Frustration for final year medical students still to be allocated jobs

The Doctors’ Association UK (DAUK) shares the concerns of final year medical students who have yet to find out which hospital they will start work in.

Trisha Suji, DAUK medical student lead, said it was ‘grossly unfair’ that students who have been left unallocated on the placeholder system will get only a few weeks’ notice of where they will start their first job as a doctor.

She said: “Final year medical students need to be allocated a place of work so they can plan and get on with their lives.

“Many will be moving away from home, some will have family, children, caring responsibilities and will need to put things in place.

“Some medical students have been sharing their frustrations on social media – and we share those frustrations.”

Journalist Alison Moore posted on X, formerly Twitter, said that there could be as many as 1,000 graduating doctors currently without jobs, and some may find out as late as 4 July.

She posted: “Their induction may start w/c 22 July leaving them 18 days to find a home. They will have applied as early as October.”

The numbers of students on the national reserve list has been growing in recent years, as seen on the UKFPO Reports.

‘Perfect storm’

Since 2019, medical practitioners have been on the occupation shortage list meaning local graduates are no longer prioritised for foundation jobs.

Dr Ajay Verma, a consultant gastroenterologist, posting on X, said: “This is the perfect storm, the change in the allocation process and a record number of applicants (from UK and abroad) means that there are 100s of final year medical students who don’t have a post as yet.

“There are lots of discussions with local hospitals to create additional posts (without additional funding).

“However this is a slow process and doesn’t help individual’s understandable anxiety. It is a scandal that there are future colleagues going through this uncertainty (and possible unemployment).”

Physician associates

Concerns have also been raised on social media that it appears some oversubscribed deaneries are welcoming physician associates (PA) onto new foundation-like programmes.

PAs who qualify after a two year masters course are replacing traditional doctor roles, their placement and education perhaps being prioritised over medical students who are about to qualify.

post on X highlighted a new 12-month Secondary Care Foundation Programme (education programme) for PAs sharing elements of the traditional doctor teaching.

Trisha said: “The current allocation system for the UKFPO (the organisation that places doctors in their first jobs) does not appear to be functional.

“It does not serve final year medical students. A growing number of medical students are left unallocated year on year, with the problem only set to get worse when cohorts of new medical schools and expanded years begin to graduate.

“Graduates of UK schools must undertake foundation year one to receive their full license to practice as a doctor.

“For newly qualifying doctors the uncertainty, as they take their final exams, with no guarantee of where they might be working of living is beyond description.

Funding

“Neither is it appropriate for foundation schools and hospitals, as they try to place these medical students, to be left trying to create jobs without appropriate funding.

“It does not serve patients or the future of the NHS when the newest cohort of doctors are treated in this way.

“The system needs to change.”

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