Traditionally, UK medical graduates would
often consider working abroad after they had received full GMC
registration (one year post-graduation) and before developing their
career in the UK. The new two year foundation programme has
meant that a year working abroad has to be either delayed until
after the end of F2, or consideration given to undertaking an
approved F2 post abroad.
There may be a specific application process to
go through if you wish to take a break between F1 and F2 years.
Some Foundation Schools place a limit the number of trainees who
can take time out in any year. There is usually no guarantee on
which F2 posts you will be placed in on your return to the
programme (your previously agreed F2 post will probably have been
allocated to someone in the following year cohort).
Whilst it is possible, in theory, to complete
an F2 post abroad, any post would have to be
PROSPECTIVELY approved as providing the right
environment in which to achieve all required F2 competencies. This
will require careful planning, in depth discussion with the
Foundation School Director and the prospective approval of the
There are various other requirements which
need to be agreed and arranged prospectively and again this may
involve long and complex negotiations with the receiving
employer. Foundation Schools typically require that
applicants must find a suitable one year programme in an
English-speaking hospital that meets a range of criteria, and that
the F2 doctor must obtain evidence that F2 competencies have been
You should also be aware that some countries
do not start their yearly training programmes within the same
time-frame as the UK (in the UK the foundation programmes start in
August), so this is another consideration that you would need to
If you are abroad during your F2 year, you
will need to plan in advance how you are going to manage your
return to the UK and applications for speciality training and
employment on your return. Find out before you go how to keep up to
date with future employment opportunities.
You may wish to discuss your career options
and plans with your Foundation Programme Director or local
education and training board careers service.
We have a case-study of trainee who spent
her F2 in Australia.