Changes to UKFP 2022: an update from MSC

by Vassili Crispi

Changes to training, testing and career options for final year medical students to be aware of 

Location: UK
Published: Wednesday 18 August 2021

The past year saw significant challenges for final year medical students.

These included accessing postgraduate training, especially related to UKFP (UK Foundation Programme) 2021, the SJT (situational judgement test) and online proctoring issues, and the official announcement of the removal of EAs (educational achievements).

It is imperative that final year medical students are aware of the changes that have been made in response to these issues, which will be implemented during the 2022 application cycle. Despite the frustration and disappointment we have faced, we hope these are the first steps in the right direction. 

Here we provide a summary of the changes future trainees should be aware of, and resources to keep you informed. I strongly urge you to read all the guidance, including handbooks and FAQs, thoroughly before applying.

UKFP 2022 timeline

The national timeline has been updated, bringing the booking window for the SJT forward to 4 October.

The SJT is facilitated by Pearson Vue who also deliver other tests and exams. This change will allow for optimum test centre availability across the country for all students ahead of the test date.

In addition, the application window for UKFP 2022 will take place earlier (8-22 September), while the main allocation dates to all programmes will remain the same.

Oriel improvements

The Oriel recruitment portal will undergo a significant uplift. Applicants will be required to complete one application form, reducing the amount of data entered and duplicated.

Those who wish to apply for SFP (specialised), including academic/research, medical education and leadership/management posts, and FPP (priority programmes), will be able to indicate their intention to apply as outlined above. They will also be presented with additional questions, such as white-space questions and additional educational achievements, to be completed where applicable.

SFP and FPP applicants will be able to set their ranking preferences as soon as they submit their applications. In addition, all white-space questions will be aligned across all SUoAs (specialised units of applications) across the country. Make sure you check the website of each SUoAs for their local selection criteria, eg whether they use white-space questions or additional educational achievements.

Lastly, applicants applying for pre-allocation based on personal circumstances, and those applying for reasonable adjustments for their SJT sitting, can do so as part of the main Oriel application.

Educational achievements score and validation

The deadline for submitting evidence of EAs is also earlier – 22 September.

However, an additional deadline of 3 November has been approved to submit evidence of awards of a degree or publication.

Applicants who may not have had their additional degree awarded by the time of application or a publication published, are required to declare these as part of the Oriel application by the closing of the main application window – 22 September.

During the score validation process by the UKFPO (UK Foundation Programme Office), these applicants will be awarded an initial score of zero. Thereafter, they will be able to submit the newly available evidence via the standard appeal process, which will then result in a revised score.

Pre-allocation criteria

Applications for pre-allocation based on personal circumstances will now take place via Oriel. The criteria have expanded to include significant caring responsibilities, educational circumstances requiring additional support, and widening participation, to include financial difficulties.

These include applicants who will benefit from being in the vicinity of their qualifying medical school or their home address. Medical schools will be required to support and put forward nominations under these criteria. Make sure to check with your school if you believe you may be eligible.

SJT changes

There will be further changes implemented this year as part of the significant issues reported during the UKFP 2021 cycle.

Of note, applicants will be able to apply for reasonable adjustments via Oriel. Furthermore, some additional changes include an optional bathroom break of 10 minutes in addition to any reasonable adjustment, if applicable, for online proctoring, and stricter, updated guidance for proctors. Make sure you check the Pearson Vue website, for updates from the UKFPO.

What next?

The UKFPO has started releasing guidance on their website. Please, make sure you read all the documentation thoroughly. Also, keep an eye out for future communications via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

The BMA medical students committee has represented the national student constituency with external stakeholders in consultations and meetings and will continue to do so to ensure that our voices are heard at those tables.

If you want to have your say on our approach, please get in touch with your local representative by emailing [email protected]

If you have any questions regarding these changes, please get in touch with a BMA adviser.

Vassili Crispi is the BMA medical students committee deputy chair for education