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School of Medicine, Pharmacy and Health

Health Requirements for Admission

Durham University Phase 1 Medicine programme, leading to the Newcastle University MBBS degree, has an overriding duty of care to the public with whom students come into close contact from the first term of their studies and follows Department of Health guidance on health clearance for medical students. Detailed immunisation requirements will be sent to every applicant on acceptance of a conditional offer however applicants are also encouraged to monitor this website for any changes in requirements.

All successful applicants must produce evidence required for standard health clearance: this includes evidence of immunisation against (or immunity to) diphtheria, tetanus and polio; measles, mumps, rubella and varicella, as well as non-infectivity to tuberculosis.

The Medical School does have to ensure that you are capable, with support if needed, of acquiring the core clinical skills and competencies to qualify, practise as a doctor and work safely with patients. The requirements are defined in the GMC publication, Tomorrow's Doctors. Consequently, on accepting an offer all applicants will be contacted by the Occupational Health Service who will undertake confidential health screening prior to registration. Occupational Health will ask about all impairments and/or health conditions which could affect applicants in training so that they can best advise the Medical School and, where appropriate, may propose potential adjustments for consideration.

Additional health clearance for non-infectivity to hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV will be required before any student is permitted to train or participate in any exposure-prone procedures. Durham University Phase 1 Medicine Programme, leading to the Newcastle University MBBS Degree, follows the Medical Schools Council protocol on such blood borne viruses. During the course students will be requested to be tested for Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV; all aspects of a student's Occupational Health record will be bound by the same duty of confidentiality as for any doctor-patient interaction and informed by the same ethical guidance. The status of any individual in respect of blood borne viruses will not be a factor in the admissions selection process and will not prevent them completing medical education.

Protection against Hepatitis B

As a future medical student, you are advised for your own protection and that of your future patients to commence a schedule of Hepatitis B immunisation. The immunisation schedule that we recommend is a standard primary course of 3 injections over 6 months followed by a blood test to confirm immunity 2 months later. It is recommended that these vaccinations begin before you leave home for university as the course of Hepatitis B immunisation is lengthy, consists of several appointments and is required for a small number of optional placements in Year 1. Where a student believes that they are unlikely to be able to complete their primary course of Hepatitis B immunisation prior to starting the MBBS programme, they should contact the Director of Clinical Learning or Placement Coordinator once their offer of a place becomes unconditional in order to discuss alternative arrangements.

The Medical School follows the Department of Health regulations on this subject and requires that all medical students provide proof that they have completed a full course of immunisation against hepatitis B and have developed a protective antibody response or, in the case of those who fail to respond to the vaccine, that they are not infectious carriers of the virus.

Occupational Health will accept as documentary proof an individual validated sample (IVS) certified UK laboratory report showing a satisfactory hepatitis B surface antibody level (titre >100 miU/ml). Students with a low hepatitis B surface antibody level at the end of their primary course (titre 10-99 miU/ml) will be advised to have a further dose of vaccination. Students who fail to respond (titre <10 miU/ml) will be required to demonstrate they are not infectious carriers of the virus (HepBSAg and antiHBc negative) before repeating the entire primary course from the beginning.

The Medical School reserves the right to re-test any or all of its medical students for any or all markers of hepatitis B virus at any time during their course and to alter its regulations at any time in the light of future changes to Department of Health and Council of Heads of Undergraduate Medical School guidance.