The Foundation Programme
FAQs

01 General


  1. What is the role of the UKFPO?
  2. What is the purpose of assessment in foundation training?
  3. What assessment tools are to be used?
  4. What are supervised learning events (SLEs)?
  5. What standard should trainees be assessed to?
  6. When will the Curriculum and Reference Guide 2016 be reviewed?
  7. What e-learning resources should I direct my foundation doctors to?
  8. What is the difference between F1 and F2?
  9. What is the recommended length of a Foundation Programme placement?
  10. Can doctors use study leave to prepare for specialty exams?
  11. What formal teaching do foundation doctors get during foundation training?
  12. How do I manage doctors in difficulty?
  13. What dates should foundation doctors changeover for 3 month and 4 month placements?
  14. How can I help a doctor set up an effective taster?
  15. Who employs foundation doctors?

02 Foundation school structure


  1. What is the role of the foundation school director (FSD)?
  2. What is the role of the foundation school manager?
  3. What is the role of the foundation programme training director/tutor?
  4. What is the role of the educational supervisor?

03 E-Portfolio


  1. What is in the Foundation Programme e-portfolio?
  2. Who has access to a doctor's e-Portfolio?
  3. Can a F2 Stand-alone have access to the FP e-Portfolio?

04 Prescribing Safety Assessment


  1. If I passed the Prescribing Safety Assessment (PSA) in 2015, will I need to be reassessed this year?

01 General


  1. What is the role of the UKFPO?

    The UKFPO manages the national application process to the Foundation Programme, issues guidance on foundation training and promotes the consistent delivery of the Foundation Programme across the UK. Working with partners, the UKFPO enables the sharing of good practice to help raise the standards of training. It is funded by, and is accountable to, the four UK health departments.

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  2. What is the purpose of assessment in foundation training?

    The assessment tools and process are described in the Curriculum. The purpose of assessment in the Foundation Programme is to:

    • highlight achievements and areas of excellence;
    • promote regular feedback;
    • supply and demonstrate evidence of progression linked to the Curriculum; and
    • identify doctors who may need additional help.

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  3. What assessment tools are to be used?

    The assessment tools used during foundation training are found below:

    Assessments Frequency
    e-Portfolio Contemporaneous
    Core procedures Throughout F1
    Team assessment of behaviour (TAB) Once in first placement in both F1 and F2, optional repetition
    Clinical supervisor end of placement report Once per placement
    Educational supervisor end of placement report Once per placement
    Educational supervisor's end of year report Once per year

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  4. What are supervised learning events (SLEs)?

    There are supervised learning events to help you demonstrate engagement with the learning process and to gain valuable feedback to encourage development.

    Supervised learning event Recommended minimum number
    Direct observation of doctor/patient interaction:
    Mini-CEX
    DOPS
    3 or more per placement*
    (minimum of nine observations per year; at least six must be mini-CEX)
    Case-based discussion (CbD) Two or more per placement*
    Developing the clinical teacher Once or more per year

    *based on a clinical placement of four month duration

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  5. What standard should trainees be assessed to?

    The FP Curriculum (2016) and FP Reference Guide (2016) came into effect from May 2016. For any doctors who train out of phase or work less than full-time, they may need to complete their training following the Curriculum and Reference Guide 2010. The e-Portfolio package used by foundation doctors will reflect which version of the Curriculum they are following

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  6. When will the Curriculum and Reference Guide 2016 be reviewed?

    The next review of the Curriculum and Reference Guide is proposed for 2021.

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  7. What e-learning resources should I direct my foundation doctors to?

    The FP Curriculum 2016 Resource aims to assist foundation doctors in improving their knowledge and understanding of the generic and clinical topics set out in the Curriculum. It lists many of the freely available, evidence-based resources.

    E-learning for Healthcare is a free and innovative e-learning resource for foundation doctors. It is designed specifically to support the Curriculum and is approved by the UKFPO. The material has been developed by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges in partnership with e-Learning for Healthcare (e-LfH), Click here for more details.

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  8. What is the difference between F1 and F2?

    Foundation year 1 (F1) enables medical graduates to begin to take supervised responsibility for patient care and consolidate the skills that they have learned at medical school. Satisfactory completion of F1 allows the relevant university (or their designated representative in a postgraduate deanery or foundation school) to recommend to the GMC that the foundation doctor can be granted full registration.

    Foundation year 2 (F2) doctors remain under clinical supervision (as do all doctors in training) but take on increasing responsibility for patient care. In particular they begin to make management decisions as part of their progress towards independent practice. F2 doctors further develop their core generic skills and contribute more to the education and training of the wider healthcare workforce e.g. nurses, medical students and less experienced doctors. At the end of F2 they will have begun to demonstrate clinical effectiveness, leadership and the decision making responsibilities that are essential for hospital and general practice specialty training. Satisfactory completion of F2 will lead to the award of a foundation achievement of competence document (FACD) which indicates that the foundation doctor is ready to enter a core, specialty or general practice training programme.

