AROUND 15,000 junior doctors are about to find themselves without training posts if Modernising Medical Careers (MMC) and the new Medical Training Application Service (MTAS) are allowed to continue.
A grass-roots junior doctors’ organisation called Remedy began campaigning against MTAS and are organising today’s march.
MMC proposes markedly shorter times for training up to consultant level, such that there is doubt whether consultant standard can be achieved.
MTAS is a new online system for junior doctors applying for training places.
Consultants no longer control the process, which gives insufficient weight to a candidate’s qualifications and experience.
A group of West Midland surgeons revolted against the gross unfairness and inadequacy of the selection and appointment process. Similar stands were taken by consultants all over the country.
A review committee containing the architects of the MTAS scheme has been set up, which may make some cosmetic changes but will keep the system going.
Junior doctors and consultants want a return to the previous system.
Why does MMC and the MTAS have to be forced into place, at break-neck speed, in one year?
It is for the same reason that millions of pounds of hospital cuts have to be carried out; that up to 60 District General Hospitals have to be ‘reconfigured’ out of existence; that professional regulation of the General Medical Council has to be ended in one year; that payments by results is being extended; hospital foundation trusts have to identify profit lines; further PFI hospitals are being built; and the second phase of Independent Treatment Centres and new Independent Clinical Assessment and Treatment Services are being commissioned.
The Blair government is hurtling towards an American-style healthcare system. Big corporations are taking over more provision, and even commissioning.
The plan is to drastically reduce access to consultant-led healthcare in NHS hospitals, provide public funding for corporate private providers and leave millions with non existent ‘community care’.
The ground is being prepared for selective charges for National Health Service patients.
The government’s plan is a pre-emptive strike, to create so many changes simultaneously, that hard-pressed clinicians and healthcare staff are taken off their guard. Then the changes become a ‘fait accompli’, whatever the mayhem.
War has been declared on the NHS and we must reply in like fashion to defend the patients, the staff and the ethos of the NHS.
This is the entitlement of all to free expert treatment and care at the point of need by staff trained to the highest levels.
The BMA and the NHS trade unions, united in the NHS Together coalition, must tell the Blair government that MMC and MTAS must be scrapped at once and that they will not accept a single doctor or nurse being forced out of their profession.
They must give the go-ahead to industrial action to fight cuts and closures, including the occupation of wards and entire hospitals, to stop ward and district general hospital closures.
Blair and Brown must be told that the NHS Together trade unions are prepared to take national industrial action to stop them destroying the NHS, by bringing their government down and bringing in a workers government that will defend and develop the NHS by carrying out socialist policies.