Changes to the APS scheme in June 2014 now allow doctors more flexibility to practise in different settings (as a locum or volunteer medic, for example) provided you maintain your connection to your designated body
What is the APS scheme?
The APS scheme requires all UK and international medical graduates who are new to full registration, or who are re-registering after a significant break in medical practice, to:
- work under appropriate supervision
- and work with a validated appraisal system in place.
You must be connected to a 'designated body' at all times up until your first revalidation.
The GMC recognises as an APS any organisation which is a designated body under the Medical Profession (Responsible Officers) Regulations 2010.
Your designated body will normally be your employer and should have systems in place to offer appropriate supervision and regular appraisal. It will also support your relevant training needs and continuing professional development. A designated body, through its responsible officer (RO), will act on concerns about a doctor's fitness to practise.
What the changes to APS mean for you
Doctors subject to APS requirements are no longer restricted to practising in a specific physical setting. In practical terms, this means that you could work in another setting, for example as a locum, or as a volunteer. You would also be permitted to write private prescriptions, subject to compliance with appropriate GMC guidance.
However, if you do either of these things, you must:
- have the approval of your educational supervisor to do so
- maintain your connection with your designated body and
- ensure you comply with any reporting requirements set by your RO or training body.
If you lose your connection to your designated body before your first revalidation, you should not continue to practise medicine in any form that requires registration with the GMC until you have established connection with another designated body.
Breaching the APS requirements might lead to a GMC investigation under its fitness to practise proceedings.
Check if your employer is on the GMC's list of designated bodies.
Eloise qualified with an LLB in Law and Politics in 1997 and went on to qualify as a barrister in 2000, practising at the criminal bar before deciding to become a solicitor specialising in healthcare law. She joined the MDU in 2009 and represents doctors at the GMC and before tribunals, as well as defending clinical negligence claims and advising members on inquests and medico-legal queries.
See more by Eloise Aspinall