The government has been accused of trying to bury a report criticising the failed Medical Training Application Service.

The report, by an MTAS review group chaired by Academy of Royal Medical Colleges vice-chair Neil Douglas, blamed the system for 'the biggest crisis within the medical profession in a generation'.

The Douglas review is dated 12 July, but was not published until last Friday - a week after Parliament rose for the summer recess. There was no press release for the report, published only on the Modernising Medical Careers website.

Conservative MP Peter Bottomley told HSJ: 'Only a government that was ashamed would have made a report available after Parliament had risen for the summer.'

MTAS, the computerised process for matching junior doctors to specialist training posts, was scrapped in May following a security breach.

Many of the review's recommendations led to publicised changes, such as round two applications being dealt with by local deaneries and interviews for every candidate.

But it also confirms many anecdotal criticisms of the system, for example that it encouraged internet plagiarism by candidates.

Shortlisting processes led to 'many very poor candidates' being favoured over better-suited applicants, it found. MTAS was 'overambitious' due to inadequate consultation with doctors.

The review also warns of an over-supply of medical graduates.

A DoH spokesperson said the publication delay was due to new ministers needing 'time to read and understand its contents'.

The report comes after thousands of junior doctors started jobs last Wednesday. Some failed to show up, which both the British Medical Association and Remedy UK have put down to poor communication and administrative errors.

But deputy director of NHS Employers Sian Thomas claimed the problem was due to doctors illicitly accepting two job offers.

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