The Foundation Programme is the general training programme leading from medical school to specialist training or general practice training. The programme covers the first two years of clinical practice and primarily teaches generic skills needed by all doctors in any area of practice. The central theme of the curriculum is achieving competence through clinical practice and therefore most learning is grounded in the clinical setting. The Brighton and Sussex University Hospital NHS Trust (BSUH) is part of the South Thames Foundation School (STFS).
At BSUH, trainees rotate through a set of three training placements in their F1 year and three in their F2 year, each of which is four months in duration. In addition to acquiring professional skills such as teamwork, communication, and learning to prioritise tasks, trainees cover the foundation learning curriculum. Each post encompasses a range of opportunities from learning new clinical skills to clerking patients and presenting on ward rounds.
Supervised Learning Events (SLEs) and reflective practice are used to maximize the learning experience from clinical episodes. Trainees are part of a multidisciplinary team and work alongside allied healthcare professionals.
Placements at BSUH cover a range of specialties including Acute Medicine, Anaesthetics, Cardiology, Emergency Medicine, Endocrinology and Diabetes Mellitus, Gastroenterology, General Medicine, Psychiatry, Surgery, Genitourinary Medicine, Geriatric Medicine, Haematology, Infectious Diseases, Medical Oncology, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Otolaryngology, Paediatrics, Paediatric Surgery, Palliative Medicine, Renal Medicine, Respiratory Medicine, Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgery and Urology.
Most posts are based in the acute setting with the exception of General Psychiatry, GP, Community Paediatrics and Palliative Care which are community based and part of the remit of Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.
There are regular teaching sessions arranged by the Foundation faculty, covering a wide range of topics including Key Clinical Information, Managing Clinical Emergencies, Prescribing, Thromboembolism, Infection Control, Palliative Care, Careers Advice and Stress Management.
A minimum of 70% attendance at the mandatory Foundation Teaching sessions is required for trainees to be signed off at the end of year. Most departments also provide teaching sessions covering more specialist topics. In addition, Foundation trainees do further training courses such as ILS, ALS and Simulation training.
Foundation trainees also have opportunities to teach medical students, and undertake audits. They are encouraged to arrange taster sessions in a specialty that they are considering for their future career and training.
F1s can do this during their last rotation by borrowing study leave from their F2 year. F2 trainees are not restricted to arranging ‘Tasters’ within this Trust.
Foundation Year 1 (F1)
The first year of the Foundation Programme builds on knowledge, skills and competences developed in undergraduate training. The learning objectives for this year are set by the General Medical Council and at the end of the year each trainee must demonstrate that they have met the standards of competence set out in the Foundation Programme Curriculum.
Foundation Year 2 (F2)
The second year of the Foundation Programme builds on the first year of training and focusses on the assessment and management of acutely ill patients.
It should also be recognised that with practice, the doctor will be expected to achieve and demonstrate continuing improvement of skills within the programme’s spiral curriculum framework. It is important to remember that evidence of F1 sign off is required for successful completion of the Foundation Programme.