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Miriam Longmore: Iran puts MTAS in its place

27 Jul, 09 | by julietwalker

Iran has done what the United Kingdom has not dared: it has devised a single exam to be taken by its 20,000 doctors who are competing for 1600 residency positions. The UK system seemed to me unfair, but then an Iranian doctor explained Iran’s system. Rather than the UK’s online medical training application service (MTAS), set up in 2007 to rank medical students according to their 150 word answers about teamwork, prioritisation skills, and professional behaviour, Iran has one simple exam. Held yearly, it comprises 200 multiple choice questions that cover all aspects of clinical medicine, from psychiatry to ophthalmology. Unsurprisingly, just to pass this exam can take 2-3 years of 10 hours’ training a day. Whether those 6000 hours cooped up over books actually makes you a better doctor is debatable because it is difficult to gain any clinical experience during this critical time in training.

Richard Lehman’s journal blog, 30 March 2009

31 Mar, 09 | by BMJ

Richard Lehman

We are very pleased that Richard Lehman is back with us after a break. As before, his ever popular journal blog will be published weekly.  This week, Richard gets off to a splendid start by covering a range of subjects from Greek nymphs to footstools and defecating… more…

NHS trusts claim they can cope as contract deadline looms

29 Jul, 07 | by BMJ

The NHS employers organisation says its members are confident that they will be able to provide a full and safe level of service throughout the coming weeks, despite the difficulties surrounding the appointment of junior doctors to new contracts from this Wednesday (1 August).

Round one figures released

12 Jul, 07 | by BMJ

The Department of Health has announced the figures showing how many junior doctor posts in England have been filled following the first round of MTAS. But it fails to spell out how many doctors may still be facing unemployment. more…

One in five juniors has considered over MTAS suicide, survey shows

23 Jun, 07 | by BMJ

Preliminary results of a survey conducted by the Royal College of Psychiatrists indicate that as many as one in five junior doctors applying for posts through MTAS have considered suicide over the ‘deeply flawed’ process, The Daily Telegraph reports today.


Academics join forces to highlight plight of brightest medics

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.


Royal College of Surgeons pulls out of MTAS review

25 May, 07 | by BMJ

The Royal College of Surgeons has withdrawn from the MTAS review group, chaired by Professor Neil Douglas.
Bernard Ribeiro, the college’s president, announced his decision in an open letter to Professor Douglas in which he said that the DH had failed to make adequate transitional arrangements for “a large number of well-trained, experienced and committed senior house officers who are in danger of being lost to the NHS”.  more…

Remedy UK loses high court case

23 May, 07 | by BMJ

Remedy UK’s legal fight against the Department of Health over the Medical Training Application Service (MTAS) came to an end today.
The judge hearing the case ruled against Remedy UK’s call for the interviews carried out so far only to count towards temporary appointments, not substantive posts.


BMA chairman resigns over MTAS letter

21 May, 07 | by BMJ

In an unexpected move, the BMA’s chairman Jim Johnson has resigned after a storm of protest at a letter he wrote to The Times supporting the government’s reforms of medical education — and stating that continuing to use the flawed MTAS system for appointing round 1 candidates was the ‘best available solution’.

His letter, written with Carol Black, chairman of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, caused a furore among BMA members over the weekend and led to Mr Johnson’s decision  to stand down on Sunday (20 May). more…

MTAS ’scrapped’ – but round 1 interviews remain

15 May, 07 | by BMJ

Health secretary Patricia Hewitt has announced plans to drop the flawed Medical Training Application Service — but only from now on.

Round 1 interview set up through MTAS and which have already taken place, or which are due to take place, will still be valid.


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