MMC update, Review FAQs 12/04/07

Review FAQs

Making changes to your application

Can I make changes to my application? (12 April 2007)

The only details you can change are your personal details and referee details, if they have not submitted a reference. In addition, we will be providing a facility for you to confirm the order of your application choices, to confirm whether or not you are prepared to take an FTSTA, whether or not you wish to be considered for an academic clinical programme if you previously indicated you would and to confirm whether or not you wish to link your application to someone else’s.

Can I change my visa status? (12 April 2007)

No. Your immigration status as of the closing date for applications (ie 5 February 2007) stands for the whole of the recruitment process.

Can I add a new preference or must I simply reorder my existing preferences? (12 April 2007)

You can re-order your existing application choices, but may not add a new choice.

I made a mistake on my application, e.g. I didn’t tick the “Prepared to take FTSTA” box. Can I change it? (12 April 2007)

Yes. When you are asked to confirm your application preferences, you can also indicate that you would be prepared to take an FTSTA post.

I didn't tick "Prepared to take FTSTA" in Round 1 on the basis that there would be more FTSTAs available in Round 2. If Round 2 is going to be much smaller can I change my application form to say "Prepared to take FTSTA" in Round 1? (12 April 2007)

Yes. At the same time as confirming the order of your application choices, you will be able to confirm whether or not you now wish to be considered for an FTSTA if you are not successfully appointed to a run-through training programme.

Can I elaborate more on my qualifications? (12 April 2007)

You cannot do this on your application form, but should have an opportunity to do so at your interview if appropriate.

Can I change my training levels, e.g. ST2 to ST3 now that I have my Royal College exams, as I would have done for Round 2? (12 April 2007)

No, this isn’t possible. Your status at the time you entered the application procedure stands for the whole of the recruitment process. As such, if you didn’t have the required college exam by 5 February 2007, your application to ST2 is the appropriate level for you to apply at.

There seemed to be some technical problems when filling in my application form and I would like to make amendments, can I? (12 April 2007)

If you had a problem with the on-line application, this should have been raised at the time. The only details you can change on the application form at this late stage are personal details and referee details. All recruitment processes have a closing date for applications after which changes or late submissions are not accepted. We will be providing a facility for you to confirm the order of your application choices, to confirm whether or not you are prepared to take an FTSTA, to confirm whether or not you still wish to be considered for an academic clinical programme if you originally said you did and to confirm whether or not you wish to link your application to someone else’s.


What is the format of the new interviews? (12 April 2007)

The new interviews for each UoA/specialty/level will follow the same guidelines as earlier interviews. The scores from both sets of interviews will be comparable. The arrangements for interviews are managed locally by the UoAs/deaneries and so they should be able to provide information regarding the format of particular interviews.

When will interview dates be published? (12 April 2007)

The UoAs/deaneries are working on the new interview schedules for the extended Round 1. They are currently setting up the interviews on MTAS and you will be invited to logon and book your place as soon as possible after application preferences have been confirmed. Interviews will start as soon as possible after 23 April 2007 and will all be complete by 1 June 2007.

If I attended more than one interview previously, can I know my scores in order to make an informed decision when choosing my new preference? (12 April 2007)

No. This would be unfair to other applicants who do not have this information available as they choose their preferences.

If all the ‘new’ interviews will be based on CVs, and I was not required to submit a CV for the interview, will I be disadvantaged? (12 April 2007)

No, you will not be disadvantaged. The scores from interviews conducted during the extended Round 1 will be comparable with scores from interviews conducted during the original Round 1. CVs are not a mandatory component of interviews and each UoA/deanery will agree the content of interviews in conjunction with the relevant specialty representatives. Applicants were all asked to provide evidence of the competences they had obtained at each level of application during the original Round 1 interviews. The Applicant’s Guide indicated that the most likely form of evidence would be a portfolio, which often includes a CV.

Can I re-sit my first preference interview? (12 April 2007)

Applicants who have already had an interview for their first choice preference will not be invited to re-interview.

What weight does the application form carry in the interview? (12 April 2007)

Application forms are mainly used to determine whether or not you are selected for an interview. During the interview, you will undoubtedly be asked questions based on the answers you provided in your application form. You are expected to provide evidence of claims made on your form, and, as stated in the original guidance, you should bring a portfolio of documentary evidence to your interview.

I've booked a holiday around the previous timetable, how can I be sure I can still attend a possible interview if the interview dates are not published yet? (12 April 2007)

The original recruitment and selection timetable was developed in good faith and it is unfortunate that the review has resulted in a revised timetable. If you have not already had an interview for your confirmed or revised first choice preference, you will need to check the interview schedule for the relevant UoA. You should make every attempt to attend. If this is not possible, you should contact the appropriate UoA/deanery and discuss with them the possibility of making alternative arrangements. This may not always be possible.

I've been interviewed in my second and third choices, how can I decide whether to trade these for an interview in my first choice if I don't know my interview score or ranking? (12 April 2007)

If you have been interviewed for your second and third choices, your score for these interviews will stand – you do not need to ‘trade these in’ for an interview at your first choice UoA/specialty. However, at this point you may choose to re-preference one of these as your first choice. Alternatively, if you confirm that one of your other application choices is your first preference, you will be invited for an additional interview.

