Approved practice settings

What are approved practice settings? 

Approved practice settings are organisations that:

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

All designated bodies are recognised as being approved practice settings. A designated body is a UK organisation that provides doctors with an annual appraisal and helps with their revalidation.

Do I need to work in an approved practice setting?

You're required to work in an approved practice setting if you’re:

  • a UK or international medical graduate who is new to registration
  • restoring any type of registration after a significant break in UK practice
  • restoring your registration and you did not revalidate when you previously held full registration

You do not need to work in an approved practice setting if you’re:

  • joining the GP or Specialist register for the first time.
  • an EEA graduate (however, we strongly advise that you connect to a designated body, especially when you first take up employment in the UK).

Your record on our online register will show whether your registration is currently subject to the requirements of the approved practice settings scheme. Click the link ‘View information for employers’ in the ‘More details’ section to see if it mentions an approved practice settings.

Doctors granted full registration in an approved practice setting before 30 April 2014, who have not yet revalidated and do not have a connection to a designated body, can continue to practise wholly in their current approved practice setting organisation until they revalidate.

If approved practice settings apply to me, what steps do I need to take?

To meet the approved practice setting requirements, you must hold and maintain connection to a designated body and keep this information up to date in your GMC online account.

Connection to a designated body means you:

  • meet the approved practice setting requirement
  • are supported with appraisal and revalidation
  • are monitored and supported in delivering quality care.

Find your designated body
Update your designated body

If you are subject to working in approved practice settings, you should only practise when you have a connection to a designated body. If you don’t comply with these requirements you could be subject to our fitness to practise procedures. 

Working in an approved practice setting does not affect your revalidation. If you lose your connection to your designated body before your first revalidation, you should not continue to practise in the UK until you make another connection.

Where can I work under approved practice setting restrictions?

You are not restricted to working within the designated body you are connected to. You can work in any organisation as long as you hold and maintain the connection with your designated body.

You can only undertake locum work if the locum agency is a designated body itself.

If you're a doctor on a UK training programme and you want to practise outside your substantive employment (for example as a locum doctor) you may do so. But, you must make sure your educational supervisor is aware of this and comply with any reporting requirements set by your responsible officer or training body.

Can I practise with a connection to a suitable person?

No, unless you're based in Jersey, Guernsey, Isle of Man or Gibraltar and you maintain a connection to a suitable person there. You can’t connect to a suitable person until the approved practice setting requirement is lifted from your registration after your revalidation.