Department of Health and Social Care
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Independent review to establish the way forward for modernising medical careers

Independent review to establish the way forward for modernising medical careers

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH News Release (2007/0088) issued by The Government News Network on 16 April 2007

Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt today announced an independent review to establish how the Modernising Medical Careers programme will go forward in 2008 and beyond.

The review will be chaired by Sir John Tooke, Dean of the Peninsula Medical School, Chair of the Council of Heads of Medical Schools and Chair of the UK Health Education Advisory Committee.

Membership of the panel is still to be confirmed, the review will examine the processes underlying Modernising Medical Careers and make recommendations to ensure that we can implement any necessary improvements for 2008 and the future.

The reform of specialist medical training is the next stage of the Modernising Medical Careers (MMC) initiative, designed to improve the quality and safety of patient care through better education and training for doctors and ensure fully trained specialist doctors deliver more NHS services.

Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt said:

"I would first like to record my gratitude to Professor Neil Douglas and his current Review Group for the investment of time and expertise they have put into providing recommendations for the current years training selection process.

"It was important to find a sensible way forward for 2007 but we now need to look forward to 2008. The new panel will build on the work of the current Review Group. We are now some two years into the Modernising Medical Careers initiative which started with the successful launch of Foundation Programmes in 2005. I believe, therefore, that the time is now right to undertake a wider review of Modernising Medical Careers. It is an important programme and we must apply the lessons we have learned to a wider context.

"The review will clarify and strengthen the principles underlying MMC to ensure that they have engagement and support from the medical profession and its leaders. I want the review particularly to look at how the processes involved in delivering Modernising Medical Careers meets the needs of the service, employers and doctors in training.

"Engagement from the profession is very important. There is a broad consensus on the essential principles of Modernising Medical Careers but this consensus must be translated into benefits that are tangible to the trainees themselves.

"The medical education and training system in this country is rightly regarded as second to none. The pursuit of excellence is at its roots. The move we are making to a transparent, competence-based training system based on clear standards, that provides a level playing field for all junior doctors and the best possible doctors for patients is the right way forward and is widely accepted. However, I want trainees to understand that excellence and high achievement are still at the heart of the system.

"The design and implementation of Modernising Medical Careers will inevitably involve a great range of stakeholders from the Royal Colleges, individual employers, postgraduate deaneries, the BMA, doctors themselves and patients. I want the review to address this and help us make sure we engage with the stakeholders as effectively as possible.

"I also want to ensure that Modernising Medical Careers can deliver a flexible response and can reflect local needs across the UK as well as safeguarding national standards. The review will of course consult the devolved administrations to secure this. "

Notes to editors

- Further announcements about the terms of reference and membership of the review will be made as soon as possible.

- A written statement to the House on 27 March explained the progress and decisions the Independent Review Group had made.

- The review group has concluded that the concerns raised about recruitment related in the main to the process itself and not to the underlying principles of Modernising Medical Careers. Recommendations included:

- The General Practice recruitment exercise will as far as possible continue as planned though the timetable may need to be revised. This recruitment process has not been subject to the same concerns as specialty recruitment.

- The Review Group is undertaking further work on recruitment into academic medical programmes. The Group issued a further statement on 4 April that set out its proposals for the way ahead for recruitment into specialty training. The Group made a number of recommendations on the present recruitment round.

- For applicants who have already been short-listed, all interviews already conducted in Round 1 of the process will be honoured and the outcomes will count. Applicants will also be able to revise their preferences in the light of published competition ratios. They will be able to do this later this week.

- They will also get offers of interviews for their first preference job for which they are eligible if they have not already had one.

- Where candidates have not previously been short-listed, they will be allowed to revise their preferences and will be guaranteed an offer of an interview for their first preference for which they are eligible.

- There will be a second round of recruitment for applicants who do not get jobs in the first round. This second round will be based on a revised short-listing and interview process including a structured CV.

- Further information about MMC can be found at

Richmond House 79 Whitehall London SW1A 2NS
Telephone: (Dept of Health) 0207 210-3000

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