Stand-alone FAQs

Visit this section regularly to see the new frequently asked questions posted. Our questions are split into groups to make them easier to view.(FAQ'S for 2019 Programmes, FAQ'S for 2020 are to be published soon.)


English Language Proficiency
How do I demonstrate my English Language Proficiency? 

Applicants are required to provide ONE of the following:

  • Primary medical qualification undertaken solely in English including all examinations undertaken solely in English and that the primary medical qualification included at least 75% of contact with patients in English. NB: See list of institutions from which the GMC will not accept evidence of English language proficiency: Using your primary medical qualification
  • A valid IELTS certificate with a minimum score of 7.5 in each domain (speaking, listening, reading and writing). 
  • A minimum of 3 months paid employment as a doctor in the NHS.
Can I provide evidence of the Occupational English Test (OET) to demonstrate my English Language Proficiency?

No, the UKFPO do not currently accept Occupational English Test (OET) qualifications.

When do I need to provide evidence of satisfactory completion of IELTS?

At the time of application and by the application deadline of Thursday 31st January 2019 at 12:00 GMT. You will be asked to provide this information as part of the online application form.

Can I provide evidence that I have worked in the NHS instead of completing IELTS?

Applicants who have worked in the NHS in paid employment as a doctor for a minimum of 3 months can submit a consultant testimony.

Consultant testimonies will be accepted for work in both general practice and hospital settings. Please be advised that this evidence will not be accepted if it relates to employment on an ad hoc locum basis. The Consultant Testimony Proforma can be found in Appendix 5 on page 30 of the Applicant Guidance.

I am unlikely to receive my IELTS certificate until after the application deadline. What can I do? 

You should provide the details of your Test Report Form (TRF) number as part of your application form. The UKFPO will verify your TRF number with the IELTS online provider.

How long are IELTS certificates valid for?

IELTS certificates must be dated no earlier than 7th August 2017.

My overall score is 7.5 but I scored 7 in one of the domains. Will this be accepted?

No. The requirement is for applicants to demonstrate a score of 7.5 in each of the four domains at one sitting.

I have attempted IELTS several times and I have now achieved a score of 7.5 in each domain. Do you have a first sitting policy? Do I need to achieve a score of 7.5 in each domain on the first attempt?

No. Your IELTS certificate must be dated no earlier than 7th August 2017. You do not need to have achieved a score of 7.5 in each domain at your first sitting of IELTS.

Applicants need to have achieved a score of 7.5 in each domain as part of one sitting of IELTS. Scores will not be accepted across multiple sittings of the test. This could have been at your third attempt though, for example.

Registration with the General Medical Council (GMC)
How can I check which registration I am eligible for?

We would advise you to use the GMC's online applicant registration tool to identify the correct application for you and provide you guidance on the steps you need to take. Please click here to use the tool.

Do I need to have full registration and a licence to practice with the GMC at the time of application?

No. Applicants must hold full registration and a licence to practise by the start of the programme.

What is PLAB?

The Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board test, or the PLAB test, helps us to make sure doctors who qualified abroad have the right knowledge and skills to practise medicine in the UK. There are two parts to the PLAB test.

Do I need to take PLAB?

If you graduated from a medical school outside of the UK, European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, you’ll probably need to take the PLAB test. The PLAB test will check that you know and can do the same as a doctor starting the second year of their Foundation Programme training in the UK. Further information can be found on the GMC's website here

What does the PLAB test involve?

There are two parts to the test. Part 1 is a written multiple-choice exam, with 180 single best answer questions. Part 2 is a practical objective structured clinical exam, known as an OSCE. You’ll need to pass both parts before you can apply for registration with a licence to practise medicine in the UK.

What is PLAB 1?

PLAB 1 is a written exam made up of 180 multiple choice questions which you must answer within three hours. Each starts with a short scenario followed by a question. You need to choose the right answer out of the five possible answers given. You can sit part 1 in a number of countries, as well as in the UK. Have a look at the available locations and dates when you log in to GMC Online.

What is PLAB 2?

PLAB 2 is an objective structured clinical exam. It's made up of 18 scenarios, each lasting eight minutes and aims to reflect real life settings including a mock consultation or an acute ward. Part 2 tests run throughout the year at the clinical assessment centre.

Previous Experience
I have previously completed foundation training. Am I eligible to apply?

Applicants who have successfully completed the F2 year and have received a Foundation Achievement of Competency Document (FACD) / Foundation Programme Certificate of Competence (FPCC) are not eligible to apply for stand-alone posts.

I am currently a F1 trainee and want to apply for a F2 Stand-alone post. Do I have to resign?

You can apply whilst in your current post and do not have to resign to apply.

