Why UK junior doctors defer postgraduate training


Gareth Huw Jones, Melanie Dowling, Shirley Remington, Jeremy Brown

Objectives: National surveys have identified a declining trend in UK Foundation Year 2 doctors (FY2s) entering directly into training positions. Last year, less than half entered training directly. We aimed to investigate the reasons why current FY2s choose not to enter training directly. Methods: This is a qualitative study using semi-structured interviews. We used thematic framework analysis to code the data into themes for analysis. Results: “Feeling unprepared for training” and “lack of flexibility” were the two main themes identified from the interviews as the reasons to delay training. A lack of clinical exposure and career advice were cited as the reasons to feel unprepared. Flexibility was very important in terms of family considerations, working abroad, and financial reasons which were felt to be absent from a rigid training program. Conclusion: Defering training after FY2 appears to have become normalized in the UK. Many other international training programs appear less structured than the UK and expect juniors to spend time in non-training jobs prior to entering training. It is impossible to say which system is superior but it appears no system can dictate the speed of postgraduate medical training.