– is purely a mathematical process which matches the preferences of both health services and candidates, allocating candidates to available health service positions.

The matching algorithm is purely a mathematical process which matches the preferences of both health services and candidates.

Health services only have candidates removed from their preference lists when a permanent match has been made to a position which was the higher preference of that candidate. A candidate will be appointed to the highest available position/health service on their preference list, if the health service has ranked that candidate such that the candidate appears within the quota boundary of the health service at any time during the matching procedure.

The matching process starts by looking at the first health service on the preference list of each candidate and making a match if the candidate appears within the quota boundary of the ranking list of that health service. When a candidate is appointed to their first preference position, this is a permanent match, they are then removed from all other health services’ ranking lists and, if the candidate was within the health service’s quota boundary, this boundary is moved down by one to include the next ranked candidate on their list. After all the appointments possible have been made when considering the first preference only of each candidate, the next pass considers candidates’ second preferences – and so on. If any match is made that is not to a candidate’s first preference, it is considered to be a temporary match; in this case the candidate is only removed from the lists of those health services that are of lower preference on the candidate’s list, and again a quota boundary adjustment is made if necessary.

Therefore, on each pass through the matching procedure, quotas for some health services may be partially or wholly filled, and other health service quota boundaries may have to be extended. Similarly, candidates may achieve a permanent match, and no longer have to be considered, or obtain a temporary match but remain on their higher preference health services’ ranking lists. Hence a more desired health service position is still possible should it become available, due to a quota boundary extension, later in the procedure.

The matching process continues until all health service quotas have been filled, or all of the candidates’ preference lists have been processed down to their lowest preference position and no further appointments can be made. At the conclusion of the matching process all the remaining temporary matches are now considered as permanent appointments.

The Service is conducted strictly and solely in accordance with the Code of Conduct.

Selection and ranking of candidates

The actual selection and ranking of candidates is the sole responsibility of the employing health service concerned. The PMCV cannot assist candidates in selecting programs or specialties; the Council simply administers the mechanism for matching candidates to health services according to the preferences expressed by both.


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