BMA statement on junior doctors recruitment error

By agency reporter
May 7, 2018

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, British Medical Association council chair, and Dr Jeeves Wijesuriya, chair of the junior doctors committee, released the following statement on 6 May 2018:

"On Friday afternoon, we were appalled to discover that ST3 job offers for nationally recruited medical specialities were being rescinded, due to a 'human error' in the administrative process. This has caused extreme anxiety for trainees who have been offered, and made life choices based upon, what were ostensibly guaranteed jobs. 

"The chair of our junior doctors committee last night expressed how completely unacceptable the withdrawal of these offers is and made immediate contact with the senior team of the RCP, including their trainee chair, to establish the scale of the issue, and make clear the ramifications for the junior doctors affected. This morning, we, the chairs of the BMA council and junior doctors committee spoke at length with Professor Jane Dacre, president of the Royal College of Physicians, to articulate the strength of feeling and extent of the impact that this has had on trainees. We have heard from trainees who have, after receiving these job offers, put down deposits on homes, arranged moves or whose families had adjusted their plans. We have conveyed our expectation that the College will support and compensate these trainees for any inconvenience. We will be taking legal advice on whether this withdrawal constitutes a breach of contract in England or any of the Devolved Nations and seeking recompense for any funds already spent by trainees planning a relocation to a job which is subsequently withdrawn.

"Professor Dacre informed us that all doctors who could be directly affected by this error have now been notified, however, there will additionally be a number of specialties who may have been indirectly affected by this issue, such as those applying to Intensive Care Medicine or Oncology. The RCP will be working around the clock to ensure that all trainees affected will be contacted. On Tuesday, the College plans to rerun the allocation process, at which time a more accurate picture of the impact on, and number of doctors directly affected should become clearer.

"We will be communicating with the College and our members throughout to ensure anyone adversely affected is supported and compensated to the full extent of their rights. Professor Dacre said that the college would assess individual circumstances on a case-by-case basis, but we will seek to advise members of their rights so they can set accurate expectations and push for job offers to be honoured.

"Whilst it is positive that the college released this information as soon as they were able, it remains crucial that trainees receive the support that they require over this bank holiday weekend. The college email helpline [ ], and the BMA's own member services [ ] will be taking enquiries over the bank holiday weekend and beyond, which we would urge members to contact if affected.

"We will be setting up an option on our own First Point of Contact number (0300 123 1233) for members to report their own issues and receive further guidance. This will be up and running from first-thing Tuesday morning.

"The College is intending to publish its own FAQs by Tuesday and add to them once the situation becomes clearer.

"We cannot express how unacceptable we find this situation and the impact – both emotionally and financially – it is having on junior doctors across the UK. Both of us, as well as our wider BMA colleagues, will be working hard over the bank holiday weekend to support our affected members and continue our conversations with the RCP to gain clarity about how this error occurred and what steps will be taken to rectify the immense damage caused."

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair

Dr Jeeves Wijesuriya, BMA junior doctors committee chair

* British Medical Association https://www.bma.org.uk/

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