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How the National Mess can help – Sharing Knowledge

It takes a village, not a hospital.

It can be really challenging to find out anything about training in the NHS – you have to rely on word of mouth or hearsay to make a decision that affects your entire life. That’s terrifying. Even with the rise of Whatsapp and Facebook to share information, it’s hit and miss – and doctors can’t weigh up information about departments, hospitals, or even whole specialties empirically.

In isolation, each blank space might only be small – but it affects a handful of people. It snowballs into a huge wave of anxiety for doctors who have to make decisions on what to do next, and don’t know where to start looking or who to ask. They’re left unable to plan long stretches of their lives – from choosing where they do their next rotation to when the best time to get married is.


Knowledge on NHS training is hard to find because:

  1. Information about training and hospitals goes out of date, and can become irrelevant quickly. It’s impossible to have a single organisation that keeps tabs on it all – it takes a village, not a hospital, to maintain a database like that.
  2. Due to the lack of digitisation in the NHS, a lot of information about hospitals and training simply isn’t available online. If it is, it’s oriented around patient-based reviews, rather than staff-based ones. There are no rotas or hospital facility lists available.
  3. Hospitals aren’t responsive enough to emails – and communication from specialty schools varies wildly.
  4. Information about training is subjective. You can read about a hospital, but not about what a certain department is like. There’s a real need for a place to read about doctors’ personal experiences and views with institutions.

The solution

Imagine a place where you could access reliable, relevant, up-to-date information on all aspects of your training – where you could go when you’re trying to make a decision about your training and find the information you need to practice effectively.

That’s what we’re building at Messly. We call it the Training Colossus – a knowledge collective spanning every training programme, hospital and department in the NHS, powered by the contributions of junior doctors across the country.


How we’re doing it

  • Contacting every NHS hospital to ask for information about their departments
  • Rewarding junior doctors for contributing specific knowledge about their experiences to help the community.
  • Scraping hundreds of thousands resources and data points that are currently across the web.


How will it impact you? 


We want to be the place to go when you need to find a hospital rota. You’ll be able to look up rotas for any training programme in the country, and tell other doctors how you found working there.

Hospitals & Departments

Where to get free parking, how good is the accommodation, what the coffee’s like, who do you contact in payroll / HR. All the little things that make your job more stressful than it should be, will be answered on every hospital’s page.


Many of you will have used our Training Navigator to successfully choose your next training programme or hospital rotation – but knowledge doesn’t stop at reviews. We want to collect detailed training programme data, including competition ratios, GMC survey data, and the ratings for hospitals you’ll be working at, too and have access to all the most useful resources to support you through your training programme.


The Training Colossus will launch alongside the National Mess in September 2018. You can learn more and join here.

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