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MPs savage Donaldson over debacle

MPs in the UK have severely rebuked the country’s chief medical officer for his lack of leadership during the long-running doctors’ training debacle.

The Commons Health Committee were scathing in their criticism, saying the medical profession’s confidence in Sir Liam Donaldson had been “seriously damaged” by last year’s recruitment fiasco, which brought thousands of doctors on to the streets in protest.

The committee also said the Department of Health had been “inept” in its management of the new system for allocating training places, known as Modernising Medical Careers (MMC).

It went on to say it doubted whether the new MMC programme board would be capable of sorting out the problems, which left thousands of junior doctors facing the prospect of a move abroad in order to further their job prospects.

Attempts to reform postgraduate medical education and recruitment to specialist training posts descended into farce last spring with some 32,000 doctors left to compete for 23,000 posts.

An online application system had to be abandoned after some of the best qualified junior doctors failed even to get job interviews.

In its report, the committee said the project management of MMC had been “poor”, and singled out Sir Liam over his failure to accept responsibility for the ensuing problems, even though he was the main architect of the changes.

The Department of Health said it would “carefully” consider the committee’s report.

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Commons Health Committee