FAQs

Recruitment
How do I get into the Foundation Programme?
All the positions for the Foundation Programme beginning in August 2012 have been filled.  To apply to the Foundation Programme for August 2013, please check the UKFPO website for further information.

Will anyone be able to apply to any school across the country?
Yes, but all applicants will be required to have a letter of support from their own university/medical school (within or outside the UK) in compliance with GMC requirements.  This letter will need to confirm that the applicant is considered ‘’fit to practice’’ according to GMC standards and will also confirm that this is the only Deanery/Foundation School to which an application is being sent.

How do I confirm my eligibility before applying?
All applicants are required to confirm with their own university/medical school (within or outside the UK) that they are eligible to apply in compliance with GMC requirements.  The university/medical school needs to confirm that the applicant is considered ‘’fit to practice’’ according to GMC standards.

Will I be able to undertake the two-year Foundation Programme if I am applying from overseas?
There will be opportunities for doctors without UK primary, specialist or general practice training and experience to enter foundation training at appropriate points according to their qualifications, training and experience.  This may be at the beginning of the first year (for those who have not reached the level required for limited registration) or second year.  Entry will be through a fair and open competitive application process.

If I am a non-UK graduate, what is your advice for applying to the Foundation Programme?
For further information we would advise you to contact the UKFPO

What are special circumstances for applications?
The nationally agreed ‘special circumstances’’ rules are:

  1. Significant family responsibilities – most commonly a student who has responsibility as the primary carer for a young, school-aged child or for a seriously ill partner or first degree relative.
  2. Chronic illness (physical or psychological) or disability for which local follow up is an absolute requirement as confirmed by an Occupational Health report.
  3. Terminally ill first-degree relative living locally as confirmed by a doctor’’s note.

Applicants who are eligible under these rules will need to apply to their medical schools to confirm their eligibility.

What is the Online Application Process for Foundation Programme?
It provides final year medical students with an easy and centralised way to apply for the Foundation Programme. It will provide you with:

  • a single portal for applying to all Foundation schools
  • online help and guidance
  • specific details about all programmes and posts available in theUK
  • a clear person specification
  • equal opportunity for programmes and posts
  • clear and open process for recruitment

For further information, please visit www.foundationprogramme.nhs.uk

What happens if I do not wish to accept the post?
Successful applicants will be allocated to one Foundation School only, and then to one programme only.  Declining your Foundation School or programme allocation will mean you are withdrawing from the application process.
Foundation Year 1 (F1)
What happens in Foundation Year 1 (F1)?
The first foundation year will be similar to the old PRHO year.  Trainees are responsible for making sure assessments are carried out to demonstrate their competence.

How will competence be assessed?
This will be assessed through an electronic eportfolio.  Each Foundation Doctor will have their own username and password.  Assessments and meetings with educational/clinical supervisors should be completed on this online e-portfolio.

What study time will I get in F1?
You will have up to three hours per week of protected, bleep-free time set aside for a planned learning programme.

Can I undertake an F1 post outside of the UK?
A UK Deanery must have oversight of an approved F1 training programme to allow a provisionally registered doctor to proceed to full registration with the GMC.

The only document accepted for a UK graduate to obtain full GMC registration is a Certificate of Experience which is normally completed at the end of a satisfactory year as an F1 within UK Foundation training.  NIMDTA as the Northern Ireland Deanery is not in a position to quality manage training outside of the UK.

When will I get full registration with the GMC?
Doctors graduating from UK medical schools will be eligible for full registration at the end of the F1 year.

What are the salary arrangements for Foundation Placements?
Foundation year one (F1) doctors will have the same basic salary as PRHOs had previously, and those in Foundation year two will be paid the same as first year SHOs.

What happens in General Practice placements?
The same principle will apply – banding payments will be paid if there is an out-of-hours commitment. The majority of GP placements will be normal working hours only, but some placements may contain locally negotiated out-of-hours experience. Your Foundation School will be able to advise you on local arrangements.
Foundation Year 2 (F2)
Can I apply for an F2 post if I have not done Foundation Year 1?
Yes – you do not have to do an F1 post to be eligible to apply for an F2 programme as long as you are eligible for limited or full registration with the GMC. Any available F2 posts that are not filled by current doctors who have been accepted into 2 year foundation programmes will be advertised early 2013.

