Swapping Foundation Posts and Rotations 

Once you have been allocated a foundation rotation, you are not allowed to swap the whole rotation or any post within it except through the School’s official F2 Swaps Process or with the approval of the Foundation School in other exceptional circumstances. We understand that this rule is disappointing for some trainees, particularly those who want a rotation explicitly geared towards their preferred career choice but it is implemented for the following reasons:

The process for allocating or matching to posts needs to be transparent and fair. Trainees are matched to rotations on the basis of the national application process. Rotations do not belong to trainees and are not theirs to give away outside this process.

Educational approval has been given to the rotation to which you have been allocated. Changes to the rotation that are not authorised by the Foundation School will not carry educational approval.

For selection into specialty training, it is important that you show evidence of Foundation capabilities as well as suitability for and commitment to that specialty. Selection panels are aware that many trainees will not have had their most preferred rotations. What they will be looking for is evidence of your commitment to that specialty e.g. through tasters, audit, attending careers events etc.

From 2016, the School moved to a 2 year fixed foundation programme in order to meet the requirements of Broadening the Foundation Programme (2014) that trainees cannot repeat posts from the same specialty grouping within their 2 years and 80% of trainees must have a community placement.

All F1s will start with a compliant programme i.e. one where the F2 programme is an appropriate balance with their F1 programme. The School recognises that this allocation of a 2 year programme restricts the choice of posts that trainees can have and, while our obligation is only to provide each trainee with a generic programme in which they can achieve the outcomes of the curriculum, we are keen to improve trainees’ satisfaction with their programmes if possible. This is why we have an F2 SWAPS PROCESS.

While wanting to get the best outcomes for our trainees, the School does not want to raise false expectations that it can satisfy all requests for swaps. Swapping will depend on matching swaps being identified and cannot happen if it results in a vacancy rate in any trust that would impact on patient safety. The School’s ability to accommodate swaps will be very limited due to its obligation to ensure that each trainee has an appropriately balanced rotation.


Swap application forms will be sent to F1s at the start of December.  All applications MUST be received by 9am on the 3rd of January 2020.  No late applications will be accepted.


There are three options for types of F2 programme swap. If you choose more than 1 option, you need to tell us which option you most prefer.

1. You can apply for a swap of your allocated F2 location e.g. you have been allocated a programme in Torbay and want to move to Plymouth or North Devon. You can stipulate whether you would swap to any F2 programme that is compliant with your F1 programme or only one that contains certain specialties (which would reduce your chance of a swap). Priority for Special Circumstances (see below) will apply to applications for a swap of F2 location regardless of the rotation only i.e. if you are applying under special circumstances for a swap of location, you must be willing to accept any compliant rotation.

2. You can apply to swap your whole programme in your allocated F2 location. You can stipulate whether you would swap to any F2 programme that is compliant with your F1 programme or only one that contains certain specialties (which would reduce your chance of a swap). Priority for special circumstances will not apply for Option 2 requests.

3. You can apply to swap one sub-specialty post with another from the same specialty grouping (keeping the other posts in the allocated programme) e.g. can request to swap Cardiology for Respiratory (medicine grouping) or GP for Community Sexual Health (community grouping). Priority for special circumstances will not apply for Option 3 requests.

NB: The more complicated or specific your preference, the less likely we will be able to accommodate it.


Priority for swaps will be given to requests with approved special circumstances (for Option 1 only) after which swaps will be considered in a random order.

Special Circumstances are:
• Significant family responsibilities – most commonly responsibility as the primary carer for a young, school-age child (as confirmed by a birth certificate or equivalent) or for a seriously ill partner or first degree relative (as confirmed by a doctor’s note)
• Chronic illness (physical or psychological) or disability for which local follow up is an absolute requirement (as confirmed by an Occupational Health report)
• Terminally ill first degree relative living locally and for whom they have a caring responsibility (as confirmed by a doctor’s note)
• Educational reasons as supported by current Foundation Programme Director. Relevant educational reasons include where it is recommended that a trainee experiencing difficulties remains in the same trust in order to benefit from the continued support of the local education team. Educational reasons do NOT include a request to transfer on the basis of wanting to complete a particular specialty offered by a trust


Your current 2 year programme is balanced so that you do not have more than one post from the same specialty grouping, unless the repeated post is community facing e.g. has clinic time or is otherwise clearly different (e.g. admissions). All our F2 surgical and medical posts should be community facing so you can have two surgical or two medical posts in your 2 year programme albeit not in the same sub-specialty.

Information about how the posts are grouped into specialties is available on the application form.

All 2 year rotations have at least 4 months of MAU/EAU or ED in them and this needs to be preserved in any swap.


Peninsula Foundation School cannot guarantee that trainees who initially applied to the School as linked applicants will be able to remain linked in the swaps process.If you want us to consider your request for a swap together with someone else’s, e.g. as long as one of the pair can move to where the other is allocated it doesn’t matter which one swap request is considered, you BOTH need to let us know this when you submit your forms.


Once the swaps process has closed, submitted requests cannot be withdrawn. Swaps of posts or programme cannot be made outside of the School’s official process and trainees are reminded to act professionally throughout the process and not pressurise other trainees to “release” posts that they themselves want.