Working with doctors Working for patients

Protect patients and colleagues from any risks posed by your health

  1. 29. Registered doctors must protect patients from any risk posed by their health. To do this, they must ask for help from a suitable colleague and follow their advice about any changes to their practice the colleague considers necessary.
  2. 30. You’ll have significant contact with patients while on clinical placements. Any health issues you have may affect them, as well as your fellow students and teachers.
  3. 31. If you know or suspect that you have a condition that could be passed on to colleagues or patients, you must follow your medical school’s guidance about this.
  4. 32. As a medical student, both during study and on a placement, you’re likely to experience situations that will have an emotional impact on you. At times, you may experience stress and anxiety. This is completely normal and your medical school will support you with safe ways to share and reflect on difficult experiences. But if you are concerned about your levels of anxiety, you should seek help from your general practitioner (GP) and other appropriate sources (for example, helplines) to address any issues at an early stage. This may include making adjustments to your training or practice, if necessary.
  5. 33. You should be aware that some conditions that are usually minor – such as the common cold – may have a disproportionate impact on some patients, for example those with compromised immune systems. You need to bear this in mind when you decide whether to go to a placement if you are unwell.
  6. 34. You must comply with the occupational health policies and procedures of your medical school or university (for example, immunisation against common, serious communicable diseases).
  7. 35. You must engage with the occupational health referral process if your health has deteriorated, or if there are concerns that your health may have an impact on your ability to study.
  8. 36. You don’t need to perform exposure prone procedures* (EPPs) to achieve the outcomes of undergraduate medical education. Students with blood-borne viruses can study medicine, but they may not be able to perform EPPs and may have restrictions on their clinical placements. They must also complete the recommended health screening before they carry out any EPPs and must limit their medical practice when they graduate.
  9. The Medical Schools Council gives information and guidance on blood-borne viruses.

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* EPPs are those where there is a risk that injury to the worker may result in exposure of the patient’s open tissues to the blood of the worker. These procedures include those where the worker’s gloved hands may be in contact with sharp instruments, needle tips or sharp issues (spicules of bone or teeth) inside a patient’s open body cavity, wound or confined anatomical space where the hands or fingertips may not be completely visible at all times.