Dr Peter Saunders

Mistakes delay medical students’ job allocations

Dr Peter Saunders was, until December 2018, the Chief Executive of CMF. Prior to that he was a general surgeon in New Zealand, Kenya and the UK. He is now the CEO of the International Christian Medical and Dental Association (ICMDA), a global movement uniting national Christian medical and dental organisations in over 60 countries,
The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of CMF.


On Monday 25 February final year medical students were expecting to hear from the UK Foundation Programme Office (UKFPO) about their Foundation Year placements. The information was sent out – but on Tuesday, the Medical School’s Council (MSC) alerted the UKFPO that there had been a ‘potential scanning error with the Situational Judgement Test answer sheets’. On Wednesday UKFPO issued a statement to say:

‘Each UK medical school has been asked to arrange for their own students’ answer sheets to be checked to ensure total accuracy of the recorded answers. MSC will check the answer sheets for non-UK applicants…’

Applicants were advised not to act on the information provided to them on Monday, 25 February and the UKFPO added:

‘Applicants will be able to login to FPAS and see their final SJT score and allocation results at 9.00 am on Friday 8 March 2013.’

Liz McClenaghan, a CMF student member in Brighton and CMF Student Council chair, writes:

After originally applying for our foundation jobs in October 2012, the long awaited day arrived: on Monday 25 February we were to find out where God wanted us for the next two years. And just like clockwork, we did: Stability at last! We can start to plan our future again instead of just having to ‘trust. Now I can get excited about next year!

Even if our deanery allocation was disappointing, there was at least a certainty about having a job (or knowledge of the reserve list).

But, by Tuesday evening we were informed that there has been a mistake and it will be another ten days until we find out. If Facebook and Twitter are anything to go by then most medical students met this news with rage, disappointment and furthered anxiety.

And yet, while unexpected, as Christians we can be assured that God allowed this to happen for a reason. Whether that reason is for certain lessons to be learned on an institutional level, or a personal one, it gives us the opportunity to trust God further with our future. However chaotic our current situation, we have a great high priest who has gone before us, (Hebrews 4:14-16) to fix us to our unchanging God.

‘We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.’ (Hebrews 6:19-20 ESV)

So I implore you, over these next ten days of waiting, put your trust in the Lord again: the one who cares for us more than we can imagine; the one who reigns over all authorities; the one who scripted the entirety of our lives (…including the last 48 hours!).

I look forward to finding out where God has put me (second time round) because I know that while it might not be MY first choice, it is God’s first choice for my life. And wherever that is, he is preparing the way for me already!

All the best, fellow final years!

Posted by Dr Peter Saunders
CMF Chief Executive



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