What happens in Foundation Year 2 (F2)?
Placements in F2 will consist of three 4-month placements. Doctors may also have the opportunity to take a ‘’taster module’’.

Will I have the opportunity to spend time in primary care?
One of the goals of the Foundation Programme training is to foster a better understanding of the broad practice of medical care and, in particular, to provide doctors with a better insight into the relationship between primary and secondary care. F2 doctors will have the opportunity for a placement in general practice.

How much choice will I have to decide the content of F2 placements?
There are two ways in which your placements can be allocated. Either you will be selected into a two year programme with the content and location of both years known at the outset or you will be selected to an F2 year with choices made in preference order.

What if I satisfy the foundation competences before the end of the two years?
If you satisfy the clinical competences prior to completion of the F2 year, you should speak with your educational supervisor to determine what additional projects you might take on – such as a clinical audit or research project. You will have to complete the placements in both F1 and F2 years before acquiring the Foundation Achievement of Competence Document at the end of the second year.

What if I do not satisfy the foundation competences by the end of my F2 year?
The vast majority of doctors will complete the Foundation Programme successfully within two years. If you are struggling, speak to your Foundation Programme Director or Educational Supervisor who should be able to advise you and give you the extra support you need.

Will the assessment tools be used to rank me as part of the selection process for specialty training?
Not at present. Further research and evaluation is needed to see if the assessments can be used for ranking foundation doctors in the future – this will most likely not happen for at least a few years. However, trainees will be informed at the beginning of their Foundation Programme if workplace-based assessment tools are to be used for ranking.
Flexibility
What if I only want to work for one year and then travel?
The Foundation Programme is designed to deliver generic competences in a range of settings over a two year period. It would be advisable to complete the whole of the programme before you take a break. However, if you wish to take a break after F1, you are advised to discuss this with the Postgraduate Dean.

Can I still do the Foundation Programme if I want to work less than full-time?
Doctors with well-founded personal reasons for wishing to work less than full time should discuss this with their postgraduate dean. Reasons for undertaking less than full-time training include: disability or ill-health; caring for an ill/disabled partner, relative or other dependent; or childcare.

Doctors must undertake training on at least a half-time basis in order to comply with the requirements of the European Specialist Qualification Order (1995).

Specifically how flexible will the Foundation Programme be for those who become pregnant/ill/have family reasons for needing to take time away from the programme?
The Deanery will endeavour do their best to accommodate individual needs and devise individualised foundation programmes.
New Placements
The guidance says 55% of trainees will have GP placements, 10% will have shortage specialty placements and 5% will have academic placements, but what actual figures do they relate too?
The percentage figure relates to how many F1 funded posts you have. Even though it is understood that deaneries will increase the number of F2s over and above what they had in F1, the funding will relate only to the original F1 figures and not to the number of F2 posts currently on offer from a deanery. This is because we expect more F2 posts to be created within foundation school to accommodate the needs of the service in training additional doctors at this level. It is not possible to have an open-ended financial commitment based on F2 figures.

Here is an example breakdown of these posts for a foundation school with 120 F1 posts:

  • 55% placements in general practice would mean that there would be 22 posts, which 66 doctors would rotate through to each experience a four-month general practice placement.
  • 10% shortage specialties would need four posts to let 12 doctors experience shortage specialties
  • 5% academic placements would need just two posts to allow six doctors to spend four months in academic departments.

A central administrative centre has been set up on behalf of interested Deaneries in England to coordinate the assessment of F1 & F2 trainees. The centre is located in Sheffield and will be electronically collating the assessment forms and keeping centralised computer records of each trainee.

Do F2 doctors need to join the performers list before starting their GP placement?
Registration for F2 doctors entering a GP placement is currently being clarified and further advice will be issued in due course.  In the mean time it has been decided that they be treated as GP Registrars for listing purposes, and should apply to join a performers list on that basis. Your Foundation School/Deanery will be able to advise you on this.

