Reconsidering the allocation process for UK foundation training: to rank or not to rank

by Luke Stephenson-Heskey

Have a say on the future of foundation training application system. Find out more about the upcoming UKFPO stakeholder engagement exercise and join us for our national webinar

Location: UK
Published: Wednesday 16 November 2022
Luke Stephenson-Heskey

As the new BMA medical students committee deputy chair for education for the 2022-23 session, I want to formally introduce myself and update you on the latest developments in the education portfolio in relation to the foundation programme allocation method.

Engagement with the UKFPO (UK Foundation Programme Office) remains a key priority of my work this year. We have successfully challenged the UKFPO on numerous occasions on their handling of the SJT (situational judgement test) but are now at a stage where we have built more constructive working relationships with them.

In the recent years, the UKFPO has been reviewing the suitability of the current foundation programme allocation method. with the vision of reforming the system. The MSC along with other stakeholders has been attending the UKFPO working group overseeing the process around this

In this we have strongly advocated that any changes to the allocation method are outlined clearly, transparently, and honestly with suitable timelines and most importantly, that students have a voice to help direct any proposed changes that may affect them.

In the new year the UKFPO will be launching a stakeholder engagement exercise to gather views on what the new system should look like. While we don’t have full details on what the consultation proposal will entail at this stage, this will outline two options – maintaining the current system with certain improvements or adopting an alternative.

While the decision on removing the additional educational achievement points made at the time left many students and the BMA unhappy, now you will have an opportunity to make your voice heard and have a say in your future, and the future of all medical students being allocated their first jobs as junior doctors.

In preparation for this, we are running a national UK webinar ‘Reconsidering the allocation process for UK foundation training’ on Tuesday, 13 December at 7- 8.15pm in conversation with Professor Amir Sam.

Prof Sam is the head of Imperial College School of Medicine and will provide an eye-opening talk about some of the pros and cons of the current system and what an alternative to ranking could look like.

The webinar will be a first step in starting an open discussion on what students want from an alternative model of allocation to the foundation programme.

Registrations are now open any UK student can register for the webinar, whether or not you are a BMA member. Don’t miss it – without your voices we can’t push for the changes we need!

In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us via email, social media or through your local medical school representative.


Luke Stephenson-Heskey is BMA medical students committee deputy chair for education