Being in the Army can be tough both physically and mentally. There will be times when you'll be in places in the world where it won't be easy to get hold of medication, so even illnesses that are well-controlled and don't affect your everyday life can mean that you're not able to join, or you might have to wait to join.

This is a quick guide to the main conditions that will stop you being able to join, however this is not an exhaustive list. You will be sent forms asking about your medical history once you've submitted your application.

The medical team assess everyone individually, and will make their decision based on their professional opinion. These standards and guidelines are reviewed and amended regularly.


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.
  • Significant kidney disease within the last two years.

Back problems:

  • Some spinal surgery (including internal fixation or fusion).
  • Spina bifida.

Blood diseases:

  • Sickle Cell disease.
  • Congenital spherocytosis.
  • Thalassaemia.
  • HIV seropositivity / AIDS.
  • Chronic hepatitis B or hepatitis C.
  • Past history of leukaemia or malignant lymphoma.  Must be disease and treatment free for 5 years.

Bone or joint problems:

  • Meniscectomy (knee cartilage operation) within the last year.
  • All fractures within the last year. There are some exceptions, including fingers and collarbone.
  • 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.

Cardiology (heart conditions):

  • Established heart disease.
  • Bicuspid aortic valve.
  • Symptomatic or medication-suppressed abnormal heart rhythms.
  • Cardiomyopathy.

Chest disorders:

  • Asthma symptoms or treatment in the last year.
  • 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.

Neurological disorders:

  • Epilepsy.
  • Symptomatic Cerebral Palsy.
  • Multiple sclerosis.


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

Psychiatric problems:

  • Schizophrenia.
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder.
  • Alcohol or drug dependence.
  • Significant Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
  • More than 2 episodes of depression requiring treatment.
  • More than 2 episodes of anxiety requiring treatment.
  • Significant suicide attempt.

Skin problems:

  • An active skin disease like severe eczema or widespread psoriasis.

Other conditions:

  • Loss of spleen (splenectomy).
  • Having received transplanted organs.
  • Food allergy requiring you to avoid some foods in your diet due to allergy or intolerance (not because you don't like it!).
  • Raynaud's phenomenon / disease / syndrome.
  • Diabetes.
  • Diseases requiring long-term medication or replacement therapy (except Hypothyroidism).
  • Hypermobility.

The Medical Assessment

Everyone who joins will need to have a medical examination as part of the joining process. This is nothing to worry about. Watch our short video for more information about what happens during this part of the assessment.