Unemployment has become a serious threat to junior doctors, the British Medical Association (BMA) has warned.
It said intense competition for posts had left many without jobs to go to when their contracts end next week.
In a letter to health secretary Patricia Hewitt, the BMA said many junior doctors were considering leaving the country or quitting medicine.
The number of places at medical school had increased and applications from overseas were rising – but the number of postgraduate training posts had not increased at the same rate, it said. At the same time, many jobs have been phased out as a result of the introduction of a new training structure.
On average, more than 200 junior doctors apply for every training post, with some jobs attracting more than 1,000 applications.
Simon Eccles, chairman of the BMA’s junior doctors committee, said: “The situation is far worse than anyone expected. We keep hearing from doctors who’ve been turned down for hundreds of jobs and now have no idea what they’re going to do.
“It makes no sense that at a time when the country is short of fully trained medical staff, we are pushing doctors into unemployment.”
The Department of Health admitted competition for posts was fierce, and said it was reviewing the situation.