Foundation allocation of 148 students is changed in wake of scanning error

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 08 March 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f1590
  1. Tom Moberly
  1. 1BMJ Careers

Foundation school allocations of 148 medical students have changed after the remarking of applicants’ exam papers, the UK Foundation Programme Office (UKFPO) has announced.

On 8 March the UKFPO announced the final revised allocations of 7535 applicants, 98% of whom were given the same allocation as they originally received on 25 February. Of those whose scores changed, 77 were allocated to a foundation school lower down their list of preferences and 71 were allocated to a school higher up their list.

Eight applicants who had previously been allocated to a foundation school have now been placed on the reserve list. However, 11 candidates have been removed from the reserve list and given an allocation, because three applicants withdrew from the process after the announcement of the original allocations.

Foundation programme applicants had their situational judgment test (SJT) scores rechecked after the discovery of a scanning error made by the external supplier used to mark the tests. Scores on the SJT, a multiple choice examination that requires candidates to rank clinical scenarios, are combined with educational performance scores to determine allocations to a foundation school. Students received details of their foundation school allocations on 25 February and were told about the error on 26 February.1 2

Derek Gallen, national director of the UKFPO, said he recognised the distress that the allocation problems had caused. However, he emphasised that the re-running of the allocation algorithm would not affect doctors starting their jobs in August.

“I would like to once again apologise unreservedly for the SJT scanning issue and the fact that it was only brought to our attention after the original allocations took place,” he said. “I have not underestimated the anxiety this may have caused applicants over the last 12 days.”

He added, “I have not taken the scanning issue lightly, and the UKFPO and the MSC [Medical Schools Council] have requested that a full independent review of the process is conducted by Health Education England on behalf of the four UK health departments. We will publish the full findings of this review as soon as it has taken place.”


Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f1590