The rise of the “F3” year
Why are more foundation doctors taking a year out?
Almost half of foundation year doctors are deciding against moving straight into specialty training, according to the UK Foundation Programme’s latest career destination report.1 The number of foundation year 2 (F2) doctors taking up specialist training posts dropped to 52% in 2015, continuing a steady decline from 71.3% in 2011.
This trend of taking at least one year away from training in the NHS has been called the “F3” year. The report describes what an F3 year might entail: from locum and trust grade posts (9.2%) to working outside the United Kingdom (6.1%) or taking a break from medicine (13.8%).
So, why are more doctors opting to take this break, and what implications does it have?
The uncertainty surrounding the junior doctors’ contract dispute is likely to have an effect on numbers taking an F3 year. As Keynejad points out, “the data from the F2 career destination survey reflects people