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First Metre failure in NHS Doctor Selection Process (16 May 2007)

A hearing opens today into the chaotic failure of the computer-based Medical Training Application System (MTAS) that was designed by the Department of Health (DoH) to process applicants for junior doctor posts which in turn, after a 5-year ‘run-through’, would pre-qualify them to apply for consultant appointments. Failure to clearly define the process details (notably relating to EU and foreign applicants and an apparently arbitrary automated selection procedure devoid of face-to-face interviews) combined with overall system capacity issues (32,000 applicants for 20,000 posts) and IT security failures (that led to the closure of the MTAS website after journalists gato access confidential details about applicants) have all contributed to the discredited DoH minister, Particia Hewitt, announcing an about turn.  

After months of growing chaos doctors applying for jobs under the next round of the recruitment process will not have to use the DoH's inadequately designed IT-based system. Instead, they will be asked to use the traditional method of applying in writing and submitting their CVs to the hospitals of their choice.  Meanwhile amidst furious protests, from both junior and senior doctors and consultants alike, representatives of the medical profession are launching a legal action against ministers by seeking a judicial review into the way thousands of applications have been handled over the past few months.