Up to 1,000 new doctors could face unemployment
At a time when many British hospitals are short of doctors!
Up to 1,000 new doctors will face unemployment next year as there are too few training places available, it has been warned.
Official projections from the Department of Health body in charge of medical education shows that hundreds of medical graduates will be without a job next year, the Telegraph has learned.
The number of places in medical schools has been expanded since 2002 with the aim of the UK becoming self sufficient in doctors.
However, applicants from within the EU and a shortage of training posts means that for the first time there is a genuine prospect of doctors being unemployed.
It costs the UK taxpayer, £260,000 to put each medical student through university and each student graduates with debt averaging £70,000.
The issue is being raised at the British Medical Association’s junior doctors conference in London.
Also the Commons Health Select Committee will publish its report on education, training and workforce planning next week which is expected to criticise ‘boom and bust’ approaches to training with budgets raided to pay off deficits.
UK graduates leave medical school qualified as a doctor but must complete a foundation year, which is effectively an apprenticeship where they work under close supervision, before they are allowed to join the General Medical Council register and practice freely.
Dr Ben Molyneux, deputy chairman of the Junior Doctors Committee said: “This is a problem that has been getting steadily worse in recent years and for the first time next year we certainly cannot guarantee that there will not be medical unemployment.
“Even the optimistic projections are that hundreds of graduates could be without a foundation place and the worse case projections are up to 1,000. “It is a tragedy not only for the taxpayer but also on a personal level, these doctors graduate with a small personal mortgage of debt.”
He said medical graduates would be left in limbo because without their foundation year they cannot work as doctors abroad and would be faced with treading water and applying again the following year, increasing the pressure for places.
“Most would end up leaving the profession,” he said. “These are people who are going to provide service for the NHS for the next 40 years. It would be a drop in the ocean of the NHS budget to provide foundation places for them, ” Dr Molyneux said.
The projections have been made by Medical Education England, the body in charge of postgraduate education and training of doctors.
There are more than 7,600 foundation places this year and the numbers of graduates leaving medical school only slightly exceeded that number.
However next year it is expected there will be up to 1,000 more medical students graduating than foundation places for them to work in.
The average starting salary for a foundation year doctor is £22,500 in England.
A court case due to be heard in Prague in October could exacerbate the problem as a medical school there has argued that its graduates should be allowed to apply for foundation place jobs in Britain on the same footing as UK graduates.
However in the Czech Republic and many other European countries, doctors graduate from medical school having effectively already completed a foundation year which could put them at an advantage when applying for jobs in Britain.
Large number of foreign criminals roam free in Britain instead of being deported
More than 100 foreign criminals whom the Government wants to deport are being released on to Britain’s streets every month to protect their ‘human rights’. In total, there are 3,900 overseas convicts on bail in the community, free to commit new offences. Incredibly, 817 of them have been at large for five years or more.
A string of murders and sex attacks have been committed by foreign nationals who should already have been booted out.
The scale of the problem was revealed in a letter to MPs by Rob Whiteman, chief executive of the UK Border Agency.
Officials start proceedings to boot out the convicted criminals or offer them bribes to go home.
But once they have served their sentence, the convicts can continue to be held only if there is a good chance of them being deported imminently.
The offenders immediately use the Human Rights Act to say they have a right to a family life in the UK – and the courts let them go, pending their lengthy appeals through the British legal system.
Mr Whiteman said that, in an average month, 110 foreign convicts were freed from immigration centres on bail. In 90 per cent of cases, the decision was taken by a judge. In the remainder, the Home Office itself decided there was little chance of immediate removal so let them go.
UK Border Agency statistics show that of the 3,900 currently walking the streets, some 2,500 were released from jail more than two years ago – including the 817 who have been at large for five years or more.
Mr Whiteman admitted to MPs on the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee that foreign criminals were not being deported quickly enough. He blamed the delays on lengthy judicial processes, difficulties obtaining documents from other countries and deliberate attempts to frustrate the system. Asked about the numbers, he added: ‘I don’t think I can guarantee that it will come down rapidly.’
Immigration Minister Damian Green blamed Article 8 of the Human Rights Act – the right to respect for family life and private life – for many cases.
