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What is a health and character declaration?

Asking about the health and character of applicants and registrants is one of the ways the HCPC protects the public and ensures our registrants are able to practice safely and effectively

Once on the HCPC Register, registrants must meet the HCPC standards. Meeting the standards includes a personal responsibility to maintain their own fitness to practise, and requires registrants to give us information about any changes to their health or character that might affect their ability to practise safely and effectively. We expect applicants to follow the same principle.

On applying to join the Register, applicants must declare information relating to their health and character to confirm they are fit to practise. There are three instances in which you would provide health and character information to the HCPC:

  • when you apply to join the Register;
  • when you renew your registration every two years; and
  • at any other point where there is a change in your health or character.

Any time that information is given to the HCPC outside of the application or renewal processes this would be considered a self-referral.


You can make a self-referral about changes in your health and character at any time, without having to wait for your usual renewal period.

If you take a career break

Registrants must declare that they have been practising in their profession within the last two years in order to renew their registration. If, in managing your health condition, you are likely to be out of practice for longer than two years, you will need to get in touch with our Registration team. You may need to come off the Register temporarily until you are able to return.

Just because you are not in a traditional role for your profession, doesn’t mean you are out of practice. You may be able to adapt or even change roles and remain ‘in practice’, while on our Register. That is because we do not define practising by a set of activities, but rather as ‘drawing on your professional skills and knowledge in the course of your work.’ Read our guidance on returning to practice.

Declaring your medical history

When you declare an ongoing health condition or disability to us, this does not mean that we need to be told about your full medical history. We only need information that is relevant to your fitness to practise, enable us to protect the public.

What needs to be declared?

Depending on whether you are applying to get on the Register, renewing your registration or making a self-referral will impact on when you will need to declare information about your health and character, as well as what type of information we require.

The pages below provide more information about when to inform the HCPC that your health or character may impact on your fitness to practice - that is, your ability to practise safely and effectively.

Before making a declaration, we recommend that you carefully read the forms so that you understand what you need to submit. We would also advise anyone making a declaration to speak to their professional body, trade union or employer or otherwise to seek independent legal advice.


Page updated on: 30/07/2021