NHS Education for Scotland Logo

Scottish Medical Training

Scotland - the home of medical excellence

South East Specialised Foundation Programme

The South East has an excellent environment in which to undertake clinical and academic training. There are 15 posts available within the two year Specialised Foundation Programme (SFP), some of which include a dedicated research block.

The F1 year is a generic clinical Foundation year which allows newly qualified doctors to gain experience in a range of clinical posts with the F2 year focusing on academic elements alongside additional clinical experiences.

The primary objective of this SFP , as for all other foundation programmes, is to ensure satisfactory clinical training through the attainment of foundation competencies (as defined by the Foundation Curriculum and demonstrated through successful completion of the Foundation ePortfolio (Turas)).

This page provides a brief overview of the programme. Full information about rotations can be found by following the links on the left-hand menu.

This is a recruitment website and is not used to provide information for current trainees. Current Foundation trainees should visit the Scotland Deanery website for information about their training.

All rotations are indicative and subject to change.


How is the Clinical Programme of the Specialised Foundation Programme Structured and Allocated?

The Lothian University Hospitals are a Division of Lothian Health and bring together the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh (~850 beds), the Western General Hospital (~500 beds), St John’s Hospital, Livingston and the Royal Hospital for Sick Children. Thus the Division has three large acute teaching hospitals and a specialised paediatric hospital. The programme also involves hospitals in the Fife and Borders regions of Scotland, where outstanding District General Hospital experience is offered.

F1: The F1 rotations exist as pre-established triplicates and these are specified here. The fifteen successful applicants to the SFP will be allocated one of the pre-specified triplicates.

F2: There are fifteen separate posts available in F2 (again listed here), which cover a broad range of clinical specialities. Each foundation doctor will undertake three of these posts, but the rotations are not pre-established. Instead, the rotations are individually constructed by the Foundation Programme Director taking account of the personal preferences of the foundation doctors, while ensuring a broad range of different specialities are experienced. There are approximately nine F2 rotations comprising two clinical posts and one dedicated research block and six posts comprising three clinical placements, all within academic units in Lothian as detailed below.


What Are The Academic Components of the Programme?

The South East  programme offers opportunities to work alongside clinical academics and scientists undertaking world-class research in Edinburgh. We provide opportunities to undertake research projects and be mentored by experienced clinical academics in addition to clinical training.


Each trainee will be allocated an academic mentor at the start of F1. Mentors will support trainees and encourage them to complete a research project during the course of their foundation training. Trainees will be encouraged to embrace the academic culture of the units to which they are attached.


We now offer two parallel schemes during F2, both providing dedicated research time:

  1. 9 of the 15 SFP doctors have the opportunity to undertake a four-month research block.  These posts are allocated following an application process including preparation of a research proposal, shortlisting and interview. The research blocks are particularly suited to those who wish to undertake lab research or analysis of large datasets. There will be no further protected time for research available in the remaining 2 clinical blocks. In order to maintain clinical skills, during the research post the SFP doctor will participate in a standard on-call rota in a central location.
  2. Those who choose not to apply for a research block or who are unsuccessful can take a half day per week (or equivalent, e.g. 1-day alternate weeks) through the whole F2 year. This may be more suitable for those undertaking longitudinal or smaller data-analysis projects.  

Additionally, in clinical posts, 4 study leave days per block (up to 10 days/yr) can be taken for personal research during F2.


Academic Medicine in Edinburgh

Biomedical research in the University of Edinburgh was rated 14th in the world and 4th in Europe by the Times Higher Education supplement (2006). Edinburgh has an enviable track record in attracting high quality clinical PhD students and in postdoctoral training in clinical academics, including clinicians from “neglected” or “craft” specialities (including A&E, psychiatry, surgery, O&G, microbiology, pathology etc). While the number of clinical Lectureships has declined substantially across the UK in the last 15 years, in Edinburgh there has been an investment in clinical academic trainees and the complement of Lectureships has expanded. 

The academic disciplines within Medicine are largely concentrated in the two teaching hospitals in Edinburgh, namely the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh at Little France (RIE) and the Western General Hospital (WGH). The RIE was recently constructed on a green field site under a Private Finance Initiative (completed 2002). It is a state-of-the-art multi-speciality hospital linked to the Medical School which is housed in two purpose-built teaching and research facilities, the Chancellor’s Building and the Queen’s Medical Research Institute, providing the accommodation and facilities required for the majority of the clinical students and associated academic clinical staff previously located at the Old Royal Infirmary.

The Western General Hospital (WGH) has also undergone major redevelopment of its clinical research and teaching facilities. The Molecular Medicine Centre (£5m) was opened in 1995, a new Clinical Research Facility (£4m; joint development between the Wellcome Trust, University and Lothian Health), a £40m new clinical wing, the Anne Ferguson Building, and a new Medical Education Centre (£1m) were opened in 2001, and a new Cancer Research Building (£7m) in 2002. The University (through its Medical School) and Lothian Health work in close collaboration to ensure the integration of the Health Board's Integrated Health Care Plan for Lothian with the University's teaching and research plans.

The Edinburgh Clinical Academic Track (ECAT) Lectureships is a unique “cradle to grave” training opportunity that combines parallel higher specialist clinical training with the opportunity to undertake a fully funded PhD and postdoctoral research, in a supportive and scientifically stimulating environment. Successful ECAT lecturers will have an unrivalled opportunity to develop their academic careers and be placed in an excellent situation to apply for both Intermediate Fellowships and Senior Clinical Fellowships, and ultimately substantive University funded academic posts. 

Further information on the ECAT scheme can be found here.


Contacts and more information

For further information regarding South East Specialised Foundation Programme please contact:

Dr Bryan Conway (Foundation Programme Director) -

Dr Sarah Stock (Academic Lead) - 

Or on the website: