Foundation Doctor’s Guide to North West London

Stretching from central London to the M25 at Hillingdon in the west and Harrow in the north, North West Thames Foundation School has always been one of the most competitive deaneries. This is in part due to the attraction of working in some of the prestigious tertiary hospitals that call it home, and also because of the guarantee of being able to live in London for both years.

Messly wants to help doctors make evidence-based decisions about their careers. We’ve put together a short guide to the North West London Foundation School to help you rank your rotation programmes. Below is a snapshot of hospital ratings and reviews from the Messly community of doctors together with information about the geography of the region. Sign up to Messly to learn more – we’ve got over 40,000 junior doctor ratings for you to explore.



Click on the hospital to see indepth reviews & GMC ratings on it’s specialties.

Central Middlesex Hospital
Charing Cross Hospital
Chelsea & Westminster Hospital
Ealing Hospital
Hammersmith Hospital
Hillingdon Hospital
Northwick Park Hospital
St Mary’s Hospital 
The Royal Marsden Hospital
West Middlesex University Hospital

The large teaching hospitals are St Mary’s (the regional major trauma centre), Charing Cross (provides specialist neurosurgery) and Chelsea & Westminster (provides specialist hand surgery services and is a specialist HIV/GUM centre).

A Doctor’s Experience

“I picked North West Thames 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 which 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


Quick Reviews

  • Exposure to a wide variety of cardiology cases. Time on CCU also serves as Ealing’s medical HDU. It is tough, but you learn a great deal and can rise to the occasion.
  • Heavy workload, high expectations, often you don’t have senior support.
Top tips

Brush up on your cardiology knowledge and acute medicine skills.

Foundation Year 1, Cardiology – Ealing Hospital


  • Good training opportunities. Friendly seniors.
  • No acute take. No A&E.
Top tips

Make your training needs clear and they will try their best to meet them.

Foundation Year 1, General Surgery – Hammersmith Hospital

Explore our Training Navigator to learn more

We’ve created the Training Navigator, a tool designed using the GMC National Training Survey data, which allows you to compare deaneries and rotations based on 40,000 junior doctors’ ratings and reviews. It’s free to use – click below to sign up and give yourself the full picture.

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