Tuesday, 26 May 2009

I heard it through the grapevine...

I can find very few people who think that MMC was a good idea, but still, the juggernaught rolls on, messing up the lives of junior doctors and causing untold stress. One of its so-called "advantages" was to give us a fairer, cheaper and more stream-lined recruitment process so that 

a) Hospitals would employ the highest quality junior doctors to look after their patients

b) Junior doctors would have a transparant method of apply for training jobs and be able to compete on a level playing field.

After the MTAS fiasco in 2007, we were told that the recruitment process was going to be sorted out and that the system would ensure that the best doctors are appointed to jobs and that no patients would come to harm because of the changes that MMC brought in.

Do you think that these lofty aspirations have been attained? Let me tell you what I'm hearing through the grapevine.

What the consultants are saying:

“We’re really worried about what we are going to do in August. When the current batch of junior doctors moves on, we’re concerned that there’ll be no one to replace them. The deanery are meant to be sorting out appointing people and hiring SHOs and registrars, but they’re telling us that we’re only going to be given a couple of each. How on earth are we supposed to run a service and an on-call rota with three SHOs and two registrars? It’s ridiculous. We’ve tried advertising for non-training junior doctors, but nobody seems to want those jobs, so we never get any applicants. Who’s going to look after the patients? We’re all really worried. There’s a crisis coming and we don’t seem to be able to do anything to prevent it.”

 What the deanery are saying:

 “We’ve advertised for people, but we don’t seem to be getting many applicants for the jobs. Some of the people we do get applying for these jobs are certainly, shall we say… inappropriate. We can’t appoint people to positions we don’t think they’re qualified for. For some reason, there’s a shortage of decent quality junior doctors that we can give our SHO and registrar jobs to. All we can do is keep trying to advertise, but I don’t see how things can improve.”

 What the junior doctors are saying.

 “I somehow have to find myself a registrar job for August, but it’s really difficult to actually find where these jobs are advertised. You used to just be able to look at the BMJ for job adverts, but now you have to search every day on each of the 16 deanery websites. The websites are often un-navigable and confusing. Half of them, you have to register with – which is a hassle - but, even then, they still don’t tell you when they have the jobs out.

“Then the application forms are all different and they take a couple of days to fill in. Then after all that, you know that there’ll only be one or two jobs in the whole area and they’ve probably already been promised to “local candidates” anyway. You just get really disheartened after a while and feel like giving up. I don’t understand why they make it so difficult to even apply for the jobs in the first place. I think it must be some sort of screening mechanism. You know ‘if you can find the application form – then you’ve done most of the hard work and we’ll probably offer you a job!’”

So there you have it - MMC a fair and transparent way to ensure that the best junior doctor are appointed to training jobs. The system is working well!


DundeeMedStudent said...

I have a feeling that the cock up with recruitment this year will be thrown back at as to prove that we REALLY NEED a central applications process and we'll end up going round and round in circles for the next 10 yrs or so.

Anonymous said...

Non-training junior doctor posts...what every junior doctor wants indeed. Speaking as an international who studied and trained here, and am now told that it is likely I'll be barred from taking any training post, I feel quite angry at the situation. No, I'm not happy to spend the rest of my life as a junior doctor. I've got brains and skills, and I'm willing to work hard, so if the NHS doesn't want me, they'll just have to settle with "inappropriate" people looking after their patients.

DrJDR said...

I do worry when I read posts like this, although I'm impressed that you've managed to get people to be as frank with you as that!

My impression is that there seem to be loads of good people looking for jobs, but no jobs, and then we are told that they couldn't appoint good people and we are left with dross.

Our recent crop of SHOs through my hospital have been pretty dismal by and large, with some alarming and even incompetent practice. I guess psychiatry is always going to be the poor relation as few people pick it as their main career. However I've been very disappointed in the laziness and lack of professionalism I have seen.

I'm also told that our deanery is struggling to appoint people - so I don't really understand where it is going wrong.

Personally I still feel extremely privileged to have missed out on it all, as I am a 'proper' SpR with one of the last NTNs given out pre-MMC / MTAS. My path remains far easier and less complicated than those who have come onto the scheme since.

My only hope is that given the medical schools are chucking out very large numbers of graduates for whom there aren't really jobs, many good people will come into psychiatry who might not have done in years gone by. If so then something good will have been achieved, but this is nothing to do with MTAS really.

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Kristen said...

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However if you don't want to I completely understand and apologize for wasting your time, I just found your blogs really interesting. :3

Swearing Mother said...

I too found your blog very interesting as I am at the lowest (of the low) end of the scale as a medical secretary.

From our point of view everything needs re-organisation, no one knows what the hell's going on for most of the time, and come August we'll eventually be given a list of new SHOs to get bleeps/badges/guidelines/post trays for, but when they actually turn up it's a completely different set of people.

It's always a mystery why this happens but we are expected to have everything ready for the new docs, and routinely look absolutely stupid when we don't know who to expect.

The first few days of the new SHO intake must surely be the worst time of year to get ill, especially as some of the departing SHO's decide to take this time to use up their remaining holidays or mysteriously develop sore throats and are unable to do their last night shift, leaving gaps in the rota and new SHOs completely on their own in a strange hospital with systems they haven't been used to.

Eeek. Ever thought of going into dentistry?

Hospital Lab Tech said...


Sorry for completely unrelated comment - I just want to ask you something.

When a patient is going to theatre for a procedure that is likely to require blood, who is responsible for ensuring that the lab have been informed and that blood is ready?

Look forward to more posts soon
HLT xx

The Hippocratic Oaf said...

As medical students, me and my friends are constantly trying to guess how the application process will change from year to year in order to become 'competitive' candidates.

It seems like a constant toss-up between CV-boosting, portfolios and trying to get in the top quartile. There are rumours they are going to bring into interviews for FY positions, how they could implement that I do not know.

It really does play on your mind, and although we understand it is important to be a competitor at times it does get ridiculous. The fact it has become such a burden on us this early in our training makes me question if I made the right decision in applying for medical school in the first place!