This is the text of a letter sent to Sir Liam Donaldson; this, together with Crockard's resignation statement, tells us all we need to know:
Dear Professor Sir Liam Donaldson,
I recently resigned as medical student advisor to MMC.
Despite claims from the health minister that the new Foundation Programme has ‘widely been acknowledged as a success’ there are, and always have been, huge misgivings about it at student, junior doctor and all other levels. I hoped that access to the MMC team would give me an opportunity to make these views heard. I was wrong. Although you continually tell us that you are ‘working with the profession’ you are not, at any level, listening to it. This is why I resigned: please find enclosed my letter of resignation to Professor Alan Crockard.
From a grassroots level upwards, your recruitment of those from the profession has been tokenistic at best. My role was little more than a publicity stunt. You want to be seen to be involving us but care little for the reality of what we actually have to say.
Even at the highest levels you have been seen to charge professionals with responsibility but withhold authority.
It is not my job to outline the infinite professional, personal and philosophical problems that blight your new systems – the 12,000 junior doctors who recently marched through London could do this more eloquently than I could ever hope to – but it is my job to expose the growing chasm between yourself and the profession.
Your agenda does not meet with the approval of the profession. You must acknowledge this. It is not acceptable for you to enlist members of the profession from all levels and to then ignore them. It is not acceptable to use your implementation team – MMC – as a vehicle for spin, as a way to convince the profession that things are other than they are. It is not acceptable for you to hide behind the responsibility you have dispensed to MMC and at the same time maintain your authority so you can push through your own agenda.
And yet, this is what you are doing. No matter what the profession says, no matter how vociferously it protests, no matter what damage is done to families up and down the country, this is what you will continue to do. How kind of Lord Hunt – at a time when faith in your systems is at its nadir - to illustrate the DoH’s utter contempt for the profession, by saying “I would like to reconfirm our commitment to MMC which aims to recruit and train the best doctors to provide the best possible patient care.”
This is your project. Everyone else – from MMC to MTAS, from the royal colleges to PMETB, from the advisors to the spin doctors – are merely your implementation tools. Ultimate authority rests with you. It is now time for you to take responsibility. If you continue to force through these reforms, I want you to know that it is obvious - even from a medical student level - that you are a million miles away from being the ‘bridge between the profession and the government’ that you claim: you could not be acting more undemocratically if you tried.
If you find this image unappealing, your options are clear: take heed of the groundswell against you and your agenda and cede your authority back to the profession. If this is also unpalatable to you, then you must resign.