New medical school graduates should apply to their first house job through a centralised body, the BMA Medical Students Committee suggests.
In a new paper, Applications to foundation programmes, the MSC proposes a model for applying to the new Modernising Medical Careers Foundation Programmes with similarities to the UCAS system for university applications. Final year UK medical students would apply, through a central board, to a maximum of 20 or 30 programmes anywhere in the country.
No more than half of a students applications could be within the same deanery (bodies that oversee doctors training locally), except for the applicants home deanery. This would ensure that the majority of students could take up a job near their medical school, while freedom of movement would be maintained for the significant number of students who want to move to a different part of the country.
Selection would be based on a points system, with local deaneries giving differential weightings to exam results, relevant experience, and other factors. Any local alterations to weightings would be published on a searchable central website. Ultimately the whole process would become easier to follow and more transparent, the paper says.
Commenting on the report, Leigh Bissett, chairman of the BMAs Medical Students Committee, says:
The current system is unwieldy, discriminatory, and often results in doctors accepting the first post offered rather than the one most appropriate to their career, and the NHS as a whole. What we are proposing would make the application process less bureaucratic and easier to understand while reducing bias, increasing geographic flexibility and catering to the needs of the health service and the patients who use it.
Note: Press release date: Monday, 21 Feb 2005 (BMA London)