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Concern over junior docs' start

1st August 2007

The British Medical Association has warned that hospitals may face problems as 30,000 junior doctors begin work in England.

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Dr Ian Wilson, deputy chairman of the BMA's consultants committee, said: "Posts have been left unfilled up to the eleventh hour. Any forward planning has been impossible. It's inevitable that more operations and clinics will have to be postponed."

30,000 junior doctors will begin work on Wednesday 1 August - twice the usual amount. The Modernising Medical Careers programme has meant a change to doctors' start days. The change was brought in to accelerate qualifying times for consultants.

Issues with the Medical Training Application Service (MTAS) have caused controversy in the medical community. Doctors have raised serious complaints against the service, which led to Remedy UK taking legal measures against the system.

The government scrapped the MTAS system for the second phase of recruitment, although recruitment decisions made using the system were not overturned. Doctors have been recruited for 90% of 15,600 positions.

The BMA warned that the rush to fill positions in July had caused problems with planning and some junior doctors had to miss work due to hastily scheduled interviews.

Dr Tom Dolphin, of the BMA's junior doctors committee, commented: "There has been appalling confusion in the NHS over the last few weeks."

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Martin Marshall said the government had scheduled the start date for August as it was a quieter month. He recognised that the numbers of doctors was higher than usual, but said that NHS trusts had "plans in place to make sure services run properly."

 


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