Early registration could “increase job competition”

PLANS to bring forward full GMC registration could increase competition for trainee jobs, the British Medical Association has said.

Medical graduates could become fully registered doctors under new proposals put forward in an independent review of medical education by Professor David Greenaway. Currently, full registration takes place at the end of the first year of foundation training.

Once registered, trainees would then have to score well in a new selection test to secure a foundation post.

Concerns have been raised by the BMA that these changes could exacerbate problems of oversubscription to the foundation training programme.

The UKFPO confirmed last month that the 2014 foundation programme is oversubscribed for the fourth year in a row. There are currently 295 more applicants than available places.

The BMA’s official response to Health Education England regarding the proposals states: “[F]ar from addressing the central workforce issue of oversubscription to the Foundation Programme, the preferred solution will add pressure on the programme through increasing substantially the number of European Economic Area (EEA) member states with applicants who fulfil its eligibility criteria.

“The paper reflects an apparent lack of concern from HEE about the implications of increased competition for UK training jobs.”

BMA medical students committee co-chair Harrison Carter said: “These proposals don’t address the central workforce question [they were] intended to address — oversubscription to the foundation programme — and they could create a number of problems for patient safety, standards of medical education and the UK medical workforce.”

The independent review argued that bringing forward GMC registration would improve the management of F1 trainees by placing responsibility “clearly with postgraduate institutions.” It is hoped this in turn would improve patient safety.

But the BMA fears such a move could actually harm patient safety.

Mr Carter said said: “If there is a patient safety concern about the pre-registration year, we do not see how it can be resolved simply by moving the date of registration.

“It should be resolved by greater emphasis on appropriate supervision, training and support.”

The BMA went on to say that medical school curricula would have to change to ensure students are ready for registration on graduation, meaning some elements of medical training may have to be moved to post-graduation.

They called on HEE to make a decision only once “all the implications of the proposals have been fully explored.”