London Foundation School - Special Circumstances

Updated 6th October 2023

Congruent with UKFPO 2023 entry criteria

Arrangements for managing doctors with special circumstances

Personal Circumstances approval for F1 doctors

The national pre-allocation (Personal Circumstances) process allows some applicants to apply to be pre-allocated to a Foundation School on the grounds of Personal Circumstances on the basis of the following criteria: 

Criterion 1: You are a parent or legal guardian of a child or children under the age of 18, who reside primarily with you or for whom you have significant caring responsibilities.

Criterion 2: a) You are the primary carer for someone who is disabled (as defined by the Equality Act 2010)

                    b) You have significant caring responsibilities for a family member, partner or friend

Criterion 3: You have a medical condition or disability for which ongoing follow up for the condition in the specified location is an absolute requirement.

Criterion 4: Unique circumstances (eg athlete, armed forces reserves, house adapted for a disability)

Criterion 5: a) educational circumstances

                    b) widening participation

Additional information is on the Foundation Programme website.

Approved personal circumstances results in applicants being pre-allocated to a specific foundation school for their foundation training, provided they meet the national allocation criteria and they complete medical school successfully.

Approval of a personal circumstances application does not guarantee allocation to a specific Trust or programme within the foundation school, although there is provision to allocate to a programme group via the national process.

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

Implications for those allocated to the London Foundation School

Generally foundation schools do not offer pre-allocation of specific programmes within the foundation school to those with personal circumstances.

The London FS, however, covers a wide geographical area.  In order to reduce the chance of a distant allocation, individuals pre-allocated with criteria 1, 2a, 2b, 3 and 4 will be able to preference the programme group geographically linked to their home address.

The London Foundation School includes 5 programme groups (they may cover wider geographical areas than the descriptors suggest owing to the need to make them fairly similar):

North West London

North Central London

North East London

South London West

South London East

All other applicants will be reviewed looking for a specific and overwhelming need to be offered a specific site/area eg F1 on dialysis.

Late Special Circumstances

Applicants who wish to change their allocated foundation programmes will only be able to do so on the basis of having approved personal circumstances, subject to their being a suitable vacancy available, or following an approved swap for the F2 year (see swaps guidance).


Late applications for F1 personal circumstances will be reviewed to confirm their eligibility as soon as they are received.  

Applicants applying for late personal circumstances approval whose home address is outside the London region are 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 London and we would endeavour to identify a vacancy at a trust within a reasonable commute, however, the London FS is unable to guarantee this.

Please refer to the foundation school transfer guidance and application form under “key documents” of the UKFPO website.

New applications for personal circumstances for the F2 year

Some F1 doctors may be eligible to apply for new personal circumstances for F2 owing to a significant change in their circumstances since starting their F1 year:

  • Any changes made would be for the location of the F2 year, and would not affect the existing F1 programme.
  • If F2 personal circumstances are approved, and it is agreed that the allocated trust is not within a reasonable commute, the location of the linked  F2 Trust may be adjusted, subject to available programmes.
  • Please note that subsequent reallocation is subject to capacity and therefore it is not always possible to provide a programme at a site within a reasonable commute.
  • If you feel you need to make an application for Personal Circumstances please contact the School team here.

Change in Exceptional Circumstances

If you are due to start FY1 in August 2024, or are a current trainee due to start FY2 in August 2024, and you have experienced an exceptional change in circumstances since you applied to the foundation training programme which affects your ability to complete training in your current location, please let us know via completion of the following form: 

For London foundation doctors please complete this form:       

Please also ensure that you submit your additional supporting information via our applicant support portal here: 

We are only able to consider an exceptional change in circumstances that can be evidenced and will not consider any requests for programme swaps between doctors who have had no change to their personal circumstances.  

The criteria are those in the guidance for IFSTs 2024 on the UKFPO website: 

  1. Parental responsibilities. 
  2. Primary carer responsibilities. 
  3. Medical condition or disability for which ongoing follow-up for the condition in the specified location is an absolute requirement. 
  4. Unique circumstances (these must be unique, not other circumstances which do not meet the requirements for the other criteria). 

The forms are open from Wednesday 5th April 2024 at 12pm and will close at 5pm on Monday 15th April 2024 with all submissions being reviewed by the foundation school directors shortly after.  

There are very limited numbers of alternative programmes available so it is highly unlikely we will be able to place successful applicants in their preferred alternative location, but we will do all we can to take your circumstances into account.