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Are The Best Foundation Programmes The Hardest To Get Into?

Messly helps doctors make evidence-based decisions in their careers. For those of you applying to Foundation Programmes this week, we know that making choices on Deaneries is often based on snatched conversations, hearsay from older peers or just plain guesswork. There’s been very little evidence on which to base your decisions… Until now.

 

We’ve previously written about how Deaneries compare in terms of satisfaction ratings amongst Foundation Doctors, and it’s clear there are dramatic differences between regions. Those of you who have done your research will also know there are also significant differences in how competitive they are to apply to. But how do these compare? Do the most competitive Deaneries have the most satisfied Foundation Trainees?

 

We’ve scanned the 2016 GMC National Training Survey data to find out which UK Deaneries are rated with the best Overall Satisfaction levels at Foundation Programme level, and compared this to how easy or hard they are to secure a place at based on the competition ratios from 2016.

 

Here are the results of our number crunching:

Overall Satisfaction Foundation Programmes
Note: the x-axis shows the competitiveness of each Deanery, calculated as the number of available vacancies divided by the number of applicants that choose that Deanery as their first choice. The most competitive Deaneries appear on the left of the axis, and the least competitive on the right. The y-axis is the Overall Satisfaction rating for all specialties at that Deanery at Foundation level, taken from the 2016 GMC NTS. The size of the bubble represents the number of hospitals offering rotations at Foundation level in that Deanery in 2016.

Note: the x-axis shows the competitiveness of each Deanery, calculated as the number of available vacancies divided by the number of applicants that choose that Deanery as their first choice. The most competitive Deaneries appear on the left of the axis, and the least competitive on the right. The y-axis is the Overall Satisfaction rating for all specialties at that Deanery at Foundation level, taken from the 2016 GMC NTS. The size of the bubble represents the number of hospitals offering rotations at Foundation level in that Deanery in 2016.

1) Northern Ireland and Wales are most highly rated AND the easiest to get into.

 

Once again Northern Ireland and Wales come out top. Their Foundation trainees are the most satisfied in the UK, and their competition ratios are much lower than many of the England Deaneries. So these offer the best mix of satisfaction and the certainty that you’re quite likely to get a place if you choose it as your first choice Deanery.

 

2) North Central Thames and Severn are the lowest rated by doctors AND amongst the hardest to get into

 

Surprisingly North Central Thames ranked one of the lowest, being hard to get into and having a low satisfaction rating amongst Foundation Trainees. This was closely followed by the Severn Deanery which also ranked poorly in our previous report.

 

3) North West Thames is the most competitive by far

 

The biggest outlier is North West Thames – it is by far the most difficult to get into with 3.25 applicants who choose this Deanery as their first preference per available vacancy, far higher than the next highest (North Central Thames at a competition ratio of 1.62). However, the trainee satisfaction doesn’t rate as highly as many other Deaneries, so think hard about the specialties and hospitals you’re interested in before applying.

 

At the other end of the spectrum is East Anglia – with a competition ratio of only 0.65.

 

Learn more:

Read more about our mission to help doctors make evidence-based career choices.

Our Training Navigator will help you deep dive into the quality of training, overall satisfaction and workload at each of the rotations within these regions. These are the most comprehensive and up-to-date ratings for individual NHS hospital rotations, with five star ratings based on the results of the 2016 GMC National Training Survey and written reviews from doctors.

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Notes: The competition ratio for West Midlands is the weighted average of the reported competition ratios of WMC, WMN and WMS.
Source: All data is sourced from the GMC National Training Survey, using ratings for the Overall Satisfaction indicator. Please head here to access the source data in full and read a full explanation of the methodology used by the GMC. Further information on the competition ratios and how these are calculated is available here
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