Intended for healthcare professionals


Covid-19: Looking back at the experiences of graduates and educators during the interim Foundation Year 1

BMJ 2021; 374 doi: (Published 09 July 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;374:n1265
  1. Viktorija Kaminskaite, 2020 Clegg Scholar
  1. Student BMJ
  1. vk252{at}

In March 2020, thousands of final year medical students in the UK graduated early to join the medical workforce as “interim Foundation Year 1” (FiY1) doctors. Viktorija Kaminskaite, BMJ Clegg Scholar, spoke to the administrators, educators, and junior doctors involved in this graduating year.

Redesigning the registration process

As the body responsible for registering and regulating doctors in the UK, the General Medical Council (GMC) processes thousands of applications for provisional registration by new medical graduates each year. In 2020, this process was shifted forwards by several months. Colin Melville, medical director at the GMC, assured students and patients that all graduating students would meet the GMC requirements for new doctors despite their early graduation. “We are immensely grateful for the hard work and willingness that has been shown by this year’s cohort of new doctors,” stated Melville.

Those working in foundation school programmes also faced rapid preparations to allocate interim foundation doctors to job roles and develop robust induction and learning programmes. Helen Johnson, programme director at East Anglia and Essex, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire (EBH) foundation schools, said that part of the challenge was coping with groups of students who were requiring job placements at different times. “Normally the junior doctors come to us through the national recruitment process, and we know exactly when everybody is going to arrive,” says Johnson.

To prepare the incoming interim doctors, East of England Foundation School distributed a virtual reality simulation …

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