Centralised application services for specialist training

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39252.411192.80 (Published 21 June 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:1285
  1. Tony Delamothe, deputy editor
  1. BMJ, London WC1H 9JR
  1. tdelamothe{at}bmj.com

    Other countries manage

    This week marks the end of round one of the UK's scheme to fill specialty training posts that become available in August. All applicants have been offered the opportunity of at least one job interview, and those who have not been offered a job can apply for any unfilled posts in round two. For this second round, however, local deaneries will manage the process. The Medical Training Application Service (MTAS), whose premature and poorly implemented introduction was condemned by a judge for its “disastrous consequences,”1 has been shelved.

    Good riddance, chorus Britain's doctors, but the decision brings little comfort to the thousands of demoralised juniors still caught up in the uncertainties and frustrations of finding a job. While assessing the ongoing fallout of MTAS, it's salutary to be reminded that other countries have pulled off what looks from Britain like an impossible feat. In this week's journal, Tony Jefferis reports that “a central application portal with local selection . . . has been used successfully in the United States, Canada, and, in a modified form in Australia and New Zealand for at least 30 years.” And these countries have successfully negotiated, or are negotiating, the transition to computerisation.2

    What can Britain learn from their example? Jefferis found that other countries' matching schemes “are all efficient, have clear time tables, and are …

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