What to tell us when you apply guide

Health question 2: Conditions affecting study or practice

This page will help you answer health question 2 on your application.

Has a medical school, university or employer raised concerns about how a health condition affected your ability to study or work as a doctor, that led to a formal process?

The formal process could be to support you, or to investigate the concerns. Usually a senior or HR manager, committee, hearing or similar decides what action to take after the process has finished.

What you need to tell us

We only need to know about concerns that led to a formal process

If someone raised a concern about how your health affected your studies or work, and that led to a formal process, it usually means you needed to take action to stay fit to work as a doctor or continue your studies. We need to know about it, so we can check how you are now.

What do we mean by 'raise concerns about how a health condition affected your ability to work as a doctor or study medicine'?

A medical school, university or an employer usually raises concerns if they think a health condition affected your ability to work as a doctor or study. Here are some examples a medical school, university or an employer could raise concerns about how your health condition affected your ability to study or work as a doctor:

  • someone raised a concern because they were concerned or thought you behaved unprofessionally because your health condition affected you
  • someone raised a concern because your health condition affected your ability to perform your role as a doctor or your duties  on clinical placement whilst studying medicine
  • someone raised a concern because you failed parts of your medical course or missed deadlines more than once.

What do we mean by a ‘formal process’?

We consider these bullet points to be part of a formal process:

  • a formal meeting with an educational supervisor at university or medical school, in which they raise concerns
  • a formal meeting with a manager or supervisor in a workplace where you are providing medical services, in which they raise concerns
  • a referral to a panel, hearing, committee or similar.

Outcomes of a formal process can include:

  • a formally document decision (in writing or by email) following any of the above that requires you to improve how you manage your condition
  • any action taken, including health-related conditions imposed or undertakings agreed on your practice, if your behaviour or performance was affected by your health.

If a concern led to any of the bullet points above, you need to tell us about it when you apply.

What you don’t need to tell us 

Informal communication after ill-health or illness

Your medical school or manager/supervisor might talk to you or email you informally after you’ve been unwell to make sure you’re well enough to return to work or study. For example, after a one-off illness, or surgery. We don’t consider this to be raising a concern and you don’t need to tell us about this when you apply.

Informal support processes

Sometimes your medical school or employer will support you with a health condition informally. Informal support is usually given in relation to a single event or a minor issue and is unlikely to continue over weeks or months. We don’t consider this support to be a formal process and you don’t need to tell us about this when you apply.

A formal process to adjust your studies or practice if concerns aren’t raised

If you need to adjust your studies or practice because of a health condition, your medical school or employer will usually support you through a formal process. You only need to tell us about these conditions if they raised concerns about how it affected your studies or practice or how you managed your condition.

What to do if you need to tell us

If concerns were raised about how your health affected your medical practice or studies, answer yes to health question 2 on your application and give the following details:

  • what the condition is or was and how it affected you and your medical studies or medical practice
  • details of the formal process including, who was involved and what the outcome was
  • dates (for example, April-May 2020) when your health condition affected your medical studies or medical practice
  • details of any treatment you’ve received (including any engagement with specialists or support services)
  • the status of the condition now (for example, resolved, being managed, treatment is ongoing).

If I have a health condition, will you refuse my application? 

Having a health condition is not, itself, a reason for us to refuse your application. What we’re looking at is whether your health condition affects your ability to practise as a doctor. Even if your illness is serious, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t practise safely. For our assessment of your application we are looking at how your health condition is now. 

I’m still not sure whether I need to tell you about a health condition that has affected my study of medicine or work as a doctor. What should I do?

Use our 'What to tell us when you apply' tool to help you decide whether to tell us about your condition. If you’ve used the tool and you’re still not sure get in touch with one of our advisers.