Rise in out-of-work F2 doctors

THE number of doctors who finished foundation training but could not find a job has increased, a new report shows.

The proportion of trainees still seeking employment as a doctor in the UK in August 2013 was 7.6 per cent, up from 7.4 per cent in 2012 and 6.3 per cent in 2011.

The number of F2s who moved directly into specialty training also fell. Just over 7,000 doctors finished foundation training in August 2013 and, of those, 64 per cent found a UK specialty post compared to 67 per cent in 2012 and 71 per cent in 2011.

The figures were published by the UK Foundation Programme Office (UKFPO) which surveyed all 7,299 F2 doctors who successfully completed the programme in August. Of those, 6,961 (95.4 per cent) responded.

Half of the doctors who couldn’t find a specialty training job said they were still looking for employment in the UK. Of the doctors who did achieve a specialty training post, almost 30 per cent were appointed to a run-through programme with the same amount heading to a core training programme.

The report also showed 9.4 per cent of F2s took a career break – more than double the 2011 total of 4.6 per cent – and five per cent were appointed to positions outside the UK. A further 0.3 per cent left the medical profession permanently.

A number of trainees needed support from their foundation school’s “doctors in difficulty” programme. A total of 193 (2.6 per cent) F1 and 185 (2.4 per cent) F2 doctors were monitored across the 25 foundation schools.

Just over a quarter of the F1 doctors being monitored (26.4 per cent) had been identified as having difficulties via the transfer of information form. The main area of concern for both F1 and F2 related to the doctor’s knowledge, skills and performance, which included personal health issues.

Less than three per cent of F1 doctors from UK medical schools required additional support compared with almost 15 per cent from EEA medical schools and nearly 10 per cent from non-EEA medical schools.

The outcome for foundation doctors in difficulty was typically favourable, with over a third (34.2 per cent) of F1s and 37.3 per cent of F2s being signed off by the original end date of their foundation year. A further 50.3 per cent of F1s and 48.6 per cent of F2s are expected to be signed off by an agreed, extended end date.

A small number of doctors were referred to the GMC for fitness to practise issues - 18 (0.3 per cent) F1 and three (0.2 per cent) F2 doctors.

Read the report here