Applicants who are currently working as an F1 trainee as part of the UK Foundation Programme are kindly reminded of their professional obligations in accordance with the GMC’s Good Medical Practice 2013. The expectation is for current F1 trainees to notify their current foundation school and employing organisation of any offers for F2 Stand-alone programmes that they accept and wish to pursue.


Do I need to sit the Situational Judgement Test (SJT)?

No. This is not a requirement for recruitment to stand-alone programmes.

Do I need to undertake a clinical assessment?

No. This is not a requirement for recruitment to stand-alone programmes.

Do I need to submit an eligibility application?

No. This is not a requirement for recruitment to stand-alone programmes.

Can I apply to F1 Stand-alone programmes?

The UKFPO are currently not recruiting for F1 Stand-alone programmes, this will be reviewed based on the number of allocations to the 2-year foundation programme. This information will be provided in March/April 2019 if applicable.

What is the expected start date for stand-alone posts? Would I be able to delay my start date?

All stand-alone posts commence at the start of the foundation training year at the beginning of August (typically the first Wednesday of the month). Stand-alone posts are fixed-term for one-year and the curriculum for foundation training is both time and competency based.

All trainees will need to undertake the full year of training in order to achieve the requirements of the curriculum. If you are unlikely to be able to start a position you have accepted an offer for, you are advised to contact your allocated foundation school at the earliest possible convenience.

Are trainees in working in stand-alone posts required to undertake the Prescribing Safety Assessment (PSA)?

All foundation trainees are required to pass the PSA. F1 and F2 stand-alone trainees who have not previously passed the exam will be given the opportunity to sit the PSA during the course of the training year in September, March and May. Please refer to the additional guidance document here.

Will there be any other opportunities to apply for foundation training posts?

All recruitment to foundation training posts is managed by the UK Foundation Programme Office. For entry to the 2019 Foundation Programme, applicants must apply from 1st – 31st January 2019.

Foundation schools will not be recruiting to training posts separately. There may be Locum Appointment for Service (LAS) posts available for you to apply to. LAS posts are temporary posts without a recognised training component and are not usually assessed for the competencies required to complete a Foundation Programme. You would have a clinical supervisor, but not an educational supervisor. These posts are usually advertised by individual employing organisations (hospital trusts) via

I have previously worked as a foundation trainee but didn’t complete the programme. Do I need to notify you of this?

Any applicant who has previously resigned or has been removed from foundation training or a one-year standalone programme will be required to declare this on their application form and submit a reapplication to foundation training form. However, you can only apply if you have or expect to hold full registration with the GMC.

Applicants should upload the completed and signed form to the ‘document upload functionality’ in Oriel by 12:00 (GMT) on Monday 31st January 2019.

Application Form
How do I submit my application?

All applications should be submitted through the Oriel (national online application system). Applicants can access Oriel via Applicants are advised to start their applications early to allow sufficient time to complete the necessary sections of the application form and to gather evidence in support of their application.

All applicants must first register an account on Oriel before applying to a particular vacancy. Applicants for the Foundation Programme must register under the ‘Foundation’ staff group by selecting the ‘UK Foundation Programme’ logo icon on the homepage.

How do I provide the evidence of fitness to practice?

This is a self-declaration part of the application form. It is expected that most applicants will not have anything to declare. You will only be required to provide information if you have been subject to disciplinary proceedings whilst at medical school or during your training.

How will my clinical knowledge and skills be assessed?

This section will be assessed during the interview rather than the application form. Applicants will be asked at least one clinical scenario as part of the interview process.

Is there an option to link stand-alone applications?

No. Linking only applies to the allocation process to the two-year Foundation Programme. Applicants for F2 stand-alone posts will not be able to link their applications.

What does longlisting entail?

The UKFPO will carry out a central process of longlisting in accordance with the eligibility. A second phase of longlisting will be conducted and will involve clinician-led panels to review desirable experience.

When do I need to have completed ILS by?

Applicants are required to provide evidence of a valid ILS certificate or equivalent by the start of the programme.

If you do not have ILS or equivalent at the point at which you accept an offer. You are advised to discuss this with your foundation school and / or employing organisation at the earliest opportunity. Your employer might be able to arrange for you to undertake ILS shortly after you commence in post.

What certificates are acceptable equivalents of ILS and how long are they valid for?
  • Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) – valid for 4 years
  • Advanced Life Support (ALS) – valid for 4 years
  • Immediate Life Support (ILS) - valid for 1 year
When will I be notified if I have been longlisted?

Applicants will be notified of their outcome on Monday 18th February 2019.

What will the interview involve?

