The BMA have expressed concern that medical students applying online for their first jobs as junior doctors have been unable to find out where they are placed because the results website was too busy.
The Multi-Deanery Appointment Process (MDAP) at www.newdoctor.org was recently set up to match students with junior doctor posts across the UK through a point scoring system.
Students had been requested to find out the results of their applications at the end of January, but were then notified that the results would be online at close of business on 8 February. On that day, the website was extremely busy and the BMA say that many students had to keep retrying until past midnight to find out where they were going to be posted in the summer.
Kirsty Lloyd, chair of the BMA medical students’ committee, said that while they supported the use of the technology and the centralised system, it would be better to offer students’ results on a staggered basis rather than all at once in order to avoid overloading the server.
"There are technical problems that need to be urgently addressed. If you tell people that details of their first job are going to be on the same website at the same time, then you should be prepared for everyone to log on simultaneously," she said.
"We appreciate this is a new system and there are obviously teething problems, but there’s a limit to how much patience they can expect."
According to the medical students’ committee, the problems with traffic had been a continuation of issues in December, when students had been having problems sending applications to the site before the deadline. The BMA is worried that the problems will occur again when the next round of applications are due next month.
The MDAP is accessible to students through a PIN and password, which are supplied by the medical colleges. It covers post in a selection of areas, including London, Northern Ireland and Yorkshire. The service is planned to be rolled out across the whole of the UK next year.