Foundation Doctor’s Guide to North West of England

The North West Foundation School is one of the largest deaneries in the UK, stretching from Leighton in the south to Barrow-in-Furness in the north and the Isle of Man to the west. It covers the dynamic and vibrant cities of Manchester and Liverpool, and has a large variety of foundation programmes on offer.

The large teaching hospitals are Blackpool Victoria Hospital (provides specialist cardiology and cardiothoracic services), Salford Royal Hospital (specialist dermatology, renal, stroke and rheumatology), Manchester Royal Infirmary (pancreas and renal transplant centre), The Christie Hospital (specialist cancer centre), Aintree University Hospital (major trauma centre) and the Royal Liverpool University Hospital (tropical/infectious diseases centre, renal transplants, vascular surgery, specialist ophthalmology).

The North-West deanery is a varied place to live, with a diverse mix of urban and rural placements – and with good train and road links, getting around is easy.

Messly wants to help doctors make evidence-based decisions about their careers. We’ve put together a short guide to the North West of England 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.

Macclesfield District General Hospital
Manchester Royal Infirmary, Manchester
North Manchester General Hospital
Salford Royal Hospital, Salford
Stepping Hill Hospital, Stockport
Tameside General Hospital, Ashton Under Lyne
The Christie Hospital, Manchester
The Royal Oldham Hospital, Oldham 
Trafford General Hospital, Manchester
Wythenshawe Hospital, Manchester

Arrowe Park Hospital, Upton
Broadgreen Hospital, Liverpool
Clatterbridge Hospital, Bebington
The Royal Liverpool University Hospital
University Hospital Aintree
Whiston Hospital, Prescot

Blackpool Victoria Hospital, Blackpool
Burnley General Hospital, Burnley
Chorley and South Ribble District  Hospital
Countess of Chester General Hospital
Fairfield General Hospital, Bury
Furness General Hospital, Barrow 
Halton General Hospital, Runcorn
Leighton Hospital, Crewe
Nobles Hospital, Braddan, Isle of Man
Ormskirk District General Hospital, Ormskirk
Royal Albert Edward Infirmary, Wigan
Royal Blackburn Hospital, Blackburn 
Royal Bolton Hospital, Bolton 
Royal Lancaster Infirmary, Lancaster
Royal Preston Hospital 
Southport & Formby District General Hospital
Warrington Hospital, Warrington

A Doctor’s View

“The North-West deanery is a varied place to live, with a diverse mix of urban and rural placements – and with good train and road links, getting around is easy. Having lived happily in the vibrant North-West for 6 years, I wasn’t keen to leave anytime soon. I experienced the lively city of Liverpool as a student; bustling, conveniently compact & dotted with large green parks, it was the ideal location. Up and coming events were always in walking distance, and when needed, the bus network was always extremely reliable. Liverpool was once again ranked ‘the kindest city’ in the UK this year, and it shows; the people really are fantastic and I would highly recommend living here if you’re keen for a wholesome, relaxed & arty experience.

For my FY, I chose to move to the more expansive, sprawling city of Manchester. Living smack bang in the city centre means that I have had the pleasure of experiencing city-life to its fullest, and at a reasonable price the tram will get you everywhere you need to go. Manchester is bursting with live music, amazing food & endless marketplaces. Whether you’re visiting the Northern Quarter for some alternative coffee spots, or heading down to Salford Quays to have dinner by the waterside, Manchester is never lacking in things to see or places to be. The North-West Deanery has been very supportive throughout my time here, and I now plan to settle in the city long-term. Overall I would highly recommend choosing the North-West deanery; as a junior doctor, you really can’t go wrong! ”

Chloe Barnes, Doctor, Foundation Year 1 at Royal Blackburn Hospital


Quick Reviews

  • Manageable workload, finish on time, well supported. Lots of teaching.
  • Consultant will like things done a particular way.
Top tips

Get to know the staff, they will help you out. Ask questions and be keen to get involved, the more you know about how stroke medicine works the easier it will be. Spend time updating families/relatives.

Foundation Year 1, Stroke Medicine  – Royal Bolton Hospital


  • Friendly team, consultant cover 08-00 (and on-call overnight) but keen to help with learning opportunities. Workload challenging but not overwhelming (maybe over Christmas…). Very good IT system in place makes life much easier and makes it easy to get involved with quality improvement or research. Good relationship with other specialties in hospital.
  • Odd hours and >1/2 weekends (though this is expected of any ED placement). Sometimes feels like admin staff in charge of meeting targets and coding can be overbearing and can distract co-ordinating consultants and nurses
from shop floor.
Top tips

Get stuck in: if you have a project you want to see through to completion let Neill know and he will help get it on its feet.

Foundation Year 2, Emergency Medicine – Salford Royal


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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