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Our work on health, disability and registration
As a statutory regulator, we have a responsibility to ensure that we set up processes which are fair to people with disabilities, and to people whose fitness to practise may be impaired because of their health. We also need to ensure that we uphold our standards, in order to protect the public. This page contains more information about our policies around health, disability, and registration.
We want to make sure that we have processes for dealing with professionals whose health or disability may affect their fitness to practise. We also realise that there are many health conditions and disabilities which do not affect someone's fitness to practise. Many people who have a health condition or a disability can register and practise their profession safely and effectively throughout their career and will never need to interact with us any more than any other registrant.
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.
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 or registrant has insight and understanding into their condition, this will not prevent them from registering or remaining registered.
By 'insight and understanding' we mean that the professional has a realistic, informed idea of the limits of their safe practice. ‘Safe practice’ means practice that does not put service users or professionals at risk. An applicant or registrant who has insight or understanding into their condition will adapt their practice where necessary to minimise any risk to service users.
It is rare that information a professional gives us about their health will affect their registration. We look at every case individually and base our decision on the particular circumstances of each case. As a result, we do not have a list of health conditions which would or would not prevent anyone from practising as a registered professional. In any situation, the key factor is not that the applicant or registrant has a health condition or disability, but whether that the health condition or disability affects their ability to practise safely and effectively.
We have published several documents which you may find useful, and links are given below. If you would like to receive any of these documents in alternative formats, please just let us know.
Health, disability and becoming a health and care professional
This document is for people with a disability or long-term health condition who want to become health professionals and for staff working in admissions on approved courses. It gives information for applicants about the stages that they need to go through to become a health professional, including registration with us. It also gives information for admissions staff on their responsibilities under the relevant equalities legislation and to the HCPC when they receive an application from a person with a disability.
Guidance on health and character
A guide for applicants and registrants on how we consider information they declare to us about their health and character.
This publication was revised and updated in 2012, following the removal of the requirement to provide a health reference for entry to the Health and Care Professions Council Register in October 2011.
If you have any questions about our policy on health, disability, and registration, please don't hesitate to contact us.
Policy and Standards Department
Health and Care Professions Council
Park House, 184 Kennington Park Road
London, SE11 4BU
Tel: 020 7840 9815