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21 Jan 2022

What happens at a Network Rail PTS Medical?

It’s important to understand the standards you will have to meet for the PTS Rail medical requirements.

What happens at a Network Rail PTS Medical

What is a PTS medical?

The Personal Track Safety (PTS) medical is mandatory occupational health assessment that all rail workers and subcontractors must undertake. There are different assessments based on the nature of the safety critical role. However, this information covers the basic PTS medical requirements. In addition, the PTS medical can also be undertaken in conjunction with the Network Rail drug and alcohol test.

All results for medicals and drug and alcohol tests are maintained on the Sentinel database. The length of certificate given for the medical depends on your age and any restrictions identified during the assessment.

Please call 0800 988 7107 and ask about the other industry specific workplace medicals we offer.

What do I need to book a PTS medical appointment?

Prior to the PTS medical appointment, you will be asked for the following:

  • Sponsor name, contact number and email address.
  • Your Sentinel number (to upload and maintain results on Sentinel).
  • Your National Insurance number (to identify and match your record on Sentinel).
  • Current official photo identification. For example, passport, driving licence or current Sentinel card.
  • Details of any medication you are regularly taking.
  • Bring to the appointment any corrective visual aids (if worn) for distance vision. If contact lenses are regularly worn, spectacles of the equivalent prescription must also be brought with you.

If any of the above is not provided, the medical appointment may have to be rearranged at additional cost.

What happens at the PTS medical?

At the PTS medical appointment, you will be asked to complete a medical questionnaire. After this, you will be welcomed into the medical room by the Occupational Health Technician, Nurse or Doctor.

The following then takes place for the basic PTS medical assessment. Also, the running order of the following may change slightly, depending on if a drug and alcohol test is being performed at the same appointment:

  • Glucose and protein check from a urine sample
  • Epworth sleep questionnaire (if applicable)
  • Blood pressure and pulse rhythm
  • Height, weight, and BMI
  • Mobility and balance checks
  • General health
  • Vision assessment, including distance vision, visual fields, and colour vision assessments
  • Hearing test

How long does a PTS Medical last?

If no drug and alcohol test is required, the PTS medical lasts around 30 minutes. However, if a drug and alcohol test is required, then the medical can take up to 45 minutes. In addition, if any issues are detected during the medical, then this time can run over. For example, if an ear examination is required.

How do I pass a PTS medical?

If you meet all the standards of the PTS medical, you will achieve a level 1 pass. However, even if you achieve a pass, we may still provide you with some health advice. For example, about the effects of smoking and alcohol. Or some advice on high blood pressure or BMI.

If you do not meet the standards of the PTS medical, there are several possibilities. These include requesting information from your GP, optician, consultant, or hospital. In addition, your medical results may also be referred to our responsible occupational physician (ROP). Whatever the outcome, we will communicate with you every step of the way and provide you with the details of additional information we need to progress your medical results.

Ultimately, whether you pass the medical depends on you meeting the Network Rail standards. Our advice would be to lead a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet, don’t smoke and limit your alcohol intake. All of this is linked to blood pressure and BMI. In turn, by leading an unhealthy lifestyle, these choices can restrict your career choices in safety critical industries. For more information on healthy lifestyle choices, please see the latest advice from the NHS.