Being fit to practise means having the skills, knowledge, health and character to work safely and effectively. Fitness to Practise therefore requires all students registered on Health, named Life Sciences and Social Work programmes within the School of Health and Life Sciences at Glasgow Caledonian University to demonstrate sufficient good health and character.
The School of Health and Life Sciences (SHLS) is committed to Fitness to Practise and to supporting students. The School is committed to the university drive for equal opportunities, and the enabling of students with impairments. Reasonable adjustments are discussed with students as early as possible and include expert disability services or advice whenever available - always noting that health, life sciences and social care professionals require the ability to perform skilled tasks safely, smoothly and rapidly. The School welcomes students experiencing disability, recognising and valuing the positive contributions that they have to offer. Biomedical Scientists, Clinical Physiologists, Counselling Psychologists, Nurses, Midwives, Allied Health Professionals, Social Workers and Vision Scientists must be safe practitioners, able to undertake skills in a competent and proficient manner in order to meet the needs of service users, as required by the relevant statutory and professional bodies.
In the interests of the health and safety of students and the public, the university must ensure that all students are medically fit to undertake a programme. A student may be asked to provide medical certification from an occupational health physician of their fitness to undertake study on a programme which includes working with clients in practice settings and within laboratories. This situation may arise when for example, there has been a period of extended sick leave, or the nature of the condition is such that it could compromise the student’s ability to work with service users. The School reserves the right to make a referral to the university’s student occupational health service for an impartial assessment of fitness to study and to practise.
The purpose of pre-admission health assessment is not only to ensure that all students are fit to undertake the programme for which they have applied to study, but also to assist the School in facilitating students’ learning by making identified reasonable adjustments and/or providing additional appropriate support. Students who have any impairments are encouraged to declare them in order that their requirements can be assessed as early as possible to allow for timely implementation of reasonable adjustments and/or other appropriate support. Impairment of Fitness to Practise is considered on an individual basis. The School works closely with the applicant/student, the School and university student support services, practice placement providers and with outside agencies appropriate to the needs of the student.
Failure to return the pre-admission health assessment form or making a false declaration may result in the withdrawal of the offer of a place on a programme and failure to return the form on time or to give full information may hinder the University putting in place reasonable adjustments and therefore adversely affect the student’s learning experience.
Although the School and University are fully committed to supporting diverse students’ needs, where additional support for the student is necessary, this must be reasonable within the current sphere of practice. It is therefore possible that some individuals may be unable to complete elements required for registration for reasons of health or ability. This could be evident when a potential applicant makes enquiries about a course, or it might only become evident when a student is already on a course, and/or there is an unforeseen deterioration in the condition or a new condition arises.
1.0 Immunisation and Health Clearance for Serious Communicable Diseases
National Health Service guidance on standard health clearance checks recommends that all new health care workers having direct clinical contact with NHS patients, including students, are offered occupational health checks and immunisations to ensure immunity to the infectious diseases listed in the table under ‘Immunisation History’ in the attached form. There are placements that do not accept students who have not had the recommended immunisations. Practice placements for social work students are likely to include environments where they may be exposed to any of the infectious diseases noted and/or may involve work with children or adults who are particularly vulnerable to infectious diseases. Therefore, although it is not yet a requirement, the School of Health and Life Sciences recommends that social work students are protected against these infections.
It is recommended that all student health professionals be immunised against Hepatitis B, a potentially serious blood borne infection which can be passed between health care workers and patients. Evidence of immunisation status will be required by the School before clinical work is undertaken. In the rare event that a student who is a non-carrier of Hepatitis B does not respond to two of the conventional 3 dose courses of the standard vaccine, he or she will be asked to see an occupational health physician who will explain what he/she will need to do in case of a needlestick injury or other accident involving contact of broken skin or mucous membrane with body fluids. The student will then need to sign to confirm that he/she understands this and also understands the need for regular antigen status checks if working on exposure prone procedures. Students who are found to be carriers of the Hepatitis B virus, or any other serious transmissible blood borne viral infection, such as the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), will be informed of any placement provider regulations that may impact on their access to placements and will be directed to appropriate sources of advice and support.
If there are students who are not already immune to TB, polio, diphtheria, tetanus, varicella (chicken pox/herpes zoster), measles, or rubella (German measles), or if their immunity cannot be confirmed (e.g. because of incomplete/missing medical records), or if they are experiencing difficulty getting immunisations from their GP, then the occupational health (OH) team will administer the required immunisations for a stated fee.
