New time limit on provisional registration

TRAINEE doctors will be able to hold provisional registration with the General Medical Council for a maximum of three years and 30 days under new rules that come into effect on April 1.

Doctors who hold this status for longer than the 1,125 day period will see their registration expire.

The rule change is designed to end indefinite provisional registration in a bid to minimise the risk of doctors working outside the scope of their registration.

The regulator said it will ensure doctors are “appropriately supported and supervised in roles that are within the limits of their registration.”

Most doctors complete their first year of postgraduate training (F1) within 12 months and move to full registration.

However, some 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 said the new time limit is unlikely to affect current F1 doctors, but added: “If, for whatever reason, a doctor needs more time to complete their training, this new time limit still gives them enough time to repeat their F1 year, if they need to.”

Extra time will be allowed for doctors in less than full time training to ensure they are not disadvantaged. But they will be expected to meet “strict criteria” including agreement from their training provider that they can be given more time to complete their training programme.

Letters are being sent out to all current provisionally registered doctors to inform them of the new rules and how they could be affected by them. On 1 April, they will be automatically allocated 1,125 days to complete their F1 training but requests can be made to extend this.