Information about programme and location approvals

When and why is approval needed?

We have a statutory responsibility to set and maintain high standards of medical education. Our standards for training environments are set out in Promoting Excellence in Medical Education and the prospective approval process is one of the ways we ensure these standards are maintained.

This process asks postgraduate deans teams (deaneries and local offices) to check that the training environments will meet these standards, which include providing appropriate supervision and opportunities to meet curriculum requirements before placing the trainee. It also requires a declaration that these environments will be checked to ensure they continue to meet our standards.

We recognise that doctors’ posts often cover a variety of different locations and that this is more common in some specialty programmes than in others. Deaneries and local offices will therefore need to exercise some discretion according to the underlying principle that training and assessment should take place in environments that meet our standards.

In general, approval must be applied for if the doctor in training is at the location for more than two sessions / one day per a week. This was identified as a practical, proportionate criterion to recognise the cost of maintaining the system of approvals and to recognise that there will be some locations (such as a patient’s home) that will be important to the training experience but not appropriate to apply our standards to. You can check our list of approved programmes to see if a location has been approved.


What happens if a location is not approved?

If a location isn’t approved, the achievement of curricula outcomes should not count towards the award of a certificate of completion of training (CCT), certificate of eligibility for specialist training (CESR(CP)) or certificate of eligibility for GP registration (CEGPR(CP)). This means the doctor’s completion of training date may be pushed back.


Guidance and frequently asked questions





If you have a query about a training post or programme approval, please contact:


Training pathways pilots

Please see our guidance to pilot a new run through or uncoupled training pathway (pdf) and associated application form (doc).


The following training pathway pilots have been approved by the GMC:

Child and adolescent psychiatry run through effective from August 2018 for three years in eleven regions: London, Yorkshire & Humber, North East, North West, Thames Valley, East of England, Kent, Surrey & Sussex, Wessex, East Midlands, Severn and the West Midlands.

Otolaryngology run through effective from August 2018 for three years in four regions: London, North West, Kent, Surrey & Sussex and West Midlands.

General surgery run through effective from August 2018 for three years in nine regions: East Midlands, East of England, Kent, Surrey & Sussex, South London, North West, South West, Yorkshire & Humber, Scotland and Wales.