Leaked papers have revealed how released foreign criminals on immigration bail have committed a string of violent crimes including three murders, three kidnappings and 14 sexual offences, among them rape. There have also been arrests in relation to 27 other ‘violent crimes’ and 64 thefts.
Mr Whiteman revealed that there are 11,127 foreign criminals in Britain’s over-crowded jails. He also updated MPs on the scandal of the 1,103 foreign prisoners who were released without being considered for deportation under Labour. Six years on, only 399 of the convicts, who included killers and rapists, have been deported. Some 455 have since been told they can stay, while other cases are continuing. Fifty-seven have never been traced.
Tory MP Dominic Raab, who has campaigned for reform of human rights law, said: ‘The Government inherited a lousy regime from Labour, and given the scope of judicial legislation we need primary legislation to fix the problem.
‘Inherited a lousy regime’
‘We should amend the UK Borders Act 2007 to cut back on spurious human rights claims and strengthen our capacity to deport foreign criminals. That ought to be a priority in the forthcoming Crime and Courts Bill.’
Eurocrats are demanding that Britain introduce powers to seize the property of people who have not been convicted of any crime.
Under the draft directive, the state would be able to go to a civil court to claim someone probably got assets or property by breaking the law.
In some cases, a freeze could be put on their finances before a court order has even been granted.
The directive would apply to crimes including corruption, counterfeiting, terrorism, money laundering, organised crime and human trafficking.
MPs are due to debate the diktat next week, but ministers have said they are sympathetic to it. Mr Raab said: ‘This is a shocking power grab by Brussels.’
New Scottish school curriculum teaches students Britain is an ‘arch-imperialist villain’
History lessons north of the border are to be revamped in a bid to downplay the British Empire and promote Scottish Nationalism.
In an assault on the SNP’s new Curriculum for Excellence (CfE), senior history teachers said Government ‘tinkering’ would lead to a further slide in standards.
They claimed youngsters preparing to study for their Highers will be told that Britain is an ‘arch-imperialist villain’ and the history of the Empire will be reduced solely to lessons about slavery.
Children will be taught about the Great War purely from the perspective of the Scots who took part – while Scottish history will focus predominantly on a ‘Braveheart’ portrayal of great battles.
Last night, the Scottish Association of Teachers of History (SATH), which is due to meet in Aberdeen today to discuss the changes, warned of the ‘dangerous consequences’ of the SNP’s shake-up.
Nick Seaton, of the Campaign for Real Education, said: ‘The SNP is trying to rewrite the history books to create propaganda and that is utterly unacceptable.’
Scottish Tory education spokesman Elizabeth Smith said: ‘To hear concerns about any attempt to undermine balance and objectivity in history is very worrying indeed. This is not the first time fears like these have been raised about curriculum developments under the SNP. The Scottish Conservatives deplore any moves to include political bias in the teaching of any subject.’
SATH president Neil McLennan said: ‘After a prolonged period of tinkering with vague proposals and low-level discussion on skills which have basically been taught in classrooms for decades, the Scottish Qualifications Authority has released the first glimpse of content for history exams. What is proposed will shock many.’
Concern focuses mainly on the new National 5 history course. Such courses pave the way to Highers, but SATH claimed the redesigned subject will be biased towards a parochial view of history, where key topics will be taught solely from a narrow Scottish perspective.
Mr McLennan said: ‘In 2014, students will be remembering Bannockburn, but may be poorly informed of the other major anniversary that year [the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War.]’
He said the ‘flash of tartan and cries of “Freedom” will attract students to some of the Scottish units in National 5’. But he added: ‘The British history units pale into dry, boring insignificance against this populist history. Indeed, many units portray Britain as the consistent arch-imperialist villain of the piece.’
Mr McLennan said the make-up of the Great War courses will focus mainly on the role of Scots.
Last night, TV historian Bettany Hughes said: ‘Politicians are always itching to get involved, for obvious reasons, but really we should let history do the talking – without interference. ‘It is very dangerous to cherry-pick moments in history. We should be teaching the Empire in context – that’s the most important thing.’
A Scottish Government spokesman said: ‘The teaching of significant historical events will continue to have its proper place in history lessons in Scottish schools.
