Feature Specialist training

MTAS: which way now?

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39252.407350.68 (Published 21 June 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:1300

Rebecca Coombes asks key players involved in the medical training application service (MTAS) what they would have done differently

Carol Black, chairwoman of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges

What is your connection to MTAS?

The royal colleges, presidents of which are members of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, provided the person specifications against which the candidates for specialty training should be judged.

What would you go back and change about the system before it was launched?

We would require a demonstration that the application system was capable of enabling full recognition and sound balanced assessment of the qualities sought in candidates for specialist training.

What is your prescription for reforming MTAS into a workable system?

In the long term we need a computerised matching system. But it should not be used until it is adequately piloted and its performance evaluated, any bugs fixed, and the system shown to be totally secure. The shortlisting process also needs to be fixed. The scoring system did not ensure accurate discernment between candidates, and the process was excessively time consuming for consultants. Options include the use of a clinical problem solving or applied knowledge test as a long listing or short listing test—broadly similar to the process used in other countries. This ensures that all candidates reaching interview are of a high standard.

Patrick Maxwell, professor of nephrology, Imperial College London

What is your connection to MTAS?

I chaired a working group on MTAS and Modernising …

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