Medical Act 1983, a registered doctor’s fitness to practise may be impaired by reason of:
  • misconduct
  • deficient professional performance
  • a conviction or caution in the British Isles (or a conviction elsewhere for an offence which would be a criminal offence if committed in England or Wales)
  • adverse physical or mental health
  • not having the necessary knowledge of English
  • a determination (decision) by a regulatory body responsible for regulation of a health or social care profession, either in the UK or overseas, to the effect that their fitness to practise as a member of the profession is impaired.
  1. 11. The GMC uses these reasons for impairment when it applies the test of fitness to practise to registered doctors and those applying for registration. Medical schools may also wish to refer to these reasons for impairment when they make decisions about a student’s fitness to practise.
  2. 12. Medical schools and universities should be aware that fitness to practise concerns can involve issues that fit into more than one category. Where there are multiple issues (for example, health and misconduct), the medical school must consider all matters and must take account of the cumulative effect of all impairing factors. It’s important to make sure the student is given appropriate support and, where a health condition is involved, the opportunity to seek appropriate treatment.
  3. 13. Deficient professional performance, in the context of medical students, refers to unsatisfactory academic competence and progression. As such, this is unlikely to be a reason for impairment of fitness to practise in medical students, and will be dealt with by the university or medical school’s academic procedures.
  4. 14. Adverse physical or mental health alone is not usually sufficient to conclude impairment. It is a student’s failure to seek the appropriate help or engage in the process to manage any condition that may call into question their fitness to practise.
  5. 15. Not having the necessary knowledge of English should also not normally be an issue for students working towards a primary medical qualification in the UK, because medical schools require proof of English language skills at the point of entry to the course. Students will also be subject to ongoing assessment of their language and communication skills to meet the outcomes of undergraduate medical education.