‘Ministers recently met Neil McLennan and agreement was reached that further collaboration with Education Scotland and the Scottish Qualifications Authority is required to support the implementation of history in CfE.’
British High School grading system faces biggest overhaul in 25 years
Rising numbers of pupils face failing their GCSE exams under the biggest shake up of the qualifications system in 25 years, it emerged today.
Ofqual, the exams watchdog, is considering cutting the number of grades and stripping vocational subjects of their GCSE status to stop the flagship qualification being “devalued”, it was revealed.
In a major report, it outlined plans to review the existing grading structure following claims it is too broad and fails to meet the needs of universities and employers.
The move could lead to the current eight-point scale – awarding pupils a mark from A* to G – being cut to just six.
The change would abolish F and G grades to bring the qualifications into line with A-levels, inevitably leading to a rise in the number of pupils failing altogether.
In a further development, Ofqual is also considering reducing the number of subjects from the current maximum of more than 70.
It may result in many non-academic disciplines such as catering and motor vehicle studies being scrapped, it emerged.
Ofqual said that the current range of subjects “devalues the GCSE brand”.
The proposed changes are among more than a dozen major reforms to the examinations system outlined in the watchdog’s 2012 to 2015 corporate plan.
It comes just weeks after Glenys Stacey, the head of Ofqual, said that the standard of A-levels and GCSEs had been undermined by more than a decade of “persistent grade inflation”.
The watchdog is also:
* Reviewing Sats tests in English and maths for 11-year-olds to make them comparable with exams sat by pupils in other countries;
* Considering the abolition of bite-sized modules in A-levels in favour of terminal end-of-course exams;
* Formally consulting on proposals to allow universities to set A-level exams and syllabuses;
* Reviewing the cost all qualifications after it emerged that schools spent £330m on exams last year – more than double the cost in just eight years.
But some of the most radical changes are being made to GCSEs which have been dogged by claims of falling standards for years.
Almost a quarter of GCSE papers taken in England, Wales and Northern Ireland were graded A* or A last year – around three times as many as when the exams were first introduced in the late 80s. Some 99 per cent of papers were given at least a G in 2011.
Ofqual proposed reviewing “the way in which GCSE results are reported so they best meet their intended purposes”, saying: “The grading structure stretches from A* to G and it is time to look now at whether this is how it should be.”
The report added: “Most people think GCSEs cover just academic subjects, but this is not the case at present. GCSEs are now available in over 70 subjects… We think that this range of GCSE subjects devalues the GCSE brand and we intend to develop brand guidelines for GCSEs.”
But critics claimed that the changes would do little to restore public confidence in the system.
Chris McGovern, a former headmaster and chairman of the Campaign for Real Education, said: “We would support any change to the grading system because most universities and employers pretty much ignore anything lower than an A anyway. But removing the F and G grades is not going to wipe out 20 years of rampant grade inflation.”
Dylan Wiliam, emeritus professor of educational assessment at the Institute of Education, London, said GCSEs were becoming “increasingly irrelevant” in an education system that encourages most pupils to stay on until 18.
“If kids have got to stay on, why do we need these expensive examinations?” he said. “Schools spend more on examining kids than they do on books and paper.”
A spokesman for the Department for Education said: “We want all exams in England to stand comparison with, and be as rigorous as, those in the best-performing education jurisdictions.”
British PM’s radical plan to reform jobs red tape
David Cameron is to back a radical plan to rip up employment red tape to help deliver growth. He will throw his weight behind a far-reaching report which calls for a bonfire of regulations that employers say are stifling job creation.
The report by Adrian Beecroft, a venture capitalist, will be published in full this week after months of delay.
The Sunday Telegraph has learnt that it will call for firms to be given much greater flexibility to make redundancies; for the lifting of restrictions on the equality laws that industry says are stifling job creation, and for a cap on employment tribunal payouts.
Mr Cameron will risk severe tensions with the Liberal Democrats by backing such far-reaching proposals but will use his support to attempt to reassure business that the Government is “pro-growth”, after a bruising reaction to the Queen’s Speech.
