Additional Information for those considering applying to STFS


  1. What does STFS do?
  2. How are the programmes arranged and allocated?
  3. Some F1 programmes are linked to ‘TBC’. What is this?
  4. STFS F2 Swap Shop and Local Swaps processes
  5. 2017 entry: matching to groups and programmes following allocation to STFS
  6. Shadowing Arrangements
  7. STFS Programme Fair
  8. Linked Applications
  9. Special Circumstances approval for F1 doctors
  10. Transfer of Information
  11. Administrative Processes
  12. 2018 Scores

1. What does STFS do?

STFS manages the allocation process and oversees foundation training for Trusts linked to it, all of which are in South London or Kent, Surrey and Sussex. Applicants are allocated to 2-year programmes via the Oriel system administered by the UK Foundation Programme Office (UKFPO).

STFS is committed to fairness and transparency. Our policies - for example for less than full time training, maternity leave etc - are set out on the website. If you have any queries it is worth looking through these first, as well as the national information on the UKFPO website. If not, one of our managers will be happy to advise you.

2. How are the programmes arranged and allocated?

STFS has over 800 two year programmes, which have been revised for entry in 2017 and beyond. All programmes are designed to be educationally balanced and provide exposure to a range of specialties during the two years of the programme. As the result of the national Broadening the Foundation Programme initiative all now include a community placement and 45% include one in psychiatry.

In addition the programme groups used to help in ranking have recently been changed to reflect the different needs and aspirations of applicants, in consultation with our foundation doctor representatives.

In order to provide a range of experience, the F1 and F2 years are often based in two different Trusts/hospitals. Some of these are close together, others are more widely spread. One may be in a London Trust and one in KSS, with generally no more than one year being spent in a teaching hospital. Some programmes, for example many of those linked to Brighton, are outside London for both F1 & F2. A tiny number of programmes are unlinked initially and will be shown as 'TBC' for F2. It may be possible, if your circumstances change and there is availability, for your F2 placement to be exchanged for another one but only with the approval of the Director of STFS (see the STFS Special Circumstances process for further information).

Spending time in two different Trusts provides breadth of experience. You will discover that things are done differently in different places. For example a year in a teaching hospital is well balanced by a year in a busy district general hospital, where you will have a different case mix and many opportunities for practical procedures.

Some doctors prefer to spend two years living in one place, and we have a range of programmes which provide this, in both London and KSS.

While we now provide details of the full F1 programme (e.g. 4/12 Medicine, 4/12 Surgery, 4/12 Paediatrics at St George’s Hospital) and the F2 programme (e.g. 4/12 General Practice, 4/12 Emergency Medicine and 4/12 Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Ashford and St Peter's), it is important to be aware that programmes may change if services change. For example, if a department or hospital closed then we would need to provide a training equivalent in quality but potentially different in content.

For some community placements during F1 and F2, e.g. Psychiatry, General Practice, or Public Health, you would be based off-site from the main Trust for up to 4 months, though continue to attend it for teaching sessions and possibly for on-calls. 

3. Some F1 programmes are linked to ‘TBC’.  What is this?

TBC means ‘To Be Confirmed’. Later in the F1 year all trainees who have a TBC for their F2 Trust will be emailed with a list of all STFS Trusts with F2 vacancies. You will be asked to rank your programme and Trust preferences and you will be allocated to the highest possible preference based on your original score.

It may not be possible to allocate you to an F2 programme in time to take part in the F2 Swap Shop. Also, it is not possible to guarantee an F2 year in a London hospital for every foundation trainee with an F1 programme outside of London and with a TBC F2 link. Allocation to an F2 trust and programme is dependent on the availability and location of F2 programmes. All trainees are, however, guaranteed an F2 programme (subject to satisfactory progress).

4. STFS F2 Swap Shop and Local Swaps processes

It is possible for doctors to arrange to swap their allocated F2 Trust/programme via the STFS F2 Swap Shop. Detailed guidance will be published later in the F1 year.

STFS also offers a Local Swaps process which permits foundation doctors to apply to swap either a single rotation or their whole 1 year programme with another foundation doctor within the same Trust.

5. 2017 entry: matching to groups and programmes following allocation to STFS

2 stage programme allocation process

In order to minimise the number of programmes students need to rank, STFS runs a 2 stage allocation process.

Stage 1

Allocation to one of six programme groups (see details of these below). You must rank all of the groups in your order of preference.

NB It will be possible to rank your group preferences as soon as your allocation to Foundation School is confirmed. However, once you have submitted your group preferences it is not possible to change or re-submit these.

If you plan to attend the STFS Programme Fair on 17 March 2017 you are strongly advised to wait to submit your group preferences until after you have attended this event.

If you have not submitted your group preferences by the deadline you will be randomly allocated to a group.

Stage 2

Ranking of programmes within that group, followed by individual programme allocation.

Why are the programmes divided into 6 groups?

Students told us that they valued the large size of STFS, but disliked ranking 800+ programmes as it was time-consuming and tedious.

Dividing up the programmes into six groups means that no-one has to rank more than about 154 programmes.

How have the programmes been divided up into groups?

Very carefully, to reflect different needs and aspirations.

