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Epilepsy and the UK Armed Forces

The UK Armed Forces includes the army, navy and air force.

The possibilities of joining the UK Armed Forces if you have epilepsy are very limited.

This page includes information about how the UK Armed Forces views:

  • epilepsy, single seizures and febrile convulsions
  • provoked seizures
  • childhood absence seizures and
  • benign rolandic epilepsy of childhood

It also includes information about what may happen if you have a seizure once employed by the Armed Forces.


Epilepsy, single seizures and febrile convulsions

You would NOT be able to join the Armed Forces if:

  • You have been diagnosed with epilepsy and you have had more than one seizure since the age of five years or
  • You have had a single seizure in the last 5 years. If you have had a single seizure in the last 5 to 10 years you may be suitable for some restricted professions

You MAY be able to join the Armed Forces, possibly in restricted jobs if:

  • You have had febrile convulsions before the age of 6, and no seizures since then, or
  • You have had a single seizure more than 10 years ago, and have not been on treatment since then

Provoked seizures

This is defined as a seizure that has a specific cause which is not likely to recur. If you have had a provoked seizure, this will be assessed on an individual basis. The Single Service Occupational Physician responsible for the selection of recruits will be able to advise you.

Childhood absence seizures

You may be considered fit for employment if:

  • You have a history of childhood absence seizures which started before the age of 10 years and
  • You have had no seizures or treatment for the last 5 years

Benign rolandic epilepsy of childhood

You may be considered fit for employment if:

  • You have a confirmed diagnosis of typical benign rolandic epilepsy of childhood and
  • You have been seizure-free without treatment for the last 5 years.

Seizures once employed by the Armed Forces

If you have only had one seizure, you are usually downgraded for 18 months. You may also be restricted in driving and handling weapons.

If you have had more than one seizure you are usually considered unfit for any trade in the Armed Forces.

If it is discovered, after being employed, that you have not mentioned a disqualifying medical condition that you knew about beforehand, then you may be administratively discharged because of failure to declare this at enlistment.

For more information contact the Single Service Occupational Physician responsible for the selection of recruits in your area.

This information is taken from the Joint Services Publication, joint system of medical classifications JSP 950 parts 4 and 5. It was last updated in November 2017.

Code: 
F082.04
Event Date: 
Thursday 9 November 2017 - 14:18

Epilepsy Action would like to thank Col (Retd) RD George OStJ for reviewing this information.

  • Updated November 2017
    To be reviewed November 2020

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