BMA junior doctors call for Hewitt and Hunt to resign

Health secretary Patricia Hewitt and the health minister in the Lords, Philip Hunt, should resign over the MTAS scandal, delegates at today’s BMA junior doctors conference agreed.

They also voted unanimously that the National Audit Office should investigate the waste of public money which the whole system has caused.

Some 250 delegates attended the meeting in London. “People were angry and insensed by MTAS,” said Tom Dolphin, deputy chair of the committee. “Junior doctors are feeling that they have been betrayed by the government, and that the reforms have been done so badly that it is difficult to see a way forward.”

Following an emergency motion to the conference, delegates mandated their representatives to continue to be in talks the review group of MTAS, under the auspices of Professor Neil Douglas. They have agreed that the chair of the committee, Jo Hilborne, should argue for all doctors throughout the UK to be interviewed for each of their four chosen posts. This would ensure candidates in England were treated the same as those in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Delegates also called for all Modernising Medical Careers training to be postponed for a year until the MTAS problem was sorted out.

Tom Dolphin, who proposed the motion calling for the two ministers’ resignation, said it was important the ministers accepted responsibility for the situation that had developed.

“The government was warned,” he said. “They need to accept responsibility and to resign.”

A motion of no confidence in the Modernising Medical Careers team was not heard because the emergency motion took its place. Calls for MTAS to be scrapped entirely were also rejected by delegates.