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Poor diagnosis for medical students

23 Apr 2007

Poor diagnosis for medical students Medicine has traditionally been seen as a secure and well-paid career. Now, it seems, thousands of trainee doctors are faced with potential unemployment after years of grueling training.

The British Medical Association (BMA) recently estimated that 34,250 doctors applied for just 18,500 UK training posts under the government's controversial training scheme Modernising Medical Careers (MMC).

Many young doctors have also been angered by a leaked document showing that NHS Employers, the body representing hospital trusts, has been in talks with the charity Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) with a view to getting unemployed doctors voluntary work placements abroad.

Jo Hilborne, chairman of the BMA junior doctors committee, said: "It is extremely worrying that NHS managers are preparing for medical unemployment on such a large scale. The government can no longer deny the seriousness of this crisis."

The Liberal Democrat health spokesman, Norman Lamb, said: "Volunteering your services overseas is a great thing for doctors to do, but for the government to consider sending junior doctors abroad just to get it out of a hole is disgraceful."

The health secretary Patricia Hewitt has apologised for the "terrible anxiety" caused to junior doctors.

Medicine is one of the most demanding and competitive degrees in the UK, requiring top A-level grades followed by six years of training before qualification.

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