The Foundation Programme
FAQs

01 General


  1. What is the role of the UKFPO?
  2. Where can I find out more about the Foundation Programme?
  3. What should I do if I'm asked to perform procedures which are inappropriate or beyond my competence?
  4. What salary can I expect as a foundation doctor?
  5. Can I change foundation schools once I've started the programme?
  6. Is it possible to undertake foundation training less than full-time?
  7. What happens if I'm ill during my training?
  8. What happens if I want to take time out during the Foundation Programme?
  9. Can I complete the Foundation Programme in less than two years?
  10. What happens if I require support during my foundation training?
  11. What assessments are used during foundation training?
  12. What is a supervised learning event (SLE)?
  13. Can I use study leave to prepare for specialty exams?
  14. What formal teaching do I get during foundation training?

02 F1


  1. What can I expect from my first year of foundation training (F1)?
  2. Do I need to attend an induction or shadowing period at the start of my programme?
  3. Is there any information I should disclose before starting the Foundation Programme?
  4. Can I defer the start date of my foundation programme?

03 F2


  1. Can I apply for an F2 programme if I have not done an F1 year?
  2. Is F2 structured differently to F1?
  3. How are placements allocated in my F2 year?
  4. Am I allowed to undertake F2 abroad?
  5. What is the 2014 start date for F2s?

04 E-Portfolio


  1. What is the Foundation Programme e-portfolio?
  2. Who has access to my e-portfolio?

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. Where can I find out more about the Foundation Programme?

    The UKFPO website provides a wealth of information and resources to help you understand the Foundation Programme. As an introduction, the 2012 Foundation Programme Rough Guide provides a comprehensive overview of what you can expect. Please note this is currently being updated for 2013.

    It is also a good idea to read the FP Curriculum (2012) and associated Resource (a list of freely available resources to help meet the Currciulum outcomes), and the FP Reference Guide (2012). These resources will help you understand what is expected of you, how the assessments and supervised learning events (SLEs) work, and the requirements for satisfactory completion of F1 and the Foundation Programme.

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  3. What should I do if I'm asked to perform procedures which are inappropriate or beyond my competence?

    Patient safety is of paramount importance and you should only undertake tasks in which you are competent or are learning under supervision. Foundation doctors must not be put in a position where they are asked to work beyond their competence without appropriate support and supervision from their clinical supervisor e.g. the prescription or transcription of cytotoxic or
    immunosuppressive drugs.

    Foundation schools should make foundation doctors aware of and publish on their websites how foundation doctors can raise concerns if they believe that there is not an appropriate balance between service and training.

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  4. What salary can I expect as a foundation doctor?

    The Foundation Programme is a paid training programme. Please go to the NHS Employers website for more information on salary and benefits.

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  5. Can I change foundation schools once I've started the programme?

    There are two ways in which foundation doctors can change from one foundation school to another:

    • Inter-foundation school transfers
    • Competitive application process.

    For further information see the Reference Guide 2012 (Para. 7.63-7.66).

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  6. Is it possible to undertake foundation training less than full-time?

    Less than full-time working is available for the Foundation Programme*. The main reasons include:

    • a disability, which means the doctor needs individual arrangements
    • ill health
    • responsibility for caring for children
    • responsibility for caring for ill/disabled partner, relative or other dependant.

    Deaneries and foundation schools should make it clear how foundation doctors may access less than full-time training.


    *Please note that Tier 4 sponsored doctors are NOT permitted to work less than full-time; this is a condition of the UK Border Agency visa.

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  7. What happens if I'm ill during my training?

    Foundation doctors should be aware of the employer’s sickness absence policy, including their responsibilities for informing the employer of illness and cover arrangements during absences. The maximum permitted absence from training, other than annual leave, during the F1 year is four weeks (see GMC guidance on sick leave for provisionally registered doctors).

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  8. What happens if I want to take time out during the Foundation Programme?

    Foundation doctors may ask to take time out of their two-year foundation programme for a number of reasons, including:

    • gaining clinical experience outside of the Foundation Programme
    • undertaking a period of research
    • a planned career break.

    Foundation doctors who want to take time out of the Foundation Programme (TOFP) should first discuss this with their educational supervisor. The duration of TOFP is usually 12 months and taken between the end of F1 and the beginning of F2.

    For full details please see the Reference Guide 2012 (para 7.79-7.91).

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  9. Can I complete the Foundation Programme in less than two years?

