What Medical Issues Could Stop Me Joining the British Army?

Why Does a Medical Assessment Matter?

Working in the British Army is challenging, both physically and mentally, and, therefore, a history of health problems or the presence of health conditions that usually do not affect your everyday life, can mean that you are not able to join, or you might have to wait to join.

Once you have decided on joining the British Army and submitted your application, you will be sent forms asking about your medical history.

Will a Medical Condition Automatically Disbar Me from Joining?

You can still apply to join the British Army even if your medical history includes one or more of the below conditions (see Table).

Your application will be assessed on its own merits against medical standards for entry (as per JSP 950 – Joint Service Manual of Medical Fitness) by an appropriately qualified medical professional.

Example Conditions That Might Stop You Joining

The below Table contains a brief sample guide to some of the conditions that might stop or delay you being able to join, however this is not an exhaustive list.

Type of ProblemExamples
GastrointestinalChronic abdominal diseases like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.
Significant history of dyspepsia.
Loss of spleen (splenectomy).
Active Haemorrhoids.
Kidney and UrologicCongenital kidney diseases/anomalies.
History of kidney problems such as malfunction of a kidney or kidney stones.
Recurrent renal colic.
History of urinary incontinence.
History of genital infections.
BackHistory of spinal surgery.
Structural abnormalities of the spine and spinal cord.
History of chronic or recurrent back pain.
Blood DiseasesSickle Cell disease.
Congenital spherocytosis.
HIV seropositivity.
Hepatitis B or C.
Leukaemia or malignant lymphoma.
Disorders resulting in abnormal coagulation.
Bone or JointKnee injuries and chronic knee pain.
History of bone fractures.
Shoulder problems resulting in functional limitations or restrictions of movement.
Loss of a limb.
Clubfoot (including past surgery).
Chronic joint diseases such as ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or gout.
Hypermobility syndrome.
CardiovascularDiagnosis of heart disease.
Bicuspid aortic valve.
Symptomatic or medication-suppressed abnormal heart rhythms.
RespiratoryAsthma (depending on severity and need for treatment).
Chronic lung disease such as emphysema, bronchiectasis or cystic fibrosis.
EarCurrent perforation of ear drum.
Chronic ear diseases like cholesteatoma.
Presence of eardrum ‘grommets’.
EyeChronic eye conditions such as glaucoma, keratoconus and retinitis pigmentosa.
Damage to the eyelids affecting vision.
Chronic conjunctivitis.
Reduction of corrected vision in one eye below army entry standards.
Neurological DisordersEpilepsy.
History of head injury with neurological sequalae.
Multiple sclerosis.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Alcohol or drug dependence.
Personality Disorders.
Eating Disorders.
Anxiety and Depression.
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
History of deliberate self-harm or suicide attempts.
SkinAn active skin disease like severe eczema or widespread psoriasis.
OtherBeing an organ transplant recipient.
Food allergy requiring you to avoid some foods in your diet due to allergy or intolerance (not because you do not like it!).
Raynaud’s phenomenon.
Some medical conditions requiring long-term medication or replacement therapy.
Moderate or severe COVID 19 infection.

What About Pregnancy?

Joining the British Army will be delayed if you are currently pregnant or have given birth over the last three (3) months.

What About Drugs?

  • If you have a history of drug dependence, you will need to provide evidence that you have abstained from the use of these drugs for at least the last three (3) years prior to joining the British Army.
  • A history of occasional use of recreational drugs will not stop you from joining, but you must stop using any such drugs before you join.
  • After joining, you must not use recreational drugs.
  • The British Army carries out random, compulsory drugs testing, and you can expect to be tested while you are in training.
  • If you fail any of the tests, you are very likely be discharged.

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