The British Medical Association (BMA) yesterday called for a ‘cast iron guarantee’ that not one of 35,000 junior doctors will be without a job as a result of the current government-created crisis.
In a message to the medical profession, the BMA deputy chairman, and the chairmen of all its main committees, announced a series of urgent steps they believe the government needs to take to address the continuing crisis affecting medical training.
The BMA said: ‘A letter is being sent to the Secretary of State for Health today, demanding:
‘A guarantee that no junior doctor will be unemployed as a result of the current crisis;
‘The creation of a new group, led by doctors, to design the future of medical training;
‘Substantial resources – for example for training bursaries – to ensure that unsuccessful applicants are not disadvantaged;
‘The CV-based process agreed for the second round of applications to be fair and transparent;
‘Greater flexibility for doctors in the early stages of their training – for example the ability to change specialty.’
BMA Junior Doctors Committee chairman Dr Jo Hilborne said: ‘The BMA called repeatedly for this appalling system to be delayed.
‘Sadly, like everyone else, we have been forced to accept that it is now too late. All candidates have been interviewed, and some have already been offered jobs.
‘The stark reality is that at least 12,000 doctors who have gone through this process will not get training posts.
‘The medical profession must unite in their interests. Whether it is through campaigning or negotiation, the BMA will never stop fighting for them or their patients.
‘It is time for the Health Secretary to answer our repeated calls for a cast-iron guarantee that no trainee doctor will pay the price for her mistakes.’
BMA consultants’ committee chairman Dr Jonathan Fielden added: ‘We have achieved some progress via the MTAS (Medical Training Application Service) review group, but much more is required.
‘We must now begin to rebuild professional confidence in the training of our future doctors to ensure we have the highest quality doctors to deliver excellence in healthcare to our patients.
‘The government has said it will listen – now is the time for it to act.’
BMA deputy chairman Dr Sam Everington said: ‘This is one of the worst crises ever to hit medicine in the UK. Thousands of expensively trained doctors are having to live with terrible job insecurity, despite the fact that the NHS is still understaffed.’
BMA’s GP’s committee chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum added that the BMA is ‘totally committed’ to ‘securing a fair and practical solution to the training crisis. We are determined to keep up the pressure and will not give up the fight to protect our junior colleagues’ careers.’