How the MTAS crisis began

The timeline below gives an at-a-glance guide to how the crisis over junior doctors’ job applications began.

Thursday 11 January Modernising Medical Careers issues its guide to junior doctors on how to apply online – via one single application form – for jobs in August. The new system it says will ‘simplify the process for doctors in training and will enhance their ability to identify training vacancies across the UK.’
Monday 22 January MTAS (the Medical Training Application Service) opens for first online applications
Thursday 25 January: Applicants to certain specialties in the London and Kent deaneries are asked to delay their applications due to problems among those wanting to apply to four specialties.
Saturday 3 February: Modernising Medical Careers announces that, due to problems with the computer system, the deadline for applications is to be extended, initially from noon to 2pm on Sunday 4 February, and then to 9am on Monday 5 February. Some applicants have problems saving their application to the site.
Monday 26 February: shortlisting for the first round of posts was due to have been finalised – two days later than originally planned
Tuesday 27 February: A meeting of COPmeD (the Conference of Postgraduate Medical Deans) realises there has been ‘variable practice in long-listing regarding the checking of competences achieved and career progression’ and later more guidance to address this is issued via Modernising Medical Careers.
Wednesday 28 February: Interviews for junior doctors seeking posts starting in August was due to start — but many doctors did not know whether or not they had an interview. Some felt they should have had an interview but were not offered one. Others were offered interviews for specialties they were not qualified for, or on dates that clashed. The deadline for receiving interview notification was extended to Monday
Friday 9 March: The Department of Health announces a review of the appointments procedure, with BMA and Royal Colleges represented on the group. It plans to improve the process by allowing CVs and portfolios to be considered. Those overlooked in the first round can have their application reviewed by a trained advisor from a deanery. Candidates who complete this successfully will be given an interview, the health minister Lord Hunt states. He refuses to scrap the first round of interviews, but the changes will apply to the second round.
The DH accepts a recommendation from the review group that information about competition rates by speciality, entry level and geography should be made available to candidates.
Saturday 10 March: Junior doctors’ leaders at the BMA vote overwhelmingly for the scrapping of the Government’s new Medical Training Application System and a return to the old appointments system for junior doctors.