News & Features — 2 June 2014 at 11:33 pm

Update: The Revised GMC Approved Practice Setting Rules

Matt Wilkes / Adventure Medic Editor

Excellent news adventurers! After pressure from a number of different organisations, the GMC has revised and updated its Approved Practice Setting requirements as of today. The new rules are now much more amenable to Foundation Doctors involved in event medicine, expedition medicine and prehospital care. To see the old rules, please have a look at our Guide to the GMC APS Rules.

All the details can be found on the GMC APS Page, and in their Frequently Asked Questions. However, here is a summary of the important points relevant to us:

1. Who do the requirements apply to?

  • A UK or international medical graduate granted full registration (i.e. finished Foundation Year 1) for the first time since 3 December 2012, who has not yet revalidated.
  • A doctor who has been restored to the register since 3 December 2012, after a significant break in UK practice, who has not since revalidated.

If the conditions above do not apply to you, then you don´t need to read any further. If they do, please read on.

2. Do these requirements apply only in the UK? Or abroad as well?

The APS Requirements only apply to work in the UK.

3. So, can I now do expeditions, locum work, prehospital care and event medicine in the UK?

Yes, and this is the significant change. Under the old rules, all work that you did had to be done in an Approved Practice Setting. However now, you just need to be connected with a Designated Body, rather than working in the same physical place as your Approved Practice Setting.

That may not sound much simpler, however what it means in practice is this: for Foundation Doctors or Specialty Trainees, the the Designated Body will be the Local Education Training Board. So, if you want to undertake locum work, event medicine or work outside hospital, then you need to inform your Educational Supervisor. If they are happy that you do the work, then you can go ahead and you will be playing by the rules.

For those who have finished Foundation Training, are not in Specialty Training and have not yet been revalidated, you need to make contact with another Designated Body. Look at this list, make contact with the Responsible Officer at the one that seems most relevant and then update your GMC Online Account. For the majority of doctors, it will be whichever hospital or locum agency pays your wages.

4. Can I write private prescriptions?

Yes, as long as you are connected with a Designated Body.

5. Do the APS Requirements apply to voluntary, as well as paid work?

Yes, if the voluntary work is exercising the privileges of a licensed medical practitioner.


We hope that clears things up a bit for you – happy adventuring!

(Our thanks to Daniel Last, Directorate Analyst at Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS FT for his advice regarding this article.)