Impact of COVID-19 on the UK Foundation Programme 2020

The UKFPO is monitoring the situation concerning COVID-19 closely and in conjunction with our partners elsewhere in the NHS across the UK. 

The situation is complex and has had an impact on:

  • The creation of Interim FY1 (FiY1) posts which can be taken up by incoming FY1 applicants (and other groups, see the FAQs below)
  • The structure of the Foundation Programme being undertaken by current FY1 and FY2 trainees
  • The interview process for applicants to the F2 Standalone Programme
  • Some elements of the application process for the UK Foundation Programme 2021 (which has yet to open)

A summary of key changes/updates can be found below.


Interim F1 (FiY1) Posts

In light of the circumstances with COVID-19, the UKFPO has created interim FY1 (FiY1) posts. The purpose of the posts is to allow FiY1 applicants to support clinical practice prior to the start of their formal FY1 Programme in August 2020.

In the first instance please refer to the UKFPO’s summary of the ‘Allocations to Interim F1 Posts’. Please also see our general ‘FiY1 Training Operational Guide 2020’, to support FiY1 doctors and their trainers and administrators.

If you are a UK Medical School graduate who did not apply for UKFP 2020, or who did apply but subsequently withdrew, you may still have been able to apply for an FiY1 post. Consideration has been given to support doctors in this position, who might be seeking entry to foundation training following the completion of interim F1 posts. For further information please see the UKFPO’s statement on Recruitment to Vacant F1 posts.

Your rights when undertaking an FiY1 post:

Are there any resources to assist me with wellness issues?

Our colleagues at “Doctor’s Training”have been working with HEE to provide resources to assist interim FY1s with their wellness during this difficult period. They have created some wellness resources which can be accessed on the Doctors Training website here.

If I choose to apply for an FiY1, will I be paid?

Yes. You will receive payment in accordance with the F1 pay scale under the medical and dental terms and conditions of service.


If I volunteer to take up an FiY1 post, will I be expected to work at any new hospitals that are set up to support the COVID-19 pandemic.

FiY1 doctors will not be expected to work in any of the new hospitals intended to support the COVID-19 crisis. The role will require you to work in a conventional F1 position.


If I volunteer to take up an FiY1 post, will I be expected to treat patients who have been diagnosed positive for the corona virus?

FiY1 doctors will only be asked to see acutely unwell patients under direct supervision.

I have a health condition which identifies me as being in a high-risk group for COVID-19. Will reasonable precautions be taken to protect me if I undertake an Interim FiY1 post?

Just as with the normal FY1 post, as an Interim FiY1 post-holder, you will be employed by a Trust, and if you have any health conditions of any kind, that Trust is legally obliged to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to allow you to work to the best of your ability. It will be their responsibility to do this and you should communicate with them if necessary. This is one reason why it is essential that you complete a Supporting Trainees Entering Practice (STEP) form for your Interim Trust, even if you already completed one for the Trust which will employ you during your FY1 post (i.e. from August 2020 onwards).

The STEP form and guidance can be found in the resource bank here.

If I have any specific requirements, where can I disclose those in the application form?

Just as you must for your standard FY1 post, all applicants to FiY1 posts must complete a Supporting Trainees Entering Practice (STEP) form for the Foundation School which they are allocated to for the FiY1 post.

The Supporting Trainees Entering Practice (STEP) process is a process which allows incoming applicants to make their employing trusts aware in advance of any special requirements they might have, including disabilities which might require ‘reasonable adjustments’ as required by UK employment law. This is a process that runs normally, aside from COVID-19 or the creation of the interim posts.

The STEP form must be completed prior to taking up your FiY1 post. It must be completed by all applicants, even if you do not have any specific requirements, as it provides other key information to the Foundation School.

The STEP form and guidance can be found in the resource bank here.

Will I be provided with Personal Protective Equipment if taking up an FiY1 post?

Just as with the normal FY1 post, as an Interim FiY1 post-holder, you will be employed by a trust, and that trust is legally responsible for your health and safety – as are you, within reason, as an employee.

It is important to note that FiY1s are not expected to be treating COVID-19 patients, but will instead be supporting more routine clinical practice within Trusts.

If you are not working with COVID-19 patients, then PPE may or may not be provided, based on the judgement of your supervisor and the employing trust. If at any point you do not feel safe or comfortable working with the level of PPE provided, you are not obliged to carry out the work. Your health and safety are of paramount importance.

Will I be provided with an induction and supervision?

Yes, both of these will be organised and provided by your employing trust.

Can I leave the FiY1 post at any time if I want to?