For example, all three London Link groups have similar proportions in which one year is spent in a teaching hospital. The Coastal and Coast and Country groups expand previously popular programmes. The Continuity group is aimed at those who wish to live in one place for both years.

What are the programme groups called?

Coast and Country, Coastal, Continuity, and London Link 1, 2 and 3 (moving from west to east across the region). The pages of programmes in the prospectus are colour coded to reflect the different groups.

Group Name Group Description
Coast and Country (green) Provides one year on the coast and another inland. Many programmes include a year at Brighton and Sussex University Hospital.
Continuity (orange) Contains programmes in which both years are spent at one site or Trust, or in two different but geographically close Trusts.
London Link 1 (red) All programmes include at least one year in London, mainly towards the west of the STFS area.
London Link 2 (yellow) All programmes include at least one year in London, mainly towards the centre of the STFS area.
London Link 3 (purple) All programmes include at least one year in London, mainly towards the east of the STFS area.

Which groups are most popular?

As these groups are new for 2017 no score ranges are available for previous applicants.

6. Shadowing Arrangements

Please note that STFS is not responsible for arranging shadowing attachments, either for undergraduate curriculum requirements or pre-employment shadowing.

Undergraduate shadowing

Your medical school should liaise with the employing Trust to make arrangements for any undergraduate shadowing requirements.

Pre-employment shadowing

You will be required to undertake a mandatory induction and shadowing period for a minimum of 4 days at the Trust before 02 August 2017 (Please be aware that some Trusts organise longer periods of shadowing and you are advised to be available from Monday 24 July 2017).  STFS will publish the pre-employment start dates for affiliated Trusts in early March 2017.

For further information about shadowing please click here.

7. STFS Programme Fair 

If you are allocated a place in STFS you will be invited to attend a programme fair (17 March 2017) near London Bridge. All Trusts linked to the South Thames Foundation School are invited and provide local information and the opportunity to meet their foundation doctors. The fair will provide you with an opportunity to discuss the programmes/facilities offered by individual Trusts, before you submit your programme preferences.

8. Linked Applications

If you have linked your application on the FPAS system, and wish to retain this link at the group allocation stage, both applicants will need to rank the six groups in the same order of preference or the link will be broken. WARNING: The score of the lower scoring applicant will be used to allocate both linked applicants to a group. It is only possible to break the link at this stage by both applicants ranking groups in a different order.

Linked applications are not taken into account at the programme allocation stage and your individual scores are used to allocate you to a programme.

If you both wish to be allocated to the same Trust, ranking programmes in your group in exactly the same order may increase the chances of this. However, we cannot guarantee that you will be allocated to the same Trust or programme as the applicant you are linked with, particularly if there is a significant difference in your scores.

9. Special Circumstances approval for F1 doctors

A small number of F1 doctors have special circumstances approval from their graduating medical school in order to ensure allocation to a foundation school in an appropriate geographical location. The STFS process for management of special circumstances allocation is available on the website.

10. Transfer of Information

A transfer of information form will need to be submitted through your medical school.

11. Administrative Processes

There are several administrative processes that you will need to complete in due course including completion of the STFS Registration Form. We will contact you again with full details and the deadlines by which this documentation is required in due course.

National application process

In participating in the national on-line application process for foundation training, you are committed to undertaking the programme to which you are allocated. Unilateral withdrawal by the allocated trainee after completion of the allocation is viewed very seriously as such action could have serious implications for the employing Trust and compromise patient safety. The trainee concerned may therefore be reported to the GMC, and their action would be contrary to the GMCs 'Good Medical Practice' guidance in accordance with which all doctors are required to act.

In the event that Foundation Programme training commencing August 2017 is oversubscribed, the top scoring applicants will be placed on the primary list and will be allocated to foundation schools using the current algorithm. Any applicants who do not score highly enough to be on the primary list will be placed on a reserve list. As vacancies arise (due to finals failures and withdrawals) applicants will be allocated to foundation schools based on their scores/preferences in batches, at set intervals. (See the Foundation Applicant's Handbook for further information).

12. 2018 Scores

Decile Scores 

Please see the range of scores achieved for applicants allocated to STFS in 2018:
(Please note: the number of trainees in each decile may not be exactly equal due to the score break point used). 

Decile  Score Range
1 89.24 and above
2 87.50 - 89.22
3 85.76 - 87.49
4 84.38 - 85.75
5 83.34 - 84.37
6 82.71 - 83.34
7 82.01 - 82.70
8 81.26 - 81.90
9 80.39 - 81.25
10 80.34 and below

Group Quartiles

Continuity CT:  Score Range
1 88.80 and above
2 86.2288.79
3 82.62 - 86.21
4 82.61 - and below
London Links 1:  Score Range
1 87.07 and above
2 84.57 87.06
3 83.37 - 84.56
4 83.36 - and below
London Links 2:  Score Range
1 83.46 and above
2 82.23 - 83.45
3 81.25 - 82.22
4 81.24 - and below
London Links 3:  Score Range
1 85.01 and above
2 82.65 - 85.00
3 81.12 - 82.64
4 81.11 - and below
Coast & County Score Range
1 84.76 and above
2 81.54 - 84.75
3 79.91 - 81.53
4 79.90 - and below

To see the range of scores achieved for applicants allocated to STFS over the past 5 years, please go to the following page: