Second opportunity for junior doctors

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The independent review group, examining the selection process for junior doctors, met for the third time and agreed that round one should continue and that changes should be made to strengthen the implementation process at each level. The group agreed to set out full details next week for everyone involved in the process.

The review group considered a wide range of evidence and listened carefully to the concerns of the profession and NHS employers. The group is led by Professor Neil Douglas and was set up by the Department of Health on 6 March to examine what improvements needed to be made to the new MMC selection process for doctors applying for consultancy training posts.

The group today made the following recommendations:

All eligible ST3 and 4 applicants will be guaranteed an interview for their first or second choice of training post. (This includes those who have been offered only their third or fourth choice at the moment).

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All applicants at ST1 who have not been short-listed for any interviews will have their application reviewed. The operational details of this will be set out next week. However, where candidates meet the selection criteria they may be offered an interview in Round 1. If not, they will be offered career guidance and support to enter Round 2.

All applicants for ST2 who have not been short-listed for interview will be offered a face-to-face review with a trained medical advisor to determine whether they meet the short-listing criteria. Those who meet the criteria may be offered an interview in Round 1. Those who are not selected for interview will be offered career guidance and support to enter Round 2.
The Department of Health will now work to implement this next week.

Deaneries across England have said that they have already interviewed many excellent doctors and that the new system is an improvement on the less structured nature of the old system. The GP recruitment continues to work very well with a record number of GPs being recruited into the NHS.

Health Minister Lord Hunt said:

"The recruitment process needs to transparent and fair so that we can get the best doctors trained and be supervised to the very highest standards. I am very grateful for the hard work and cooperation between the review group, the Royal Colleges and the MMC team on some very complex issues. These recommendations are significant improvements to the process and will mean over five thousand more doctors will be interviewed and considered for selection.

"Consultancy posts are much sought after which is why we have more applicants than posts. This will lead to some young doctors being disappointed they can't specialise in their first choice but this has always been the case. The NHS still needs doctors and they have vital skills that can be put to good use elsewhere."

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