Saturday, 31 March 2007
Another bomb dropped on MMC headquarters
This is a letter sent by the ex-medical student adviser to MMC to Alan Crockard on 18/3/2007.
I am sorry to inform you at what must be an impossibly busy time that I wish to resign from my position as medical student advisor.
When I took the position I had many reservations with the MMC systems but believed that I would be able to help students get the best deal from these changes. Seven months on, I retain these reservations and regret that I have not been able to have the impact I had imagined.
Now as then (when I presented you with a petition signed by 1300 students), I believe:
• The nature of the new application system effectively randomises medical students to jobs across the country
• The importance of academic achievement has been downgraded
• The importance of other achievements at medical school has been nullified by the nebulous nature of questions and the lack of a CV
• Two years is not long enough to decide on one’s specialty, to gain a broad enough range of experience, to become a good enough doctor: pressure is on to decide early, but the random nature of the application leaves no scope for strategising or planning ahead
• Morale at medical schools is low; they are not the aspirational, centres of excellence they should be, rather ‘centres of competence’
• This anxiety has filtered down to those students considering applying for a place at medical school
Through contact with a wide range of students over the last seven months, I know that these views are widely held. Just two nights ago, I talked to a Bristol student representing a group of 40 who echoed my above sentiments. I have, however, come to realise that continuing to transmit such views to the MMC team can have no effect as it is focused on the successful implementation of a system rather than the guiding principles and details of that system.
In my limited experience, the role of student advisor is not used, as MMC aspires, to ‘encourage dialogue with the stakeholders’. Instead the role seems to be a token attempt to suggest the involvement of students in MMC strategy; a publicity vehicle to lend validity to a system that has not, in fact, considered student opinion and insight at all.
When I was asked recently to find some students / SHOs who were happy with the new system to help build some positive press, I knew this role was not for me. I am not interested in spin or image, in making something seem other than it is. I am interested – perhaps naively - in getting the popular voice heard and acted upon and in standing by my own personal, political and professional principles. I now realise that in order to do this effectively, I need to be working within a different framework.
I would like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to fill the role and personally wish you all the very best for the future. I can honestly say that I have enjoyed meeting you and having the chance to work with you and the team as a whole.
What a comprehensive assassination of MMC. As he says, they are downgrading what should matter and deliberately churning out propaganda while only attempting a token consultation. Alan Crockard resigned on 30/03/2007, I wonder how much this letter had an effect.