The StirrerThe Stirrer

news that matters, campaigns that count

for Birmingham, the Black Country and beyond




A leading Birmingham doctor has demanded the suspension of all interviews under the government's controversial new recruitment scheme for consultants, amid claims that hundreds of application forms have simply “disappeared into the ether.”

Dr David Nicholl, a neurologist at City Hospital and the QE in Birmingham, wants the Modernising Medical Careers (MMC) programme to be halted until an inquiry ordered this week has been completed.

MMC aims to “fast track” the next generation of specialists, but numerous flaws have already become evident; the computer system handling all 30,000 applications has crashed repeatedly, and many in the medical profession believe an online questionnaire is a poor means of filtering candidates.

There've been complaints that some of the best qualified candidates haven't been short-listed.

As we revealed on this website, a panel of doctors in Birmingham this week staged an interview boycott because they didn't trust the system (see our story here).

Nicholl is now collecting the names of other consultants who want to put a hold on the process altogether until the findings of a review into MMC are known.

He told us: “This is crazy. We need to stop and take stock yet
the Department of Health and Royal Colleges are saying carry on as usual whilst they carry on a review.

“It is clear that any aggrieved candidate will be able to
challenge this legally given that there is a review going on. In layman speak, this is as if the captain of the Titanic announces we have been hit by an iceberg but its still full steam ahead, so don't worry."

Whitehall insiders have contacted Dr Nicholl and have told him the
situation is much worse than previously reported, with 1300 applications “disappearing into the ether”.

The job situation for junior doctors also appears to be grave; it's understood that there are only 18530 jobs for a total of 33000 applicants. Previous reports suggested that 22,000 posts were available for 30,000 applicants.

"How can we have faith in the system when they cannot be honest about the figures and scale of this fiasco?” asks Nicholl.

In any event, mass unemployment among junior doctors seems inevitable - leading to an exodus to the United States and Australia of some of our brightest and best young people.

Those countries will reap the dividend of training (which has cost in the region of £250,000 per doctor) which was funded by the British taxpayer.

Not for the first time, The Stirrer is shocked that this growing national scandal isn't dominating the headlines; just think of any news story you've seen, read or hear today and ask yourself - was it more important than this?

We can only promise that we will continue to keep you updated with developments.

Want to comment? Go to the “Doctors and Modernising Medical Careers thread” on our “News” Messageboard.

Leave a comment or raise new issues on The Stirrer message board.

©2006 The Stirrer