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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

Training and Approval of Medical Practitioners under Section 12(2) of the Mental Health Act 1983 and Approved Clinicians

The Mental Health Act Approvals Functions are exercised in Trent by the Midlands and East of England Mental Health Act Approval Panel and the North of England Mental Health Act Approval Panel.

At present, the requirements for renewal for Approved Clinicians who are included in the GMC’s specialist register for psychiatry are: -

  • Complete the renewal application form, including details of two referees, who must meet the criteria set out in the instructions (essentially, at least one must be an AC, and one must be the applicant’s Medical Director, Associate Medical Director, Clinical Director or RO – if the first referee fulfils both these criteria, the second referee could be an AMHP or another AC).  One of the referees must have worked with the applicant in England or Wales for three months out of the last 12 months.  The Approvals Office send out standard reference pro-forma for completion by the referees.
  • Complete a standard declaration form.
  • Attend a refresher course approved by one of the Panels in the final 24 months of the current approval and send a copy of the certificate.
  • Send a copy of their CV.
  • Provide evidence of CPD – this would normally be expected to be their most recent RCPsych CPD certificate of good standing (or letter of registration if recently registered – this would lead to conditional approval), however a list of the CPD undertaken in the last 12 months (which must total at least 50 hours), signed off by two peers as being appropriate and relevant would also be accepted.  A sample of these is audited.  

The renewal requirements for all Section 12 Doctors are similar, although there are different requirements for referees and additional categories of CPD evidence, as well as a requirement to demonstrate on-going use of the MHA.  Section 12 refresher courses have to be attended within the final 12 months of the current approval.

First time applicants for Section 12 Approval or Approved Clinician Status should contact the relevant Approvals Office for advice on their specific circumstances.

For further information contact the approvals office:

Midlands and East of England on 01302 798154 or via email 

North of England on 01325 552391 or via email




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