Planning your FY3 and fulfilling GMC requirements

Considering an FY3? Make sure you work in an approved practice setting to fulfil your GMC requirements, explains MDU deputy head of advisory Catherine Wills.

Many doctors decide to take time between the end of foundation training and the start of specialist training - often termed FY3. You might be planning to take a break from medicine, work as a volunteer or in paid short-term posts, or work as a locum.

If you're planning an FY3, you will undoubtedly have a lot to consider and decide. Whatever you decide to do, keep in mind that you also need to fulfil what is required of you for your GMC registration.

This means working in an approved practice setting (APS) for the first few years of your career, regardless of whether you choose to do an FY3 or not. An APS is a workplace with arrangements in place to supervise and support doctors with professional development and appraisal.

GMC registration

All doctors working in the UK need to be registered with the GMC and will require a licence to practise, issued by the GMC. Your licence to practice will allow you to carry out certain activities, such as prescribing medicines.

Doctors new to full GMC registration - including overseas doctors* new to the UK - will also have another requirement: to work in an APS. The APS requirement is lifted only when a doctor has had their first revalidation or has been added to a specialist GMC register. The first revalidation is usually five years after gaining full GMC registration.

While you have an APS restriction on your registration, you must only practise in the UK if you have a connection to a designated body. All designated bodies are recognised as approved practice settings. You must keep your GMC account up to date with information about your designated body connection. If you no longer have a connection to a designated body, you should stop UK medical practise until you make a new connection.

Working in an approved practice setting

If you're doing locum work, your locum agency may be a designated body. You can find a list of designated bodies from the GMC website.

Make sure your educational supervisor is aware of any work you want to do as a doctor (whether paid or voluntary), outside formal training. Discuss whether you have the appropriate competence for the proposed role, and what your supervision and support will be. You should also make sure you have the right indemnity in place for any role you plan to take on.

You may be offered interesting opportunities by people who are not necessarily aware of your APS restriction; it's your responsibility to make sure you comply with the restriction. We're aware of doctors who have faced GMC fitness to practise investigations when this has gone wrong.

If you're an MDU member and have any questions or concerns about working in an APS during your FY3, please call us for advice.

*If you qualified in Switzerland, please contact us for advice.

This page was correct at publication on 14/08/2023. 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.

Dr Catherine Wills

by Dr Catherine Wills Medico-legal adviser


Catherine joined the MDU in 2004 and is deputy head of the advisory department. Previously, Catherine was a hospital consultant in general medicine, diabetes and endocrinology.