Code of Conduct for Foundation Applicants

The national foundation application process exists to serve the needs of newly qualified doctors who are looking for their first posts and those of Trusts and Foundation Schools who are looking to fill their vacancies with high quality applicants.

The process begins at least 9 months before the posts start, reflecting the complexity of managing a national system with thousands of posts. Trusts and applicants also need a reasonably long lead-in time to complete pre-employment checks (such as Disclosure and Barring (DBS)) and prepare to start work, which for some means a significant geographical move.

While we recognise that some applicants are making an application at a time when their own personal plans are not yet clear and that Trusts have to commit to some posts that are not yet finalised, the system demands that applicants, Trusts and Foundation Schools act with integrity whether they are applying for posts or advertising vacancies.

All doctors are obliged to act in accordance with the General Medical Council’s principles of Good Medical Practice (GMP) and have a general duty to maintain a good standard of practice and care. This general duty, as well as the particular responsibilities to make the care of the patient the first concern and to be honest and trustworthy, extends to the application process as well as to direct clinical care.

In addition, under GMP, doctors have a specific duty to behave in a particular way regarding job offers that have been formally accepted:

“you must take up any post you have formally accepted, and work your contractual notice period before leaving a job, unless the employer has reasonable time to make other arrangements” 

While the nature of the appointments system is such that a formal offer letter may not go out until quite late in the process, by participating in this process applicants imply that they intend to start in the post to which they have been provisionally matched. This means that even before they have formally accepted a specific post, it is part of their professional responsibilities to inform the Foundation School and the Trust if they are unlikely to take up the post or are intending to withdraw. Responsibilities to the care of patients means that applicants need to give sufficient notice to an employer of their withdrawal or intention to withdraw from the applications process so that the Trust has sufficient time to advertise, recruit another appropriately trained person and carry out the pre-employment checks that will assure them that patients are not at risk should this new person start in post.

Consequently, prior to accepting any formal job offer from an employer, applicants to the Peninsula Foundation School are asked to abide by the following code of conduct:

  • Only accept a place in the School if you are prepared to accept a post in the School.
  • Notify us as soon as possible if you are aware of personal circumstances that mean you may not formally accept a post but you want to keep your options open until you know more.
  • Inform us if you are matched to a post but are still applying for other vacancies.

Adhering to this code means that up until the point where offers are formally accepted, the School and the employers will be aware of the likelihood of having late vacancies to fill and can plan accordingly. This will ensure we have the best opportunity to offer high quality care to patients who will be cared for by foundation doctors.