Foundation Doctor’s 2023 Guide to North London
North London Foundation School (FS) was created in 2021, as a merger of North West London Foundation School and North Central and East London Foundation School. It is a part of London and KSS (Kent, Surrey and Sussex) Foundation Schools Health Education England.
Going from West to East, North London FS stretches from Hillingdon, Harrow, Barnet and into East Romford along its Northern borders with the M25, and joins into parts of Central London that are North of the River Thames.
Part of the attractions of working in North London include the prospects of working in some of the most prestigious hospitals in the world, such as University College London (UCLH), Royal Free, The Royal London, St Batholomew’s Hospital, St Mary’s, Chelsea and Westminster
Living in London definitely has its perks. Public transport is available 24/7, and there is a seemingly endless selection of restaurants, bars, and theatres to keep you entertained after work. On the downside, London is one of the most expensive city's in the world, and rent can take a sizeable portion of your monthly income, especially in zones 1 and 2.
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Foundation School Statistics
As this is a new Foundation School, formed from the merger of North West London, and North Central and East London Foundation Schools, there is only data available for the last two years.
2022 F1 Places: 581
2022 F1 Applicants: 1510
2022 Competition Ratio: 2.60
2021 F1 Places: 562
2021 F1 Applicants: 1409
2021 Competition Ratio: 2.51
Below is an interactive bar chart displaying the competition ratios, lowest entry scores, and the number of posts over the past 2 years for North London.
How Does North London Compare To Other Foundation Schools?
Check out our article "What are the most competitive foundations schools?" for a full breakdown.
Hospitals, Rotation Satisfaction, And CQC Ratings
In the chart below you'll find a list of hospitals attached to the North London Foundation School, and an average of their Rotation Scores from Messly’s Training Navigator. Each rotation is given a score out of 100, which is based on a weighted average of ratings given by Foundation Trainees in the 2022 GMC NTS. The national average Rotation Score is 62 for reference.
Colours correspond to the latest CQC rating of that hospital.
Disclaimer: Please note that hospitals are unscored when there are insufficient responses by Foundation Trainees to the GMC’s NTS surve
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A Doctor’s Experience
For North West London
“I picked North West London Foundation School as I wanted the opportunity to live and work in London whilst in my early twenties, and experience city life. I felt that NWTFS was a good deanery as it is quite small and so I could live in the same place for the 2 years. I chose to spend the first year in a district general hospital, and my second in an inner-city hospital. I think it’s good to do it this way around. My first hospital was small and friendly so I felt I could settle in easily, and there were lots of opportunities to learn to be more independent.
Based on the geographical location of my hospitals, I chose to live in Willesden Junction. Although not particularly gentrified, it has fantastic transport links with both the Overground and Bakerloo lines, and the rent is reasonable. I cycle to work and I have found that this is a cheap, fast, and easy way to get around. I would bear this in mind – not only will it take longer to get places by car, but you will likely have to pay to park outside your home, at work, and may even have to pay a congestion charge.
The social side of North West Thames Foundation Schools is really great. Each hospital has a mess that organises monthly payday parties with fun activities or money behind a bar. Each hospital has different mess fees. For some e.g. Chelsea and Westminster, there are no mess fees, for others a small monthly fee which comes out of your wages e.g. Ealing £15/month. This includes access to the mess where there is tea, coffee, cereal, snacks etc. and on weekends PIZZA! There are also bi-annual balls in Winter and Summer. Inter-hospital and even inter-deanery parties have also been organised in the past, so it is a great way to meet new people and have fun with your colleagues.”
Written by Alisha Maria – Foundation Year 2 at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital
For North Central and East Thames
“I chose this deanery because I wanted to live in London for both years and enjoy all the cosmopolitan benefits it has to offer. Most programmes give you a year in a smaller, peripheral DGH and one year in a large teaching hospital. I did my FY1 year at North Middlesex hospital in Tottenham which I really enjoyed – it was a friendly place to work, with generally good support from seniors and a mix of both general and interesting cases, due to the diverse patient demographics of the local area. Socially, we were fairly close-knit – which isn’t always a given doing your FY1 year in London, due to the disparate nature of where everyone is living.
The Royal Free is much larger, has a long list of subspecialties and a lot of ongoing cutting-edge research.. From my experience, everyone works pretty hard, but there is good clinical supervision and lots of opportunities to get involved in audits/projects etc.
London’s public transport is good enough that you could commute to most hospitals from a single base – good for if you don’t want to move home halfway through the programme. I based myself in Hackney which is a really fun place to live, and has good transport links to most of the hospitals.”
Emily Taylor, Foundation Year 2 at Royal Free Hospital
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