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Sir Liam defends decision not to quit

18 July 2007

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The Chief Medical Officer has defended his decision not to resign following the controversy over the bungled online application system for junior doctors.

The Medical Training Application Service (MTAS) ran into serious problems in May this year, after many doctors complained of a lack of posts, poorly designed forms and numerous IT failures.

Former health secretary Patricia Hewitt was forced to apologise several times in the Commons over the debacle, and faced calls to resign when she said the system would be abandoned.

But Sir Liam Donaldson said he is not solely to blame as responsibility for the scheme was “widely distributed” between a number of organisations, including health and educational bodies.

He added that while he recognises the system has been a failure, its intentions were good.

Sir Liam said: “I think everybody involved feels a great deal for the junior doctors who had a prolonged period of anxiety and uncertainty, and I have said publicly how sorry I am for that.

“But when you actually look back at the programme of Modernising Medical Careers, there still seems to be a broad consensus that the outlying principle was the right one and is the right one.”

Chief Medical Officer