About ISFP

What was it?

The Improving Selection to the Foundation Programme (ISFP) Project was initiated in 2009 and was designed to find the best method of selecting applicants to the Foundation Programme, a two-year generic training programme which forms the bridge between medical school and specialist/general practice training.

How was it launched?

From 2006, selection to the Foundation Programme was based on an academic quartile rank (40%) and answers to open-ended “white-space” questions (60%). The need to improve the selection process was motivated by issues relating to its reliability, validity, comparability and longevity, as well as risk of plagiarism and NHS consultant time required, as outlined in the Department of Health report ‘The Next Stage Review: A High Quality Workforce’ (2008).

To address these concerns, in October 2009 the Department of Health (England, on behalf of the four UK Health Departments) commissioned the Medical Schools Council to carry out a review of the selection methods and the ISFP Project was established.

ISFP Project Group 

The ISFP Project Group composed of representatives from fifteen stakeholder organisations, including the UK Foundation Programme Office, NHS Employers, the four Health Departments, the General Medical Council and the BMA Medical Students Committee. At the conclusion of the ISFP Project, the Project Group comprised:

  • Dr Ian Curran – on behalf of Educational Supervisors
  • Professor Derek Gallen – UKFPO and COPMeD
  • Martin Hart – General Medical Council
  • Duncan Henderson – NHS Education for Scotland
  • Matthew Langdon – Department of Health (on behalf of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland)
  • Marion Matheson –  BMA MSC
  • Andrew Matthewman – Department of Health (on behalf of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland)
  • Professor Simon Maxwell –  Prescribing Skills Assessment (since 2014 Prescribing Safety Assessment)
  • Professor Jim McKillop – Scottish Board for Academic Medicine
  • Dr Peter Nightingale – AoMRC
  • Professor Paul O’Neill (Chair) –  MSC Assessment
  • Sarah Parsons – NHS Employers
  • Dr Katie Petty-Saphon –  MSC Assessment
  • Elly Pilavachi – BMA MSC
  • Dr Kim Walker – on behalf of Foundation School Directors
  • Professor Tony Weetman –  MSC Assessment