20 Jun, 07 | by BMJ
Academics from Cambridge University have joined forces to highlight the plight of some of the most academically gifted doctors who they say are losing out under the MTAS interview process.
Professors Morris Brown and Steve O’Rahilly held a press conference in London on Tuesday (19 June) to highlight the problem. They released the results of an online survey of 1300 applicants, of whom 49% had not at that stage had job offers.
Professor Brown said the results showed that those who had not had offers were more likely to have a first class degree or a distinction. He said it was effectively a ‘”selective cull of the best”.
Two doctors affected by the situation were at the press conference. One, Sarah (who did not give her surname) had an MS Fellowship and DPhil from Oxford. She has been working on the Maudsley rotation and wants to pursue a career in psychiatry.
She has had one job offer, but for a fixed term staff appointment, not a training post. “It’s just a career grade position,” she said. “I’m not really sure what it is going to lead to. I wanted to try to change the face of psychiatry and the way mental health services are delivered. I’m not sure I can do that from a career grade post.”
Another doctor, Matt, has a first class honours degree, then moved on to degree in medicine at Cambridge. He is currently working on his PhD with a leading cancer specialist.
He’s had one job offer — like Sarah’s it is just for a fixed term staff appointment.
“I know what I want to do and I know where I want to do it,” he said. But the constraints of the MTAS application form made it impossible for his academic credentials to be rated as highly as they should, he claims.
As round 1 comes to an end this week (June 22) it’s hard to know how many posts will be filled. The Department of Health has undertaken to notify all applicants of available posts — including non-training ones — by the end of the following week (June 29). It’s unclear how many of these will be unfilled posts either held back, or not filled, from round 1 and how many will be additional posts created by trusts to ensure there are no gaps in service provision.
NHS Employers has issued guidance to trusts about how they should handle the impending crisis. It includes details on how best to manage any changes in the existing workload of staff to ensure they comply with the working time directive. See