The UK Foundation Programme (UKFP) is a two-year, work-based training programme. Most medical students within the UK (and those applying abroad), will apply to the UKFP during their final year of medical school. The UKFP has been created to enable newly qualified doctors to gain the necessary skills before application to specialty / general practice training.
The application is a national process, which allocates you to a specific area in the country known as a ‘deanery’. Following allocation, you then rank individual jobs at hospitals - known as ‘local matching’ within your deanery.
Every year, the UKFP will release a national timeline with the key dates related to registration, application submission and the situational judgement test (SJT). It is imperative you follow this closely! The UKFP application is undertaken through the online system ORIEL. In addition to the normal application, students can apply for special programmes including the academic foundation programme (AFP) and the foundation priority programme (FPP).
Application to the UKFP is based around an application score. This is a score out of 100, based on your educational performance measure (EPM) and the SJT.
Educational performance measure
The EPM is based on two elements: medical school performance in deciles (for which 34-43 points are available) and educational achievements, which are worth up to 7 points (maximum 2 for publications and 5 for additional degrees).
Assessments that determine medical school performance are decided by individual medical schools. Students in the top decline receive 43 points and bottom decline 34 points.
Situational judgement test
The SJT is an assessment methodology designed to test aptitude for employment and the professional attributes expected of a foundation doctor. It is not a knowledge-based exam. Instead, students must rank in order, or choose, the most appropriate choices to certain scenarios encountered during clinical practice. The test comprises 70 questions over 2 hours and 20 minutes. We strongly recommend preparing for the SJT well before the exam date!
Applicants scoring high enough to be on the ‘primary list’ will be allocated to a deanery. In rank order, each applicant will be allocated to their highest preference where a training place is available.
The UKFP can be a daunting and stressful process. Many students will be worried about being allocated a job they want in an area they want. Just remember, all students across the country will be going through the same thing!
Here’s our top tips:
Consider LOCATION early - Ideally where would you like to go and why?
Get EVIDENCE early - Evidence of additional degrees / papers etc.
Read the FPAS HANDBOOK - A rather cumbersome document, but includes all the important information you need to know!
EXCEL SPREADSHEETS - Create an excel spreadsheet to help rank your desired deanery and jobs.
Set REMINDERS - Deadlines creep up so set reminders!
NOT a last minute job - DO NOT leave to the last minute. This determines where you will be for the next 2 years!