MMC and MTAS
The Modernising Medical Careers (MMC) reforms were introduced with the aims of improving medical education‘ and providing a ‘transparent and efficient career path for doctors’ (Department of Health, 2004). The new 2 year foundation programme was rolled out nationally in August 2005 and in early 2007, this cohort of doctors applied for the newly developed specialty training programmes using a new on-line application system, MTAS (The Medical Training Application Service).
The difficulties that MTAS encountered led to a subsequent independent enquiry into the MMC reforms chaired by Professor Sir John Tooke (See Tooke, 2008). Some of the specific issues outlined in this report include the way in which the new selection processes were largely unpiloted, the variable number of raters involved in the shortlisting stage in different regions and the non-independence of the raters. The content of the interviews also differed across different regions (even though they were based on nationally agreed person specifications) and the particular ways in which standardised questions were interpreted (i.e. no opportunities for following up a stem question with subsequent probing questions) were found to be problematic.
Since 2008 and the publication of the Tooke Report, there has been considerable developments in the selection methodology used in specialty selection across many specialties. General Practice was ahead of the game, and was commended in the Tooke Report for the robustness of the selection methods based on a multi-stage approach and including a selection centre, (Patterson et al, 2000 and Patterson et al, 2005). Subsequently a number of other specialties have developed comparable methods.
A key component of a robust selection methodology is training of the interview panels – hence this e-learning module.