Peninsula Welcome Event Evaluation Report 2017



The Peninsula Foundation School organises an annual event to help applicants matched to the School make their individual job preferences. The 2017 Welcome Event was held on Friday 24th March 2017 at the Postgraduate Medical Education Centre, Derriford Hospital, Plymouth and a team from each location attended including Foundation Programme Directors, Foundation Programme Managers/Administrators and current Foundation trainees.


  • Presentations from Peninsula Postgraduate Medical Education – introduction to the day and overview of Foundation Training in the Peninsula
  • Career Planning presentation and information stand
  • Small Group meetings (20 mins each) through each of the localities in the Peninsula.

 Objectives of the event

  • Introduce the applicants to the Foundation programme, the Foundation School team and the locations in the Peninsula
  • Give the applicants the opportunity to hear from each locality, ask questions and gather information
  • Give the applicants the opportunity to hear from current trainees and ask questions about their experience

 Attendees were asked to complete a paper-based evaluation form before leaving the event.


189 people were matched to the School for programmes starting in August 2017. 39% (74) attended the event compared with the previous year’s figure of 40% (76). 84% (62) of those attending completed an evaluation form, compared with 99% (75) in 2016.

43% of those who attended the event were local graduates from the Peninsula Medical School.  For F1 2017, the school will be made up of 21% local graduates and 79% graduates from other medical schools.

 Decision Making

Overall, attending the event had an immediate effect on the first choice preferences of 37% of attendees completing an evaluation form. This included people who were initially decided but then became undecided after the event. The decision changing effect was slightly higher for local applicants.


Table 1 – Applicants’ preferences following the event



Changed 1st choice preference

No change to first choice preference

Peninsula students

10 (40%)

15 (60%)

Non Peninsula students

13 (35%)

24 (65%)


23 (37%)

39 (63%)


As shown in table 2, Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital was the most popular locality before the event with 42% of delegates saying that this would be their first choice.  It remained the most popular after the event but the proportion rating it as their first choice fell to 21%. 11 attendees who preferred Exeter on arrival were undecided after the event (7 were local graduates). The proportions preferring the other localities did not change significantly.

The main effect of the event was to increase the proportion of applicants who were undecided about their first choice locality. The proportion of attendees who were undecided this year before the event (18%) was much lower than in 2016 (34%), however after the event the proportion that was undecided increased to 35%.


Table 2 – First choice locality


First Choice

Before the event

After the event

Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust

26 (42%)

13 (21%)

South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

8 (13%)

8 (13%)

Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust

 8 (13%)

9 (14.5%)

Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust

 7 (11%)

9 (14.5%)

Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust

2 (3%)

1 (2%)


11 (18%)

 22 (35%)




*12 delegates did not complete their Evaluation Forms


Most useful aspects of the event

Attendees were asked what they found most useful from the event and why. 92% of the students provided an answer to this question of which 49 (86%) said that a most useful aspects of the day were the presentations given by the individual localities and the opportunity to speak to current trainees.  In general, attendees’ comments suggested they valued many different aspects of the event as a whole.

The number of comments about the most useful aspect of the day can be found below in table 3.


Table 3 – Most useful aspect of the day


Most useful aspects

Number of comments

Breakout sessions with each Trust

25 (44%)

Talking with F1/F2s

24 (42%)

Info re work life balance/ transport/ accommodation

5 (9%)


2 (4%)



A selection of verbatim comments for ‘most useful aspects of the event’ (note; all comments can be found in Appendix 1)


  • I like how each hospital were able to present their placements. See the pros/cons of each trust from the F1/F2 perspective.
  • All of it - knowing where other trainees are from puts it in perspective, career service & their role, F2 aboard/swaps/LIFT, interviewing each deanery.
  • Presentations from each trust. More than just the content of their talks I got an idea of each ones personality.
  • Description of F1/F2 working & leisure activities. Detail re living locations. Getting a feel for the lifestyle of a locality. Being told where placements may be, inc community placements.
  • Advice on work/life balance. Idea of programme & about working in each speciality.
  • Opportunities to have questions answered from each locality. Group presentations from all localities.
  • Hearing from F1's about quality of life in the various areas & the opportunity to ask questions on 1:1
  • Reduced fear of other trusts.
  • Feeling better about if I get a lower choice/ not my first choice.
  • It was nice to get all informal views from current F1/F2's.


Suggestions for future events

Attendees were asked if they thought there was anything that could be improved for similar events in the future. Their suggested changes include:


Further information

A few students suggested that it would be good to have more information on the specific jobs that they could take away including accommodation and rotas and pay bandings. It was also suggested that each locality could provide more handouts on specific locality information. Several students requested information of how competitive each location tended to be.  One student asked for an A3 print out of the jobs available to rank in the Welcome Pack to refer to on the day.

Duration of event and structure

Most students felt the day was well structured and organised, however some felt that the introduction talks were too long and they would have preferred more time to talk with individual localities and existing trainees. One student felt that having lunch altogether would have been better than in the individual groupings. 

Locality breakout sessions

In general this was a very positive aspect of the day but there were a few suggested changes, which include; more Hospital specific handouts at each locality especially around bandings and rotas; more photos from each locality; more description of working time less about leisure time.  Students really valued the time to speak to existing trainees and many would have welcomed more time to do this in each locality. One student suggested standardising the talks to enable comparison.

Other comments

There were also a few other suggestions to improve the event:  quite a few trainees would have liked more specific information on the social event prior to the day; a comment was made about the use of acronyms which were difficult to follow for a non UK student.


Would they recommend the event to future applicants?

100% (62) of respondents answered this question and 100% of these confirmed they would recommend the event to applicants in future years.


 Summary and Recommendations

The Peninsula Foundation School held a Welcome Event on Friday 24th March 2017 at the Postgraduate Medical Education Centre, Derriford Hospital for those people matched to the School for F1 2017.  The aim of the event was to introduce the Foundation Programme and the individual localities within the Peninsula and give applicants the opportunity to ask questions and gather information to help with ranking post preferences.

 74 of 189 (39%) people matched to the School attended the event and 84% (62) of those who attended completed a paper evaluation form.  All attendees completing the evaluation recommended the event.

 For 37% of attendees who completed the evaluation form, attending the event had an immediate impact on their locality preference.  For the group as a whole, the main impacts were to increase the proportion who were undecided (from 18% to 35%) and reduce the rate of first choice preference for Exeter (42% to 21%). There were no clear indications why preferences for Exeter were most affected; it tends to be the most popular locality for local students and people outside the region and it is possible that other localities simply managed to be persuasive on the day as alternative options.

 40% of local medical students who completed feedback changed their first choice of locality after the event; of these 32% switched to undecided.

The individual locality breakout sessions and meeting current trainees were the most useful aspects of the day for delegates.  There were a number of suggestions for possible improvements that should be considered by the Foundation School Committee for future events. These include:


  • The format of the breakout sessions and the materials that are given out by each locality
  • More information on pay and rotas and work life from each locality
  • Comparison rates for the relative popularity of trusts included in the handouts
  • More time to speak informally to existing trainees in each location
  • Increasing the amount of information about the social event


The report indicates that the event met the needs of the applicants and provided helpful advice and guidance for selecting their post preferences. While the event had an immediate effect of creating more uncertainty in the cohort, this can be viewed positively as the result of challenging attendees pre-conceived ideas about the different localities and people feeling more positive about a range of localities than the one that was initially most known to them. The evaluation shows that the event is valued by attendees.



Suzanne Maddock

Peninsula Foundation School Administrator

April 2017