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BMA bemoans 'pandemonium'

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Technical problems with an online medical training system are causing "pandemonium", according to the British Medical Association (BMA).

A new electronic system for recruiting junior doctors to consultant training posts is in chaos, leaving thousands without jobs.

The Medical Training Application Service, an online system launched to streamline applications for specialist trainee posts, has been blighted by technical problems. Applicants have been left unsure of their future careers.

Repeated delays and the website crashing meant that the initial deadline for applications, at the beginning of February, had to be extended twice.

Some 30,000 junior doctors have applied for 22,000 posts, leaving 8,000 without the hope of being considered for their choice of career. Shortlisting was due for completion last weekend, but the large number of applications, tight timescale and lack of guidance has left the process incomplete.

Last year the BMA warned that the government was rushing through the reforms in too quickly. This week it described the situation is "pandemonium".

Dr Jo Hilborne, chair of the BMA junior doctors' committee, said: "The government has tried to rush through these reforms in a completely unworkable timescale and now we are seeing the consequences. Doctors have lost what little confidence they ever had with the new system.

"If any doctor has been disadvantaged because of any of these problems, the BMA will fight for their right to fair treatment. It's time for the government to take responsibility."

The BMA has written to health secretary Patricia Hewitt warning her that the future of thousands of doctors is at stake.

A Department of Health spokesperson said: "We realise that the delay in shortlisting doctors for interview has been frustrating, but want to reassure applicants that they will not be adversely affected in any way. All doctors who will need to book interviews for this week have now been invited to do so."

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

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