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Concern over doctor selection

4th March 2006

04032006_DoctorAtPC1.jpgEighty four senior doctors have sent a letter to the Times condemning the new on-line system for selecting junior doctors for new posts.

The Modernising Medical Careers system scraps interviews in favour of points scoring from application form responses. Under the new system, students apply online for a two-year foundation training course in hospitals after completing five years of medical training.

The specialists claim the process is "grossly unfair", untested and is leaving students bitter, angry and demoralised.

Traditionally, junior doctors have served a form of apprenticeship, selected and mentored by senior figures who have guided their careers. To avoid favouritism, the Department of Health has introduced a scheme that aims to select and distribute medical students to their first posts by an entirely different system.

The new system involves an on-line application process in six sections. It gives equal weight to exam results and leadership attributes but has led to accusations that it is no more than a "bullshitters charter" backed up by a computer matching process which is untested.
 
Charles McCollum, Professor of Surgery at South Manchester University Hospital, who organised the letter to The Times, said that some of the least talented students were appointed to jobs, while some of the best were not.

“It’s driving us spare,? he said. “We have high-flyers who will make excellent surgeons who have been rated as failures by this process, despite being excellent students. They are desperate. Some have been told they will have to be assessed to see if they are even fit to be doctors, and there is nothing we can do to help them.?

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