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Sir Liam rejects calls to resign


19 November, 2007  

The Chief Medical Officer has rejected claims he should have taken personal responsibility for crisis over the training of junior doctors.

Sir Liam Donaldson apologised for the “traumatic and distressing” experience suffered by many young doctors, but again refused calls to hand in his resignation.

He made the claims as MPs launched an inquiry into the introduction of the Managing Medical Careers (MMC) system.

Sir Liam told the cross-party House of Commons Health Committee the two main factors behind the crisis were the sheer number of people applying for posts, and shortcomings in the design of application forms.

But he added: “These were not matters where I had overall or sole responsibility.”

The Department of Health is predicting there will be three applicants for every training place in 2008, including many of the 13,000 who missed out this year.

Liberal Democrat committee member Sandra Gidley asked Sir Liam: “How can doctors who apply in the future have any confidence that the department can rectify the problems, seeing that most of the people responsible for the initial problems remain in post?”

But he replied: “Because a lot of problems that did occur… were put right or at least mitigated in the follow-up action that took place from March onwards.”

Sir Liam also insisted that there are “some positive points” from the introduction of MMC, including a rise in the overall number of training places.

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