Foundation Programme Allocation Process Stakeholder Engagement Outcome:

Posted on:

Major Change To Foundation Programme Allocation Process For 2024 Recruitment

A change in the way that the UK Foundation Programme allocation process will be managed for 2024 has been agreed by the four UK statutory education bodies.

This move will see the introduction of a new allocation model for medical graduates that means applicants will be given a computer-generated ranking and the removal of the need to sit the Situational Judgment Tests (SJT).

The changes have been backed by the Medical Schools Council, the British Medical Association and all four UK governments and apply to all medical graduates as part of their allocation to a foundation school in the UK.

Plans to look at the way the foundation programme works were announced in January when a new model was proposed for allocating places. At present applicants are ranked based on a combination of their Educational Performance Measure score and a Situational Judgement Test score, with the highest-ranking applicants being allocated their preferred foundation school first.

Over 14,500 responses were received, and most respondents (66%) favoured a move to the “Preference Informed Allocation” option for the 2024 compared to 33% who wanted to continue with the current method.

The change follows an engagement process with stakeholders including individuals and organisations who provided their views on whether the process for allocation should remain in its current format or move to a new system. There have been some concerns raised about the current process which include the system being perceived as unfair, stressful for applicants and lack of standardisation within and across schools. This engagement process enabled us to see if there is appetite to change the way things are done.

Professor Liz Hughes MBE, Medical Director for Undergraduate Education in the Workforce, Training & Education Directorate at NHS England, said: “This engagement process has allowed us to take on board the views of stakeholders to bring about a change in the way we allocate foundation programme places from 2024 onwards.

“The results show that there has been a strong appetite for changing the current system and we hope that this will create a fairer and less stressful process for applicants.”

The main findings from the survey are:

  • Most respondents indicated they would like to move to a Preference Informed Allocation for 2024 (66%)
  • A smaller percentage wanted to retain the current system (33%)  
  • A large majority of respondents (85%) agreed with the statement that the SJT can be very stressful for applicants

The changes will be applied across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and will be implemented for the 2024 Foundation Programme application round.

Once implemented the new system will be under constant review to make sure it is working well for applicants, if needed changes can be made.

Applicants’ guidance will be updated to explain the changes and will be available in July.

For more detail please see the following document: Foundation Programme Stakeholder Engagement.pdf