Special Circumstances

Special Circumstances approval for F1 doctors

A small number of F1 doctors have special circumstances approval from their graduating medical schools in order to ensure allocation to a foundation school in an appropriate geographical location.

Approved special circumstances results in applicants being pre-allocated to a specific foundation school for their foundation training, provided that their score is sufficient to meet the national allocation criteria.

Approval of a special circumstances application does not guarantee allocation to a specific Trust or programme within the foundation school.

An applicant pre-allocated to a foundation school on the grounds of special circumstances will not be permitted to link their application to another individual in the application process.

Implications for those allocated to STFS

STFS is a very large foundation school and so unfortunately we are unable to guarantee availability of a programme for you within a reasonable commute of your home.

Using an equitable process we allocate to programmes taking into consideration both your ranked programme preferences and your combined SJT and EPM score. Most of our programmes are designed so that foundation doctors complete a two year programme in two different trusts (with no more than one year based in a teaching hospital) to offer an appropriate breadth of experience across the two years.

Consequently it may be necessary to review and adjust the F1 Trust allocation to accommodate trainees within a geographic location within a reasonable commuting distance i.e. approx. 1- 1.5 hours. (NB  doctors with approved F1 special circumstances  will be invited to reapply for special circumstances for their F2 allocation. If approved, the location of  the F2 Trust currently linked to your F1 programme may be adjusted. Following allocation to F1, STFS will review the provisionally linked F2 trust).

1. Applicants with approved special circumstances should rank all six programme groups and will be allocated to a group based on their ranked preferences and score.

2. Applicants with approved special circumstances should then rank all F1 programmes within a commutable distance of their home address  (their decision) in their allocated group.   Please note that you may be allocated to a programme that you have not ranked (within your allocated group) if your score is not sufficient to allocate you to one of your ranked preferences.  NB If your special circumstances are also likely to apply for your F2 year, you should base your ranked preferences on the location of the F1 programme only at this stage.  If F2 Special Circumstances are approved, the location of any linked  F2 Trust may be adjusted. 

3. Applicants may use Google Maps https://www.google.co.uk/maps to check journey times.

4. STFS must consider both equity and programme balance.  Generally programmes are allocated on the basis of score and ranked preferences.  Programme balance means that, usually, foundation doctors will complete no more than one-year in a teaching hospital and must complete programmes that meet the generic requirements of the foundation programme curriculum.

5. If an applicant feels that they have not been allocated to a trust within a reasonable commute, they should contact STFS via the PGMDE Support portal.

6. The allocation will be reviewed and, if we agree that the allocated trust is not within a reasonable commute, the applicant will be placed on a waiting list for potential reallocation subject to capacity within STFS.  As foundation training is usually oversubscribed it is not always possible to provide a programme within a reasonable commute.

7. STFS will manage all special circumstances applicants placed on the waiting list in accordance with the STFS Vacancy Policy i.e. applicant to be allocated to a suitable vacancy created by finals fails, withdrawals etc. (subsequent allocation based on score and subject to capacity).

8. If an applicant is reallocated, their provisionally linked F2 trust will also be confirmed as STFS are now able to offer 2 year programmes to all applicants.

Late Special Circumstances

Late applications for special circumstances will be reviewed to confirm their eligibility as soon as they are received.  Applications will be managed as detailed above.  Applicants applying for late special circumstances approval whose home address is outside the STFS region will be strongly encouraged to apply for a foundation school transfer to the foundation school nearest to their home address as this would provide them with the greatest opportunity of being allocated to a location within a reasonable commute of their home address.  If a vacancy within the nearest foundation school was not available the applicant would retain their place within STFS and we would endeavour to identify a vacancy at a trust within a reasonable commute, however, STFS is unable to guarantee this.

Please refer to the foundation school transfer guidance and application form under “key documents” of the UKFPO website: http://www.foundationprogramme.nhs.uk/pages/home/keydocs

Special Circumstances approval for doctors entering F2 2018

Foundation doctors with special circumstances approval for F1 2017 

You will be invited to confirm that your special circumstances remain applicable for your F2 year:

  • For current category 1 applicants (childcare responsibility) no further application is required
  • For current category 2, 3, 4 applicants a further application form and evidence may be requested to review your circumstances

 New applications for special circumstances for F2 2018

 There may be some F1 doctors who are also eligible to apply for new special circumstances due to a significant change in their circumstances since starting their F1 year:

  • Application forms are available to download here.
  • If F2 special circumstances are approved, and it is agreed that the allocated trust is not within a reasonable commute, the location of your  linked  F2 Trust may be adjusted, subject to available programmes.
  • STFS will manage all special circumstances allocations in accordance with the STFS Vacancy Policy.
  • Please note that subsequent reallocation is subject to capacity and therefore it is not always possible to provide a programme at a hospital within a reasonable commute.