    The Reference Guide 2012 explains the satisfactory requirements for completion of F1/the Foundation Programme. Completion of 12 months in F1 and F2 training is specified.

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  10. What happens if I require support during my foundation training?

    If you require additional support during your foundation training you should discuss these with your  foundation school as soon as possible. 

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  11. What assessments are used during foundation training?

    The assessment tools used during foundation training can be found below:

    Assessments Frequency
    E-portfolio Contemporaneously
    Core procedures Throughout F1
    Team assessment of behaviour (TAB) Once in first placement, 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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  12. What is a supervised learning event (SLE)?

    There are supervised learning event tools 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 patient/doctor 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 One or more per year

    *based on a clinical placement of four month duration

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  13. Can I 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.

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  14. What formal teaching do I 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.

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02 F1


  1. What can I expect from my first year of foundation training (F1)?

    In most cases, you will undertake three four-month placements in different specialties. Formal assessment of your progress will be made at the end of each placement, and at the end of F1 (and F2).

    Assessments will be based on multiple sources of evidence including feedback from senior doctors who have observed practice in the workplace (Placement Supervision Group). Other important evidence will be provided through the e-portfolio including team assessments of behaviour (TAB), engagement with SLEs, reflective practice throughout the placement and satisfactory demonstration of the core procedural skills required by the GMC.

    At the end of F1, your performance and development throughout the year will be reviewed and (if satisfactory) will lead to recommendation to the GMC that you satisfy the requirements for full registration and progression into F2.

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  2. Do I need to attend an induction or shadowing period at the start of my programme?

    To ensure that all new appointees to the Foundation Programme are equipped with the local knowledge and skills needed to provide safe, high quality patient care from their first day as a F1 doctor, they should normally undertake a “shadowing” period. This should include ward-based shadowing of the F1 job that they will be taking up and corporate induction.

    In addition to shadowing, there are three levels of inductions which may be offered:

    • Deanery/foundation school;
    • Employer/local education provider (LEP); and
    • Departmental/workplace.

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  3. Is there any information I should disclose before starting the Foundation Programme?

    Every foundation trainee must complete a transfer of information (TOI) form as part of the TOI process. This is a means of supporting medical students during the transition from medical school to foundation school, and during the F1 year.

    For more information on the TOI process go to the TOI page.

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  4. Can I defer the start date of my foundation programme?

    An applicant who has been accepted onto the Foundation Programme may only defer the start date of their training for a statutory reason (e.g. maternity leave, sickness). Wherever possible, applicants are asked to give their foundation school as much notice as possible of the need to defer the start date. This may allow the foundation school to offer the foundation placement to someone else.

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03 F2


  1. Can I apply for an F2 programme if I have not done an F1 year?

    Yes. You can apply for a stand-alone F2 programme as long as you are eligible for full registration with the GMC. F2 posts are recruited to locally by each foundation school and the UKFPO is not involved.

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  2. Is F2 structured differently to F1?

    Like F1, your F2 rotation will typically consist of three four-month placements.Foundation doctors are expected to revisit the same areas of practice in F2 as for F1 but take on increasing responsibility for patient care. The outcomes for F2 include those for F1 to indicate that foundation doctors are building on previous experience and practising at a more sophisticated and increasingly independent level. Please see the Curriculum for details.

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  3. How are placements allocated in my F2 year?

    Some foundation schools allocate successful applicants to two-year placements are known at the beginning of foundation training. Other schools will allocate only the F1 year initially, with a process for allocation to F2 guaranteeing that the successful applicant will be allocated to a F2 rotation, subject to progression. Each foundation school must publish details about the process used to match to either F1 or two-year programmes, prior to the opening of the Foundation Programme national application process.

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  4. Am I allowed to undertake F2 abroad?

    If you wish to do this, you must discuss it with your foundation school during F1 as there is considerable variation across foundation schools. See the FP Reference Guide (2012) (Paras 12.21-12.23) for more details.

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  5. What is the 2014 start date for F2s?

    The 2014 start date for F2s is Wednesday 6 August 2014.

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04 E-Portfolio


  1. What is the Foundation Programme e-portfolio?

    Your foundation e-portfolio will help you in planning your 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

    It is your responsibility to keep your e-Portfolio up to date. Your e-portfolio will be reviewed throughout your training, and ultimately used to review evidence during the F1/F2 Annual Review of Competence Progression (ARCP). 

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  2. Who has access to my e-portfolio?

    A list of who can access your e-portfolio is given in the Reference Guide 2012 (Appendix 11e Table 1).

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