Plans to limit provisional registration

  • Date: 27 April 2012

PROPOSALS have been put forward by the General Medical Council to limit the length of time a doctor can hold provisional registration to three years.

Most doctors who hold provisional registration are in foundation year one and are granted full registration once they successfully complete the 12 month training programme.

But some doctors remain provisionally registered for longer if they fail to meet the competencies required to complete F1 or if they have taken time out due to ill health, maternity leave or to work abroad.

Problems arise when provisionally registered doctors work in a post that’s not part of the foundation programme, which falls outside the scope of their registration.

The GMC says that limiting the duration of provisional registration will reinforce the message that its sole purpose is to allow a doctor to complete a training programme leading to full registration with a licence to practise. If a doctor is not in a recognised training programme, the regulator argues there is no regulatory justification for them to maintain their provisional registration.

Doctors who wish to take time out of training will be able to “stop the clock” on their provisional registration by coming off the register and going back on when they are ready to start or resume their training.

The GMC said: “The sole purpose of provisional registration is to allow doctors to take part in foundation year one training. We want to make it clear that doctors should not need to remain provisionally registered indefinitely, and if they are doing so we are keen to understand why.”

The GMC is seeking views on the proposals until May 18, 2012. Find out more at:

This page was correct at the time of publication. Any guidance is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.

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