Friday, 1 June 2007

MTAS- DoH incompetence

The following has been produced by the DoH in response to Freedom of Information requests:

"The Conference of Postgraduate Medical Deans’ Steering Group on Recruitment and Selection into Specialty Training took the responsibility for the development of the selection process for specialty training. The Steering Group included a range of stakeholders including postgraduate deans, the Department of Health, NHS Employers, Royal Colleges, the British Medical Association Junior Doctors Committee, the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges Trainees Group and medical staffing officers.

The Steering Group appointed Work Psychology Partnership to provide advice and tools to support the recruitment and selection into specialty training programmes, including the development of national standards for selection. They worked closely with all of the key stakeholders and were responsible for quality assurance.

The national application form was developed using existing documentation available and in current use in the London and Yorkshire deaneries. The competency based selection methodology and national documentation were developed with the help of key stakeholders, in particular trainees and the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges. The Postgraduate Medical Education and Training Board (PMETB) principles for selection were an essential part of the design. The proposals for selection were presented to a PMETB panel prior to ‘roll-out’. The national form was piloted with trainees who would be applying to a variety of specialties and entry levels in two deaneries - Kent, Surrey and Sussex, and South West Peninsula. Feedback from the pilot informed the development of the final application forms and questions."

It appears that the AOMRC and Carol Black were deeply embroiled in this balls up, while the BMA and the Colleges do not escape a mention.

"You also ask about discussion of the MTAS pilots by Ministers and Departmental officials. I can confirm that the Department holds information relating to discussion of this and all aspects of MTAS. We estimate, however, that the time it would take to locate, retrieve and analyse all this information for its relevance to this part of your request would exceed the appropriate limit. This limit represents the estimated cost of one person spending 3½ working days in determining whether the Department holds all the information, and locating, retrieving and extracting the information. Under section 12 of the Freedom of Information Act, the Department is not obliged to comply with your request and we will not be processing your request further."

The DoH is again using the Freedom of Information act to with hold anything that would expose their rank incompetence. They seem to use a different loop hole every time, it does rather make a mockery of the government's pretence at openness and accountability. They claim it is in the public interest to have a administration that can conduct all its important business 'frankly and freely' behind closed doors.

I would argue that the Freedom of Information act is yet another pretence at open accountable government, it is in fact a rather solid shield that our corrupt and incompetent leaders routinely hide behind. Fortunately one can learn things from the placement of their defensive shields, after all if they had nothing to hide then they would not be with holding so much information.

1 comment:

dreamingspire said...

So all of these people said ‘yes, go ahead’, did they? Could someone not use FOI to retrieve what they recommended? After all, it was reported in court (RemedyUK action) that the underlying methodology was not tested. Others said that critical recommendations were made. In a recent programme that I have been observing (nothing like so important), several public sector people are known to have been critical in private but would not be critical in public – however, it can be said that they were all ‘consulted’. The real common factor is that a decision was made at a high level and a date set, and after that the steamroller just rolled. Where was the independent audit? Sorry, no time for it: we must meet the deadline.