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Recruitment to Specialised Foundation Programmes is changing for 2025

14 February 2024

All applications to England’s Specialised Foundation Programme (SFP) will be incorporated into the main Foundation School allocation process for 2025 recruitment, NHS England has announced today.

The decision to make this change is in response to concerns that have been raised about the equitability of some recruitment and selection processes and the lack of resources to support SFP recruitment and the interview process at a local level.

The move will mean there is a fairer and more consistent approach to recruitment and aligns England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. This process is already in place in Wales.                        

The SFP offers foundation doctors the chance to develop their research, teaching, and leadership/management skills in addition to the competences outlined in the Foundation Programme Curriculum.  It is a hugely popular and competitive programme with the numbers applying rising year on year.                                                                                                     

A recent review has highlighted the need for changes to be made to make sure that it is as fair as possible to everyone who applies giving everyone an equal chance of gaining a place on an SFP programme.                                       

Professor Elizabeth Hughes, Medical Director, NHS England said:  “As with all recruitment processes, we are always keen to act where we see that things are not working as well as they could do and where changes can help to make it better for applicants. In this case it is about having the same approach used across all regions to make sure there is better consistency.          

"We are keen to try to widen access to training in research, leadership and education, and hope that these changes will increase opportunities for Foundation doctors to develop these skills when previously they would not have.”