Foundation programme will have unfilled places this yearBMJ 2017; 356 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j903 (Published 22 February 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;356:j903
All rapid responses
Given the under-subscription why did the UKFPO did not consider those applicants who do not have the right to work in the UK, but are otherwise eligible for the foundation programme (i.e. hold a provisional UK primary medical qualification (PMQ) accredited with the GMC)?
Upon applying for the foundation programme, the UKFPO stated that applicants who are unable to provide evidence of their right to work will not be considered if there is an over-subscription at the time of allocation, which implies that if there is an under-subscription these applicants will be considered. Instead, the UKFPO has cut posts and created a 'pseudo-oversubscription' and removed applicants without a right to work in the UK. To further add salt to the wound, the UKFPO has then advertised posts that are likely to become vacant after the initial allocation period to fully qualified local and international doctors. Makes no sense!
Competing interests: I applied for the foundation programme
Rimmer’s commentary on the waning of applications for foundation posts, specialty training and medical school is not a surprise to medical students. Personally, I have been advised on several occasions that it is not too late to ‘get out now’ and seek other careers with better lifestyles. The consensus from our professional peers is that the strain on doctors is only going to get worse for our generation. Medical student morale is low with many considering careers in Medical Law and Business after finals.
Whilst most of us will certainly apply for foundation posts, greener pastures in the USA, Australia and New Zealand are attracting more of us. Many students are now choosing an increased workload in studying for the USMLE to improve their options. The uncertainty of the new contracts is casting a gloomy shadow over a stretch of our lives we were once so excited about. Choosing to take an F3 year is giving worried junior doctors extra time to consider whether they will be able to withstand the pressure and if it’s worth it. Currently most 4th year medical students have accrued £60,000 in debt with an interest rate of 4.6% which can be increased at any time. Students’ Unions are advising University students to boycott the National Student Survey this year to try to prevent fees increasing to £10,000 next year.
Whilst the media coverage of the new contracts will certainly play a part in the decline in medical school applications, I feel the role of medical friends and family in dissuading students from Medicine may be playing a bigger part than people realise. Medicine is a deeply rewarding and dynamic profession, but the increasing risk of burn-out, increasing debt and uncertain pay I fear will considerably affect our ability to attract and retain high quality staff.
Competing interests: No competing interests