What is the procedure for trainees issuing prescriptions in general practice placements?
Recent changes to regulation mean that F2 doctors are exempt from the PCT Performers List as they will be fully registered. For trainees that hold a limited or provisional GMC registration there are no extra restrictions (please refer to the GMC website.

When prescribing, a F2 trainee should use their supervising GP’’s FP10. Authorisation, such as a countersignature, is not required but the supervising GP is responsible for ensuring that prescribing is accurate and appropriate. Good practice for Deaneries/Foundation Schools is to advise Primary Care Trusts of the names of F2 trainees and their general practice supervisor with the dates of their placement.  Primary Care Trusts can then pass this information to their pharmacists.

Many of the placements are changing from 6-month to 4-month placements. How will this affect service provision?
Four-month placements enable doctors in training to gain competences in a broader range of settings and specialties. Many of these competences transfer across specialties, which could enable doctors to make greater contributions to patient care. The impact on service provision of the change in placement length and other aspects of the MMC reforms will be monitored.

What dates should trainees changeover for 3 month, 4 month and 6 month foundation placements?
With the Foundation Programme in operation, it has been proposed that changeover dates of foundation placements be aligned to ensure co-ordinated programmes across all geographic areas.  COPMeD has endorsed this approach and recommends that the dates are adopted on a UK wide basis.  This approach will be particularly helpful where more than one hospital site is involved in NAMPS has been asked to prepare a list of proposed changeover dates for the next year (2012/2013) which will be agreed by COPMeD in the near future.

Contracts
Who employs the Foundation doctors?
Each of the six, four-month posts in the Foundation Programme will require a separate employment contract. It is best for both you and the trainee to have a host Trust acting as employer for the whole programme (this is usually the Trust where trainees are based for the majority of their programme). This is particularly important for those undergoing rotations in general practice, where indemnity for the trainees will be covered by the whole contract with the Trust (if a single trust is acting as employer).

How do I organise a contract with the Foundation doctors in general practice placements?
The following points should be taken into consideration when organizing the foundation doctor’’s employment contract:

  • The employment contract between the host Trust and the Foundation doctor must specify that the trainee has to undergo a placement in general practice if they are to have such a placement.
  • The host Trust will need an educational contract and/or a service level agreement with the Foundation School/Deanery.
  • The host Trust will be responsible for payroll for the trainees, and pre-employment checks; duplication of the latter will be minimised.
  • HR issues such as sick leave or maternity leave arrangements will be dealt with by a single organisation.
  • NHS indemnity through the employing Trust will cover the GP period.
  • For the GP placements there will need to be a contractual arrangement (SLAor educational contract) between the Deanery/Foundation School and each GP practice.
  • The Deanery will be responsible for payments to general practice based education supervisors for Foundation doctors.
Inductions
Will having shorter placements mean that more inductions are required?
Not necessarily. One of the outcomes of the F2 pilots suggests that to minimise disruption to service provision, a single induction at the beginning of the year for F1s (or F2s) with input from all of the directorates is effective.
Assessments
Why are assessments necessary?
Patients need to be assured that all doctors have demonstrated their ability to practice in accordance with the standards set by the GMC and PMETB. The competences that foundation doctors will be required to achieve are set out in the Curriculum for Foundation Years in Postgraduate Education and Training.
Other FAQs
What career advice and guidance will be available?
The Deanery will have career advice available for trainees.  Careers advice and guidance is a central tenet of foundation programmes and will be available throughout the two years.

What impact will EWTD have on the Foundation Programme?
All Foundation Programmes are being developed in compliance with the European Working Time Directive (WTD).  More information on the EWTD can be found at www.modern.nhs.uk/workingtime

What impact will the Foundation Programme have on on-call?
The Foundation Programme itself will have little impact on on-call arrangements.  Compliance with the EWTD may result in different shift patterns than currently operate, but doctors in the Foundation Programme will participate in out-of-hours working arrangements.

Will there be standard working patterns for trainees throughout the programme?
Working patterns will be determined locally to address both educational and service needs.  As is presently the case, working patterns may vary depending on the clinical placement.

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