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Doctors: Training

Volume 460: debated on Thursday 24 May 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what her estimate is of the number of junior doctors who will not secure jobs in the 2007 medical training application service selection process; and what assistance will be provided for these doctors. (136252)

As the process is ongoing, it is not possible to predict the outcomes as yet. The review group is exploring the possibilities for creating further training opportunities where these can support local work force requirements. The review group is also exploring ways to support any doctors who do not secure training and to maximize the employment opportunities.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps the Mersey Deanery is taking to provide information on changes to the medical training application service and modernising medical careers to medical trainees. (136253)

It is a matter for the deaneries to make the appropriate information available to trainees. However, some updates and advice can also be found on the Modernising Medical Careers and Medical Training Application Service websites at www.mmc.nhs.uk and www.mtas.nhs.uk respectively.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what provisions have been made for flexible training in the modernising medical careers programme. (136254)

A commitment to ensure opportunities for flexible training is a central plank of the Modernising Medical Careers (MMC) proposals. The MMC model supports doctors who wish to train flexibly—with progress based on the acquisition of competences, there is no time limit on the length of training. It is a matter for employers and deaneries to adapt programmes locally to ensure such trainees are accommodated.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what provision there will be to maintain standards of patient care during the period after 1 August when all junior doctors will change jobs. (136284)

Not all doctors in training will change jobs on the same date at the beginning of August. Arrangements for 2007 will reflect current practice as most doctors at the level equivalent to the senior house officer grade will start in the first week of August, while doctors at the equivalent of the specialist registrar grade will have staggered start dates.

To ensure service is maintained at the beginning of August and patient care is not compromised, NHS employers are working with trusts to plan now for managing the transition in the period after 1 August. These plans include advertising locum posts on NHS jobs to fill training posts and using extensions to contracts or service posts.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health for what reason junior doctors may not sample academic medicine unless they have completed a foundation academic programme. (136285)

Applicants can sample academic medicine by doing an academic foundation programme which provides a route to foundation 2 competencies. They can also enter through other routes. However, all applicants to the academic specialty training programmes must have achieved foundation 2 competencies as essential entry requirements.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will take steps to increase the number of training posts for medics. (138324)

[holding answer 21 May 2007]: The review group is exploring the possibilities for creating further training opportunities where these can support local work force requirements. The review group is also looking at ways to support any doctors who do not secure training and to maximize the employment opportunities for them in the United Kingdom.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health which organisation developed the Medical Training Application Service software used in support of Modernising Medical Careers; and at what overall cost to the public purse. (135887)

Methods Consulting have been contracted to develop and support the medical training application service. The total costs of this service including set-up costs were £1.9 million in 2006-07. The estimated costs of the service over five years are £6.3 million.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the cost to the public purse was of running the Medical Training Application Service in 2006-07; and what funding has been allocated to the service in 2007-08. (135888)

The total cost of the Medical Training Application Service, including set-up costs, was £1.9 million in 2006-07. The funding requirement that has been estimated for 2007-08 is £1.5 million.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many post graduate training posts there were (a) in total and (b) for GP positions for junior doctors in each years since 1997. [134105]

[pursuant to the reply, 15 May 2007, Official Report, c. 725W]: The number of post graduate posts and junior doctors posts funded by the Department from the Medical and Dental Education and Training Levy (MADEL) from 2003-04 to 2007-08 are shown in the following table.

Number of MADEL funded posts, 2003-04 to 2007-08

Number of posts

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

Total posts funded from MADEL

35,878

36,833

37,427

37,611

39,326

GP registrars and pre registration house officers funded from MADEL

2,402

2,726

2,911

2,902

2,902

Notes:

1. 2007-08 MADEL figures include 351 SHO posts and 527 SpR posts that are rebased from service.

2. Due to changes in methodology, MADEL figures are not available prior to 2003-04.

Source:

MADEL allocations data

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will list the (a) junior doctors and (b) junior doctors’ representatives whom she met on each day since 1 February to discuss modernising medical careers. (138433)

[holding answer 21 May 2007]: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State met representatives from the British Medical Association (BMA) who represent junior doctors on 28 February and 14 March. She also met with the Royal College of Physicians on 16 May.

On 5 March my right hon. Friend met Paul Dmitri, chair of the Academy of the Medical Royal Colleges Trainees Group.

On 11 May she met a small group of junior doctors at Whiston hospital, St. Helens and Knowsley Trust.

In addition the Secretary of State had phone calls with the BMA on 8 March, 9 and 16 May.

My noble Friend Lord Hunt, the Minister of State, met James Johnson chairman of the BMA on 2 May.

There have also been a series of official level meetings with representatives from Remedy UK and the BMA on modernising medical careers since 1 February.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps she is taking to guarantee care standards in the transitional period to modernising medical careers and the implementation of the working time directive. (138482)

[holding answer 21 May 2007]: To ensure service is maintained at the beginning of August and patient care is not compromised, strategic health authorities are working with trusts and NHS employers and the Department to plan now for managing the transition in the period after 1 August. These plans include advertising locum posts on NHS jobs to fill training posts and using extensions to contracts or service posts.

Not all doctors in training will change jobs on the same date at the beginning of August. Arrangements for 2007 will reflect current practice as most doctors at the level equivalent to the senior house officer grade will start in the first week of August, while doctors at the equivalent of the specialist registrar grade will have staggered start dates. From August 2007, the European Working Time Directive requires doctors in training to be working a maximum 56 hour week (averaged over the six month reference period). Doctors in training typically work a 56 hour week already, consistent with their new deal contracts.