Government Pledge to End Unemployment

[box]By Katherine Bettany[/box]

The Department of Health has announced that all eligible medical graduates will be awarded foundation programme jobs in 2013.

Last October, the UK Foundation Programme Office, UKFPO, the organisation in charge of allocations to foundation schools, announced that it had recieved more applications than places available for the graduates due to start their F1 jobs in August 2013 – and the oversubscription figures were higher this year than any other previous year.

The exact number of graduates without an allocation was due to be announced at the end of January; with students being told their allocations on February the 25th. However, the Department of Health intervened, pledging to find posts for all students before the oversubscription figures were released. Health minister Dan Poulter told the press that the government was commited to ensuring all UK medica graduates had jobs within the NHS to go to.

In a statement, a DoH spokesperson sought to reassure students – ‘figures will not be final for some time, and current estimates [of oversubscription figures] must not be allowed to cause needless concern to final year medical students; when ministers are clear that all graduates of UK medical schools will recieve a place on the foundation programme in 2013.

In order to facilitate this, the UKFPO will ask each foundation school to employ more graduates.

The British Medical Association medical students commitee co-chair, Alice Rutter, was pleased at the news, stating that whilst it was ‘disappointing’ that the figures for 2013 had been delayed, ‘students who had understandably been anxious about the situation will be immensely relieved that medical graduate unemployment has been averted for 2013. ‘

She went on to say that the BMA expects the UKFPO to keep students ‘closely informed on progress with implementing the government’s pledge. Ministers must ensure that this provess is completed as  quickly as possible.’ Whilst it seems that the current final year students have nothing to fear from oversubscription to the UKFPO, the question remains whether the government will make the same pledge to employ all medical graduates in the future. With the planned closure and down-scaling of many London NHS Trusts, students are left to wonder whether the oversubscription figures might continue to rise past the point of no return.

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