England Only:

Given the current exceptional circumstances, it has been agreed that the standard period of notice can be varied so that an FiY1 is required to give just 48 hours’ notice, subject to local agreement between the employer & the FiY1 doctor.

NB: These are the guidelines set by the UKFPO and our expectation would be that all employing trusts adhere to them, but trusts can deviate from this if they deem it absolutely necessary.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland:

Details are still being determined but in principle should be in line with the above.

What will the terms and conditions of the employment contract be?

England only:

FiY1s will be employed under the 2016 terms and conditions for doctors and dentists in training as if they were foundation year 1 doctors.

Contracts should be dated from the commencement of employment to 4 August 2020 – or a date agreed between the employer and trainee to enable release to move to a new employing organisation to attend shadowing (see shadowing arrangements below).

Where an FiY1 moves to a new employing organisation, a separate contract for the shadowing period will be required – also under the 2016 terms and conditions for doctors and dentists in training as if they were foundation year 1 doctors.

NB: These are the guidelines set by the UKFPO and our expectation would be that all employing trusts adhere to them, but trusts can deviate from this if they deem it absolutely necessary.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland:

Details are still being determined but in principle should be in line with the above.

Will provision be made for sick leave and annual leave during FiY1 posts?

England only:

Annual leave should be the standard entitlement re-calculated on a pro rata basis based on the length of the contract.

To ensure their health and well-being, trainees should be encouraged to take their leave entitlement, and Trusts should accommodate any such requests.

Sick leave and study leave should also be provided on a pro-rata basis.

NB: These are the guidelines set by the UKFPO and our expectation would be that all employing trusts adhere to them, but trusts can deviate from this if they deem it absolutely necessary.

Please state in the general comments section of the application form if you have planned leave or want to finish the post earlier than the commencement of your training post in August. This is to ensure the employer can accommodate this.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland:

Details are still being determined but in principle should be in line with the above.

When does the FiY1 post end? Can I have a break between completing the FiY1 post and starting the FY1 post in August 2020?

In theory FiY1 posts continue up to the start date of the ‘formal’ FY1 post in August 2020, but FiY1s can leave their interim post with 48 hours’ notice if they require a break between the interim post and the ‘formal’ FY1 post, or for any other reason.

Please state in the general comments section of the application form , if you have planned leave or want to finish the post earlier than the commencement of your training post in August. This is to ensure the employer can accommodate this.

What will the working hours be?

Policies on the number of working hours and shift patterns will be determined in the forthcoming contract of employment which is being created by the UKFPO in conjunction with the British Medical Association, NHS Employers and other relevant stakeholders.

Once policies have been set, the implementation of shift patterns and rotas will be down to individual employing trusts.

Is it possible to undertake an FiY1 post on a part-time basis or ask for flexible arrangements?

Currently this has yet to be confirmed, and may depend on the specific trust. More information will be provided here as we have it.

In the meantime you can indicate your preference for part-time or flexible work in the comments section of the application survey.

We aim to accommodate everyone who is willing to help.

Curriculum, Content & Advice


Will FiY1 doctors have access to the foundation ePortfolio?

Yes, you will be contacted about this once the post has commenced.

Will FiY1s be able to access e-Learning for Healthcare’s free modules on COVID-19?

Yes. You can access this now without logging in, on the e-LfH website.

More new content has been added to Health Education England’s e-LfH COVID-19 programme, including four learning paths for nurses and allied health professionals and a document created by the HEE Knowledge Management Team listing resources from Royal Colleges and other professional bodies. The COVID-19 programme now includes:

· Essential Guidance from the NHS, UK Government, WHO and BMJ

· Public Health England – Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

· Infection Prevention and Control

· Resources for Staff Working in Critical Care Setting

· Resources for Staff Working in Acute Hospital Setting

· Resources for Staff Working in Primary Care and Community Setting

· Resources for Return to Work Healthcare Staff

· Resources for Staff being Upskilled or Redeployed

· End of Life Care COVID-19

· Resources for Paramedics

· Resources for Pharmacy Staff

· Equipment Quick Guides

· Wellbeing for Staff

Will the FiY1 experience count towards Annual Review of Competence Progression (ARCP)?

Yes. Activities undertaken as part of the FiY1 experience count towards Foundation Year 1 (FY1) training progression (if the FiY1 doctor is undertaking FY1), although not in terms of the time component of the foundation curriculum.

This means that FiY1 doctors can collect evidence in their e-portfolio that can be used towards their FY1 ARCP in June 2021, but they will still need to complete a full 12 months pro-rata in a formal FY1 programme (August 2020 – July 2021 for most).