In the case of students from outside the UK, health checks for serious communicable diseases should be carried out in their own country before they apply for training at the School of Health and Life Sciences. Written confirmation will be required. The university’s student OH service will carry out the necessary tests to confirm the results of these tests for those overseas students who are admitted to a pre-registration programme at the School.
Infection Control Practices
During the pre-registration programme student health and biomedical science professionals are likely to come into contact with, for example, patients who have open wounds, severely compromised immune systems, and/or serious transmissible diseases and/or tissue/blood samples. Recognised practices such as hand washing and wearing of gloves, masks and other protective clothing are required to maintain a safe environment for all. A student who is unable to take part in such practices poses a risk to themselves and others, and may be unable to meet the requirements of the programme.
In order to complete the requirements for registration Biomedical Scientists, Clinical Physiologists, Counselling Psychologists, Nurses, Midwives, Allied Health Professionals, Social Workers and Vision Scientists need to be able to fulfil their professional functions using practicable means, which may include technological and personal support to supplement or replace visual inputs.
Biomedical Scientists, Clinical Physiologists, Counselling Psychologists, Nurses, Midwives, Allied Health Professionals, Social Workers and Vision Scientists need to be able to observe service users, their living and working environments, their movements and their responses in detail in order to accurately plan, implement and assess therapeutic interventions.
Biomedical Scientists, Clinical Physiologists, Counselling Psychologists, Nurses, Midwives, Allied Health Professionals, Social Workers and Vision Scientists need to be able to respond accurately to written instructions for diagnostic or therapeutic interventions including administration of medication. They must therefore have sufficient vision, or an assistant, to read hand written and typed text. They must also be able to recognise small-scale changes in a patient’s condition at a reasonable distance. Podiatrists have to be able to carry out surgical procedures safely.
In order to complete the requirements for registration, Biomedical Scientists, Clinical Physiologists, Counselling Psychologists, Nurses, Midwives, Allied Health Professionals, Social Workers and Vision Scientists need to be able to function successfully in a hearing world, by lip reading, using fitted hearing aid(s) and/or other adaptations or assistance if required. They need, for example, to understand what is said by a softly spoken person in a busy environment and/or to be supported by a language service professional.
In order to complete the requirements for registration Biomedical Scientists, Clinical Physiologists, Counselling Psychologists, Nurses, Midwives, Allied Health Professionals, Social Workers and Vision Scientists need to be able to communicate effectively with service users, and/or carers and/or colleagues.
Dyslexia and other learning difficulties
In order to complete the requirements for registration Biomedical Scientists, Clinical Physiologists, Counselling Psychologists, Nurses, Midwives, Allied Health Professionals, Social Workers and Vision Scientists need to be able to access and interpret Standard English written information, including words and numbers. The ability to accurately select and administer medication or treatment and/or use potentially hazardous substances is essential to patient safety. Students also need the ability to present intelligible written and/or printed records and reports in English. Accurate recording/reporting is crucial to service user safety and records/reports may be challenged in court.
Support for students who have dyslexia, or other learning difficulties, is available at both University and School level.
Mobility and manual dexterity
In order to complete the requirements for registration student health professionals may need to undertake a range of activities which may involve whole body mobility and manual dexterity such as:
Basic Life Support procedures.
Safe moving and handling techniques which comply with health and safety requirements.
Professional diagnostic or therapeutic interventions.
Management of aggression and violence.
Students with limited mobility or dexterity are advised to consult the programme admissions tutor for information about the specific requirements of their programme of choice.
Chronic or recurrent medical conditions such as diabetes, epilepsy, asthma, skin conditions (e.g. psoriasis, eczema)
Students with medical conditions which are controlled with medication and/or avoidance of circumstances which aggravate the condition and adoption of behaviours that help to keep the condition under control will not normally find it difficult to meet the requirements for registration and practice. However, timely discussion with academic and placement support staff is advised to ensure that where adjustments are required to support such students in the management of their condition these can be reasonably accommodated.
Biomedical Scientists, Clinical Physiologists, Counselling Psychologists, Nurses, Midwives, Allied Health Professionals, Social Workers and Vision Scientists undertake work requiring them to take safe, rapid and accurate decisions and actions. They also need to be able to use judgement in listening to and communicating with vulnerable and distressed people and to maintain stable, acceptable behaviour in stressful circumstances. Those who have serious mental health or personality disorders may be unable to demonstrate safe and effective practice without supervision and hence meet these requirements.