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Foundation programme review

One of the biggest challenges facing the NHS is recruitment and retention. Working with partners, this review seeks to address some of these issues by improving transition periods, addressing geographical issues and widening access to undergraduate study in medicine.

The transition from medical school to foundation training is a particularly difficult time for trainees. Supported from the start; ready for the future; The Postgraduate Medical Foundation Programme Review makes recommendations about improving that transition period and highlights the importance of making the NHS an appropriate environment for individuals to learn and work - echoing a key theme in the Interim NHS People Plan.

Undertaken in collaboration with Royal Colleges, the Medical Schools Council the General Medical Council (GMC), the British Medical Association (BMA) and trainees, it re-enforces the commitment to enhancing the experience of doctors in training and in turn their health and wellbeing.

The review contains 16 draft recommendations across the following themes;

  • Improving transition from medical school to foundation and from foundation to core/specialty training
  • Addressing geographical and specialty distribution issues
  • Enhancing the Working Lives of Foundation Doctors
  • Improving Supervision and Educational Support
  • Improving Faculty Support

Since publishing this report HEE, with the help of our key stakeholders, are taking forward each of the 16 recommendations within the report. Please find below further information on each of these;


*Please be aware - in light of COVID-19, the process and timescales are under review and we will update this page fully when we know more.*

Over the course of the Foundation Programme Review, we heard that foundation doctors are often unable to find time within the working week for essential non-clinical activities such as working on their ePortfolio, meeting with supervisors and developing skills in teaching and QI.

Recommendation #14 of the review is to ensure all foundation doctors have time formally included in their work schedules for non-clinical professional activities and that this would be called ‘self-development time’.

Self-development time for foundation doctors will be introduced via a phased-roll out from April 2020 with full implementation within all English trusts in August 2021. The attached documents explain the intended uses of self-development time in more detail and also cover many of the questions frequently asked by foundation trainees and their supervisors about this time.

We would like to thank NHS Employers for working closely with HEE on implementing this recommendation.

 - Self-development time - FAQs for trainees and supervisors
 - Intended uses of self-development time
 - Self-development time background information

Self-development time case studies: 

 - The Royal Surrey NHS Trust
 - Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust