Thursday, 17 January 2008

MTAS 2008 - a pile of poo

No matter how good the application system was this year, it would not make up for the problems that have been created with the rushed and shambolic implementation of MMC (Modernising Medical Careers). Unfortunately the application process appears to be far from perfect, and this is making a bad situation even worse.

The failed rushed reform has resulted in far too many doctors competing for an exceptionally small number of training posts this year. Nothing could fix this situation, it is something the government could temper to a degree by increasing training numbers, but their incompetent reform has made the situation irretrievable before MTAS 2008 even started.

Many doctors are going to emigrate or quit medicine over the next few years, the numbers have not been massive as yet as many are hanging around to compete for the last few training numbers, but over the next few years this number of ex-NHS doctors will number several thousand in wasted talent.

The huge applicant to job ratio has led to a farcical situation of Deaneries trying to limit the number of applications in several ways. Firstly they have limited the number of days on which it is possible for applicants to get hold of an application form, thus applicants have to keep their eyes peeled on a daily basis otherwise risk missing out on a job entirely. This has also lead to local trainees being tipped off by Deaneries as to when they will be releasing their application forms, hardly fair to all is it. Secondly there are stories of Deaneries deliberately blocking external emails to cynically limit applications, Ram Moorthy of the BMA explains:
“This is outrageous. Doctors are being denied vital career opportunities. It’s utterly bizarre to be told you can’t have an application form for a job before the deadline has passed. We’re concerned that this is a cynical attempt to reduce numbers of applications.”
This is hardly the way to ensure that all applicants are treated fairly. Some Deaneries are also running online applications, meaning that applicants have a strict deadline within which to submit but the slow nature of the computer systems means that it is taking hours of frustrating toil to fill in. It seems that very few lessons have been learnt. There are also rumours that despite Tooke's push for uncoupling, many Deaneries will be offering out run through posts at ST1 and ST2 level. I really despair.

The saddest thing is that this whole mess was so very preventable, unparalleled levels of rank incompetence have been shown by the likes of the DoH in railroading through their ill though out politically motivated dross. It is quite sickening that the architect of this dismal failure, Liam Donaldson the CMO, is still in his job, demonstrating just how unaccountable this bunch of contemptible creatures are.

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