Saturday, 8 December 2007

MTAS 2008 - salvage of the wreck

The details of the application of system for junior doctor jobs for next year have been released and can be read in full on the Remedy Uk website here. It is undoubtedly true that some lessons have been learnt, however it does appear that some significant problems remain. The message for all applicants from the MMC team can be read here on the mmc website.

Applicants should do a few things which include getting an up to date CV written, subscribing to the mmc site for updates, working out where they want to apply and getting registered at NHS jobs on line. Worryingly it seems that there will be a very draconian deadline system for applications, with a narrow 2 day window present, outside of which applications will be rejected.

Lessons have been learnt to a degree, however the damage was most definitely done last year. I say this because there will be so few posts available at ST3 level because all the run through jobs given out last year will have to be honoured.

This is a huge problem because many hundreds of trainees will be frozen out because of last year's MTAS farce, a process that was acknowledged by all to be significantly flawed. Therefore hundreds of trainees have run through posts that have been gained via a deeply flawed system, and this is clearly very unfair on those who have been frozen out. There are hundreds of excellent ST3 LATs and hundreds of FTSTA2s who have only a very small chance of not being frozen out this year.

Many of these FTSTA2s and ST3 LATs are excellent trainees who are committed to one particular specialty. There will also be a significant number of run through ST2s who get ST3 posts in specialities which they are not particularly keen on. Personally I find this completely unacceptable. An ST3 lat may be 100% committed to Orthopaedics, but may find that a Plastics committed trainee has got the Orthopaedic run through post that they wanted, almost by default.

The government must take a large amount of the blame for this state of affairs for rushing through this badly thought through reform. However the Douglas group and the BMA must take a significant chunk of the blame for pushing for all run through posts to be honoured. The BMA sided with the DoH in the courts and this was arguably a key action that has led to this very preventable situation. The fall out of this mess will be around for years and years to come.

1 comment:

David L. Cox said...

These problems were entirely foreseeable to the MMC board, and as it was suspected they would run true to form in their incompetence in 2008, they were given very specific advice by the consistent and intelligent members of Fidelio in their submission to the MMC board for 2008 - see As such they are culpable for any problems arising in the 2008 round.

In particular, the Fidelio approach would be of real value to the FTSTA brigades. I quote "One easy way to swell the number is to drop the artificial distinction between ST1 and FTSTA". Ditto for ST2/FTSTA2!

Your assessment of blame is correct too. Many at the DoH are to blame and the continuation of their tenures will lead to continuing problems for the junior doctors. These will persist until the fools are shown the door, and real managers put in who have some insight into the problems associated with the training and employment of senior personnel.

The profession should continue to protest about the shortcomings of the system until commonsense, as in Fidelio's suggestions, are in place.