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Trainee information

Inter-Regional Transfer (IRT) in Foundation

***The window for requesting transfers for exception circumstances will be updated early 2024***

At some point in training it may be necessary to consider moving to another part of Scotland to continue training because of unforeseen or significant changes in personal circumstances.

Note: once allocated to an individual programme there is no system for swaps between programmes or regions.

The process for trainees who wish to transfer from one region to another in the Scottish Foundation School is shown below.

Trainees who wish to transfer to England, Wales or Northern Ireland must use the Inter-Foundation School Transfer process.


What is a IRT in Foundation?

The Foundation Inter-Regional Transfer (IRT) process has been developed to support Foundation trainees who have had an unforeseen, significant change in circumstance since they applied for or commenced the Foundation Programme in Scotland.

'An unforeseen, significant change in circumstances' should relate to one of the following, see guidance for more information and criteria:

  1. Parental/Guardian responsibilities
  2. Primary carer responsibilities
  3. Medical condition which includes personal disability as defined by the Equality Act 2010
  4. Unique Circumstance 

It should be recognised that transfers are not an entitlement. IRTs will depend on compliance with eligibility criteria and evidence requirements, and there being vacancies in the Foundation Programme in the region into which trainees are applying to move.


Who can apply?

Incoming Foundation trainees (those who have not yet commenced F1) can apply for an IRT if their circumstances have changed since they applied and were matched to a Scottish Foundation Programme. Current Foundation trainees can apply for an IRT between F1 and F2 if their circumstances have changed since they commenced F1. Transfers out with these times will be considered in exceptional circumstances.


Things to do first

  • Please read the Trainee Guidance for Foundation Inter-Regional Transfers carefully.
  • Current trainees must discuss alternative support arrangements with their Educational Supervisor or Foundation Programme Director before applying for an IRT. Trainees should consider all alternatives before applying.
  • Trainees who have considered all alternatives and wish to apply for an IRT must discuss this with their local Associate Postgraduate Dean for Foundation.
  • Trainees must demonstrate that significant change to personal circumstances has occurred that could not have been foreseen at the time they applied/commenced F1. Criteria for change in circumstances are detailed below.
  • Changes to personal circumstances must have occurred before making an application and applications cannot be based on expected or anticipated future events.
  • As trainees will require statements and supporting evidence from medical specialists and/or local authorities it is recommended that they allow sufficient time for this to be done.
  • Trainees may request transfers to a programme in a different geography but may not specify particular posts or rotations they wish to be placed in at the IRT application stage. This will be discussed at a later stage in the process with the trainees who have been accepted into a new region.
  • At no time during the application process, nor the allocation and offer stage, should the trainee contact a member of administrative or clinical staff for the region into which they have applied to transfer. This is counterproductive and can lead to misinformation. If a trainee’s application is successful and capacity is present in the new region, the Training Programme Administrator will contact the trainee directly. Any trainee found to have contacted their requested region may have their IRT application withdrawn. 


Criteria for Transfer

Trainees may apply for a transfer under one of the following criteria. These are the same criteria used by the UKFPO for Inter-Foundation School Transfers.


Criterion 1 – The applicant is a parent or legal guardian of a child or children under the age of 18 at the start of the training year who reside primarily with them and for whom they have significant caring responsibilities, and their circumstances have changed since submitting their original application or commencing their training.

Applicants must describe how their circumstances have changed and why they need to move to meet the caring responsibilities. If the sole criterion is that the applicant (or their partner) has become pregnant since submitting their Foundation Programme application or since commencing their foundation training, this will not be regarded as a reason for an Inter-Regional Transfer. The applicant is required to supply the following supporting evidence:

1) Copy of birth certificate(s) of the child(ren).

2) For legal guardians, a copy of the legal document that confirms your status for the child(ren) named in the birth certificate (s).

3) Criterion 1 Application Form confirming that you have significant caring responsibilities for the child(ren).


Criterion 2 – The applicant is the primary carer for someone who is disabled (as defined by the Equality Act 2010) and their circumstances have changed since submitting their original Foundation Programme application or commencing their Foundation training.

Definition of 'disability' under the Equality Act 2010: The Equality Act 2010 defines a disabled person as someone who has a physical or mental impairment and that the impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his or her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. For the purposes of the Act:

➢ substantial means more than minor or trivial.

