FAQs - Approved Clinician Induction


Please see below some frequently asked questions about the Approved Clinician Induction course.

For information about the Section 12 (2) Induction Course, please visit the Section 12 (2) FAQ page

If you can't find the answer to your question here, please contact Online.Events@rcpsych.ac.uk

Course FAQs

Please check the Approvals Process FAQs below and/or speak to your local Approvals Panel before booking to ensure that this is the right course for you. 

No. Completing this course is only one part of the approval process and does not automatically guarantee Approved Clinician Approval. Please speak to your local Approvals Panel to ensure all approval requirements are met. 

The course costs £375.

Please visit the course registration page to book onto the course.

The course is made up of six eLearning modules, hosted on CPD Online.

Each module is comprised of recorded presentations with our speakers who deliver our face-to-face training, interactive learning exercises and an end of module test.

After you have completed all six modules you will need to attend a live Q&A webinar which will give you the opportunity to ask the speakers questions.

Please note that the live Q&A webinar is a mandatory component to the course. 

The restriction on movements announced by the UK Government on 16 March 2020 resulted in all RCPsych training events and conferences being cancelled until restrictions are lifted. 

These cancellations include all Section 12 and Approved Clinician Induction and Refresher courses delivered by the RCPsych and other providers. Arrangements from the Department of Health and Social Care have come into place to extend the existing registration of Approved Clinicians and Section 12 Doctors but there are no new mechanisms which would allow clinicians to be initially approved. 

In order to support mental health services in England during this pandemic a new online training course has been produced in order to allow applicants who meet the approval criteria, and returning retired doctors, to enter the workforce.  

CPD Online modules are accessible on any device or browser, although there are a few things to bear in mind when choosing your method:

  • Desktop or laptop computers (PC or Mac) are ideal for online learning. Modules are accessible on all browsers and are tested at development stage on Internet Explorer, Chrome and Firefox.
  • Tablets are ideal for working through modules when you are not able to access a computer as the screens tend to be large enough to display the content at full quality.
  • We do not recommend working through modules on a mobile phone. Although modules are accessible on phones, the small screens mean that the process can be fiddly and some of the content will be difficult to read and engage with (such as interactive activities).

If you experience any technical issues when working through a module you can visit our Help page for assistance.

It is important that you seek protected time to complete these modules as you would if attending the 2 day face-to-face training course. Therefore, you should set aside the equivalent time of 10 hours to complete the series of modules prior to attending a live Q&A webinar. 

No. The online modules have been designed to be completed in your own time to allow flexibility around other work and home commitments. Regular breaks are encouraged.

The exception to this is the live Q&A webinar, which is a mandatory component of the course. You will need to book to attend a specific live session. 

The webinars will take place at the following times:

Tuesday 28 July 9-10:30am

Tuesday 28 July 4-5:30pm

Tuesday 4 August 9-10:30am

Tuesday 4 August 4-5:30pm

Tuesday 11 August  9-10:30am

Tuesday 11 August 4-5:30pm

Once you have registered for the course you will be invited to book onto a live webinar session.

Each webinar is limited to a maximum of 30 participants, mirroring the face to face training. 

The webinar is a mandatory component of the course and therefore to complete the course you must ensure you attend one of the webinars. 

Yes, we encourage participants to submit their questions in advance. There is an ‘ask a question’ link at the end of each module where you can submit your questions. 

After completing each online module, you will receive an end-of-module certificate. After attending the live webinar you will need to send all six certificates to online.events@rcpsych.ac.uk who will then issue your course certificate.

You will only be issued with a course completion certificate if you have completed all the modules and attended one of the Q&A Webinars.

Note that attendance at a course is only one part of the approval process, and a course certificate should not be offered or accepted as evidence of approval.

The course is eligible for 1 CPD point per hour (up to a maximum of 12 points), subject to peer group approval.

After attending the live Q&A session you will be asked to complete a course evaluation form and it is an expectation, although not mandatory, that all course attendees provide feedback at the end of the course.

There is also the opportunity to review/comment on individual modules throughout the course. 