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  9. What is the recommended length of a Foundation Programme placement?

    The Foundation Programme is a two-year programme comprising F1 and F2 rotations. Placements are typically between four and six months in length.

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  10. Can doctors use study leave to prepare for specialty exams?

    Study leave should not be used to prepare for specialty examinations during foundation training but may be used to take a specialty examination.

    For more information on study leave please read the Reference Guide.

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  11. What formal teaching do foundation doctors get during foundation training?

    F1 doctors are entitled to three hours of in-house, formal education as part of their working week which should be relevant, protected ('bleep-free'), and appropriate to their F1 training. Foundation doctors must be released to attend and should give their pagers to someone else so that they can take part.

    F2 doctors may receive three hours of in-house, formal education as part of their working week which should be relevant, protected ('bleep-free') and appropriate to their F2 training, although this is not guaranteed.

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  12. How do I manage doctors in difficulty?

    Please read Reference Guide for information on supporting doctors in difficulty.

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  13. What dates should foundation doctors changeover for 3 month and 4 month placements?

    Typically, placements consist of 3 x 4 month placements in each foundation year commencing August; the start date for each placement is decided locally.

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  14. How can I help a doctor set up an effective taster?

    For an embedded taster experience template see Appendix 13 of the Reference Guide.

    You can also read the 'Specialty tasters in the Foundation Programme: Guidance for foundation schools' document.

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  15. Who employs foundation doctors?

    The foundation doctor is employed by a healthcare organisation and not the Foundation School. The number of employers that a foundation has during the Foundation Programme, may vary dependant on where they are allocated. The ideal situation is that they are employed by a host organisation (normally a Trust in England) for the whole of the year of the Foundation Programme but this is not always possible and they may have to change employers during the rotations of the foundation programme. Each of the six, four-month posts in the Foundation Programme will require a separate employment contract due to the nature of the different posts and bandings attached to each post. Information regarding a foundation doctor's employer will be provided on allocation to the Foundation Programme.

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02 Foundation school structure


  1. What is the role of the foundation school director (FSD)?

    The FSD is the head of the foundation school and is accountable to the dean. Supported by a foundation school manager (FSM) and appropriate administrative staff, the FSD helps set the strategic direction of the school and is responsible for quality management.

    Please see the Reference Guide (para 5.41-5.42) for more information.

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  2. What is the role of the foundation school manager?

    The FSM is responsible for the management of the operational and resource-related activities of the foundation school. The FSM is accountable to the FSD and, with administrative support, the FSM may represent the school and/or the deanery in allocation, recruitment and training matters which relate to the Foundation Programme.

    Please refer to the Reference Guide (para. 5.43-5.44) for more information.

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  3. What is the role of the foundation programme training director/tutor?

    In partnership with LEPs, the FTPD/T is responsible for the management and quality control of a F1 programme, F2 programme or a two-year Foundation Programme. There must be a named FTPD/T for each programme.

    Please read the Reference Guide (para 5.45-5.51) for more information.

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  4. What is the role of the educational supervisor?

    An educational supervisor is a registered and licensed medical practitioner who is selected and appropriately trained to be responsible for the overall supervision and management of a specified foundation doctor's educational progress during a training placement or series of placements. Only clinicians committed to and engaged in teaching and training foundation doctors should undertake the role.

    Please read the Reference Guide (para 5.52-5.59) for more information.

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03 E-Portfolio


  1. What is in the Foundation Programme e-portfolio?

    The foundation e-portfolio will help foundation doctors in planning their learning and to demonstrate progression. It contains:

    • Personal and Professional Development Plan (PDP)
    • Meetings with your educational and clinical supervisor(s)
    • Assessments
    • Supervised learning events (SLEs)
    • Reflective reports and other evidence
    • Sign-off documents

    The e-Portfolio should also include summaries of feedback from trainers. It is the doctor's responsibility to keep their e-Portfolio up to date and without it, they will not be able to satisfactorily complete F1 and the Foundation Programme as a whole. The foundation training programme director or tutor (FTPD/T) is responsible for reviewing the e-Portfolio at the end of each year to check that the required level of competence has been reached during the F1/F2 Annual Review of Competence Progression (ARCP). For more information, see the FP Reference Guide (2016).

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  2. Who has access to a doctor's e-Portfolio?

    A list of who can access a foundation doctor's e-portfolio is given in the Reference Guide (Appendix 9e Table 1).

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  3. Can a F2 Stand-alone have access to the FP e-Portfolio?

    The e-Portfolio is designed for doctors following a recognised two year programme. If a deanery/foundation school wishes to share any e-portfolio content with their F2 Stand-alone it is a local decision.

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04 Prescribing Safety Assessment


  1. If I passed the Prescribing Safety Assessment (PSA) in 2015, will I need to be reassessed this year?

    A PSA pass result is valid for 2 recruitment years i.e. FP 2016 and FP 2017.

    Therefore if you passed the Prescribing Safety Assessment in 2015, you will not be required to undertake the assessment again for FP 2016.

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