Following consultation in 2010, the HPC have now removed the requirement to provide a health reference for entry to the Health Professions Council Register. Applicants to the Register now need to sign a declaration about their health status as part of their application. The self-declaration is similar to the declaration made by registrants renewing their registration, and reads as follows: “I declare that my physical and mental health do not impair my fitness to practise the profession to which this application relates.”
A health condition is only a concern to us if it affects someone’s ability to practise safely and effectively; it is not the health condition itself that is the problem. Having a health condition or a disability is not a barrier to becoming a health professional – many registrants have health conditions which do not affect their ability to practise because they take steps to manage the condition, or to adapt their practice as needed. When an applicant tells the HPC about a health condition that could affect their ability to practise, it is looked at on a case-by-case basis to decide whether they are managing their condition appropriately. By managing their condition effectively a professional with a health condition shows that they understand their condition, and that they have insight into the possible effect it could have on their practice. Usually, when an applicant demonstrates insight and understanding of their condition we would not have any concerns and the applicant would be admitted to the Register. If a self-declaration is received where the information suggests a lack of insight and understanding and that the applicant may therefore pose a potential risk to the public, the matter will be referred to an investigating panel for further consideration.
New guidance notes have been produced to accompany the application forms, explaining how to complete the self-declaration. Relevant amendments will also be made to the publication ‘Guidance on health and character’, to explain the principles of self-declaration and associated issues for applicants and registrants to consider. A consultation on the content of the amended Guidance on health and character publication will take place between mid-April and mid-July this year. Once the consultation opens, information about the proposed changes to the guidance, and how to respond at the consultation will be available on the consultations page of the website: www.hpc-uk.org/aboutus/consultations. If you would like further information in the meanwhile, please contact the Policy and Standards Department by emailing [email protected]