Doctors are under great pressure. Modernising Medical Careers (MMC) will see 34,000 junior doctors applying for just 18,500 training posts, with many facing unemployment or migration. Changes in immigration laws have already seen tens of thousands of overseas doctors who have been uprooted from specialist training schemes having to return home, and the PLAB crisis has left jobless thousands lured here under false pretences of employment.
NHS budgets are being slashed and salaries frozen. Hospitals are being closed or constantly reorganised, and many fear creeping privatisation. The NHS IT strategy 'Connecting for Health' seems like a £20 billion disaster. There is widespread disillusionment with a management culture that has marginalised doctors in the decision-making process. PMETB threatens to usurp the role of Royal Colleges in postgraduate education, and doctors are under constant attack in the media and from the government.
Euthanasia looms, and the sexual health crisis deepens with the government continuing to push tired, failed solutions. Not surprisingly we have the most unpopular health secretary in history, and 69% of hospital doctors would not advise studying medicine.
Alongside these problems, ours seem miniscule, but are in many ways a microcosm of what is happening elsewhere. In the last six months we have been grappling with finding solutions to a budget deficit, a failing IT system, a creaking organisational structure, and an enforced office move, on top of seven years of vibrant ministry growth. In short, CMF requires a radical prune.
By God's grace we completed last year with a deficit of £103k on a turnover of £1.2 million. Had we simply carried on all activities we would have been looking at a £440k deficit in 2007, because a legacy of £235k will not be repeated. Getting our projected deficit for 2007 down to £100k (which will leave a cushion of three months' running costs at year end) has involved cutting existing expenditure, putting new appointments on hold and putting in place plans for raising new income, whilst preserving core ministries and building a solid foundation for the future.
Expenditure has had to be cut, sadly, by cutting all activities, making two redundancies, and cutting sessions of six more staff. This leaves 19 staff working 15.8 whole time equivalents. Clare Cooper leaves after five years' faithful service to graduate members, and Joan Arnold has served centrally for six years. Alex Bunn, Paul Cooper, Jacky Engel, Andrew Fergusson, Mark Pickering, and Kevin Vaughan lose sessions. Please remember all these in prayer.
All new appointments are on hold. New pay scales to bring parity between CMF and the general charity sector have not been implemented, but instead all existing salaries have been frozen for 14 months. New income measures include aiming to reinstate 400 lapsed graduate members (we have lost contact with 1,300 since 1994 despite overall membership staying constant), and recruiting 100 new senior and 200 new junior graduate members. Project funding will be sought from trusts and through targeted appeals and some senior staff will concentrate on this.
New senior staff team
A new team has been assembled. There are now six ministry departments, each under a department head: Kevin Vaughan (Graduate Ministries), Mark Pickering (Student Ministries), Peter Armon (Overseas Ministries), Andrew Fergusson (Communications), Joshua Wathanga (Central Services) and Steve Fouch (Membership Services). This devolves responsibility from the General Secretary and provides an excellent foundation for future growth. The new team is already working well together.
The total projected expenditure for 2007 of £1.265 million divides: students £168k, graduates £165k, mission and overseas £160k, communications £185k, central services £365k, and membership services £221k. Our budgeted income of £1.165 million comes from: expected subscriptions and general donations £505k, designated income £411k, Gift Aid £125k, rent and investments £42k and new member income £83k.
CMF has to move because our base for 32 years has been sold. We have been overwhelmed by the response to the capital appeal to buy a new London home. At the time of writing the fund stood at £1.245 million (donations and pledges), two thirds of the purchase price, which means we will be able to complete the purchase of 6-8 Marshalsea Road, Southwark on 8 June and move on 16 June. Lawyers' Christian Fellowship and Friends of Ludhiana will join us as tenants, and annual repayments on the mortgage will be substantially less than current rent.
New IT system
Our last IT upgrade in 2003 has proved expensive and problematic. Thankfully we have negotiated a good exit strategy, and are now well advanced instituting a much cheaper tailor made alternative.
This autumn we plan to mobilise senior staff to recruit new and lapsed members, to re-engage with grass-roots membership, to revitalise the CMF regions, and to focus further on UK graduates. Please bear with us and pray through all these changes.