In the UK, after foundation training, traditionally junior doctors are expected to enter specialty
training and to eventually join their desired field. However, over the past few years, an increasing
number of doctors are choosing to take a foundation year 3 (even year 4s and 5s) after foundation
training, rather than to enter specialty training. There are various reasons for this, whether it be to
increase insight before committing to a specialty or for personal reasons, such as wanting a bit of a
break from clinical work.


This article is targeted at those who have already decided that they would like to take a year out
from training, and aims to provide the readers with some food for thought when planning for FY3!
If you are set on taking a FY3, firstly you need to make some further decisions. For instance, do you
want to go abroad and if so, which country? Will you be doing locum work with an agency or will you
be applying to a specific hospital? Or, if you are joining a designated programme, such as a
fellowship, is there a deadline for you to apply by? These are all vital questions that you need to
consider in order for you to plan your FY3 properly. It is important for you to put in the time to
research all of your options and most importantly, be aware of application deadlines. This should
ideally be done soon after you have settled into being a senior house officer/FY2 doctor,
approximately September/October of FY2.


If you are thinking of applying for a long-term post at a specific hospital, start to approach or get the
contact details for rota coordinators for the relevant team and enquire as to what jobs are/will be
available. The application deadline can vary, but some can open as early as December, especially for
jobs in Australia/New Zealand.


Other factors for you to take into account includes ensuring that you have an up-to-date CV, have a
copy of all of your professional qualifications and other important documents. Another point to
remember is that, if you are going to work abroad, you must allow time for additional checks and
applications such as visas, health cares, medical licenses. Also, do not forget to sort out where you
are going to live while you are over there!


If you decide to locum and are planning to sign up with an agency, this process can sometimes be
rather time consuming as there will be routine checks and you will also need to complete their
mandatory training. Each agency has their own requirements, and it could take a long time! So, I
would advise that you sign up 2-3 months prior to when you want to start locum work, to ensure
that everything is ready for you do begin.


Hopefully the above article has given you some ideas as to what you need to think about for
planning your FY3 and after all of this preparation work, don’t forget to enjoy it!

Article by: Dr Sammie Mak

Date 15/05/2022