Letters MTAS

How can we cure MTAS?

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39156.723484.FA (Published 22 March 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:601
  1. Peter D Macdonald, consultant paediatrician (peter.macdonald{at}sgh.scot.nhs.uk)
  1. Southern General Hospital, Glasgow G51 4TF

    In MTAS (medical training application system) the number of interviewees selected has been determined by the capacity of the service to deliver the interview slots rather than the ideal number to shortlist when up to 75% of candidates at any one interview do not want the post as their first choice.1 Having given 30 days of Scottish paediatric consultant time to shortlisting, we will shortly be giving 105 consultant days to interviewing not enough candidates to be confident of filling the posts on the first round. The outcome is likely to be that we will go into June with many trainees still without a post and many posts still to be filled across the country.

    MTAS could be modified so that everyone who achieves the essential criteria is offered an interview for their first choice application. The other candidates interviewed in each area would be determined by shortlist scoring. This rule would ensure that virtually all trainees were considered for at least one post in the first round and that most interviewees would want the post they were being interviewed for. It would clearly give preference to certain candidates in each area, but if it were applied nationally everyone would obtain the same benefit.


    • Competing interests: PDM is a member of O and G and Paediatric Transitional Board (Scotland).


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