Monday, 16 April 2007

Disingenuous cow

Patricia Hewitt made a statement to the House of Commons today:

"With permission, Mr Speaker, I should like to make a statement on the progress we are making in relation to Modernising Medical Careers.

As I explained to the House in my written statement on 27 March, the independent Review Group continued its work over the Easter recess, including two important announcements to applicants for training places, copies of which are being placed in the Library today.The Review Group decided that it would be wrong to abandon the process of interviews now under way and concentrated instead on how to change the process in order to meet the needs of junior doctors themselves and the NHS as a whole.

Furthermore, it concluded that the problems that have arisen relate in the main to the implementation process and not to the underlying principles of Modernising Medical Careers.Following the Review Group’s recommendations, recruitment to General Practice training programmes – which has not generally given rise to problems - will continue as planned, though the timetable may need to be revised to make sure it is co-ordinated with the revised timetable for other specialties.

The Review Group is undertaking further work on recruitment into academic medical programmes and will make a further announcement shortly.In relation to recruitment for speciality training – where most of the recent problems have arisen - the Review Group’s statement on 4 April sets out the changes needed.

The Group’s proposals have the support of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and the BMA and are now being implemented by the NHS with the Postgraduate Deaneries.For applicants who have already been short-listed, all interviews already conducted in Round 1 will be honoured and the outcomes will count.Eligible applicants will also be able to revise their preferences, later this week, in the light of published competition ratios and will be offered an interview for their first preference post if they have not already had one.Eligible applicants who were not previously short-listed will also be able to revise their preferences and will be guaranteed an offer of an interview for their first preference.

We expect job offers to begin to be made in early June. Not all jobs will be filled at this point. There will then be a second round of recruitment for applicants who do not get a job in the first round. This second round will be based on a revised short-listing and interview process including a structured CV.

Mr Speaker, this has been a time of great distress for junior doctors and their families and I apologise unreservedly to them for the anxiety that has been caused. I believe that we now have the right way forward for this year’s recruitment to general practice and speciality training and that applicants can be confident they will be treated fairly.I want to record my thanks to Professor Neil Douglas and his Review Group for the very considerable amount of time and expertise they have already contributed. They will continue their work and, as I have said previously, we will publish their final report.I also want to thank the NHS consultants and deaneries who are being asked to conduct a large number of extra interviews within a short space of time. We will keep the timetable under review. The Health Departments in the other home countries will be making their own announcements on the arrangements that apply there.

Finally, Mr Speaker, the Review Group was set up to deal with this year’s recruitment process. We are now some two years into Modernising Medical Careers that began with the successful launch of Foundation Programmes in 2005. The time is now right to undertake a wider review, to clarify and strengthen the principles underlying MMC and to ensure that, where necessary, we make further changes for future years. Historically, Britain’s medical education and training system is rightly regarded as second to none. The creation of a competence-based training system, which is widely accepted, remains the right way forward. But all involved must feel confident that the pursuit of excellence remains at the heart of the system.I am therefore establishing a second independent Review to consider these and other broader issues.I am very pleased to say that Professor Sir John Tooke has agreed to chair the independent review. Sir John is Dean of the Peninsula Medical School, Chair of the Council of Heads of Medical Schools and Chair of the UK Health Education Advisory Committee. We are working with Sir John on the terms of reference and membership of the review and I will make a separate announcement as soon as possible. Because MMC is a UK-wide programme, the devolved administrations will, of course, be fully involved in the process.I commend this statement to the House."

Essentially she is saying nothing new. The emphasis is on pushing through the flawed MMC reforms, as she knows now that her job depends on this.

The ridiculous way in which she claims that 'it is widely accepted' sums up the government's state of denial as regards their health reform programs. Do these politicians really think that saying things over and over makes these things automatically correct?

Most people would appreciate a genuine apology, but this is a fake one dressed up in yet another vehicle of MMC propaganda. It's like apologising for a crime but then talking up another much more heinous crime that you are about to commit.

Hewitt can stick her hollow words where the sun don't shine, incidentally this is seemingly from where the words are pucked in the first place. MTAS and MMC are the corrupt vehicles of ideological reform that are designed to wreck medical training and break the physician monopoly on medical care, with the ultimate aim of catalysing the privatisation of the NHS. They are corrupt cost cutting measures that will only reduce the quality of patient care throughout the country, while it is claimed that they will do the opposite.

These reforms are fundamentally anti-democratic, they are bad for medical training and they will be catastrophic for patients in both the short and long term. If the government genuinely cared for the electorate they claim to represent, then health service reforms would be broadly supported by a majority of the medical profession and a majority of the population. However as we have seen the massive majority of the medical profession is opposed to the danger of MMC, whole a large majority of the population are opposed to the privatisation of the NHS.

We have stopped listening Patricia, your hollow words mean nothing as your incompetent actions will be your judge, jury and executioner.

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