Tag Archives: Junior Doctors Recruitment

Here we go again

I am feeling decidedly shifty about this year’s Junior Doctors’ recruitment.

As you all know, I went off on one for most of the first half of last year while the abortion that was MTAS and the obscenity that is MMC unfurled before my horrified eyes. It affected me personally because the one I mention here occasionally was going through the mill. However he was one of the lucky ones, he got his ticket to ride and he’s ok.

This year is going to be far worse. This year the ratios are worse, the ward-fodder is better informed, and the government is studiously ignoring the Tooke Report. There isn’t a centralised system to horrify us all, instead the disasters are going to be private and personal, tucked away in wards and clinics and locum shifts across the country, but no less devastating to those involved.

But this year I’m not going to be on the barricades. I feel guilty and shifty about this. Last year left me wrung out and emotionally exhausted by the whole bloody mess but nowhere near as wrung out and emotionally exhausted as it left the doctors and partners of doctors who were unlucky then and who are now about to go through the mill again. And this is why I feel shifty. I wept and wailed and gnashed my teeth while the one I worry about was at risk, but I know I am not going to do the same thing again this year, because I know I don’t have the energy to be that angry for that long.

I dislike bad-weather activists, and look at me. My personal sun is shining and devil take the hindmost.

In the meantime, let me tell you that it is apparently a good thing that the application ratios are between 3-1 and 19-1 for training posts. £250k of my money, and yours if you live in the UK, to get a Junior Doctor to the point where their career is officially stalled or where they leave the profession.

The implication in the Daily Mail and other isolationist press that foreign doctors are coming over and nicking our doctors’ jobs is despicable. The International Medical Graduates are the reason we still have an NHS. They came here during the last 7 years on the understanding that they would be treated equally, but the government tried to renege on that deal last year.

Shutting the door on new IMGs seems like a good idea to me, but don’t turn around and bite the hands that came across the water during the last 7 years and saved the NHS.

The BMA are Blackleg scum

Remedy UKWhat do you call it, when a failing union disrupts the work of a new organisation which successfully represents the membership that’s being stitched up and ignored? My social history isn’t really up to the mark here. How about:

The BMA are Blackleg scum

Yep. I think that sums it up nicely.

The BMA (British Medical Association) have prevented the BMJ (British Medical Journal) Careers Supplement from running an ad for Remedy UK. You may think this doesn’t matter to you, but it does.

Remedy UK is an organisation which was formed by and for Junior Doctors when the BMA stood by and watched them being sacrificed on the alter of government doctrine. In the last 12 months, Remedy has gone from strength to strength, and thousands of doctors have cancelled their memberships of the BMA in outrage and disgust.

Let me now quote from the Remedy website:

As part of a membership drive, the RemedyUK committee decided to place a paid-for loose insert in the Christmas issue of BMJ Careers. The BMJ asked to see the copy before agreeing. They had no concerns about the insert or its content.

We were then told, late last week, that as the BMJ is a wholly owned subsidiary of the BMA, their approval would also be needed. The BMA have banned the insert from appearing. …

It is hard to see how the BMJ’s editorial independence cannot now be open to question. And it is difficult not to draw the conclusion that the BMA’s refusal to allow the insert is an attempt to prevent Remedy from spreading its message more widely.

This matters because – to quote the leaflet concerned:

There are currently 70% more medical students than there were five years ago, but only a minimal increase in training places.

Junior doctors, already traumatised by MMC/MTAS 2007, face a recruitment round in less than two months in which competition ratios will be worse than this year, with some small specialties in some regions likely to be offering no ST3 posts at all. The process for selecting people into run-through for subspecialty training is in disarray. And 14,000 juniors face career termination. (My italics).

If you are a patient it matters to you. No one should have to work under the sort of strain described below, and you and your relatives should be treated by people working under this sort of strain:

One particular junior doctor was seen crying quietly in a corner on Monday, coming to terms with having no interviews and perhaps no career. She was in clinic at the time and had taken 5 minutes to check out her future on the MTAS website, 5 minutes after learning her fate she was back seeing patients, doing what she wants to do, what she deserves to do, what she is needed for but what the system might stop her doing come August. – I’m a Medical Student – Get me Out of Here

As patients we deserve the best doctors the NHS can train and recruit. This is not how to find them:

We were on the wards today when the SHO opened her mail to discover that interview for her specialty were scheduled for the same day in the Yorkshire and West of Scotland areas. Its not a large specialty (Rheumatology) so this seems a little weird.

Neither is allowed to change it’s dates due to a protocol … So the chances of a morning interview in Leeds, a 200 mile drive and an afternoon interview in Glasgow seem remote. She said she was not the only SHO in this situation.

Interview dates were published after the SHO’s had ranked their choices, thus they did not know which interview dates would conflict.

It’s crazy… Comment by dyb on Dr Crippen’s blog

We had astonishingly good doctors in the UK: the Department of Health has spent the last year throwing them away:

Unsurprisingly, like many of my colleagues I was not shortlisted for a single interview in this first round of job applications. In fact, of the seven junior trainees in my department, only one of us has been shortlisted for any jobs. Yet our unit is one of the leading tertiary referral centres in the UK. Paul Malone in a letter to the Times (My italics).

Remedy UK fights, among other things, to make sure that medical selection in the UK is fair, transparent and effective at choosing the very best. It is hard to see how this form of interview can do that:

The second station [at my interview] involved ‘Communication Skills’. It was awful. First, I had to fold a piece of paper according to verbal instructions. It did not make a crane – perhaps I did it wrong? Then I was given a random series of shapes on a piece of paper and had to describe them to another Consultant for her to draw them. Hmmph. Goodness only knows how I did on this station. I felt stupid and I know that I didn’t show how well I can actually communicate about real things. What I don’t understand is how this is supposed to supply them with reasonable doctors. If I did it all wrong, am I a bad Doctor? If I did it right, should you fast track me to a Consultant’s post?

Bloody weird. – Junior Docspot – Origami Anyone?

What Remedy UK is doing matters to all of us. The British Medical Association stood to one side and let the Department of Health inflict Modernising Medical Careers and MTAS on the medical workforce, and thus on us all.

The independent report by Sir John Tooke is damning, saying explicitly “the medical profession’s effective involvement in training policy making has been weak”. Well that is down to the BMA. And also saying “… from this experience must come a re-commitment to optimal standards of postgraduate medical education and training. This can only happen if a new partnership is struck between the profession and the Department of Health … each constituency has been found wanting so far.”

Yeah. BMA. Blackleg scum. Sums it up, really.