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We must check the health of everyone that applies to join our Register. This is to make sure that applicants will be able to practise safely and effectively within their profession. We can also take action to protect the public if a registrant’s health raises concerns about their ability to practise safely and effectively.
Standard 6.3 of our standards of conduct, performance and ethics says: ‘You must make changes to how you practise, or stop practising, if your physical or mental health may affect your performance or judgement, or put others at risk for any other reason.’
When we talk about ‘health’ we are not making judgements about whether people are ‘healthy’ or in ‘good health’. We are also not making judgements about disabilities. Someone may have a disability or long-term health condition which would mean that they would not consider themselves to be in ‘good health’. However, as long as the condition or disability is managed appropriately, and the applicant has insight and understanding into their condition, this will not prevent them from registering.
Having a disability should not be seen as a barrier to becoming a health professional. We have produced guidance for applicants with disabilities called ‘Health, disability and becoming a health and care professional’ which you can refer to for more information on this issue.
Health requirements for applicants - the health declaration
When a person applies to our Register we ask them to sign a declaration to confirm that they do not have a health condition that would affect their ability to practise their profession. We call this a ‘self-declaration’.
Applicants only need to declare information about a health condition if they believe their health may affect their ability to practise safely and effectively. If the applicant tells us about a health condition that might affect their fitness to practise, we will use the information we are given to decide whether the applicant should be registered.
Health requirements for registrants
Once registered, when registrants renew their registration every two years they are asked to confirm that their health does not affect their ability to practise. In this situation we trust our registrants as autonomous professionals to make an informed and reasoned judgement about whether their health will affect their ability to practise.
Registrants only need to self-declare changes to their health that affect their ability to practise when they apply for, or renew their registration, but they can choose to tell us about changes to their health at any other time during their registration if they wish to. We set this requirement because we expect our registrants to manage their health appropriately during the course of their registration, which includes adjusting or stopping practising if necessary.
You can find more information on our health, disability and registration policy here.
We have also produced additional guidance on our processes when assessing the health and character of people who apply to, or who are on, our Register, which can be found here.