Frequently asked questions and useful links
Is a disability considered a health condition for the purposes of this declaration?
The important thing is whether your health condition, illness or disability, impacts on your ability to work safely with patients. In many cases, doctors with a disability or health condition can practise medicine safely.
If, as a result of any health condition, illness or disability, you have answered yes to any of the statements above, you should tell us about it when you complete the declaration section of your application, relating to fitness to practise and health matters.
Who else might I need to tell about my health condition?
You have a duty to tell your employer about any health condition that may affect your ability to practise medicine.
If you are in a Foundation Programme year one post or a locum appointment for training post, you’ll need to make sure that your foundation school or employer knows about your condition(s). They may need to make reasonable adjustments so you can work safely with patients. The national transfer of information process is the best way to tell your foundation school that you need reasonable adjustments.
If I have a health condition, will you refuse to register me?
Having a health condition is not, in itself, a reason for us to refuse to grant a licence. What we’re looking at, is whether your health affects your fitness to practise. Even if your illness is serious, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t practise safely.
We do need to assure ourselves that you are managing your condition and that patients are protected. Sometimes we may ask for evidence to show that you are seeking appropriate support or treatment for your own benefit and to ensure your continued safe practice.
When do you need to request information from a third party?
In making your application for a licence to practise, you have agreed that we can make investigations. Sometimes, when dealing with matters of health, we will need to contact a third party for further information; in these cases we will ask for additional consent from you.
We will send you a copy of any information we receive from third parties and ask for your comments on it, before we make a decision on your application.
What should I do if I want you to share information about my application with a third party?
If you want us to share information with a third party (this might be your medical school, foundation school or employer) about what is happening with your application for a licence, you will need to give us your written consent.
What things do you consider when deciding if my health condition affects my fitness to practise?
If you tell us about a physical or mental health condition, we must decide whether it affects your fitness to practise. We ask ourselves questions such as:
- Does your health condition affect your judgement or your ability to care for patients?
- Have you sought independent advice and treatment for your condition from a suitably qualified independent healthcare professional?
- If appropriate, have you followed their advice for managing the condition, including taking prescribed medication and making changes to your medical practice, so that you can work safely with patients?
- If appropriate, have you told your employer or potential employer about your condition and about any adjustments you need so that you can work safely with patients?
What will happen if I don’t tell you about a relevant health condition?
We recognise that it can be difficult to decide whether you need to tell us about a health condition. We only need to know about those conditions where the statements set out in the Do I need to tell you about my health condition (above) apply.
Having read this guidance, if you decide not to tell us about a relevant health condition, it will raise additional concern if we find that your condition could impact on your fitness to practise.
In reaching that conclusion we will take the following into account whether you:
- gave a reasonable explanation for not telling us
- made a deliberate decision to conceal information relevant to your fitness to practise or you were trying to mislead us
- have insight into the effect of your condition, and are fully aware of the potential impact on your ability to work safely with patients.
What advice do you have on managing my health?
If you are managing a health condition or living with a disability whilst being a doctor, you may find the following links helpful.
- Our guidance on managing your health
- Our gateways guidance on access to medical education for disabled people
Other useful guidance
You may also find the following links helpful
- Good medical practice
- Promoting excellence: standards for medical education and training
- Outcomes for graduates
- Outcomes for provisionally registered doctors
- Medical students: professionalism and fitness to practise
- Gateways to the professions – advising medical schools: encouraging disabled students
- Supporting medical students with mental health conditions