Since August 2005, all medical graduates in the UK must enter a foundation programme. This is a two-year planned programme of training where doctors learn about working in the teams that deliver care in the NHS as well as the clinical aspects of caring for sick patients.
The programme comprises a series of placements in a variety of specialties and healthcare settings as well as the opportunity for some doctors to experience working with academic teams.
Foundation year 1 (F1)
The learning objectives for this year are set by the General Medical Council. At the end of the first year of the Foundation Programme, doctors are able to register with the General Medical Council (GMC) if their practice has achieved the required standard.
Foundation year 2 (F2)
The F2 year will encompass team working, the use of evidence and data, time management, communication and IT skills, although the main focus of training will be the assessment and management of the acutely ill patient.
UHSFT programmes and rotations
We currently have 58 foundation year one programmes at Southampton. This is made up of 3 x 4 month posts. Details of the posts available are found here
The F2 programme currently has 56 rotations with a variety of posts including seven full rotations in primary care. Twelve rotations are currently allocated to Academic Trainees and consist of two clinical posts, plus one in a variety of academic specialities.
All doctors in the foundation programme have a named educational supervisor. Within the Trust there's a foundation programme lead responsible for each year of training and a foundation programme director who oversees the whole programme. For each post, the doctor has a named clinical supervisor who will ensure progress and support assessments during the post.
Foundation trainee portfolios
Trainee portfolios form a critical part of the education and training process. These are monitored by scheduled portfolio reviews with the foundation programme leads. Sign-up for full GMC registration at the end of year one will depend on a minimum level of portfolio grading. In foundation year two, full sign-up will also be dependent on a minimum standard of portfolio.
UHSFT foundation programme teaching
Foundation doctors at UHS attend eight full study days over each year. We audit attendance at these courses to ensure compliance with the foundation school standards. The study days are run on Thursdays during the first post (August to December) and last post (April to July) in the F1 year. Additional training opportunities for F1 doctors include clinical skills competencies training days, safer prescribing course and consent training. All F1 doctors at Southampton will complete the ALS training course and 'keep calm', the Wessex Deanery resilience training. Attendance at foundation training days is expected and recorded and must be presented as part of the ARCP annual sign off for each year.
There is an additional half-day learning programme for F2 doctors on the academic rotations, to provide an introduction to the skills that they will need to pursue an academic career. This typically covers subjects such as statistics, how to obtain a grant, how to source information and how to develop a research question.
Quality of foundation programme posts
The last quality assurance visit took place at UHSFT in January 2016 with generally very positive feedback from the foundation programme director and the visiting team.