Error sparks trainee jobs re-shuffle

ALMOST 150 trainee doctors have had their foundation school jobs changed following an error in exam paper marking.

The UK Foundation Programme Office (UKFPO) was forced to review the allocations of 7,535 applicants due to a scanning error. Of those, 98 per cent were given the same allocation. And of those whose scores changed, 77 were allocated to a foundation school lower down their list of preferences while 71 were allocated to a school higher up their list.

The mistake has also led to eight trainees who were previously allocated to a foundation school being put on the reserve list. But 11 applicants who were previously put on the reserve list have now been given a post after three people withdrew from the process.

Medical students were told which foundation school they would be allocated to on February 25. But the following day it was discovered that the external supplier who marked the situation judgement test (SJT) scores had made a scanning error. The tests were re-marked and allocations revised.

There are now 295 trainees on the reserve list, up from 81 in 2012 and 184 in 2011.

National director of the UKFPO Professor Derek Gallen apologised “unreservedly” for the mistake and reassured trainees that it would not impact on them starting their jobs in August.

He added: “I have not underestimated the anxiety this may have caused applicants. While I am pleased that 98 per cent of applicants’ allocations have not been affected by the scanning issue, I understand that for a small number the revised outcome has been disappointing.”

He said the re-allocation process was “the fairest and most transparent way of ensuring all applicants received the outcome they deserved” and that the UKFPO would continue to support all applicants until the end of the process.

The UKFPO have requested a full independent review of the process by Health Education England on behalf of all four UK health departments. They have pledged to publish the full findings as soon as the review has taken place.