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Approved practice settings

This page explains what APS is and what it means for a doctor’s practice.

What is the Approved Practice Settings (APS) scheme?

The APS scheme requires all UK and international medical graduates who are new to full registration, and all those applying for restoration after a significant break in practice, to work with appropriate supervision and appraisal arrangements (or assessments).

Approved practice settings are UK organisations that have systems in place to:

  • provide doctors with appropriate supervision and regular appraisal
  • identify and act upon concerns about a doctor's fitness to practise
  • support the provision of relevant training and continuing professional development for doctors
  • provide regulatory assurance.

We recognise all designated bodies – the organisations that support doctors with their appraisal and revalidation – as approved practice settings for doctors who are connected to them. Most licensed doctors will have a connection to a designated body.

View the list of designated bodies.

What are the requirements of the APS scheme?

You will be meeting the APS requirement as long as you hold and maintain your connection to a designated body. This does not mean you are restricted to working physically only in that organisation. You can work in any organisation as long as you hold and maintain a connection to a designated body.

Your connection to a designated body means you are:

  • meeting the approved practice setting requirement
  • supported with appraisal and revalidation
  • working in an environment that monitors and supports you in delivering quality care, regardless of how or where you practise in the UK.

There is a clear set of rules which determines which organisation is your designated body. For most doctors their designated body is the organisation in which they work. Some doctors will have a connection to an organisation that is not their employer. Please use our online tool if you are unsure which organisation is your designated body.

Doctors on a UK training programme who want to practise outside their substantive employment (for example as a locum doctor) may do so, but must ensure their educational supervisor is aware of this and comply with any reporting requirements set by their RO or training body.

Does the APS scheme apply to me?

All UK and international medical graduates new to full registration, and all doctors restoring to the register after prolonged absence from UK practice must meet the APS requirement, until their first revalidation. This means you must have a connection to a designated body to practise in the UK.

If you are an EEA graduate, while you are not subject to the APS requirement, we strongly advise that you do practise with a connection to a designated body, especially when you first take up employment in the UK under full registration.

Doctors granted full registration in an APS before 2 June 2014, who have not yet revalidated and do not have a prescribed connection, can continue to practise wholly in their current APS organisation until they revalidate.

You can find more information about the APS requirement in our frequently asked questions.

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