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Foundation Programme year 1

We’ve made an important change to the way doctors can use their provisional registration (PR). From 1 April 2015, the length of time doctors are allowed to hold provisional registration is limited to a maximum of three years and 30 days.

We strongly recommend that you make your application three months before you plan to start work in case we need you to give us more evidence which can take time to assess. You’ll have three months to submit your application from when you start it online. If you have not submitted your application after three months you will have to start a new one. Instructions on setting up your online account are given at the end of this guidance.

The purpose of the Foundation Programme year 1

The purpose of the Foundation Programme year 1 (F1) is to enable you to

  • Put into practice the key skills that you have learned
  • Apply knowledge you have gained during undergraduate medical education
  • Show that on completing F1 training, you have demonstrated the outcomes set by us
  • Show you are ready to accept with confidence the duties and responsibilities of a fully registered and licensed doctor

AND

  • Show you are ready to begin training for specialist medical practice.

Delaying the start of your F1 post

You do not need to apply for registration with the GMC until three months before you are due to start work in the UK. If you are planning to take time out of your medical career you should read our publication Good medical practice, in particular paragraphs 7 to 13 in regards to keeping your knowledge and skills up to date.

We do not place a time limit between graduating from medical school and commencing the Foundation Programme. However, the UK Foundation Programme Office (UKFPO) currently has different criteria for those who have graduated more than two years before joining the programme. Therefore, you should seek further advice from the UKFPO about this. Please see the UKFPO website for contact details. You should also speak to your medical school (and possibly a careers adviser) about this decision.

Completing the F1

To be eligible for full registration with a licence to practise, you will need to complete an acceptable programme for provisionally registered doctors and demonstrate that you have met the outcomes for full registration. You do this by successfully completing the requirements of the F1 Foundation Programme Curriculum published by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges Foundation Committee.

If your medical school, their designated postgraduate dean, or designated representative in the foundation school, is satisfied that you have met the outcomes for F1 and you have satisfactorily completed the Foundation Programme training, they will issue a Certificate of Experience. This allows you to apply for full registration with a licence to practise. We will contact your medical school, or their designated representative, to ask them to complete your Certificate of Experience.

Undertaking F1 overseas

As a graduate from a UK medical school, F1 is still part of your basic medical education. Your medical school is therefore required to have oversight of your F1 training and they (or the local foundation school) will be responsible for signing off your Certificate of Experience on completion of your training. This Certificate of Experience is the evidence we will need to confirm that you are eligible to apply for full registration.

If you are thinking of taking your F1 year outside the UK, you must have the following in place before you do:

  • prior confirmation from your medical school that they support your overseas training
  • prior confirmation from a local education and training board, postgraduate dean or your medical school that they will have oversight of the quality of your training (some postgraduate deans do not accept posts outside of the UK)
  • hold provisional registration with the GMC whilst you are undertaking your approved overseas training.

Once you have confirmation that your school supports your overseas training and you have confirmation of oversight of the quality of your training, they will let us know. We will then grant approval for you to undertake your F1 training outside of the UK.

If you go overseas after graduation in a post that was not approved and therefore can't get a Certificate of Experience then you won't be eligible to apply for full registration if you return to the UK in the future. In this case you will only be eligible for provisional registration, which restricts your work to Foundation Year 1 posts.

It may be possible for the GMC to consider at a future point, any experience you have gained overseas for the purposes of assessing your eligibility for full registration. However, this would be entirely at the Registrar's discretion, and as such, there is no guarantee that you would be able to apply for full registration at a future point, on the basis of this experience.

Further information

The NHS medical careers website gives you guidance on how to begin planning for your career well before you reach the stage where you have to apply for a particular specialty.

Frequently asked questions about F1 overseas

I want to go to the Republic of Ireland/USA/Malaysia to do my F1 training, what should I do?

You should initially seek advice from your medical school and get confirmation that they support your overseas training. You will then need confirmation from a local education and training board, postgraduate dean or your medical school that they will have oversight of the quality of your training. If you can reassure them that the post you plan to do meets the same standards and outcomes of the foundation school curriculum and will be able to provide proof of meeting these on completion of your post then your school may approve this. If your school and local education and training board or postgraduate dean support your overseas training then they will seek approval from us. You need to ensure that you hold provisional registration with the GMC for the duration of your approved overseas training post. You will also need to ensure that you are appropriately registered with the relevant medical regulatory authority in the country where you are working.

What happens if my post isn’t approved?

If your post isn’t approved you will be unable to obtain a signed Certificate of Experience on completion of your training. This means you would not automatically be eligible to apply for full registration if you chose to return to the UK and work here in future. In this situation you would only be eligible to apply for provisional registration, which restricts you to working in F1 posts. There is a time limit of three years and 30 days for holding provisional registration.

If I don’t get approval, who can I appeal to?

You should speak to your medical school to see if they have an appeals process that applies to you.

What should I do when I finish my approved overseas training post?

You should speak to your medical school and local education and training board or postgraduate dean to see what evidence they need to confirm that you have completed your programme and that you have met the same outcomes as the foundation programme curriculum. Once you have completed all their requirements then they will be able to complete your Certificate of Experience and you will be able to apply for full registration with us.

You should make sure you know what information you’ll need to get signed off before you start your overseas training post, as you should be gathering the evidence as you go through your training.

My medical school is happy to approve my post, but the post graduate dean won't oversee my training - is there anything I can do?

You should seek advice from your medical school; however, you’ll need support from both of them before starting your post overseas.

How does the GMC know whether my medical school has approved my post?

Your school will send us lists of students who they have confirmed as supporting so that we can give prospective approval and log this on your record.

I have decided to postpone/delay/take time out from my overseas training - what should I do?

You should inform your medical school and local education and training board or post graduate dean about your break in practice. You should also consider relinquishing your provisional registration and licence whilst you are not practicing, because you have a three year and 30 day limit to hold provisional registration and you cannot complete F1 without provisional registration..

If I don’t get approval, but still intend to undertake a post overseas after graduation - do I still need to apply for provisional registration with the GMC?

No, you only need to hold registration with us if you are undertaking an approved overseas post. Please be aware that if you undertake an unapproved post then you will only be eligible to apply for provisional registration if you plan to return to the UK and work in the future.