Matching scheme madness

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: (Published 09 June 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:1396
  1. Derek E Roskell, consultant pathologist (
  1. John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford

There is a great job advertised in the region at the moment. It rotates between this teaching hospital and a district general, where previous registrars have been well trained and enjoyed the experience. The post is open to suitably qualified applicants from all over the world—except, it seems, my excellent registrar.

He cannot apply because he is “on the scheme” already. His post rotates to a different district general hospital. He cannot apply for the job he would prefer, even though he is not due to rotate for nine months, and could easily give the statutory three months' notice. Apparently transferring within the scheme might be possible at the discretion of the postgraduate dean, but there would have to be a good personal reason to be allowed to change.

Matching schemes must be set up so that they are not too large and so that people are not locked in

What is a good reason? A sick child? Getting married? Living with someone? What about living with seven other people in a hippy commune? What about simple personal preference?

Should postgraduate deans and regional advisers really have to judge …

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