MMC and MTAS latest update 4/4/7


We recognise that this has been a challenging time for consultants, junior doctors and the service and have heard and appreciated the deep concerns that they have raised.

Serious consideration has been given to all of the options available, including a full and detailed analysis of pulling out of the current selection process completely. In the end, it was simply not a credible option. It would be impossible to place the best candidates in posts and fulfil the service needs in time for August using the old system of recruitment. We believe we have come up with the best available solution for England.

Examination of the issues by the Review Group indicates that those concerns relate predominantly to the process of selection itself and not to the underlying principles of Modernising Medical Careers. Those principles are based on national standards, and continue to secure widespread support amongst professional leaders in the Royal Colleges and the BMA.

The Review Group has now made its proposals for the way ahead for recruitment to specialty training. The Review Group’s proposals have recognised that implementation of its recommendations might differ between specialties and between different parts of the UK.

David Nicholson, NHS Chief Executive, will write to NHS organisations to ask that applicants and consultants be released to support this process. Further interviews will be scheduled throughout May 2007.

The Review Group has agreed the following decisions:

Applicants already shortlisted and offered an interview
a. All interviews offered in the original Round 1 will be honoured and the outcome will count.
b. All applicants will be given the opportunity to revise or reaffirm their order of preference in the light of competition ratios between 20 – 23 April.
c. Where applicants have not already been interviewed for their revised first preference, they will be invited for interview for that preference as well.
d. As originally planned, successful applicants will only be offered one post in this round which will be informed by the highest ranked preference for which they have successfully interviewed.

Applicants not originally shortlisted
a. All applicants will be given the opportunity to revise or reaffirm their order of preference in the light of competition ratios between 20 - 23 April.
b. Applicants in England will be invited for interview for their affirmed first preference.
c. Successful applicants will only be offered one post.

Applicants to general practice
a. Recruitment and selection for general practice continues to work satisfactorily and will continue as far as possible as originally planned, though the timetable will be revised.

Applicants for academic medical programmes
a. Academic medicine will have a separate selection process and we are currently in discussions with key stakeholders to finalise this plan.
b. Those unsuccessful in their application for an academic post will still be considered for their clinical choices in Round 1.

Applicants who are unsuccessful after their interview in Round 1
a. Applicants who are unsuccessful in the first recruitment round will be able to apply during Round 2.
b. Round 2 will be based on a revised shortlisting and interview process including a structured CV.

We request that consultants continue to support this interview process which aims to appoint the best candidates to the right posts to train and to treat patients.

Professor Neil Douglas, chair of the Review Group, said: “I am pleased that the colleges and BMA have agreed a joint way forward which will allow the best applicants to obtain training posts.”

Health Minister Lord Hunt said: "I appreciate that this has been a very difficult time for junior doctors. We all want a transparent and fair recruitment process that allows us to recruit and train the best doctors for the benefit of patient care.

"I thank the Review Group for all their hard work on such a complex issue and hope that we can now proceed with selecting the best possible candidates for the training posts available."

Dr Jonathan Fielden, Chairman Central Consultants and Specialists Committee, said: “Having heard the major concerns of the profession and considered all available options we have now produced a practical solution deliverable in England. Recognising the major distress and anxiety this process has caused this aims to allow us all to move on and appoint the best candidates to the right posts to train and treat patients.

“Considerable further work is required and the continued support of consultants released from their service commitments is essential to deliver a fair result for all affected.

“It is only by working together across the profession and service that we can solve these difficult immediate problems and then progress to address the many wider issues related to MMC.”

Dr Jo Hilborne, Chair of the BMA’s Junior Doctors Committee said: “The last few weeks have been an extremely difficult and stressful time for applicants. We have worked hard to find a practical way forward which treats applicants fairly. We will continue to do so when looking at Round 2, which we all know remains of critical importance to the robustness of the whole process.”

Dr Paul Dimitri, chair of the Academy of the Medical Royal Colleges Trainees Group, said: “The Academy Trainees Group recognises the difficulties that trainees have experienced through the MTAS process. We have negotiated on behalf of trainees through continued representation on the Review Group to maximise choice for applicants applying to MMC. We are satisfied that the Review Group has reached a point at which this aim has been achieved without compromising patient safety by overburdening the Service. We support the current recommendations of the Review Group and the forthcoming MMC process.”

Signed by

Professor Neil Douglas
Professor Martin Marshall
Dr Jonathan Fielden
On Behalf of the Review Group

For media enquiries, please contact the DH newsdesk on 020 7210 5221 or Orla Delargy on 020 7210 5317.

Notes to Editors:
Review Group members

Professor Neil Douglas (Chair of the Review Group), Vice Chair of the Academy of Royal Medical Colleges and President Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh

Clare Chapman, Director General of Workforce, Department of Health

Mr Bernard Ribeiro, President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England

Nic Greenfield, Director of Workforce (Education, Regulation & Pay), Department of Health

Dr Judith Hulf, President of the Royal College of Anaesthetists

Dr Paul Dimitri, Chair of the Trainees Group, Academy of Medical Royal Colleges

Professor Martin Marshall, Deputy Chief Medical Officer England, Department of Health

Professor Sheila Hollins, President, Royal College of Psychiatrists

Neil McKay, Chief Executive, East of England Strategic Health Authority

Dr Jonathan Fielden, Chair of Central Consultants & Specialists Committee, British Medical Association

Dr. Jo Hilborne, Chair of Junior Doctors Committee, British Medical Association

Professor Sir Liam Donaldson, Chief Medical Officer England, Department of Health

Dr. Harry Burns, Chief Medical Officer Scotland, Scottish Executive Health Department

Dr Mike Watson, Director, NHS Education for Scotland

Dr Tony Jewell, Chief Medical Officer Wales, Welsh Assembly

Professor Derek Gallen, Postgraduate Dean, Wales Deanery

Michael McBride, Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety Northern Ireland

Dr Paddy Woods, Senior Medical Officer, Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety Northern Ireland

Sian Thomas, Deputy Director, NHS Employers