Sunday, March 11, 2007

The nightmare continues

So MTAS is unravelling. For the uninitiated what is going on is that in August all junior doctors of SHO or equivalent grade are having their contracts terminated and they are having to re-apply for what were their own jobs. These are doctors who qualified around two to eight or more years ago and since then they’ve been training, gaining clinical experience, passing tough exams, getting advanced life support certificates, doing PhDs and many other things that will help them provide better care for sick patients. They are applying for training jobs that will train them to consultant level.

MTAS is the system through which they have to re-apply for their jobs. Over the past few weeks flaws in the system have been coming to light at an appalling rate. They include:

Unvalidated selection criteria being used

The majority of marks are awarded for creative writing exercises rather than experience and qualifications

Some applications have been marked by unqualified shortlisters

Some applications have been ‘lost’ in the system

Candidates who are ineligible for jobs have been shortlisted

Candidates have been offered interviews for jobs they did not apply for

Shortlisting consultants have been offered interviews for junior doctor jobs they didn’t apply for

Some shortlisting consultants have been able to see the names of candidates because applications were not always anonymised

Some shortlisting consultants have been able to see and potentially alter marks given to applications by other shortlisters

Some applicants were made aware of shortlisting criteria before applying

There are only two rounds of this system to allocate jobs for the NHS for a whole year – so doctors left jobless will be in trouble as junior doctors can only train in the NHS in this country, they cannot set up in private practice

In some areas consultants have refused to conduct interviews as they felt the selection process was grossly unfair. It is obvious to anybody that the system is a shambles. It is obvious it is incapable of selecting the best junior doctors for the jobs. This system is supposed to help produce well qualified, well trained consultants for the NHS. It will not do that. Yet the Association of Medical Royal Colleges (AoMRC) recommend continuing with round one interviews (the RCPath has the documents here). This is ridiculous. I can’t express how angry, disgusted and despondent I feel about this.

The AoRMC (and that includes you RCPath, show a bit more gumption!), the BMA and anybody who thinks they might need treatment from the NHS in future (and that’s pretty much all of us, me included) should make a strong stand against this disaster. Please visit the excellent mmc360 site to learn more, write to your MP (and ask them to sign these early day motions - 737 and 1059), march in London or Glasgow with RemedyUK, sign the petition and email your royal college. Please help.


At 21:17, Blogger Potentilla said...

One of the best summaries for the uninitiated is here.

At 09:48, Blogger Cal said...

This is an excellent summary post for MTAS. Crippen should BritMed it so it gets a little more attention for those still not in the know.

At 11:31, Blogger Dr K said...

That is definitely a great explanation of it all, Potentilla. It's difficult to condense all of the horror of MTAS/MMC into a concise form, I'm still struggling with it.

At 13:49, Blogger Shinga said...

Read and acted upon.

Regards - Shinga

At 13:25, Blogger The Angry Medic said...

You have a habit of making good summaries of MTAS, you know? (Aphra Behn's ones are very good too, but hey, she has a lot more time).

I'm glad the review group has finally made amendments, even though the bastards didn't spologise, and I'm not sure if the new regulations are all good.

At 19:10, Blogger Dr K said...

Thanks Shinga. MTAS is getting worse and worse as we speak. You might be pleased/depressed to know that there is apparently one place available for clinical allergy training (according to the application stats a colleague showed me the other day). I suppose it's better than nothing.


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