It is not obligatory for FiY1 doctors to formally record evidence in their e-portfolio of having met the requirements of the curriculum during this time as an FiY1 doctor. For further guidance please view our ‘FiY1 Training Operational Guide 2020’.

If I undertake a FiY1 placement and then move into a standard FY1 rotation in August 2020, will I be able to complete FY1 early?

No – as above, the time requirement of 12 months (pro-rata) in an FY1 rotation has to be fulfilled to be eligible to complete FY1.

Do FiY1s have to complete an e-portfolio?

Your named Clinical Supervisor must complete an end of placement report for you in your e-portfolio. This is the only mandatory piece of e-portfolio content during your FiY1 placement. You are, however, encouraged to complete other content as well to support you in your training and development. Guidance on the content available in the e-portfolio can be found here.

Do FiY1s have to have an ARCP?

No – anyone undertaking a FiY1 placement must have a Clinical Supervisor’s end of placement report but they will not have an ARCP.

Do FiY1s have to complete a Form R?

No. Anyone who has undertaken a FiY1 placement and continues into an FY1 rotation in August 2020 must declare their FiY1 placement on their FY1 Form R in advance of their ARCP in 2021. Note that Form R is not used at all in Scotland.

I have not completed the Prescribing Safety Assessment (PSA) yet and was planning on taking the sitting in May. If I am in an FiY1 post on the date of the PSA, will I be able to get time off work to take the PSA?

The Prescribing Safety Assessment (PSA) is an end of FY1 requirement. All FY1 doctors can prescribe, but they must be supervised by a senior and/ or ward based pharmacist, even if they have already completed the PSA prior to or during the FY1 year. It is therefore not compulsory that you complete the PSA in May, if you haven’t already.

If you really want to complete it in May, this would need to be discussed with and approved by the Trust in which you are working for your FiY1.

Advice for Pregnant Trainees during the COVID-19 crisis

Pregnant trainees are advised to consult the Royal College of Gynaecologist’s website for advice concerning COVID-19 and pregnancy here and Maternity Action’s FAQs concerning rights and benefits during pregnancy and maternity leave here.

Academy of Medical Royal Colleges – COVID-19 Resources

The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges has created a comprehensive COVID-19 resources page which can be found here.

The Academy has also created a new webpage focusing on mental health and wellbeing support for doctors and other healthcare workers during the COVID-19 outbreak response, which can be found here.

The BMJ – Free COVID-19 Courses

BMJ have created a series of free COVID-19 courses for all foundation trainees which can be found here.


Other Information for Incoming FY1s

Incoming FY1s for August 2020

Deferrals: The UKFPO has published deferral guidance for FY1s who are supposed to start the Foundation Programme in August 2020, but wish to defer. The guidance can be accessed here.

Please note that this deferrals process, including the new criteria accepted as valid reasons for deferring, has been developed in response to the COVID-19 crisis. It therefore applies to August 2020 only, and will not set a precedent for the UKFPO allowing these same criteria to be used for deferring applications in future years.

Recruitment to Vacant F1 Posts

In light of the current crisis, qualified medical students who have either not applied through the national application process for allocation to two-year foundation raining programmes, or who have chosen to subsequently withdraw from this process, have been invited to work in the system in interim F1 posts to support the frontline.

You can find more information about the recruitment process here.


Current FY1 and FY2 Trainees

Changes to placement rotations

Placement rotations have been postponed or cancelled for the remainder of the academic year (up until August 2020). Please contact your employing trust or Foundation School in the first instance.

Annual Review of Competency Progression (ARCP)

In response to the unprecedented situation with COVID-19 the UKFPO has revised the Annual Review of Competency Progression (ARCP) Guidance for 2020. The updated guidance can be found here. We have published a ‘UKFP ARCP Outcomes Operational Guide’ to accompany this guidance.

Are there any other requirements for ARCP aside from the UKFPO amended guidance?

The UKFPO amended guidance summarises all the requirements for a successful ARCP in the current training year. Local education providers/foundation schools may publish further local guidance on the requirement for “An acceptable attendance record at generic foundation teaching sessions”, for example, what types or how many e-learning modules (e-Learning for Health, SCRIPT, etc) are expected. Foundation doctors should follow local guidance, which will always adhere to the national guidance. It is also expected that Foundation Doctors continue to engage with the educational process, including submitting reflections and maintaining a personal development plan (PDP).

When can F1/F2 doctors have their ARCP this year?

To spread out the large amount of work and staff time (both administrative and clinical) required to run ARCPs, it has been agreed that for this year only, ARCPs can be run at any time between April and July 2020, as appropriate to each foundation doctor’s needs. As in normal circumstances, most ARCPs should be completed by the end of June 2020.