I've been shortlisted in four of my choices and already been interviewed, will I still be able to re-preference the UoAs/specialties? (12 April 2007)

Yes. We recognise that in the light of competition ratios you may like to review your priorities and re-order your application choices.


Have our references been considered in the shortlisting process? Why/why not? (12 April 2007)

No. References are not a selection criterion and have not been considered in the short-listing process. Where available, the interview panel chair may refer to certain aspects of a reference for clarification. Ultimately, references are required as part of the pre-employment checks carried out by a future employer. Employers will not issue a contract of employment if references remain outstanding.

Are we able to change referees in light of the new process being implemented? (12 April 2007)

You are able to change your referees provided they have not yet submitted a reference. Once a referee has submitted a reference, you may not change them for another.

Will job offers for general practice be delayed to coincide with the results of the other specialties? (12 April 2007)

As part of the extended Round 1, the GP timetable for results must be extended. We are still working through whether or not it is possible to announce some allocations earlier than others due to the impact of linked applications and matching to specific programmes. We will endeavour to make the timetable as flexible as possible and all allocations will be confirmed as early as possible.

When will I be matched to a specific job? (12 April 2007)

The recruitment process is designed to initially allocate successful applicants to a particular UoA/specialty/level, rather than specific posts. When you accept your initial application, you will be asked to specify your preference(s) for the particular jobs on offer. The UoA will then match you to a specific job.

If there are 28 posts available and I am ranked 29th after the interview process, and one of the 28 is removed – am I automatically the next in line? (12 April 2007)

If this is your highest preference available to you, then you would be next in line.

Round 2

What are the implications of the new process for Round 2? (12 April 2007)

The Review Group decisions have had a major impact on Round 2 and the details of the rules, process and timetable for Round 2 are still being finalised.

What is the ‘back-up’ if I am not successful in my first preference? (12 April 2007)

If you are successful for more than one preference, you will be allocated to your highest alternative preference possible. If you only attended an interview for your first preference and are not successful for an clinical programme and indicated that you would be prepared to take an FTSTA, then you will be allocated to an FTSTA. If you are not allocated to an FTSTA, then you may re-apply in Round 2. It is likely that a number of trust doctor posts will be advertised during June 2007, ready to start at the beginning of August. Locum appointments (LATs) will continue to be advertised locally throughout the year.

I didn’t apply in Round 1. Considering the changes, can I make a late application or apply for Round 2? (12 April 2007)

Round 1 and Round 2 continue to be part of the same recruitment process. As stated in previous guidance, you must have at least enrolled in Round 1 in order to be able to apply in Round 2.

Overseas Applicants

Are there arrangements in place for recruiting local applicants before overseas trained applicants? (12 April 2007)

All eligible applicants, whether UK trained or overseas trained, will be treated in the same way. Applicants who have a right of residence or leave to remain in the UK and who do not require a work permit will have priority over overseas doctors who require a UK work permit.

Why has there been a review of the Round 1 shortlisting process? (16 March 2007)

The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and Junior Doctor groups were part of the stakeholder group responsible for developing the recruitment and selection processes. However, they have now raised concerns about the shortlisting process and the Academy issued a press statement on Monday 5 March outlining their concerns. DH set up an independent review of the process to identify lessons learned and remedial action required. A press notice issued on 9 March advised applicants that shortcomings had been identified in the process. It has been decided that the first round will continue with additional steps to strengthen the interview process, further details of which were communicated to applicants and selectors via the MMC and MTAS websites. Any applicants not invited to an interview will be able to have their application form reviewed by a trained medical advisor. The detail of this is currently being discussed. The next steps will be to look at the changes required for second round of recruitment and test these proposals with junior doctors, selectors, deanery recruitment teams and employers.

What is the purpose of the review? (March 2007)

The Department of Health has asked the Academy of Royal Colleges to lead a review into the first round of recruitment and selection into specialist training made through the Medical Training and Application Service (MTAS). A key aim of the review is to ensure that this will result in the best candidates being appointed. The terms of reference are to:
- Understand what has worked and not worked to date
- Identify and promote good practice
- Recommend action to remedy any weaknesses, taking account of legal and operational constraints
- Identify specifically what further action or guidance is required:
(i) Immediately (or before completion the first round)
(ii) Before any subsequent rounds
- Develop improved arrangements for the support and care of applicants

How is the review progressing? (16 March 2007)

The Academy met with Secretary of State for Health and officials last week and agreed to convene a thorough review of the process to identify lessons learned and remedial action required for the second round. This review continues though the initial measures to strengthen the recruitment processes in this round were announced to applicants on Friday 9 March. The Academy confirmed in their press statement on 7 March that good progress has been made to address many of the concerns raised by junior doctors. There remains joint commitment to continue with the recruitment process, the Medical Training Application Service and ensure a fair system overall for recruitment into specialty training programmes.