Website of the UK government

Please note that this website has a UK government accesskeys system.

Public services all in one place

Main menu

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Medical assessment

The medical assessment consists of up to three parts. Afterwards, a report will be sent to the Department for Work and Pensions.

Before the medical assessment

To prepare for the medical assessment, you might want to think about:

  • what everyday tasks you have difficulty with, or are unable to do
  • if you can do more on some days than others, what a typical day is like for you
  • how your illness or disability affects your ability to work
  • what support you think you need to improve your ability to work

What to bring on the day of the assessment

The receptionist at the Medical Centre will ask to see some identification to make sure you're the person who has been asked to attend.

Your passport, if you have one, is adequate identification on its own. Otherwise you will be asked to provide three documents which can include your birth certificate, a full driving licence, your life assurance policy and recent bank statements.

You should also bring any pills or medication you're currently taking and any simple aids and appliances that you use such as glasses or hearing aids.

What happens at the medical assessment

The medical assessment will involve an interview and sometimes a physical examination, if the approved healthcare professional feels one is needed.

The assessment is likely to be different from what you would expect from your own doctor. The approved healthcare professional's assessment is not to diagnose or discuss treatment of your illness or disability; it is to assess how it affects you and your ability to work. To find this out, the approved healthcare professional may not need to carry out a physical examination.


You should allow around 40 minutes for the initial assessment.

The interview

The approved healthcare professional will normally begin by taking a brief history, covering:

  • what you did in your old job, if you had one, and when and why you left
  • a brief medical history including details of treatment, medication and any hospital stays
  • your domestic situation (who you live with, what type of house you live in and so on)
  • how your illness or disability affects how you can perform everyday tasks
  • an outline of a typical day for you

If you're claiming Employment and Support Allowance because of a mental health problem or a physical illness or disability that could affect your mental health, the approved healthcare professional may ask you about:

  • understanding and focus
  • adapting to change
  • social interaction

The physical examination

After the interview, the approved healthcare professional may decide a physical examination would be helpful.

They will explain what is involved first and check that you're happy for the examination to go ahead. It's important to tell the approved healthcare professional if you feel any discomfort. They will not ask you to carry out any action that causes you discomfort.

The approved healthcare professional's report

The approved healthcare professional will complete the report (ESA85) after the medical assessment. They will submit the report  to the Department for Work and Pensions. You will not normally see it before it is submitted.

You can request a copy of the approved healthcare professional's report from the Department for Work and Pensions. You will get it through the post.

Useful contacts

Additional links

Simpler, Clearer, Faster

Try GOV.UK now

From 17 October, GOV.UK will be the best place to find government services and information

Access keys