Thursday, 5 April 2007

Is the MTAS parrot dead yet?

I am sure John Cleese could come up with a very humorous sketch concerning the MTAS scheme, there is certainly no shortage of ammunition with which to attack the deeply flawed process. There is a very valid comparison to make between the Monty Python parrot and the MTAS process as both are very much dead, but there are people insisting that they are very much alive. Here is yet another nail in the MTAS coffin:

"Professor Sir Liam Donaldson
Chief Medical Officer,

DH4 April 2007

Dear Liam

With great regret I am writing to inform you of my resignation as National Clinical Advisor to MMC.

You will know that Alan Crockard and I have worked for the last 3 years with many stakeholders to develop a strategic and operational approach to MMC in order to fulfil the high aspirations of Modernising Medical Careers. I was involved in this work from the very outset, as a member of the SHO Technical Group supporting the development of Unfinished Business and I was delighted to have the further opportunity to work on the implementation of these critical changes to postgraduate medical education. They were and remain the right thing to do for the public, for doctors in training and for the profession.

But somehow we have lost our way. The high principles of MMC - patient safety being at the forefront of all we do; trained doctors delivering most of front-line care; improved supervision and accountability to allow doctors in training to gain in their skills and confidence – have been lost in the detail and acrimony of a recruitment process which should have supported and not driven it. We are losing the goodwill of a generation of UK graduates who believed it when we said we wanted to train more UK doctors better and we are losing the goodwill of patients and of senior colleagues.

I believe that we need to step back and reassess where we are going. The Review Group has not done this strategically or with an eye to the future. The situation can be retrieved and a new direction can be found to move transition forward, but the Review Group has become so immersed in the detail that it cannot see a way ahead which will be both equitable to doctors and support the aims of MMC. Some of the core principles which Alan and I had tried to hard to embed in taking MMC forward are now lost. I find myself able to support few of the decisions that the Review Group has taken since they undermine principles which are at the core of MMC.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity and privilege of making a contribution to postgraduate medical training. I hope that your original vision of MMC will be achieved.

Yours sincerely

Professor Shelley Heard

MMC National Clinical Advisor

cc. Lord Hunt, Minister for Health

Mrs. Patricia Hewitt, Secretary of State for Health

Dr Martin Marshall, DCMO

Mrs. Clare Chapman, Director General"

This is another damning account of how MTAS has been an undisputed failure. Prof Heard is amazingly critical of the role of the review group, saying that they have not modified things 'strategically or with an eye on the future'. She also states that the review group's amended process is not equitable, another key detail in her letter I feel.

How can the MTAS process be allowed to continue when it is clearly not fair or equitable for all the doctors involved? The review panel is now giving an unfair advantage to candidates who benefited from the initial short listing process;when even they had conceded that the short listing process was next to useless!

This excellent letter from Group of Anaesthetists in Training (GAT) tells the review group what trainees really think of their diabolical fudge.

I was thinking of penning a letter to the review group myself but decided against it in the end, Dark Place hospital could not do without me if I was struck off by the GMC for telling it like it is:

Dear review panel,
You must all resign immediately as you are an bunch of utter c*nts,
kind regards,

How many nails in the coffin will it take before the MTAS corpse is declared well and truly dead? Do the review group think Elvis lives on? Are they the kind of people that keep their dead grannies at home long after they have passed away, in a state of denial that their cherish one is no longer living? Should the review panel be sectioned under the mental health act, or should they be given control orders due to the acts of state terrorism that they have carried out in their quest for knighthoods? They really are a jolly bad bunch of eggs and I am going slightly loopy as a result of having to endure months of this sick and twisted comedy tale.