Guidance for applicants on the ESD

Background and overview:

The Medical Schools Council, the Dental Schools Council, the Pharmacy Schools Council and Veterinary Schools Council (‘the Councils’) have established an information-sharing system to enable universities with medical, dental, pharmacy and veterinary schools to share information about students who have been excluded on fitness to practise grounds from courses leading to entry to one of those registered professions.  This is known as the Excluded Students Database (the Database). 

The purpose of the Database is to protect the public (including patients, carers and owners of animal patients) from risk and to prevent fraudulent applications to courses which lead to entry to these  registered professions in the UK.  It is a mechanism to ensure that other schools are made aware of students who have been excluded from a school on fitness to practise grounds and who may then reapply to other schools.  

Information on the Database is relevant to decisions made by universities when deciding whether to offer a place on a relevant course to an applicant. By sharing information, a university is able to know whether an applicant has been excluded from a school or programme on fitness to practise grounds by another UK school and can be provided with the outcome of the previous student fitness to practise matter to consider when making a decision about admission to the school.

The University of Birmingham is one of a number of universities that has signed up to the Protocol for the Excluded Students Database for sharing information on students with the Councils identified above provided the following conditions are met:

  1. students were on a course leading to entry to a registered profession; and,
  2. they have been excluded from the school or programme on fitness to practise grounds. 

The Database is administered by the Medical Schools Council (MSC). Information about their security measures and retention periods is set out in the Protocol for the Excluded Students Database.

The information about you which we obtain from the Database check will be held by the University of Birmingham as a data controller in accordance with the requirements of data protection law and its Data Protection Policy. It will be retained by the relevant programme in a secure location in accordance with the data retention principles set out in our Data Protection Policy.

It is a condition of the offer to study on a relevant programme that applicants must undergo a satisfactory Database check.  This is because the University believes that it is necessary in the substantial public interest to protect members of the public from improper conduct or the potential unfitness of students with whom they may have contact. We therefore take steps to check whether applicants have been withdrawn from a relevant professional programme. Due to the nature of this check, and the clear importance for the protection of the public and patient safety, we rely on this as the reason for processing this information under data protection law and consequently do not ask for your consent to carry it out. We have notified the MSC of our approach to this matter.

What information is included on the Database?

The University of Birmingham, along with other participating universities, provides information to the Database about students who have been through a fitness to practise hearing and have been withdrawn on fitness to practise grounds. Find out more information about the University's Fitness to Practise procedure.

No information is provided to the Database until the University’s appeal or case review process has been completed, but once the appeal or case review process has been completed if the decision to withdraw stands, the following details will be added by the University to the Database:

  • Known name(s) of the students (including any changes of name)
  • Current gender and gender a birth
  • Date of birth
  • Name of the school which the student was excluded from
  • Photograph
  • A copy of the outcome letter at the end of fitness to practise proceedings. (Note: - this would only be made available by the MSC once a match has been identified – for 48 hours only)

The details of students who do not progress or graduate for any reason other than fitness to practice (such as academic or visa reasons) will not be added to the Database.

Who can access the database?

The University has nominated 2 individuals in each relevant programme (that is Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmacy) to access the Database in relation to applications made to those programmes. Other universities who have signed up to the Database will have the same access arrangements.

How is that information used?

It is a condition of the offer to study on the relevant programmes at the University that applicants must undergo a satisfactory Excluded Students Database check. The University will check the identity of each applicant to one of the relevant programmes against the Database to see if there are any matches. If there are, the University will ask the MSC to provide the outcome letter to consider as part of the application processes. If a positive match is received from a Database check, the University will consider the issue in more detail, as explained below.

The Medical Schools Council, Dental Schools Council, Pharmacy Schools Council and participating universities/schools will never use the data supplied for any purpose other than that set out above.

If there is a match, how will the University decide if the check is ‘satisfactory’

Details about how the University will consider a positive match can be found at the College of Medical and Dental Sciences DBS and ESD Panel Process page.

Can I find out what information is held about me on the Database?

You have the right to see any information held about you on the Database and to correct any errors. If you wish to exercise these rights, or any other data protection rights, please contact the University’s Information Compliance Manager. Find out more information about how to exercise these rights.