Internship and UKFPO

Internship and ukfpo

The United Kingdom Foundation Program Office runs a two-year structured, supervised program called the foundation training, which is a workplace-based learning for UK medical school graduates that exists to prepare junior doctors for specialty training by providing them with the medical knowledge and skills to meet the requirements of the GMC’s The New Doctor and the Foundation Program Curriculum. In broad terms, this is the UK version of internship for EEA nationals and UK graduates.

The very first question:

Do I need this foundation training by UKFPO?

Let’s run through the checklist.

  • Have you completed an internship undertaken immediately prior to or immediately following your graduation?
    • If No, then “YES, you need this foundation training (or acceptable internship anywhere else)”
    • If Yes, I completed an internship. Then, next question.
  • Was your internship a minimum of 12 months continuous medical practice in an approved training post in a public hospital? 
    • If No, then “YES, you need this foundation training (or acceptable internship anywhere else)”
    • If Yes, It was like that. Then, next question.
  • Did your internship include at least 3 months in medicine and 3 months in surgery, and lasted between 12 and 18 months OR at least 6 months in medicine and 6 months in surgery, and lasted for 18 months or longer? 
    • If No, then “YES, you need this foundation training (or acceptable internship anywhere else)”
    • If Yes, adding the different branches and sub specialties my internship amounts to that. Then, brace yourself with the good news that you don’t need this foundation training.

Now if you are asking what is an acceptable pattern of internship for full GMC registration? “YES” to the above three questions.

You can check here further about GMC’s criteria of acceptable pattern of internship.

But, I have only 2 months in medicine….

Medicine here is not only “General medicine”. The following rotations will also be counted towards 3 months of medicine:

  • Paediatrics
  • Cardiology
  • Nephrology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Endocrinology
  • Rheumatology
  • Community medicine
  • Any other branches of medicine.

Same goes for 3 months of surgery.  It’s not only in “General surgery”. Any rotation in the followings will also count towards it.

  • Trauma & orthopedics
  • Urology
  • Ophthalmology
  • ENT
  • Neurosurgery
  • All other branches of surgery.
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All about UKFPO for IMGs

Graduates from non-UK medical schools can apply, but first you need to a complete an online eligibility application form and submit documentation to the UKFPO’s Eligibility Office in order to determine whether or not you meet the eligibility criteria.

How do I complete this eligibility form?

Create your application on the ORIEL website. You must provide a completed Dean’s letter from your medical college along with a passport sized photo by the deadline provided. You can also ensure you are proceeding in the right direction by double checking along the way with their provided checklist.

Is there anything I can do to assist my eligibility application and reduce the chances of it being rejected?

Yes. Taking extra care in completing your eligibility form may mean the difference between being assessed as eligible to apply or ineligible.

  • Ensure that you read the Eligibility Applicant Guidance 2018 for submitting supporting documentation as it contains explicit guidance which you should read and digest.
  • Ensure you have completed all sections of the form with the information requested.
  • Adhere to ALL deadlines.
  • Ensure your application is typed or word processed. Handwritten documentation is not acceptable.
  • Ensure your declaration is signed in ink.
  • Ensure you supply one passport photo with your eligibility application.
  • Ensure any documents uploaded onto Oriel are clear.
  • Ensure the second page of the Dean’s Statement has your name on it and is signed.
  • Ensure your postgraduate experience is completed in full and correctly.

What are the English language requirements for the Foundation Program?

In order to satisfy the English language requirements for entry into the Foundation Program you must supply one of the following:

EITHER

 A signed and stamped Dean’s Statement confirming all of the following:

  • that the entire primary medical qualification undertaken by the applicant is being taught/was taught solely in English
  • that all examinations undertaken by the applicant during his/her primary medical qualification will be/were solely in English
  • that the applicant’s primary medical qualification will include/included a minimum of 75% contact with patients in English. (This is typically not possible in a non-English speaking country)

OR

A valid academic IELTS certificate confirming a minimum score of 7.5 in each of the four domains. Please note that  just an average score of 7.5 (with any module <7.5) is not sufficient. Applicants must score 7.5 in each domain in one sitting.

IELTS certificates are only valid for two years. Please note that no other form of English language proficiency will be accepted. OET will not be accepted.

The UKFPO will not accept English language evidence issued by universities listed here on the GMC website. Therefore, if your university is listed, you will be required to submit a valid IELTS certificate along with your eligibility application.

Okay so, if I am found to be eligible, that means I have a job, right?

Being assessed as eligible to apply gives applicants the opportunity to apply to the Foundation Program through the national application process. It does not guarantee appointment to a job.

What happens after applying for foundation program?

The whole process is quite long and has several steps:

  1. Nominations and eligibility
  2. Application
  3. Long listing / Short listing
  4. Situational Judgement Test (SJT)
  5. National Allocation to foundation schools
  6. Group Matching and match to program results
  7. Commence employment

All information you require are always updated in the UKFPO Applicant Handbook.

What type of GMC registration do I need in order to apply for the Foundation Program?

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All applicants must hold or ensure that they are eligible to obtain provisional GMC registration with a licence to practice before submitting an eligibility application. You do not need to have provisional registration with a licence to practise before you apply, but you must have it before the Foundation Program starts.

  • But what if I have full GMC registration?
    If you hold, or are eligible to obtain, full GMC registration then you are unfortunately not eligible to apply for the two-year national Foundation Program. That being said, you may apply directly for a one-year stand-alone F1/F2 Locum Appointment for Training (F1/F2 LAT) posts.
  • I am an EEA citizen and have studied in an EEA country, so I don’t have to take PLAB. How do I provide proof of this exemption?
    You’ll need to provide proof of your nationality (passport) and proof of your country of study (medical degree certificate). No additional document is required.
  • I am a non-EEA citizen and have studied in an EEA country.
    You will have to take the PLAB route to apply for provisional GMC registration.

Frequently asked questions

I have heard it is tough for IMGs to get into UKFPO foundation training.

You heard it right. Logically, UKFPO will accommodate their own graduates and EEA nationals first, as the Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) applies. But their person specification doesn’t say that an IMG can not apply. If you plan to apply anyway to see if it goes through, you surely can.

I wasn’t registered with any medical regulatory board during my internship

Are you sure about that? If you are 100% sure then, that means your internship was not actually an “approved training post” , OR your country doesn’t have a medical regulatory authority.  You can look for your country here, CGS contact database.

In this case you have three options basically:

  1. As you were employed in medical capacity without any form of registration, GMC may ask you to you get a GEN1 Employer reference form signed for that period while processing your GMC registration application.
  2. Maybe get registered in any country’s medical regulatory board and do the internship there in an acceptable pattern.
  3. Apply for provisional GMC registration and give application for UKFPO foundation training a shot!

I had gaps in my internship/house job. Is it acceptable?

As long as you have an explanation for that gap, GMC has no reason to deny it, provided that you submit all the evidences that you were asked to provide. And foreshadowing like this is impossible for anyone, as every application is judged by GMC on individual merit, a third party can’t guarantee anything. So, don’t lose hope if anyone has told you that you won’t get GMC registration because of gaps. It’s not straightforward like that.


I’ve touched on as many topics and queries I could think of regarding the UKFPO, but feel free to ask any further questions you may have in the comments below.

I want to end this by saying that while the UKFPO is a possibility, but as I said earlier, it is often very difficult for international graduates to manage a spot. It is better, if it is possible for you, to complete an internship abroad and then get full registration with the GMC, but don’t let me deter you if this is what you wish to do. At the end of the day, the decision is yours.

Good luck!

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