Intended for healthcare professionals


Data chart: what do trainees do after completing foundation training?

BMJ 2018; 361 doi: (Published 26 April 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;361:k1753
  1. Tom Moberly
  1. The BMJ

Less than half of all doctors training in the UK now move directly from foundation training to specialty training, with most now taking a break from training at this stage, figures from the UK Foundation Programme Office (UKFPO) show.

The proportion of doctors going directly from foundation training into specialty training has fallen steadily since 2009, when UKFPO first reported these figures. In 2009, 85% of those completing the foundation programme went straight into specialty training, but by 2012 this had fallen to two thirds (67%). In 2017, 43% of doctors completing the foundation programme went straight into specialty training.

Most doctors who do not go straight into specialty training do return to medical training after taking a year or more out. Research by the GMC shows that 90% of doctors who complete foundation training do this within three years, and within five years of completing foundation training, 93% of doctors have returned to UK training.

For those who did not proceed directly into specialty training in the UK in 2017, most went on to work in the UK as a doctor, or were still seeking to do so. In total, 34% of those who completed the foundation programme in 2017 took on either a non-training medical post or other work in the UK (including military work, clinical teaching fellow roles, and further study) or were still seeking employment in the UK as a doctor. A further 14% take a career break, and 4% are still seeking employment as a doctor outside the UK.

In these figures, specialty training in the UK includes run through training, core training, academic training, locum appointment for training, and deferred higher degrees, as well as deferral for statutory and other reasons.

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