Can foundation doctors receive the new COVID-19-specific ARCP outcome 10?

COPMeD have published guidance on the use of ARCP outcome 10. We have published a ‘UKFP ARCP Outcomes Operational Guide’ to accompany this guidance. Please refer to this guide for any outcome 10-related queries.

If I receive an outcome 1 (FY1) or outcome 6 (FY2) earlier than usual, will I be able to complete FY1 or the Foundation Programme early?

The expectation, as in ordinary circumstances, is that Foundation doctors who receive a successful outcome early complete a whole 12 months (pro rata) of training at the level they have been signed off from and are paid accordingly.

>       F1 doctors in this position will rotate to their first F2 placement (if applicable) in August 2020, as originally planned.

— Certificates of Experience (CoEs) will only be completed, for the majority of F1s, in June/July 2020, as in ordinary circumstances. This will allow F1 doctors to apply to the GMC for full registration, which is required to start work as an F2 doctor.

>      F2 doctors in this position will complete the Foundation Programme (and be eligible to take up specialty training if applicable) in August 2020, as originally planned.

e-Learning for Healthcare: Free Modules on COVID-19

You will be able to access this following your allocation to an interim post.

More new content has been added to Health Education England’s e-LfH COVID-19 programme, including four learning paths for nurses and allied health professionals and a document created by our Knowledge Management Team listing resources from Royal Colleges and other professional bodies. The COVID-19 programme now includes: 

·         Essential Guidance from the NHS, UK Government, WHO and BMJ   

·         Public Health England – Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)   

·         Infection Prevention and Control   

·         Resources for Staff Working in Critical Care Setting   

·         Resources for Staff Working in Acute Hospital Setting   

·         Resources for Staff Working in Primary Care and Community Setting   

·         Resources for Return to Work Healthcare Staff   

·         Resources for Staff being Upskilled or Redeployed   

·         End of Life Care COVID-19   

·         Resources for Paramedics   

·         Resources for Pharmacy Staff   

·         Equipment Quick Guides   

·         Wellbeing for Staff 

Advice for Pregnant Trainees during the COVID-19 crisis

Pregnant trainees are advised to consult the Royal College of Gynaecologist’s website for advice concerning COVID-19 and pregnancy here and Maternity Action’s FAQs concerning rights and benefits during pregnancy and maternity leave here.

Academy of Medical Royal Colleges – COVID-19 Resources

The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges has created a comprehensive COVID-19 resources page which can be found here.

The Academy has also created a new webpage focusing on mental health and wellbeing support for doctors and other healthcare workers during the COVID-19 outbreak response, which can be found here.

The BMJ – Free COVID-19 Courses

BMJ have created a series of free COVID-19 courses for all foundation trainees which can be found here.


Applicants to F2 Standalone for 2020

F2 Applicants – Standalone Interviews

Due to concerns over COVID-19, all face to face interviews for the F2 Stand-alone programme have been converted to Skype interviews.

The interviews will still be held on 15th and 16th April 2020 but all interviews will be held over Skype.

If you are an F2 applicant who had booked a face to face interview slot, this has now been cancelled, and you must log in to Oriel and choose a new slot for a Skype interview. You will already have received an email from the UKFPO to explain this.

All the interviews will still take place and there are enough interview slots for everyone.

If you had originally booked a Skype interview instead of a face to face interview, then the time and date of this Skype interview will not have changed.

If you have any queries please contact the UKFPO at helpdesk@foundationprogramme.nhs.uk

*All F2 interviewees must email the above email address with their Skype ID and a copy of one form of colour, photographic ID, which must be valid and within date. A passport (of any nationality) is preferred. This information is required by Thursday 2nd April 2020.*

Changes to the start date of F2 Standalone

The F2 Standalone Programme is currently operating on the same timeline as originally expected, there will not be an option for incoming F2s to start early as interim F2s. If this is revised it will be updated on this webpage.


Applicants to UK Foundation Programme 2021

Implications of IELTS / OET Cancellations

We are aware that many IELTS and OET examinations have been cancelled by the providers due to the ongoing situation with COVID-19. Although this is outside the control of the UKFPO we recognise that this will hinder those applicants for UKFP 2021 who are required to go through the eligibility process.

Our guidance on the application process for UKFP 2021 will be published in May-June 2020, following our standard timeline. The published guidance will contain deadlines for receipt of IELTS and OET which reflect the availability of IELTS and OET examinations.

The UKFPO is dedicated to ensuring that no applicants for UKFP 2021 will be unfairly disadvantaged by COVID-19’s impact on the availability of IELTS and OET examinations over the summer of 2020.