The General Medical Council has rejected calls for it to investigate the IT and selection procedures for Modernising Medical Careers.
Doctors’ pressure group Remedy UK wrote to the GMC in October urging it to investigate centralised, computer-based application process for MMC and the role of the senior doctors responsible for it.
Remedy asked the GMC to investigate whether their professional and managerial actions in relation to the Medical Training Application Service and Speciality Selection and Recruitment fell below the standards outlined in the regulatory body’s own document, Management for Doctors.
However, the GMC rejected its demands in a reply issued just before the Christmas break. It said the alleged misconduct was not relevant to the fitness to practice of the doctors involved and that allegations of misconduct had to relate to poor performance in a clinical setting.
Remedy disputes this, arguing that misconduct cases have been brought against doctors where they have been exercising their “calling” in other contexts, such as managing services and giving evidence in court cases. It says doctors have also been “GMC’d” for drink problems, sexual and financial conduct, plagiarism and other misdemeanours.
“The usual GMC line on cases like this is that they bring the profession into disrepute. So how much did the ‘biggest disaster in a generation’ bring the profession into disrepute?” the organisation asked in a statement. “In terms of column inches, the MTAS 2007 fiasco topped any other medical story in the last five years [and] did not shower our profession in glory.”
Remedy says it is now looking for ways to challenge the ruling and may ask for a judicial review of the GMC’s decision. However, it will need to raise cash for this action.
The selection process for MMC specialist posts and the MTAS website came under fire in March 2007. The website later proved insecure and was abandoned in favour of a paper-based application process by the Department of Health.
The Commons’ health select committee later identified failures at all levels in the introduction of the new system for training junior doctors, and criticised the DH and medical leaders for failing to take responsibility for it.