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 in November.  All applications MUST be received by 9.00am on the 4th January 2022.  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 attachment) 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 current 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). 

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). 

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: Please see appendix 1


Your current 2 year programme is balanced to give you a broad programme from a range of the specialty groups. You cannot repeat a subspecialty post and your 2 year programme must contain a community post.

If you are looking for Option 3 i.e. to swap one post in your F2 programme it is helpful to know how the posts are grouped. We base our categories on the GMC’s specialty groupings and adopt the concept of a Community specialty grouping:

Specialty groupings for forming a balanced rotation 


Also contains

Anaesthetics and Intensive Care


Emergency Medicine


Obstetrics and Gynaecology





Includes Neonates



Physician Specialties

Includes posts in Acute Medicine, MAU, EAU, GUM (hospital)


Also included in the community grouping if not in Liaison


Includes Oncology

Surgical specialties

Includes all surgical specialties including T&O and Urology


GP, Psychiatry (not liaison), Community neuro-Rehab, Community O&G, Community musculo-skeletal, Public Health, Sexual Health

Any swap request must ensure the whole programme remains broad, balanced and include a community post. For example, under Option 3 you could apply to swap

  •  a GP post for a Community Neuro-Rehab post
  • a psychiatry post for a GP post or vice versa
  • a T&O post for plastic surgery
  • an O & G post for Emergency Medicine

but you could not request to swap

  • a GP post for Obs & gynae
  • a community neuro rehab post for emergency medicine.   

You cannot request a swap that would repeat a post already in your programme or for something very similar e.g. you have done gastro and want to swap to upper GI or colorectal surgery. If your request does not fit with these criteria, you may be better to opt for option 1 or 2 to swap a whole F2 programme that contains your preferred specialty post. 


Applicants, who entered the Peninsula Foundation School as linked applicants, will be treated as UNLINKED in the swaps process unless they both indicate on their individual forms that they want to be treated as LINKED. 

If you were not a linked applicant but now want to be treated as LINKED for the swaps process e.g. you only want to move to Plymouth if your partner can move to Plymouth, then you both need to indicate that on your swaps forms. Please understand that linking your application with someone else’s may reduce the chances of either of you achieving a swap of location.


Once the swaps process has closed, submitted requests cannot be withdrawn. The decision of the swaps team is final and there is no appeals process. 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. Once a swap has been approved there is no option to decline and revert to your original programme.