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Medicine: Training

Volume 461: debated on Wednesday 20 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the Medical Training and Application Service’s website in facilitating the application process for ST1-4 positions. (124741)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent assessment she has made of the operation of the Medical Training Application System; and if she will make a statement. (125093)

[holding answer 7 March 2007]: On the 7 March we announced that a review of the recruitment processes into specialty training and the Medical Training Application Service (MTAS) would be undertaken by Professor Neil Douglas, Vice President of the Academy of Royal Colleges. Members of the review group included representatives of the Royal Colleges, the British Medical Association, the four United Kingdom Health Departments and NHS Employers.

In March we also conducted a high level review of the functionality of the MTAS system and whether it was delivering what it was designed to deliver. The conclusion was that the system met its specification, was stable, performed acceptably and contained the necessary functionality to be fit for the purpose for which it was designed.

The Review Group made a number of recommendations about the 2007 recruitment process after listening to concerns from doctors and in the light of its own work. These have been implemented including:

giving all applicants in England at least one interview;

making technical enhancements to MTAS;

improving the helpdesk;

improving the business processes within deaneries;

establishing a deanery based process for matching applicants to training posts in Round 1, and

that Round 2 should be managed locally.

After the security breaches in April we changed the way MTAS was used. Once a full security review deemed the MTAS site to be secure, it was re-opened on 4 May and restricted to postgraduate deaneries only, to support the next steps in the recruitment process. The system will continue to be used for national monitoring to ensure that training post are filled efficiently.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many applicants for ST1-4 positions were appointed to such positions through the late application process in the latest period for which figures are available. (124742)

This information is not collected centrally because we have not separately identified those applications that were part of the late application process.