Information for referees

If you have been asked to provide a reference on the Oriel application system for an applicant to the UK Foundation Programme, the information on this webpage may help to answer some commonly-asked questions about providing a reference.

About references

During the Oriel application process, applicants must give details of one academic referee from their medical school.

If you have received an email request to provide a reference, an applicant to the UK Foundation Programme has given your name as their referee. The applicant should have asked your permission before doing this.

A reference takes approximately five minutes to complete.

As a nominated referee, you do not have to be the most senior person in an organisation. It is more important that you are able to comment on their performance.

You must be from the applicant’s medical school. You might be a professor, lecturer, reader, director of clinical studies or a person holding an honorary contract as advised by the medical school.

Ideally, you should have known the applicant for one year; or at least a minimum of six months. You should be aware of their performance during all years spent at the medical school.

Reference requests are sent via an automated process on the Oriel application system. Please click on the link in the email. This will take you to the structured reference form in Oriel to complete online.

Reference requests are sent on the date(s) specified on the national application timeline. We advise applicants to approach their referee(s) before including their details in the application form.

Oriel sends weekly reminders to referees who have not yet completed their reference. Each reminder email will contain a new link to the structured reference form.

Please check your spam/junk email folder in case your reminder does not reach your inbox.

We are aware the structured reference form states ’employment reference’. This is because it is a standard form used on Oriel across all training programmes and is not bespoke to the Foundation Programme.

Applicants to the UK Foundation Programme tend to be new graduates and therefore have not been previously employed. Our process requires that they have an academic reference from their medical school instead.

We understand this can cause some confusion as the form refers to an ’employment reference’. Unfortunately, we are unable to change this due to the reasons stated above.

We can only accept references on the structured reference form. Please note this professional reference should verify factual information only. We do not require you to provide a personal testimonial or an assessment of the individual.

Your responses may be discussed with the applicant and may also be made available to other departments within the NHS.

To ensure the requests are not blocked or filtered out, please add to your email safe senders list. Please also check your junk/spam inbox for reference requests that may have been diverted by your email provider.

If you do not have access to the email address the applicant has provided (for example, you no longer work at the medical school), please contact the applicant. The applicant can update your details in Oriel. The UKFPO cannot do this in place of the applicant.

Internet Explorer is not a supported browser and should not be used to complete the reference. Oriel is only supported by Chrome, Edge, Safari and Firefox. You may need to copy and paste the link directly into the address bar on any of the above-mentioned browsers if you cannot click on the link.

You do not need to be logged into Oriel to complete the reference request.

If you wish to make an amendment to the submitted reference, please contact the applicant who will provide you with the relevant Foundation School/ Employing trust contact details.

Alternatively if the Foundation School/ Employing Trust has a query or requires further information, they will contact you directly.

If you feel you are unable or are not is in a position to provide the reference, please contact the applicant directly as they can remove your details and submit the details of another referee.

The UKFPO cannot remove you as a referee from an application, only the applicant can.

Please visit the UKFP 2024 timeline to see when the deadline for submitting your reference for the two-year programme is.

Please visit the F2 Standalone 2024 timeline to see when the deadline for submitting your reference is.

Oriel will generate a reminder email every week if you have not submitted your reference, we are unable to stop these as it is an automated process.

If another referee is nominated by the applicant in your place, you will no longer receive automated reminders from Oriel.