Everything You Need to Know About Junior Doctor Rotations

Everything You Need to Know About Junior Doctor Rotations

Jun 19, 2020.

Every August, an estimated 50,000 medics across the UK move into new posts in NHS hospitals to train in an array of specialties. The grades include FY1, FY2 and FY3. This period is known as the junior doctor rotations, which are essentially a changeover period.

In this blog post, we’ll explain everything you need to know about junior doctor rotations; from their requirements, expectations, competencies to even extending to an FY3 year!

When are the junior doctor rotations?

Junior doctor rotations happen a few times across the year; however, the most prevalent is always the first Wednesday in August.

What’s the purpose of the junior doctor rotations?

Following on from their undergraduate degree, junior doctors are required to partake in a foundation year programme to expand their skillset, decide on their long-term career objectives and increase their earning potential. In addition to exposing themselves to a range of specialties and healthcare settings, it essentially provides the opportunity to transition to independent practice.

What are the requirements to complete a junior doctor rotation?
  • MBBS or equivalent
How to apply for FY1 and FY2?

Recruitment of your foundation years are managed by the UK Foundation Programme Office (UKFPO).

Foundation Year 1

Foundation year 1 (FY1) is the first year of a two-year programme for doctors who have graduated from medical school. It allows doctors to practice the key skills and knowledge they have learnt in their undergraduate course and prepare to practice as a fully registered doctor in the UK.

To partake in FY1, you’ll need a GMC provisional registration with a licence to practice.

Throughout the year, your NHS Trust will provide the following sessions:

  • Foundation level practical procedures
  • Daily teaching
  • Advanced life support training
  • Shadowing opportunities

At the end of your FY1, you’ll undergo an annual review of competent progression (ARCP).

Please note, all FY1s get the opportunity to rotate through at least three jobs in different specialties.

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Foundation Year 2

When you get to FY2, you’ll need full registration with a licence to practice.

During your FY2 year, the programme directors will arrange several one-to-one sessions with you to help discuss your career aspirations. These one-to-one sessions can help you complete any training applications, portfolios or interview preparation to help you maximise your performance on the day.

Your FY2 year will include:

  • Remaining under clinical supervision (as do all doctors in training) but take on increasing responsibility for patient care
  • Beginning to make management decisions as part of your progress onto independent practice
  • Developing core generic skills and contribute more to the education and training of the wider healthcare workforce
  • You must demonstrate your clinical effectiveness, leadership and decision-making responsibilities

A satisfactory completion of FY2 will lead to the award of a Foundation Programme Certificate of Completion (FPCC) which confirms that the foundation doctor is ready to enter a core, specialty or general practice training programme.

Typically, your FY3 year will provide offer you a minimum of a rotation within three specialties.

Will I be taught in my Foundation Years?

Yes. You are required to attend the organised teaching sessions by the reported start time and you must sign an attendance register. For most trusts, 80% attendance must be achieved in order for you to meet the ARCP requirements at the end of the teaching year. You will receive teaching in departmental specialty medicine, quality improvement, research, audit and patient safety.

Foundation Competencies

To apply for specialty training, you will need to provide evidence of achievement of Foundation Professional Capabilities for the post of which you are applying for, in line with the GMC’s standards/Good Medical Practice, including:

  • Good clinical care
  • Maintaining good medical practice
  • Good relationships and communication with patients
  • Good working relationships with colleagues
  • Good teaching and training
  • Professional behaviour and probity
  • Delivery of good acute clinical care

Please click here for further information.

What specialties will I rotate within?

The specialties you rotate within depend upon the needs of the hospital and departmental staffing levels. However, it is guaranteed that you’ll rotate within general medicine and surgery. Other specialties include paediatrics, psychiatry, anaesthetics, radiology, emergency medicine, obstetrics and gynaecology, pathology, oncology, urology – the list is endless.

If you’re not allocated your desired specialties, then you could apply for a taster. A taster is a period of time, usually 2-5 days usually spent within a specialty you have not previously worked to gain an insight into the work. It will be your responsibility to organise these placements and receive written acceptance from a supervising consultant.


If you’re unable to secure the specialties of your choice in your foundation years or during the annual junior doctor rotations, why not add on an extra year before you apply for your specialty training?

An FY3 year could provide you with the opportunity to earn money by spending the year working flexible locum shifts, gain a range of experience in your desired specialties and most importantly, pursue other interests after working hard for seven years.

To find out more information on how to make the most out of your FY3 year, we share five great ways to make the most of it here.

We can help you find the perfect flexible role!

If you’re a junior doctor who has decided that taking an FY3 year is the best option for you, ID Medical can help secure you a range of flexible roles to suit your gap year needs. We will guarantee you:

  • Your own dedicated Account Manager
  • Access to a variety of roles across the UK
  • Singular compliance file
  • Flexibility in approach to work
  • Pay roll tracking and timesheet support
  • 24/7, 365-Support

So, if you want to work for three-months, then travel for three-months or you want to work a week on a week off – we will be here to find you a role to suit your needs – just email your CV to us at marketing@id-medical.com.


We’re the UK’s biggest supplier of locum doctors to the NHS – working with 95% of the country’s hospital trusts! If you’re looking to get the best shifts available as a locum, sign up with us today via the button below!
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