As the Judicial Review continues in the High Court today regarding the enforced governmental changes to doctor training. A staggering 80% of consultants believe the implementation of the government's Modernising Medical Careers (MMC) programme should be delayed, according to findings published in the leading medical journal, The Lancet. Modernising Medical Careers (MMC) is the government’s new run-through training programme that aims to produce senior doctors in a streamlined manner. The programme has provoked major concerns over its potentially detrimental effects on both patient safety and medical training.
The Lancet's results were based on a survey of 3255 consultants and junior doctors on their attitudes to the proposed changes in medical training, due to be introduced in August this year. The results demonstrate clearly that doctors believe that MMC in its current form jeopardises patient safety, diminishes the quality and scope of training, and damages Britain's potential for innovative and life-saving research.
The government has failed to address adequately the genuine concerns raised by the medical profession. Solutions provided by the initial review body, promising a single interview for each applicant, were deemed unsatisfactory by 75% of those surveyed. Findings of the second review will not be available until September.
The Medical Training Application System (MTAS), the online job application system for doctors, has been deemed unsatisfactory for further use by Patricia Hewitt (15/05/07). Hiding behind the inevitable collapse of this failed system, only highlights the fact that the DoH continues to fail to address the complex issues that fuel the shambolic reforms. Doctors are not opposed to change but Modernising Medical Careers in its current form is ill thought out and fuelled with potential problems.
With less than 11 weeks to go until doctors’ current contracts end, there is palpable tension within the NHS. With thousands of interviews still pending, 85% of doctors surveyed are calling for consultants to withdraw from the interview process completely. Changes to medical training will affect up to 32,000 doctors, yet only 10% of these think it will result in improved training. “That a crisis in medical recruitment and education has occurred is beyond doubt”, said Dr Jane Graham, a junior doctor from Addenbrooke’s hospital. “As the 1st August fast approaches, the question remains, how many patients must be put at risk before the Government listens to the professions’ warnings?”
Can the government prevent the impending disaster? I hope so; the message is loud and clear.