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The chairman of the inquiry into the government's Modernising Medical Careers (MMC) initiative, John Tooke, has urged doctors to fill in an online questionnaire that has been set up to assist the inquiry.
Professor Tooke was speaking at a conference on the future of postgraduate medical training organised by the Postgraduate Medical Education and Training Board, held last week at the Institute of Directors in London.
The inquiry will gather evidence from questionnaires completed by doctors and interested members of the public. It has also commissioned an audit of the history, management, and governance of MMC and will consider oral evidence from the stakeholders and reports from international experts, he told delegates at the conference.
Doctors can take part in this online survey until 31 July. The inquiry panel will come up with an interim report by the end of September. However, consultation will continue until the end of November, and the final report will be released by the end of the year.
The survey asks respondents what their view is of MMC and the principles underpinning it, what amendments they would like to see to facilitate the best possible specialist training in the United Kingdom, and the best practical ways in which their constituency could contribute to that process.
Separate questionnaires cover the MMC in general, the foundation training programme, selection into specialist training, selection for clinical academic training positions, success factors for the future, and workforce implications.
Professor Tooke said that this was an independent panel whose aim is to restore the confidence of the profession, particularly trainees, and to determine what needs to happen to secure the best postgraduate medical education and training.
However, trainees and junior doctors are not represented on the panel. The panel says it plans to reflect their evidence through a number of key representative groups, including, in particular, a group representing trainees. It has invited trusts to each send three junior doctors to meetings in seven cities across the UK in June and July.
The panel was set up by the secretary of health, Patricia Hewitt, on 15 May to conduct an independent inquiry into the MMC in the wake of the debacle over the medical training and application service (MTAS) (BMJ 2007;334:818, 21 Apr doi: 10.1136/bmj.39188.741053.4E).
The panel does not, however, aim to resolve the practical details relating to this year's round of selection of doctors to specialist training posts.
For more information visit www.mmcinquiry.org.uk.