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    Hey Guys,

    I'm looking for advice on doing the foundation programme in London please. I'm going to Uni in Dublin so I'm a little in the dark about the whole FP.

    I applied to FPAS because I wanted an academic job- unfortunately I didn't get one. The by-product is that I applied for the regular FP too and got a pretty good score (have a masters and presentations etc) and got allocated to NWTFS.

    I know this is a crazy competitive FS and I'm really happy with the opportunity but a little bit anxious about taking up a job in a hospital/city/health system I know very little (/nothing) about, so any advice would be great thanks!

    1) University vs District General Hospitals?
    NWT has a petty good distribution of jobs across 10 hospitals and they're all pretty central. I have been told that it's pretty much mandatory (recommended) to move trusts after first year, but there are some jobs that stay in at Mary's or in C&W etc for both years. Would this be a good thing or a bad thing? Be nice to live in the same area for 2 years and it would be great to have a shorter commute but would you get less opportunities (learning/teaching/audits etc) in a teaching hospital vs a DGH? I don't wanna finish foundation training knowing all about GI stromal tumours and not know how to manage a pneumonia! I'm exaggerating obviously :P How about when it comes to applying for core training after F2? Think the applications open early enough in F2- Does working in a university hospital for F1 look better for applications later wrt References/experience etc? Or vice versa- do F1 in a smaller hospital then move into central teaching hospital for F2.

    2)Cost of Living?
    I know London is expensive and rents in the north west would probably be higher than normal. I don't have close family in London so I'd be renting. Is there a consensus on minimum salary people would require to live comfortably in London? Do junior docs generally find it difficult to get by or is it manageable? Not 100% how the banding works - more hours and more call = more money? Would it be smart to pick higher banded jobs (1A/B) or am I signing up for a life of misery and 1 in 3 weekends on call?

    3) The Hospitals themselves?
    I have to rank jobs between Chelsea and Westminster, St Mary's, Charring X, Hammersmith, Northwick Park, West Middlesex and Central Middlesex.Do any of these hospitals have a bad reputation? I know they;re all pretty awesome hospitals, I mean reputation in terms of the work/life balance, social life/Mess etc. I guess I could watch Junior Doctors to see what C&W is like :P In terms of Imperial students, which hospitals do you rotate through? Any preferences? I want to do Medicine or A&E in the long run, maybe Gasro, Neuro or Derm. I know the A&Es are getting reconfigured so it's a bit hard to judge where to apply. In terms of medical firms, would any hospital be preferential for teaching/experience? I know Derm is strongest in St John's and Neuro is Queen's square which aren't in NWT unfortunately. Anything else I need to consider?

    Thanks for reading all my ramblings! Any other wisdom would be gratefully received!


    I'm an STFS-er, so I'm afraid I don't know any specific details about the hospitals up that way, but in general I would recommend doing FY1 in a DGH rather than a teaching hospital if you want hands-on general experience. On top of that, as an F2 in a teaching hospital you'll usually be on the SHO rota and so be able to do more fun stuff than you would as an F1.

    Regarding expenses - London is very expensive, no two ways about it. If you want to live somewhere "nice" in NW London, you will have to pay for it. Rents also go up exponentially near to Tube stations and transport hubs. As a doctor, you will have a decent salary, and you won't be starving, but you will have to make some careful financial decisions so as to not be spewing all your money away on bills each month. House-sharing will almost certainly be cheaper than renting alone. There is a considerable difference in council tax rates between London boroughs (I live in Southwark and pay over twice what my friends in Wandsworth do) and it's worth shopping around for bills etc. Consider cycling/walking as well as public transport - it's often very difficult to drive to/park at many London hospitals. Just as a rough guide, my husband and I pay ~£1250 a month for a 2-bed flat, 5 mins walk from a zone 2 Tube station in a not-too-dodgy bit of SE London.

    Banding roughly reflects the number/intensity of your on-calls, but some of it is down to paperwork and number crunching by admin people, so often there's not too much difference between a 1A and a 1B job. 1 in 4 weekends is usually the most you'll be doing except for in 7 day specialties like A&E.
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