UK & World News
Medical Exam Error Affects 7,000 Students
Thousands of medical students have been told their job offers may be withdrawn because of an exam marking blunder.
On Monday, 7,200 final year students - around 97% of the year group - were told where they would be working as junior doctors from this summer.
However, they have now been told one of their test scores may be wrong because of problems scanning their papers, putting their job offers in jeopardy.
The British Medical Association (BMA) described the situation as "completely unacceptable".
Dr Katie Petty-Saphon, the executive director of the Medical Schools Council, said: "I should like to apologise unreservedly to all applicants.
"I do understand how upsetting and frustrating it must be to be told that you have a particular position one day and then to be warned the next that this might not be the case."
Alice Rutter, chairman of the BMA's medical students committee, said: "We view this problem very seriously indeed and will be taking action to ensure students who are affected are kept updated and supported."
Hundreds of graduates were already facing uncertainty because there are not enough jobs to go around.
Additional places are due to be allocated by July, but students must wait up to eight weeks for criminal record and employers checks to be carried out, raising fears they may miss the August start date.
Hospitals could be left scrambling to find extra cover to fill vacancies they thought would be filled by the summer.
The marking error affects situational judgement test sheets, which are now being remarked by hand.
The exam is taken in December or January and asks students how they would respond to certain scenarios as a junior doctor.
An NHS spokesman said applicants would be notified of changes to their job offers by March 10.
The latest error comes around six months after it emerged two exam boards had adjusted grade boundaries for GCSE English pupils half-way through the year, effectively making papers sat in June more difficult than those in January.