Swaps - process for swapping placements

London Foundation School Swapping Process

UPDATED : Friday 6th October 2023

Position Statement

In December 2019 the London and KSS Foundation School decided they would mirror the approach to swaps adopted by other UK Foundation Schools, which aims to offer flexibility to foundation doctors whilst ensuring a generic and broad training programme for all.

The decision was taken that only foundation doctors entering an F2 training programme would be allowed to swap, with the window of opportunity for making arrangements being in their F1 year. The process will be supported by the Foundation administrative team.

As of August 2023 the London regions have merged to create the Pan London Foundation School. As part of this merge swaps will be permitted across the whole of the Pan London region.

The Pan London region includes the following sub regions: North Central, North East, North West, South West, South East London.

There are two types of swaps:

  • Whole Programme Swaps (Also referred to as Swap Shop)
  • Swapping of Individual Placements (Also referred to as Local Swaps)

Three Way Swaps

Owing to the increasing administrative burden and complications caused in previous years swaps involving more than two Foundation doctors will not be approved this year.


Pan London Foundation School

For the 2023 F1 cohort, whole programme swaps will be permitted across the whole of the Pan London Region. Swapping of individual placements will still only be allowed within the same Trust

Kent, Surrey and Sussex Foundation School

The Kent, Surrey and Sussex Foundation School is no longer managed by us.

Please submit any swap queries to them to the following inbox:


If you wish to move from a London Foundation programme to a KSS Foundation programme this needs to be done through the national IFST process. Guidance can be found on the UKFPO website: https://foundationprogramme.nhs.uk/faqs/stand-alone-faqs-ifst/

Swapping of Individual Placements (local swap)

If F1 doctors wish to swap a single placement in their F2 programme they must submit an application via the PGMDE Support Portal here.

This process permits foundation doctors to apply to swap a post with another foundation doctor within the same Trust.

The request must be received by the dates laid out in the key dates section below.

You do not need to be registered for Swap Shop in order to participate in a Local Swap.

Swaps between more than two foundation doctors are not permitted.

Late applications cannot be accepted and there is no opportunity to appeal.

Whole Programme Swaps (Swap Shop)

Sometimes doctors’ circumstances change and so they wish to change the location of their training or experience a different set of specialties.

To facilitate such changes, we offer a foundation doctor led swapping process. in which a doctor may swap their entire F2 programme with another doctor.  

F1 doctors will be asked to notify us if they wish to put forward their entire F2 programme for swapping with other F1 doctors and agree to their details being shared with others in the same position. The Foundation admin team will manage this data securely.

It is then the foundation doctor’s responsibility to find a swapping partner and complete the appropriate paperwork.

Swaps between more than two foundation doctors are not permitted.

Both foundation doctors must be registered for swap shop by the dates laid out in the key dates section below.

The swap application must be received by the dates laid out in the key dates section below.

Late applications cannot be accepted and there is no opportunity to appeal.


Eligibility for Whole Programme Swaps (Swap Shop)

  • Must be a full time Foundation Doctor
  • Must not be out of sync
  • Must not be on the specialised foundation programme

Eligibility for Local Swaps

  • Foundation doctors on the specialised foundation programme may not swap their academic placement. They may only swap their clinical placements
  • LTFT or other out of sync foundation doctors must submit a ticket ahead of applying for a local swap to be reviewed and approved by the Foundation School Director on a case by case basis

Ensuring Education Balance

All programmes are designed to be educationally balanced and provide exposure to a range of specialties during the two years of the programme. All 2-year programmes should include a community placement.

London and KSS guidance for maintaining educational balance is set out below.

Your two-year programme should contain no more than:

  • 8 months in a surgical specialty
  • 8 months in a community specialty
  • 4 months in a psychiatry placement

You cannot repeat a community specialty (e.g. GP, community paediatrics) but it may be possible to repeat one medical, surgical, or other sub-specialty, depending on availability of posts.

Key Dates

  • 5th February 2024 - Whole programme swap registration opens and local swap application window opens.
  • 12th February 2024 - Whole programme swap registration closes.
  • 14th February 2024 - Swap registrant details shared with other applicants via secure data sharing method and window opens.
  • 15th March 2024 - Swap window closes – ALL swap applications (both local and whole programme) must be received by 5pm on this date.
  • 18th March 2024 - Applications to FSDs.
  • 25th March 2024 - FSDs to inform HET of swap decisions.
  • 4th April 2024 - Applicants notified of outcome.
  • May 2024 - Trusts notified of change via TROG (May vary from Early Snapshot).


Why can I not swap my F1 placements?

It is felt that it is important for an F1 doctor to settle into their training before deciding to swap the content of their programme. In addition, as we are only running one window to facilitate swapping we are only able to offer this when you are halfway through your F1 year.

If my application to swap is rejected can I appeal?

No, the Foundation School Director’s decision is final and you will be given a reason for their decision.

Do both applicants needs to apply to swap?

No, you can identify a lead applicant and we will notify both of you of the outcome. It is however essential that both of you have registered.

What is the difference between Local Swap and Swap Shop

Local swaps are for trainees who wish to swap one or more F2 placements with another trainee within the same FY2 Trust. You do not need to register for Swap Shop to submit a local swap, just complete a Local Swap form and submit it via the support portal.

Swap Shop is for trainees who wish to swap their whole F2 programme with another trainee. The programme swapped doesn’t necessarily need to be within the same Trust but needs to remain within the same region. You must register for Swap shop AND submit an application.

Can Academic Doctors apply for Local Swaps or Swap Shop?

If you have been allocated to an academic programme you are you are not eligible to enter into Swap shop but may apply for a Local Swap. Should you apply for a local swap you may only swap your clinical placements.

Can Military Doctors apply for Local Swaps or Swap Shop?

No. Military placements have specific requirements managed by the Defence Deanery which means they cannot be included in the Swap process.

I have registered but my fellow trainee has not; can we apply to swap?

All trainees wishing to take part in the Swap Shop must be registered. If one trainee is registered and the other isn’t then the swap application will be declined.

I want to request at least two rotation swaps with the same trainee via the Local Swap process; how do I do this?

If you wish to swap more than one rotation with the same trainee via the Local Swap process, you are required to submit separate forms for each rotation you wish to swap. (For example, if you wish to swap your first placement and your second you would need to submit two separate forms, one for each placement).


I missed the window for swap shop, can I submit a late application?

No, swap requests outside the formal swap shop window will not be permitted.


Please contact the admin team on 020 7866 3216 or by visiting the support portal: https://lasepgmdesupport.hee.nhs.uk/