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A Guide to the Foundation Priority Programme (FPP)

What is the FPP?

The Foundation Priority Programme (FPP) is designed to support certain areas in the UK that have additional needs or have found it particularly difficult to attract and retain doctors through the foundation and specialty recruitment processes. This may be due to their location e.g. rural or remote areas, under-doctored locations and shortage specialties. In order to address this, these foundation programme posts have been incentivised.

What benefits does the FPP offer?

  • Specialty themed training: Academic, General practice, Intensive Care and Stroke Medicine, Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Paediatrics, Pathology, Pre-hospital care, Psychiatry and Respiratory Medicine

  • Longer training over 3 years: Less than Full-Time training

  • Financial incentives: an additional £7000 per year

  • Additional qualifications: PGCert

  • Focused development opportunities and training: Entrepreneurship, Digital health, Medical education, Simulation, Leadership and Management

  • International placements: in New Zealand

  • Location: Remote, Coastal or Rural placements

Application Process

The application process is the same as applying for the standard Foundation Programme and is based on your total foundation application score, derived from your Educational Performance Measure (EPM) and Situational Judgement Test (SJT) scores.

You rank the individual priority programmes based on your preference. Be sure to look at the different rotations offered by each programme thoroughly along with the added FPP benefits. You do not have to rank all of the programmes available, just the ones you are interested in. Programmes you are not interest in are listed in the ‘not wanted’ column.

You are offered an FPP post based on your total foundation application score (EPM + SJT). If you are not allocated an offer in the first round, you may be allocated an offer in the second round. Declining an FPP offer will place you into the normal Foundation Programme application.

My FPP experience

I am currently in my second year of the FPP as a foundation year 2 doctor. I have particularly enjoyed my FPP as it has been a way to curate the work life balance that I always knew I needed while participating in portfolio enhancing activities.

The FPP I chose: Leadership & Management

I undertook the FPP focused on Leadership and Management in a District General Hospital in North Kent over 2 years. The programme consists of:

  • 80% clinical work and 20% non-clinical work

  • Undertaking Quality Improvement Projects

  • Participating in a Medical Leadership Programme at the Hospital focused on Quality Improvement training

  • Undertaking a PGCert in Healthcare Practice (Leadership)

Why I chose this particular FPP?

  • Interest in Medical Leadership: I have a growing interesting in Leadership and Management in Healthcare. I wanted to the opportunity to explore this further in context of the hospital; understanding how decisions are made, how finances are managed and how change is ultimately achieved in such large organisations.

  • PGCert: With a pre-existing interest in Healthcare Practice and Leadership, the PGCert was an added perk. I have always been interested in gaining a postgraduate qualification and this was a manageable way to balance this while working. They normally cost between £3000 - £5000 if they were self-funded, however the PGCert is fully funded by the deanery on this programme.

  • Time: This was a big reason for me. Having 1 study day a week (80% clinical rota), has helped me to balance the various aspects of my life more efficiently. The fact that this lasts for 2 years has worked even better. I am able to utilise the luxury of working from home on my projects and assignments.

  • Skill Acquisition: I was keen to learn more about Quality Improvement and how projects can be utilised effectively to bring about the maximal amount of change. I have also had access to resources such as the FMLM, Leadership training and been encouraged to pursue further leadership development programmes and training.

What does my average week look like?

Monday: Full Day of Clinical Work (9- 5pm)

Tuesday: FPP Day - Attending PGCert Lectures, working on QIPs or PGCert Self-Study

Wednesday: Full Day of Clinical Work (9 - 5pm)

Thursday: Half Day of Clinical Work (9 - 13:30pm) followed by Foundation Programme Teaching (1:30 - 2:30pm) followed by Self-Development Time (2:30pm - 5pm)

Friday: Full Day of Clinical Work (9 - 5pm)

Would I recommend the FPP?

Yes, but it depends on which programme you are applying for. With every FPP there is a 'catch' of some sort, whether that be the location, the hospital, the rotations you will participate in. It is very important to weigh up what is important to you. For example, I worked in a poorer performing District General Hospital. For some people this would not be ideal, as they would prefer the training opportunities offered in a Tertiary Centre. However, for me, I was grateful to be placed in this hospital as it presented multiple opportunities to contribute to meaningful change, I was in my ideal location and the hospital has a very ethnically diverse workforce which was important to me. My programme was perfect for me and my extracurricular interests, however this is the last year that they will be offering it at my hospital.

I hope you have found this article to be helpful in shedding light of the Foundation Priority Programme. It is an option that not many people consider, however if it aligns with your needs and interested, it is definitely worth exploring.

Applications are open from 09:00 (BST) 7 September 2022 until 12:00 noon (BST) on 20 September 2022.

PLEASE NOTE: This is not a comprehensive guide.

To find out more information about the Foundation Priority Programme, visit: Health Education England Foundation Priority Programme


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