British Army Medical Requirements, Tests and Restrictions

Correct information as of March 2019.

The army’s tough medical standards are created as ‘army personnel need to be physically and mentally fit enough to train, serve and fight anywhere in the world.’ As such the medical tests are designed to scrutinise potential candidates in a series of medical examinations.

The order of medical examination

  1. You will receive a form to be filled out by your GP (Some surgeries may have a designation doctor to fill these out). This will be sent from them directly to an army assessment centre, eg Pirbright.
  2. 3 days before your army medical with a doctor, avoid exercise.
  3. You will arrive at an army assessment centre for a two day assessment. ‘On Day 1, you will be seen by a Doctor to check that you are healthy enough to take part and to join the Army’.
  4. Only after this medical assessment and after a doctor has reviewed your medical history by comparing them to the JSP 950 medical standards can you receive a ‘PASS’ and move on to Basic Training if you have passed all other entry requirements.

The medical assessment centre tests:

  • Urine - Make sure you have some water with you. Don’t drink any fizzy drinks, energy drinks, alcohol, or any sugary drinks or foods for at least 12 hours before the medical assessment as they may skew your results.
  • Hearing - You will be sat in a sound-proof booth and will listen to a series of beeps in your left and right ear. If you can hear a beep, you press a clicker to record the noise being heard.
  • Eyesight - You will read a series of letters from the opposite side of the room, taking it in turns to read with your left and right eye. The letters will get smaller as you progress.
  • Colour perception - Using a Ishihara Colour Test book to test if you have colour blindness.
  • Lung capacity - Take a deep breath and blow into a pipe which records your lung capacity.
  • Body Mass Index by checking your height and weight
  • An Electrocardiogram (ECG). This involves having small pads stuck to your arms, legs and chest. This measures the electrical activity of your heart.

Do you wear glasses?

Bring these with you. ‘Take out soft contact lenses 48 hours in advance. Hard lenses should be removed 10 days beforehand. If you don't do this, your medical could be moved to a later date. Bring a copy of your current optician’s prescription/report from your optician’. 

Currently, the following conditions will be an instant bar to service:

Abdominal problems:

  • Chronic abdominal diseases like Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis.
  • Kidney disorders such as polycystic kidney disease or kidney stones.
  • Donation of a kidney within the last two years.
  • Kidney disease within the last two years.

Back problems

  • Spinal surgery (including internal fixation or fusion).
  • Recurrent lower back pain.
  • Spina bifida.

Blood diseases:

  • Sickle Cell disease.
  • Congenital spherocytosis.
  • Thalassaemia.
  • HIV seropositivity / AIDS.
  • Being a carrier of hepatitis B or hepatitis C.
  • Past history of leukaemia or malignant lymphoma.  Must be disease, treatment and review free for five years.

Bone or joint problems:

  • Meniscectomy (knee cartilage operation) within the last year.
  • Lower limb fractures with internal fixation (metalwork) within the last year.
  • Loss of a limb.
  • Complete loss of a thumb or big toe.
  • Clubfoot (including past surgery).
  • Chronic joint diseases such as ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or gout.
  • Reiter's disease within the last five years.
  • Osteochondritis dissecans.

Chest disorders:

  • Asthma, strong asthma-like symptoms or treatment for related illnesses within the last four years.
  • Chronic lung diseases such as emphysema, bronchiectasis or cystic fibrosis.
  • Active tuberculosis.

Ear disorders:

  • Current perforation of ear drum.
  • Chronic ear diseases like cholesteatoma.
  • Presence of eardrum ‘grommets'.

Eye disorders:

  • Chronic eye diseases like glaucoma, keratoconus and retinitis pigmentosa.
  • Surgery for a squint within the last six months
  • Corneal problems like a corneal graft or recurrent corneal ulcers.
  • Loss or dislocation of an eye lens.
  • Cataract or cataract surgery.
  • Detached retina.

Neurological disorders:

  • Epilepsy or more than one seizure or fit after the age of five. Any seizure or fit within the last ten years.
  • Multiple sclerosis.

Pregnancy:

  • Currently pregnant or had a child in the last 3 months

Psychiatric problems:

  • Schizophrenia.
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder.
  • Alcohol or drug dependence.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Skin problems:

  • An active skin disease like eczema or widespread psoriasis.

Other conditions:

  • Loss of spleen (splenectomy).
  • Having received transplanted organs.
  • Severe allergic reactions or anaphylaxis requiring adrenaline injection.
  • Severe nut allergy
  • Circulation problems such as Raynaud's phenomenon
  • Diabetes.
  • Diseases requiring long-term medication or replacement therapy.

If you have any supporting information, questions, additional tips and examples regarding the tests and requirements then please leave in the comments section below to help others.


3 comments


  • Marvin

    Please can I get an example of how the appeal letter is written


  • Carol Urry

    I have a letter taken from the internet from the Surgeon General Secretariat dated 2015 explaining why people with Aspergers Syndrome are not allowed to join the Armed Forces. In my opinion the MoD are missing out on the potential to employ some very capable and dedicated personnel. I wish you well in your petition and pray that the MoD will review their criteria and give people the opportunity to serve their country.


  • Carol Urry

    My son wants to join the Veterinary Corps, his application has been turned down on medical reasons because he has Aspergers Syndrome. Just about to start the appeal journey.


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