COVID-19: early provisional registration for final year students

What early registration means for eligible final year students requested to start work in the NHS early due to COVID-19.

Location: UK
Audience: Medical students
Updated: Thursday 16 July 2020

On 24 March, the secretary of state for health announced that 5,500 medical students would be brought into the workforce.

In Scotland, Jeane Freeman MSP, cabinet secretary for health and sport, also welcomed the steps being taken.

The Welsh Government has similarly welcomed these steps and have been working with the BMA and employers to facilitate this process.

This proposal is not full, emergency registration. It is medical schools moving their graduation of final year medical students forward, where appropriate and possible, to allow medical students to move to provisional registration earlier than normal.

Not all medical schools will be able to graduate medical students at the same speed due to their own curriculum requirements and needing to change their rules on early graduation.

Medical schools must communicate their plans directly with their students about how early graduation will work, and what requirements medical students must fulfil to meet this, if appropriate.

The GMC has agreed four-nation principles for early graduation of medical students. The BMA and GMC are only aware of this move taking place for English and Welsh medical schools – however that may change given the speed of current events.


What early registration means for eligible final year students

There is no obligation to serve in the NHS as a result of early provisional registration

You must choose to take this up early, and cannot be made to serve in the NHS as a result of this. The process for acquiring provisional registration early is not yet clear, more information will come via the GMC and your medical school, and we will share more information as we hear it.

It is worth remembering that once you trigger your provisional registration, there is a period in which you must meet the requirements for full registration.

Medical students will be on F1 LAT (locum appointment for training) contracts

The BMA has been clear that these posts must have the same induction, education and supervision that would be expected of any other foundation place. The GMC also requires this.

Those who choose to enter LAT posts will do so in trusts/boards where they have been on placement, near to their medical school

While unclear at this early stage, it is very unlikely that there will be a national recruitment process that will allow these doctors to work elsewhere. There may be circumstances in which you may be able to eligible to work elsewhere, but this would be with the agreement of your medical school, we do not have further detail about this yet.

Keeping students in familiar settings will mean you are familiar with employers’ processes, and you will still be local to your medical school so you can access additional support should you need it.

Further information

  • This will be on a fixed term contract for 4-5 months before you would normally have joined the foundation programme.
  • LAT posts will be on the relevant junior doctor pay scale for each nation.
  • The BMA is seeking assurances as to the process that will allow you to enter your August rotations on time and as planned.
  • Further detail will come from your medical school about early graduation, as each school will have its own hurdles to resolve first.
  • All final year medical students planning on entering the Foundation Programme in August are now able to apply for provisional registration. If you are eligible for early graduation and wish o join the workforce as a doctor before August, further information will be available from your medical school.
Sign up to COVID updates
Sign up for COVID-19 updates from the BMA

Enter your details and you will receive emails informing you about:

  • COVID-19 guidance
  • News and blogs about COVID-19
  • Information on BMA support
  • Updates on your working situation during the pandemic

You can unsubscribe from these emails at any time.

Sign up for email updates