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New measures help junior docs

27th June 2007

Scotland's Health Secretary, Nicola Sturgeon, has said junior doctors who do not succeed in getting a training position will be granted an extension on their existing contracts.

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Junior doctors will receive a salary until 31 October. This will enable them to make applications for English positions if they are unsuccessful in their attempts for a post by 1 August, when the Scottish recruitment period finishes.

Ms Sturgeon explained that the contract extension will allow junior doctors in Scotland terms which tally with those offered to their counterparts in England.

She said: "I am determined to do what is right for Scotland and will look to adapt the selection and recruitment process so that in future it better serves Scottish interests and ensures that we continue to attract the best possible candidates for our NHS."

She admitted that the Modernising Medical Careers (MMC) system could cause problems and leave many junior doctors without employment.

Speaking to Holyrood's Health and Sport Committee, she said she still had faith in the system. She explained that trainees in Scotland are recruited in one stage, rather than by two stages in the English system.

Ms Sturgeon said 98% of all "run through training posts" had been filled, and about 65% of the "shorter fixed term speciality training appointments." She stated that around 450 junior doctors were yet to find ongoing training, although 240 positions remained vacant.

The decision was praised by Liberal Democrat health spokesman Ross Finnie and Dr Peter Terry, chairman of the British Medical Association's Scottish Council, who said the decision was reached "in partnership with BMA Scotland."




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