You are welcome to take notes in a standard notebook or utilise the “CPD Online Notepad” tool which allows you to type notes as you take the course. Further information on where to find the Notepad tool and how to use is available here

Please read our terms and conditions before booking. 

Approval/eligibility FAQs

  • Psychiatrists on the GMC specialist register – straightforward application
  • Doctors not on the specialist register – Portfolio Route (min 7 Years in Psychiatry with 4 years at Senior Level)
  • Psychologists, OT’s, Nurses, Social Workers  – Portfolio Route (Please check with your regional approvals panel for more information as the suitability of each professional may vary, depending upon their experience in psychiatry)

Yes. Applications are welcome from non-medical applicants who meet one of the following professional requirements:

  • A Practitioner Psychologist listed in the register maintained by the Health and Care Professions Council (a).
  • A first level Nurse, registered in Sub-Part 1 of the Nurses' part of the register maintained under article 5 of the Nursing and Midwifery Order 2001 (b), with the inclusion of an entry indicating whether their field of practice is Mental Health or Learning Disability.
  • An occupational therapist listed in the register maintained by the Health and Care Professions Council.
  • A social worker listed in the register maintained by the Health and Care Professions Council.

    Non-medical applicants with the required experience must complete a full portfolio in addition to attendance at a validated two-day Approved Clinician Induction course within 2 years prior to application, complete the application form without error and in full, submit with full CV, up-to-date CPD, course certificate and photo( not required by all Panels).  References are taken, professional registration checks are done, and the application is assessed by the Mental Health Act Approval Panel for consideration as to your suitability for Approved Clinician approval. 

    It is more beneficial to attend the Approved Clinician Induction course when you are close to being ready to submit your portfolio so that the course remains validated.  You are recommended to contact your local Approvals office for guidance on seeking AC status via the portfolio route

If approved, approval will be granted for the duration of your acting up post and would then cease until you are on the GMC Specialist Register in Psychiatry.  Doctors in their final year of supervised training (ST6) with an approved acting up consultant post should complete an application form; provide a confirmation letter of an approved acting up consultant post; attend a 2-day AC induction course within the 2 year period immediately preceding the date of application; satisfactory ARCP outcome; provide a photo( not required by all Panels); provide an up to date CV demonstrating competencies to act as an Approved Clinician; and give details of 2 referees  who have worked with the applicant for a minimum of 3 months in England or Wales  and one of the referees to have worked within the past 12 months.  One referee must be the Training Programme Director or equivalent, and the other can be an Approved Clinician, AMHP, or Medical / Clinical Director or equivalent.

Doctors in their final year of training can apply for AC approval prior to gaining their CCT if they do not have an approved acting up post.  However, approval will not be granted until they have gained entry onto the GMC Specialist Register in Psychiatry.  They must meet the professional requirements; complete an application form; attend a 2-day AC induction course within the 2 year period immediately preceding the date of application; gain a satisfactory ARCP outcome; provide a photo( not required by all Panels); provide an up to date CV demonstrating competencies to act as an AC; and give details of 2 referees  who have worked with the applicant for a minimum of 3 months in England or Wales  and one of the referees to have worked within the past 12 months.  One referee must be the Training Programme Director or equivalent, and the other can be an Approved Clinician, AMHP, or Medical / Clinical Director or equivalent.


Yes. Doctors not in permanent NHS employment or in locum posts are eligible to get AC Approval if they meet the professional requirements.  Application documents must include evidence of CPD certification, attendance at an Approved Clinician course; details of 2 referees  who have worked with the applicant for a minimum of 3 months in England or Wales  and one of the referees to have worked within the past 12 months, one of whom must be a Responsible Officer (when applicants cannot nominate MD or CD ) and the other can be a Medical Director, Clinical Director or Medical Lead  Please contact your Local Approvals office to check whether a DBS check is required.

Yes, you could still apply for S12 approval, provided you meet the professional requirements and eligibility criteria for S12(2)approval at the time of application

However, the Panel must be satisfied that the applicant has provided satisfactory evidence of ongoing involvement in the diagnosis or treatment of mental disorder.

