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Important information about provisional registration

This page contains important information on the role and limitations of doctors who hold provisional registration

The purpose of provisional registration is to enable you to participate in and complete an acceptable programme for provisionally registered doctors. Most doctors complete this in 12 months.

We recognise the first year of the Foundation Programme (Foundation year one, or F1) as an acceptable programme for provisionally registered doctors. The 12 month Foundation Programme must meet the requirements set out in our guidance, Promoting excellence: standards for medical education and training.

From 1 April 2015, the length of time a doctor can hold provisional registration was limited to a maximum of three years and 30 days (1125 days).

Once a doctor has held provisional registration for the maximum allocation of a total of 1125 days we will remove their name from the register. They cannot hold provisional registration indefinitely and they won’t be able to apply for it again.

If you are within the last 180 days of the end of your provisional registration period, are still working within an F1 post and won't have enough time to complete it, you can request additional time to complete the programme.

These changes do not affect the rules governing the UK Foundation Programme, which is administered independently of the GMC.

How this change affects doctors holding provisional registration

On 1 April 2015, we automatically allocated all doctors holding provisional registration a total of 1125 days in which to complete their first year training programme (F1).

Doctors expecting to complete their training within this time and to move to full registration, don’t need to take any action regarding their provisional registration.

If for whatever reason, doctors need more time to complete their training, they may be able to request additional time to complete the programme. See our guidance for further details.

As long as they’re within the last 180 days of their provisional registration period and still taking part in their training programme, then provided their training provider agrees to give them more time, we’ll be able to allow them an additional period of up to 365 days, in which to complete their training. This period won’t count towards their maximum allocation of 1125 days.

Doctors taking a break from their F1 programme should give up their provisional registration and restore it when they re-start their training. By doing this they’ll save their allocation of days. They can begin using these again when they’re ready to return to their training programme.

Find out more about giving up your provisional registration by applying to voluntarily remove your name from the register.

What provisional registration allows you to do

As a provisionally registered doctor, you are only permitted to take up F1 posts in the Foundation Programme. To do so you must also hold a licence to practise.

Upon successful completion of F1, you will receive a Certificate of Experience. This certificate provides evidence that you meet the requirements for full registration. It must be signed by the University or their designated representative in the postgraduate deaneries or foundation schools.

Once you are registered you have an obligation under Good medical practice to keep up to date with and adhere to the laws and codes of practice relevant to your work – see paragraphs 7-13. This includes working within the scope of your registration and only undertaking posts that your registration allows. Serious or persistent failure to follow Good medical practice will put your registration at risk.