Inter-Foundation School Transfers (IFST) FAQs

When can I apply for the IFST?

The dates will be published for each recruitment round in due course. The application window is usually in March/April of each year for the training year starting in August of that year.  

Who should apply for the IFST?

You can apply for the IFST if you are a current foundation doctor or if you have been allocated to a foundation school and your circumstances have changed since you originally applied. This is based on the premise that you are no longer able to manage your training and your caring/health responsibilities in your allocated/current location.   

I have recently been allocated to the two-year Foundation Programme and my personal circumstances have changed. Can I apply for a transfer to a different foundation school even though I haven’t commenced F1 training?

You are encouraged to discuss your situation with your medical school/allocated foundation school in the first instance. There may be local support mechanisms or adjustments that can be made to enable you to continue in your allocated programme.

You can apply for an IFST as part of the national process. If your circumstances have changed since your initial application to the two-year Foundation Programme, you should read the guidance on our website.

I am a current F1 doctor and my personal circumstances have changed. Can I move to a programme at a different foundation school for my F2 year?

You are encouraged to discuss your situation with your Clinical/Educational Supervisor in the first instance. There may be local support mechanisms or adjustments that can be made to enable you to continue in your existing programme.

You can apply for an IFST as part of the national process. If your circumstances have changed since you commenced your programme, you should read the guidance on our website.

How do I apply for a transfer to a different foundation school?

You need to complete the electronic IFST form available on our Forms and Guidance page and submit it to your local foundation school. 

I don’t meet any of the criteria to be considered for an Inter-Foundation School Transfer (IFST), but I’m really not happy and do not wish to continue in my existing programme. What options are available to me?

We strongly advise you to speak to your Clinical and/or Educational Supervisor depending on your concerns. There will be support mechanisms available for you to access within your existing foundation school and/or employing organisation as appropriate.

What are the criteria for applying for IFST?

The criteria for applying for a transfer between foundation schools are largely based on the criteria for applying for pre-allocation to a particular foundation school as part of the national foundation application process. The criteria are outlined in the IFST applicant guidance.  

If you have already commenced training, your IFST request will also be subject to a satisfactory ARCP Outcome 1. Other outcomes will not be accepted except for in exceptional circumstances and generally for applications considered outside of the national process. 

My application for pre-allocation was rejected. Can I apply for a transfer once allocated?

The criteria for IFST are similar as for pre-allocation (with slightly fewer qualifying criteria). If your pre-allocation application was rejected, the evidence you provided was not sufficient to demonstrate that you need to be in a specific geographical area, for specific caring or health reasons, to undertake foundation training. It is therefore likely that this evidence will be insufficient for IFST. To be eligible for an IFST, your circumstances must have changed since the point of application.  

What supporting documents should I submit with my application?

Information regarding supporting documents is in the IFST Guidance. 

I can’t add a digital signature to my form, what should I do?

We accept typed signatures.

What if my circumstances change after the close of the application window?

It is recognised that situations may arise after the close of the application window. This should be discussed with your allocated foundation school. Applications will be accepted where it can be demonstrated that the applicant’s personal circumstances have changed since the close of the application window. There will be no further applications allowed if individuals have had an application or appeal rejected in that training year. 

What if I don’t want to take the programme I am offered in the transfer?

As you will be applying for an IFST due to changes in your circumstances, which make it impossible to manage your training and your caring/health responsibilities in your allocated current location, it is expected that you will take up any programme offered to you by the receiving school. If you decide not to take up the offered programme, the application will be terminated, and you will be expected to stay in the current foundation school. 

What if there are no places available in my chosen location?

Applications will be dependent on the capacity at the receiving foundation school regardless of the circumstances. In cases where capacity is a challenge, particularly in oversubscribed regions, you will be added to a waiting list for the foundation school and will be expected to continue working at your current location. Applicants are advised that it might not be possible for a transfer to take place if there are no places available.  

I have been offered a transfer, what should I do next?

If you are a current F1 doctor, you should provide notice to your current employer/trust once your transfer has been finalised and you have been allocated to a new employing organisation/programme. Prior to this, you should let your current trust and Foundation Programme Director know that you are applying for a transfer and awaiting the outcome.   

I am currently working less than full-time (LTFT), can I be transferred to a LTFT vacancy?

All foundation schools support LTFT working based on certain criteria. However, a doctor’s LTFT status cannot be guaranteed and a transfer to a LTFT programme will depend on capacity in the receiving foundation school/new region.  

A doctor who is currently working LTFT will still be considered for a transfer to a full-time vacancy should one arise. The doctor will be expected to follow local procedures and fulfil the requirements necessary to work LTFT in the receiving foundation school/new region    

I am the subject of a Fitness to Practice investigation, do I need to disclose this?

Students/foundation doctors are asked to disclose if they are currently the subject of a grievance, General Medical Council (GMC), criminal or any other investigation. If you indicate that you are subject to any of the above, you are required to provide additional information through the Fitness to Practice (FTP) Disclosure to support your application.    

Can I defer my IFST?

No. Applicants must be able to take up a new placement in a new region within the national timeline for transfers, for the window of inter-foundation school transfers (IFST) that you have applied in. 

I don’t meet the criteria for criterion 2, can I apply under criterion 4?

No. Failing to meet the criteria for criterions 1, 2 or 3 is not grounds for an IFST under criterion 4.

What circumstances are considered unique under criterion 4?

Additional examples of Unique Circumstances can be found in Appendix 7, page 26, of the IFST Guidance. Relationships and marriages are generally not considered unique circumstances.

Can I appeal the outcome of my IFST request?

Yes. Appeals information can be found on page 12 of the IFST Guidance.

IFST appeals will only be considered on the grounds that the process has not been applied with appropriate diligence or due care, or that the decision was made in a prejudicial way. Appeals can only be considered on the basis of information supplied at the time of the original application. Additional evidence will not be accepted as part of the appeal.

The IFST Appeals policy and form can be found on our Forms and Guidance page. Check the timeline in the IFST Guidance for the appeals window dates.

IFST forms and guidance are available on our Forms and Guidance page.