Each panel interview will be scheduled for a duration of 20 minutes. Applicants will be asked a series of questions, including a clinical scenario.

Interview panels will consist of at least 2 panel members who are familiar with the curriculum and assessments of the UK Foundation Programme. At least one panel member will be a clinician.

Can I attend an interview via Skype?

Yes. Applicants will have the option to book interviews between Thursday 21st - Thursday 28th February 2019. Applicants can choose to attend a face-to-face or a Skype interview.

Applicants will also be required to show photographic identification at the start of the Skype interview and move the camera around the room so that the panel can ensure that the applicant is alone. It will be the applicant’s responsibility for ensuring a robust internet connection and a suitable, quiet location to conduct the interview.

When will I be notified of my interview outcome?

Interview outcomes will be released to applicants on Monday 18th March 2019. Applicants will be advised if they were successful or unsuccessful on this date.

All applicants will receive a breakdown of their scores for each interview question and detailed feedback from the panel. There will be no opportunity to appeal the outcome of the interview.

Offers & Preferencing
When is the preferencing window?

The preferencing window will open on Tuesday 19th March 2019 and will close at 12:00 noon (GMT) on Tuesday 26th March 2019.

There will be no further opportunity for applicants to rank programme preferences or to amend their preferences in Oriel once the deadline has been reached.

I missed the preferencing window, what happens now?

You will be randomly matched to programmes in rank order secondary to applicants who actively ranked programmes in the ‘preference’ column.

How does the offers process work?

All applicants will be given a unique rank based on their interview score.

Applicants will receive offers based on a meritocratic algorithm whereby the highest scoring applicant will be matched to their highest programme preference choice available. The system will attempt to match applicants to their highest choice in the first instance and work through the list of preferences in rank order.

When will the offers windows run?

The offers windows will run across three consecutive weeks with effect from week commencing Monday 25th March 2019. Offers will also be released on Wednesdays, with the deadline for applicants to respond on the following Friday.

There will also be a clearing process conducted later in the timeline.

How long do I have to respond to an offer?

You will be given 48-hours to respond to their offer. If you miss the deadline to either accept or decline their offer, the offer will expire and will automatically be declined. No further offers will be made.

How do I register on Oriel?

To set up a new account and register, go to www.oriel.nhs.ukAll applicants must first register an account on Oriel before applying to a particular vacancy. Applicants for the Foundation Programme must register under the ‘Foundation’ staff group by selecting the ‘UK Foundation Programme’ logo icon on the homepage.



How do I change my staff group on Oriel?

To change the staff group on your existing account, you will need to go to the profile area (the small person icon in the top right corner of the screen and expand the ‘Account Info’ section. You will then need to click on the ‘edit’ button which will enable you to select ‘Standalone Foundation’ from the list of staff groups. When you save this change, you will see the abbreviation ‘SAFND’ on your profile in ‘Account Info’.

Staff Group


How do I search for Vacancies on Oriel?
  1. Click on the UK Foundation Programme logo / staff group.
  2. Select ‘Vacancies’ from the toolbar across the top of the screen.
  3. Select ‘Standalone Foundation’ from the drop-down menu entitled ‘I am applying to:’ You may need to untick ‘Foundation’ as an option as this will generate search results for the two-year programme for provisionally registered doctors.
  4. Vacancies will appear in the results box for you to select. Click the status box to the right of the vacancy listed.
  5. Once you have selected the F2 Stand-alone vacancy, you will be directed to the advert information and once the vacancy is open, you will be able to apply by accessing the application form through this next screen.


How do I book an interview slot on Oriel?

To book an interview slot on Oriel, once you have logged into the system, you will need to select the ‘interviews’ tab from your dashboard.


You will be presented with all four options available to you:

  • Face-to-face interview on Monday 11th March 2019
  • Face-to-face interview on Tuesday 12th March 2019
  • Skype interview on Monday 11th March 2019
  • Skype interview on Tuesday 12th March 2019

Once you have selected the type of interview and the date you wish to attend, you will be able to choose a time that is suitable for you.

How do I rank my programme preferences on Oriel?

Once the preferencing window has opened, you will be able to rank all available programmes in order of preference by clicking on the ‘applications’ tab from your dashboard on Oriel.


Once you have clicked on the ‘applications’ tab, you will be presented with your stand-alone application form. Click into your application form.

You will need to navigate to the preferences page of your application form (page 9 of 10). You will then be able to drag and drop individual programmes into one of the three columns and in order of preference. You can also download the preferences in an Excel compatible file.

Programmes which you actively wish to be considered for should be listed in the ‘preference’ column in rank order.

You could receive offers for programmes listed in the ‘no preference’ column’.

Preferences 2