The UK Health Secretary announced that MTAS (the Medical Training Application Service) will not be used to match candidates to training posts for the remainder of the junior doctor recruitment system.
Responding to the announcement, Dr Andrew Rowland, vice chairman of the BMA Junior Doctors Committee, says:
?The Department of Health has at last seen sense and effectively abandoned the unfair, discredited, and shambolic MTAS system. Junior doctors have suffered blow after blow because of the government?s terrible handling of these reforms. They have had to go through months of anxiety about their NHS careers, and on top of that, have potentially had their personal details exposed on the MTAS website. We are extremely concerned that the Health Secretary believes criminal offences may have been committed as a result of security breaches.?
However, the BMA is opposed to the proposal from some pressure groups that interviews which have already taken place should be written off. This move was rejected at the recent BMA conference of junior doctors.
Dr Rowland continues:
?In the coming weeks junior doctors will either be offered long-term jobs, or have opportunities to submit multiple applications through the traditional CV-based system. Some people have called for the system to be scrapped altogether and for the tens of thousands of interviews that have taken place to be written off. This would be disastrous for doctors, for patients, and for the NHS. These offers represent the only hope for thousands of doctors of having decent NHS careers, and the only realistic way of ensuring enough of them are in post on 1 August. Forcing people to re-apply for jobs through yet another new and untested system would be unfair on the junior doctors and consultants who have had to spend huge amounts of time and energy on MTAS.?
?The Health Secretary is wrong to say that there are 23,000 training posts available in the UK. Thirty-four thousand doctors have applied for around 18,500 posts ? which is 4,500 fewer jobs than she claims. Competition is intense and as a matter of urgency, the government needs to guarantee that no doctor will be forced out of training as a result of workforce planning failures.?