Observations Body politic

How not to win friends and influence people

BMJ 2007; 335 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39297.609421.94 (Published 09 August 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;335:284
  1. Nigel Hawkes, health editor, the Times
  1. nigel.hawkes{at}thetimes.co.uk

    The debacle concerning the UK medical training application service (MTAS) has flushed out what people really think of the Postgraduate Medical Education and Training Board

    As the MTAS shenanigans have emerged it has been interesting to discover how many organisations and individuals are not responsible for it. Failure is an orphan, they say, but seldom such a threadbare and friendless waif as this.

    Foremost among those who deny any responsibility is the government organisation charged with the higher training of doctors, the Postgraduate Medical Education and Training Board. Let's count the number of words in its name that relate to the issues affected by MTAS: education, postgraduate, training, medical. That only leaves “board” unaccounted for.

    The board was supposed to bring organisation and method to the often haphazard arrangements for postgraduate education and training of doctors. In evidence to the High Court in the case brought by the campaigning group Remedy UK, the board acknowledged that it was responsible for laying down the basic principles of recruitment to specialist training posts. But its chairman, Peter Rubin, has said—rightly—that its powers do not encompass choosing between eligible candidates.

    In disavowing responsibility for the mess he is at …

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