The Sunday Telegraph has learnt that the 15-page document, drawn up by Mr Beecroft after he was given access to Government lawyers, has 20 proposals including:
* An end to a mandatory 90-day consultation period when a company is considering redundancy programmes. Mr Beecroft recommends a 30-day period and an emergency five-day period if a company is in severe economic distress.
* A cap on loss of earnings compensation for employees who make successful unfair dismissal claims. Payments can often total hundreds of thousands of pounds.
* Major reform of the rights that workers are allowed to “carry” to new employers when they are the subject of a takeover. Currently, the rights, called transfer of undertakings (TUPE), can leave people in the same company working in the same job with different levels of rights for many years.
* An end to provisions in the Equality Act which make employers liable for claims from employees for “third party harassment” — for example, customers making “sexist” comments to staff in a restaurant. The Government has already begun a consultation on the issue.
* Moving the responsibility to check on foreign workers’ eligibility to work in Britain from employers to the Border Agency or the Home Office.
Whitehall sources said the Prime Minister and the Chancellor believe the publication of the report will show that the Government is serious about kick-starting the economy, which has seen two quarters of negative growth, officially putting the UK in recession. A Whitehall source who has seen the report said: “It is aimed at getting rid of blocks to hiring people and the sense of entitlement for those who are already in employment.
“What about those who want to get into employment? They need the chance. It is about reform to drive growth, it is much too hard for companies to restructure and get the right people that they see as fit to do the job.”
Yesterday Mr Cameron spoke of the urgent need for growth as he met the leaders of the world’s most powerful economies at the G8 summit in the United States. He delivered a blunt warning directly to other European leaders about the need to resolve the mounting eurozone crisis.
At the summit in Camp David, the US presidential retreat, he said Europe’s leaders should act “very fast” to resolve the crisis. The Prime Minister urged eurozone leaders to put in place “strong contingency plans” for a possible break-up of the single currency.
The fate of Greece, which is widely expected to crash out of the euro in the near future, was high on the G8 agenda.
Last night, in their post-summit communiqué, the G8 leaders said they wanted Greece to remain within the single currency but acknowledged that “the right measures are not the same for each of us”.
Mr Beecroft, a Conservative Party donor, caused controversy when parts of his report for the Prime Minister on making it easier for employers to sack underperforming staff were leaked last autumn.
Many Liberal Democrats made clear their opposition, with Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, particularly concerned by the recommendations, which is why the report has languished unpublished since then.
Although the first Bill outlined in the Queen’s Speech was legislation to overhaul employment regulation, it stopped far short of promising moves to implement Beecroft.
The only concrete detail disclosed of the report was that it would encourage employers and employees to go through conciliation rather than legal tribunals.
Critics pointed out that the legislative programme would lead to the creation of several new quangos, undermining previous efforts to cut the number of such bodies.
In a major speech last week, the Prime Minister said that although he would not deviate from plans to bring Britain’s deficit under control, he recognised the need for growth policies.
Some business leaders, such as Justin King, the CEO of Sainsbury’s, have criticised the lack of pro-growth measures in the Queen’s Speech earlier this month. Last week, William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, issued a stinging riposte in a Sunday Telegraph interview, telling business critics to stop “complaining” and saying: “There’s only one growth strategy: work hard.”
This week, a group of backbench Conservative MPs will keep up the pressure on the Government with their report “The Growth Factory”.
Edited by Damian Collins, with contributions from fellow MPs Kwasi Kwarteng, Sam Gyimah and Jo Johnson, it will call for new policies to support growth, such as an extra runway in the south-east of England; a push for more engineering graduates and the promotion of start-up loans for businesses.
“With high levels of unemployment in Europe in particular, people require more of their leaders and to see evidence that they are straining every sinew to help create competitive advantage in their economies,” Mr Collins says in the report which will be published by TLGLab, a new business think tank.
At the G8 summit, President Barack Obama said all the G8 countries were “absolutely committed” to growth, stability and fiscal consolidation.
Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, is coming under pressure from the United States and François Hollande, the new president of France, to soften her commitment to austerity in favour of growth.
In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph this weekend, Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, urges Europe’s leaders to develop a continent wide growth strategy rather than each pursuing austerity within their own country.