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North West Thames

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Did you attend the North West Thames Foundation School? We'd love you to share your experience.


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Advantages of North West Thames

Advantages of North West Thames: - hospitals relatively close together when compared to other foundation schools (however as you will see in disadvantages this doesnt necessarily mean short journey times.) - living in London - a lot going on, social events, educational events e.g. RSM activities - very busy hospitals so you gain a lot of experience and would take years to gain elsewhere in the country - expertise - being taught by the best in the country - taster weeks are encouraged for you to gain experience in specialities you may not have in F1/F2 but are considering long term - big hospitals generally give big breadth of knowledge and experience - Ealing hospital itself was brilliant to do F1, friendly atmosphere where you get to know all the nurses and doctors by name. - research: if academia if your thing there is a lot in NW thames Foundation school and a lot of opportunity to be involved.


Disadvantages - living in London (yes I know I put this as an advantage too but you grow out of London) - it is expensive, busy, it takes an hour to drive 5 miles so although everywhere is close together it basically takes you an hour to get to work whereever you are placed. Rent is hideously expensive. - some of the hospitals because they are so huge are very impersonal and there is institutional arrogance (but this is a theme in a lot of teritary hospitals throughout the country.)

I was at St Mary's Hospital for my FY1 year ...

I was at St Mary's Hospital for my FY1 year. I did rotations in surgery (lower GI), trauma and orthopaedics and respiratory/gen med.


Good points - Very well known/famous hospital with an excellent reputation - Excellent location (by Paddington station)/London lifestyle. Walking distance to Oxford Street. This also means easy access to medical conferences in and around London. - Internationally known doctors. Offers plenty of scope to get involved with audit/research/trials etc. - One of the London Trauma Centres (if you want to do A+E/ortho/trauma/anaesthetics etc) - Good teaching and foundation year programme - Nice doctors mess.


Bad/not so good points - Increasingly expensive to live and work in London (I lived in hospital accommodation which is affordable but by no means glamorous!). - Competitive entry into deanery and St Mary's. You may not get your first choice job. - Competitive environment (being a prestigious hospital) especially for surgery - FY1 doctors have limited responsibilities, however you may find this even more true if you work in a specialist area in a big teaching hospital (therefore consider for FY2/Core training instead) - Hours maybe demanding and long (but very job dependant like at other hospitals).

North West Thames is the most over subscribed foundation school...

North West Thames is the most over subscribed foundation school and it does have several advantages:


The hospitals are all within a small area compared to the other foundation schools so you know roughly where you will be working irrespective of which hospitals you actually get posted to.


The central hospitals are in desirable areas to live and work however obviously West London renting is very expensive and this is probably the biggest drawback to NW Thames.


I did my FY1 at the DGH Ealing and I would certainly recommend it. The surrounding area has a huge south asian population and TB rates in Brent are the highest in Europe. As an F1 you will do nights and have very busy on calls with quite a lot of responsibility. Some of the jobs are challenging but you gain a lot of experience that will stand you in good stead for the transition to F2. The best part about the hospital compared with many other London hospitals is how social and friendly it is. The mess is a real hub for all doctors and so there is much more camaraderie compared to some of the bigger hospitals.


Another thing the foundation school offers is the chance to do your F2 abroad in New Zealand and you can apply for this during you F1 year.  Overall if London life is for you or you want to get the chance the experience it then I would definitely recommend this foundation school.

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