MTAS was a disaster
MMC - Modernising Medical Careers - is the programme for postgraduate medical training in the UK, introduced in 2005. It aimed to provide a fairer system for medics to apply for specialty training, and to enable the best of them to become consultants quicker than the previous system.
MTAS was the computer system set up for doctors who had (a) completed their medical degrees, and (b) done 2 post-graduate years of training, to apply for further training posts where they would develop their medical skills in a particular specialty while working as doctors.
At the time they were applying the training for each doctor had cost the taxpayer approx £250K - a quarter of a million pounds.
From the start MTAS ran into difficulties. As the deadline date for submitting applications approached, the website failed due to the high numbers of applications being prepared and submitted.
Incredibly, the online application form consisted of shortlisting questions with space for 150-word answers. One of the changes promoted by the new system was that little (25%) importance was given to past experience, achievements, or examinations passed in the specialties, while the majority of the weighting for selection was based on the 150-word answers in the electronic application form (75% weighting). This was in sharp contrast to the previous CV-led process where past experience, achievements and examinations passed in the specialties were used to shortlist candidates for interview.
So you, dear taxpayer, are likely to have ended up with the applicants who were best able to spin, brag and boast rather than those who had the best experience, achievements or exam passes. Is that what you want?
On the basis of these sometimes fatuous questions - e.g. "Describe a situation where you displayed empathy" - doctors were shortlisted or not for interview for the training posts available.
Shortlisting was widely regarded as uneven and unfair, with the Tooke Report noting: "Some excellent candidates not shortlisted. Many very poor candidates were shortlisted."
And remember, many of the excellent candidates not shortlisted left the UK and went to posts in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere, taking their UK taxpayer funded training with them, costing you £250K each time.
Read more about this sorry tale on Wikipedia, under MMC and MTAS.