Specialty doctor/ Staff grade psychiatrists would need to have minimum 7 years’ experience in Psychiatry, with 4 years in a senior post.  They would need to attend an Approved Clinician Induction course and apply via the portfolio route.  It is more beneficial to attend the course when applicants are close to being ready to submit their portfolio so that the course remains validated.  Applicants must submit a full portfolio, complete the application form, a full CV, up-to-date CPD, course certificate and photo.  References are taken, checks are run with the GMC and the portfolio will be assessed by Mental Health Act Approval Panel for consideration as to suitability for AC approval.  

 

You are recommended to contact your local Approvals office for guidance on seeking AC status via the portfolio route.  


  • Completed Application form with two supporting referees (One from their current or most recent MD/TPD/CD or equivalent)
  • Attended 2 day AC Introductory Training Course within the two year period immediately preceding the date of the application
  • CV, ARCP/CPD compliance and DBS as required by each Panel (as per the DH New Instructions 2015)
  • If training has been abroad then approving panel may ask to demonstrate steps the applicant has taken to familiarise themselves with Mental Health Act in England or Wales. (Please contact your regional Approval Panel for further information)

The Approval Panels require two supporting references. One of your referees must be either your current Medical/Clinical Director or equivalent and for trainees TPD or equivalent. Both referees should have worked with you for a reasonable period (Approving Panels consider 3 months would be reasonable for referees to make sound judgements) and one referee must have worked with you for a period of minimum 3 months in the preceding 12 months. 

You may not meet the reference requirement if you no longer possess all of the professional competencies set out in Schedule 2 of the Secretary of State’s Instructions 2015 or your referees may not have met with the reference criteria.

You can register for Continuing Professional Development with the Royal College of Psychiatrists either as a full member or an affiliate.  This is free to those who have passed their CASC and obtained a full membership. If you are not a member of the RCPsych and therefore not providing a CPD certificate, evidence of CPD would be accepted via a peer group form, which is signed off by your peer group.

No. It is a national requirement (New Instruction 2015) that applicants for approval must have attended a two-day Mental Health Act (Approved Clinician) Training Course.  Your papers may be processed before your course attendance to avoid further delay provided you let your local Approvals office have evidence of your course booking together with your application.  Approval will not be granted until your course certificate is provided to the Approvals Panel.
No, a suitable course must be completed prior to the approval being considered.

If your application is in order and you meet the criteria for approval it can take up to 6-8 weeks or longer for the Panel to complete the process (note that portfolio application process can take months).

Possibly, but suggested to wait for at least six months from the date of refusal, depending on the reasons given for your refusal. If the problem or issue which prevented your approval has been addressed you may be approved on reapplication.

No. It is a national requirement (new Instruction 2015) that applicants for approval must have attended a course Mental Health Act (Approved Clinician) Refresher Course.  Your papers may be processed before your course attendance to avoid further delay provided you let your local Approvals office have evidence of your course booking. Please include this evidence together with your completed application form, DBS check (if necessary, local Panel procedure applies), CPD/ARCP and CV.  Approval can only be given after the course attendance.  The Approvals Offices remind all people due to expire 9 months in advance, so please ensure your contact details are up to date with them.

Medical Approved Clinicians are automatically section 12 approved and can undertake section 12 work in England and Wales.  Non-medical ACs are not section 12 approved.

Yes, Sec 12(2) approval transferable between England & Wales.

No, AC approval is not transferrable between England & Wales – you must apply separately for AC in England and in Wales)

Scotland MHA is different from England.

Yes.  You can use an English course certificate to apply for approval in either England or Wales and vice-versa.
Contact your local Approvals office for details of regional portfolio workshops, which you can attend if you meet the application criteria for the portfolio route.
Did you inform your Approvals office of changes in your work or home address?  It is your responsibility to ensure that your Approved Clinician registration is up to date.  Your Approvals office sends reminders approximately 9, 6 and 3 months before the expiry date but they need your correct details.  Contact your Local Approvals office immediately.