Answering the health question

The College has a legislated duty to ensure registrants have the capacity to practise safely and that their health status doesn’t affect patient outcomes. While it is necessary to collect personal health information to determine fitness to practise, the College recognizes the importance of balancing that with a registrant’s right to privacy. The College also seeks to destigmatize registrant health concerns and to follow best practices when dealing with disabilities in the workplace.

How to answer the health question

Registrants must answer the health question on the Annual Licence Renewal Form (ALRF) truthfully. If a registrant answers in the affirmative, they will be asked if their health condition has already been reported and/or if it has worsened since last reported. They will then have the option to provide more information in confidential text field.

What happens with the responses

Once a health issue has been disclosed on the ALRF, the registrant’s response is reviewed by the health monitoring department.

The health monitoring department may reach out to the registrant to discuss the health condition and the impact on the registrant’s practice if the condition was not previously disclosed to the department, or if a previously reported condition worsened or began to impact a registrant’s practice.

The health monitoring department is compassionate and sensitive when discussing confidential health issues. All health information collected will be kept in the strictest confidence. Only health monitoring department staff access this information.

Working with a health condition

Many registrants with health conditions, even long-term or serious, can continue to practise safely without interruption. A registrant’s health condition only becomes a regulatory concern if it impacts their ability to provide safe care.

The College's health monitoring department carefully considers whether the health condition has affected the registrant’s fitness to practise.

On the ALRF, registrants must disclose

  • if they have been asked by their physician to stop working because of a health condition,
  • if they have or will be taking more than three months off work for a planned major surgery,
  • if they have not worked for the last year due to health reasons,
  • if they have been given a diagnosis for a health condition that is chronic, progressive, or relapsing, or
  • if treatment (medical surgical etc.) for their health condition is such that it impairs their ability to provide safe care.

Working with a disability

The College believes registrants with a disability should be welcomed to the profession and valued for their contributions to the health-care system.

Registrants do not have to tell the College about their disability unless their employer or medical school has raised concerns about how they manage their condition or how it will impact their ability to practise medicine.

Speak to someone at the College

If a registrant is unsure about their response to the ALRF, they may reach out to the health monitoring department at 604-733-7758 extension 2630.

The College’s health monitoring department holds all health information confidentially and handles the information with sensitivity.

BC Physician Health Program