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Doctors defend online system for allocating junior doctor posts

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: (Published 16 March 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:625
  1. Zosia Kmietowicz
  1. London

    Doctors have spoken out to defend the computer system criticised last week for its lack of security and its failure to match one tenth of UK final year medical students with training posts. They claim that the new scheme (see is fairer and more transparent that the old interview based system and that teething problems are minor and to be expected.

    A letter in last Saturday's Times has sparked a fierce media debate over the suitability of the online selection procedure developed by the modernising medical careers scheme to place final year medical students into the first year of the NHS foundation programme (4 March, p 22).

    The letter, signed by 84 medical professors and senior clinicians, criticised the scheme as “a process that has been implemented without adequate consultation and without regard to pleas from the medical profession to continue interviews to select candidates for medical training.”

    Professor Nicholas Wright, the warden of Barts and The London, Queen Mary's School of Medicine and Dentistry and one of the letter's signatories, is reported to have called for those responsible for the scheme to resign (

    The online form, which students complete in their final year, contains six fields in which applicants have to list examples of teamwork, leadership, compliance with guidelines, as well as their academic achievements and their reasons for the applying for …

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