➢ long-term means that the effect of the impairment has lasted/is likely to last for at least 12 months.

➢ normal day-to-day activities include everyday things like eating, washing, walking and shopping.

People who have had a disability in the past that meets this definition are also covered by the scope of the Act. There are additional provisions relating to people with progressive conditions. People with HIV, cancer and multiple sclerosis are protected by the Act from the point of diagnosis. People with visual impairments are automatically deemed to be disabled. Some conditions, such as a tendency to set fires or addictions to non-prescribed substances, are specifically excluded.

For an applicant to meet this criterion, s/he would normally be expected to be caring for a partner, sibling or parent. Applicants must be the primary carer for this person. If the person they are caring for is not their partner, sibling or parent, applicants will be expected to explain clearly and put a strong case as to why they have the role of primary carer. Applicants who provide care for a person as part of a group of carers, e.g. a family, are not eligible to apply under this criterion. Applicants will be required to complete a care plan (within Supporting Document 2) to demonstrate how they will combine the responsibilities of Foundation doctor and primary carer and that local support resources have been fully considered. Applicants will be required to supply the following supporting evidence:

1) Statement from GP/Social Services confirming the applicant’s role as primary carer for this person (within Criterion 2 Application Form)

2) Care plan (within Criterion 2 Application Form)


Criterion 3 – The applicant has a medical condition or disability for which on-going follow up for the condition in the specified location is an absolute requirement. Applicants must describe how their circumstances have changed and why they need to move and present clear arguments as to why follow up arrangements could not continue as present. Applicants will be required to supply the following supporting evidence:

1) A report (within Criterion 3 Application Form) by the current medical specialist treating the condition or Occupational health physician in which they will be required to:

  • describe the current medical condition or disability
  • describe the nature of the on-going treatment and frequency
  • state why the follow up must be delivered in a specific location, rather than by other treatment centres in Scotland


Criterion 4 – The applicant has unique circumstances that require them to be in a particular environment whilst they undertake their Foundation Programme. Caring responsibilities that do not meet the requirements of criterion 2 (primary carer) are not considered to be unique circumstances. Applications under this criterion are for unique circumstances only, and not just any other circumstance for which evidence is not available to meet the requirements for criteria 1, 2 and 3. You must provide evidence including the reasons for placement in a particular location from a professional individual who has recognised standing to support the application. Applicants must describe how their circumstances have changed and why they need to move and present clear arguments as to why arrangements could not continue as present. Applicants will be required to supply the following supporting evidence:

1) A report (within Criterion 4 Application Form) by a professional that:  

  • describes the current unique situation 
  • explains why foundation training can only be carried out in a specific location rather than another location in Scotland  

2) Proof of current address, e.g. driving licence, utility bill dated within the last three months or council tax bill dated within the last twelve months. 




If you consider you meet the criteria and want to proceed with your application, you will find the application form and templates for completing your supporting evidence in the section below:

Criterion 1 - Parental/Guardian Responsibilities

Criterion 2 - Primary Carer

Criterion 3 - Medical Condition

Criterion 4 - Unique Circumstances

Any application received from 1st October until 14th April would only be considered for a transfer in August. If an incomplete application is submitted, the date the outstanding evidence is submitted will be counted as the date of submission.

No applications will be accepted between 15th April and 24th July (inclusive).  This is to allow ARCPs to be completed for the current training year. Transfers out with these times will be considered in exceptional circumstances.

Completed applications and evidence should be sent to sfas@nes.scot.nhs.uk.

Applications will be reviewed by a panel at the soonest opportunity and you will informed by e-mail if your application has been approved. If your application is approved and a suitable vacancy is available within your desired region then you will be offered the vacancy by e-mail and asked to confirm that you wish to accept the post. If you decline the post, your transfer will not progress. If your application is approved, but a suitable vacancy is not available, you will be placed on a waiting list for a vacancy to arise. You will only be able to transfer if a suitable vacancy becomes available.

If a trainee accepts an offer of transfer then their details will be forwarded to the new region. The new region will contact the trainee to confirm their start date and discuss any requirements as necessary.

If you have any further queries regarding Foundation IRTs in Scotland please contact sfas@nes.scot.nhs.uk.

This page was last updated on: 21.11.2023 at 16.11