Medicine: Health & Fitness to Practise
© John Cairns / OU Images
The University views applications from students with disabilities, or those with special support needs, in exactly the same way as those from other applicants, so you should not be apprehensive about declaring such difficulties.
Applications from students with disabilities will be assessed on the same selection criteria as everyone else, and adjustments will be made for tests and interviews where required. During interviews, questions about any disability will be avoided as far as possible and reasonable.
If you were made an offer, you would then undergo our pre-enrolment procedure that includes a health questionnaire (assessed by our Occupational Health Department) to establish Fitness to Practise.
Medical students are expected to demonstrate all the General Medical Council's Outcomes for Graduates (Tomorrow's Doctors) before they graduate at the end of Year 6, regardless of the specialty or career path that they may eventually pursue. The Medical School must make reasonable adjustments for students with disabilities in how they can achieve the outcomes. Although adjustments cannot be made to the outcomes themselves, reasonable adjustments can be made to the method of learning and the assessment by which the student demonstrates those skills.
Students with disabilities are therefore strongly encouraged to register with the University Disability Advisory Service after they have received their offer, so that adjustments and support can be put in place from an early stage. We have students currently on course with specific learning difficulties, ADHD, hearing loss and visual impairments.
Oxford conforms to the Higher Education Occupational Physicians/Practitioners requirements regarding standards of medical fitness to train, and the UK Department of Health's requirements regarding immunisation status (hepatitis, BCG and rubella; freedom from Hepatitis B antigen carrier status). Medical students coming to Oxford are asked to fill in a confidential medical questionnaire before the beginning of the course and on occasion, specific advice may be given if the health profile of a student suggests potential difficulties in clinical care situations. Most importantly, certain immunizations are required for students where immunity does not already exist. These are rubella, BCG (for tuberculosis) and, of great importance, hepatitis B vaccination. You will not be able to be involved with NHS patients in the United Kingdom unless you are vaccinated against hepatitis B and have either shown a response to the vaccine or are shown not to be a carrier of hepatitis B antigen.
The University Occupational Health Service provides support to students in assessing any risks that arise from their clinical duties, advice on risk avoidance and immunization and innoculation for work overseas. Students undertaking elective periods abroad may obtain advice and inoculations from the University Occupational Health Service.
FITNESS TO PRACTISE
The University is required by the General Medical Council to ensure that students who graduate with degrees of BMBCh are fit to practise Medicine. Please read the Oxford University Medical School's policy statement.
This is a matter in which conduct and health, and not simply academic standing, are relevant. Medical students must display similar standards of behaviour to qualified doctors (including honesty and integrity), a professional attitude towards patients and colleagues, an ability to communicate with patients and gain their trust, and an ability to cope with the emotional pressures associated with the study and practice of Medicine. For further information and help see the University Occupational Health Service website.
The Oxford framework of small-group teaching, and especially of tutorial teaching, will help to develop these skills and attitudes, and tutors will do everything they can to support you throughout the course. However, sometimes it happens that students simply cannot make the personal adjustments needed, and in that case it may be necessary to prevent them from continuing on the clinical course. Although this outcome is very rare - and does not preclude students from gaining the pre-clinical BA qualification in Medical Sciences - the Medical School accordingly has procedures for removing individuals from the Register of Medical Students on non-academic grounds.
Disclosure and Barring Service Bureau check
The School, like other medical schools, is, in accordance with Department of Health guidance, asked to register with the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). If you are offered a place then the DBS will be asked to check your details on police and government records. This check is known as an enhanced disclosure and a copy is sent to both the applicant and to designated persons in the Medical School. For further information on the DBS see the Disclosure and Barring Service website.