Foundation doctors


After medical school, and once you are officially registered as a doctor, come the two foundation years: F1 and F2. Run by the UK Foundation Programme Office (UKFPO), the foundation years follow a supervised, vocational curriculum, made up of placements across various medical specialties. The transition to foundation training marks the move from paid-for education, to employment as a medical professional.

Foundation training allows doctors to put into practice what they have learned at medical school, as well as providing them with the further practical experience needed to work independently and safely as a doctor. This training covers not just core clinical skills, but also professional competencies such as communication and teamwork.

Trainees will not always have complete control over which specialties they are assigned to for learning. However, this will not affect a doctor’s chances of getting onto their specialty training programme of choice; foundation training exists to coach generic skills, not specialty-specific expertise.

The first foundation year usually begins in August after graduation from medical school, with rotation to further placements every three, four or six months, depending on the foundation school. In each placement, a named senior doctor will assume the role of educational supervisor, providing clinical supervision and a structured experience to trainees. However, there is also an emphasis on independent learning; trainees are encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning by keeping portfolios up to date, arranging extra placements and spending time on the ward to build on clinical experience

At the end of each year, doctors must demonstrate that they have met the standards detailed in the Foundation programme curriculum. This is not done through formal written examination, but instead using a range of assessment tools. At the end of F1, doctors attain full GMC registration, and at the end of F2, a Foundation Achievement of Competence Document (FACD).

Commentary Date
Starting out in medicine 01 October 2011
Perspectives on medical careers 01 October 2011