Thursday, March 01, 2007


this week has seen the biggest culling of junior doctors' career aspirations by a computer system and an ill thought out application form (MMC and MTAS respectively - i've talked about this before). this is probably the biggest change to medical training in the past forty years and within days hundreds of doctors have had their dreams of pursuing a medical specialty shot down. it's like the beginning scenes of saving private ryan. i, unlike many, have survived the initial onslaught of career killing fire and shrapnel. i am currently lying on the normandy beach of possible interviews, unsure of my future. i know a LOT of doctors who've been *BANG* taken out just like that and will have no job to go to in august. some of them (the ones with slightly more experience) will probably never work again as a result. absolutely gutting. absolutely fucking gutting.

the most eloquent explanation of what's been happening is quoted below and taken from the forum. i'll let it speak for itself:

"I feel like crying.

All my life there has been only one thing that I have wanted to do. I worked hard at school to get to medical school, I then worked hard at medical school to give myself the best shot at the jobs I wanted later on. I passed all my exams, won a few prizes along the way and was generally a good all rounder.

I was warned off medicine by my family and friends, they said it was too stressful and the NHS was in trouble; but I found the subject fascinating and it was not a matter of choice for me.

I have worked hard since I qualified and have had good references from all my employers. I have not taken a single day off ill in my first few years of work, and there are days when I have not felt well enough to come into work. I have passed several postgraduate examinations and attended all the relevant courses, as well as having several articles published in scientific journals.

There are many others just like me. Each of us has made numerous sacrifices because we love what we do. Our study budgets and study leave quotas have been cut, meaning we have had to pay for our own training and attend courses in our annual leave. The trust has also stopped properly reimbursing us for our travel expenses and removal costs. However we carried on because we thought that it would all be worth it, if we could have a job at the end of it doing what we loved.

These last few weeks have been the final straw for many of us. We have been subjected to the most unfair and least meritocratic selection process ever seen, MTAS (medical training application service) via MMC (modernizing medical careers). We have had to sum up our years of work and experience in several politically correct short answer questions, on which we are then judged. Examinations, experience and references are all but ignored in the pursuit of vague waffle.

The computer system crashes time and time again, confusion reigns supreme and hundreds of consultants are appalled by the process. Yet it is allowed to proceed. The short listing results are released in dribs and drabs and thousands of juniors tap away on their keyboards in a state of sheer panic, realizing that their future is being decided by the MTAS tombola.

Some of us have been lucky enough to get short listed for the jobs we want, but we shouldn’t have had to be lucky. The process should have been meritocratic, well organized and fair. It was most definitely none of these.

Young doctors such as myself are appalled by what we have had to endure this year. No one should have to go through such a process again. We all know people who are going to have their hopes and dreams crushed by this cruel joke of a system.

Shame on those who are behind this scheme. Many a tear will be shed this week by many brilliant young doctors who have had their hopes and dreams crushed in a quite barbaric fashion. Many of us will emigrate and many of us will leave the profession; I hope those behind the scheme are proud of these achievements.

Of course we do not all expect to be handed our perfect jobs on a plate. However we deserve not be lied to, we deserve not to be treated unfairly and we deserve to be treated with a little more dignity, respect and humanity than we have in 2007."

(Dr Ben Dean)

our union, the grossly ineffectual bunch of sycophants the BMA, have done precisely fuck all about it. i think they may have indulged the architects of MMC in fellatio at some point. they yesterday announced a press release saying that the system was failing.


[i am listening to Johnny Cash]


Dr No No said...

its all pants...i think as a group we must stick together and perhaps Strike, even if it is for 4 hours in a day...then we might be noticed!

chris said...

I'm a student just about to qualify and I am aghast at all the shit that is happening to you guys. The stories on DNUK and other sites scare me greatly for this pile of crap awaits all of us young docs and docs-to-be. Looks like we've not only managed to screw up undergrad medicine, but training all the way up to consultant level (or subconsultanthood these days). I really hope it gets sorted out (or some semblance of). Keep your chin up!

On another note I just want to say that your blog rocks! If you're half as cool as your online persona you must be great to work with (sadly there is no chance of me getting onto a golden circuit London rotation though!).

Cal said...

I, too, am horrified by these proceedings and how unaware everyone (general public) is about it.

I am very glad, however, that you have at least been shortlisted for interview.

Congratulations, and keep us updated.

Dazed & Confused said...

dr no no: i'm all for the right to strike. but we need a union behind us like the coal miners, train drivers, etc. if we strike without a decent media mouth then all that will happen is that the public, who already see us as out of touch and elitist, will have even less sympathy for us.

chris: thanks for calling me cool lol! i think (hope) that the system will be sorted for you and your peers by the time you get to our level. it's only a problem now because there are so many of us in shitty situations. i hope we as a body of professionals sort this system out for the ranks who'll come through in later years. realistically though i think that in august this will all be done and over and our screams of protest will be relegated to whispers in medical history.

calavera: thanks. though when so many of your friends are not listed, it takes away any feelings of happinesss.

The Angry Medic said...

Good Lord. That letter is heartrending. So many of us can empathise.

Like Cal, I'm just happy that you got shortlisted.

See my comment on your latest post too.

HospitalPhoenix said...

Good grief, Ben Dean's post is everywhere! It'll be going down in blogospheric history!

Congrats on the interviews, and all the best for them!