The British Medical Association (BMA) has promised its full support for junior doctors after the UK Government confirmed figures indicating the severity of competition for training posts in England next year.
Published figures showed there would be between 8,300 and 8,600 specialist training posts available in England next year, with around three times as many applicants.
Although the figures are an improvement on what was initially proposed by the UK’s Department of Health, the BMA still has serious concerns about many aspects of the process.
It has voiced its disappointment with the overall numbers – and the fact that the Government would not give applicants more than 48 hours to decide on an offer.
The BMA has also expressed anger at suggestions, now rejected by the Department of Health, that the high volume of applications would make random shortlisting necessary.
Mr Ram Moorthy, chairman of the BMA Junior Doctors Committee, said: “We’re gearing up for a very difficult process next year. Doctors aren’t scared of competition, but they deserve to be selected on ability rather than luck.
“The BMA’s objective has been to achieve the best outcome for junior doctors in what is going to be another very hard year. By having an input into the process we’ve achieved significant improvements, but there is much to do to achieve a fair and transparent process for 2008.
“We will continue to do everything we can to support our colleagues in the coming months.”