The annual fee paid by doctors to retain their registration with the GMC will increase by £30 – from £390 to £420 – from April 2015. This restores the fee to the level it was at in 2010.
For the past five years the GMC has either frozen or cut the fee while delivering major reforms such as revalidation and the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service, taking on new responsibilities such as the oversight of postgraduate education, and dealing with a 64% rise in complaints about doctors between 2010 and 2013.
The GMC say they recognise that these are challenging times for all doctors – especially those who are at the start of their careers. As a result, they have agreed to freeze the fee for provisional registration, maintaining it at £90, and to keep the low income threshold set at £32,000. Doctors with incomes below this threshold will be eligible for a £50% reduction in their annual fee.
Why are the GMC raising the fee
Comment from the GMC:
"Raising the fee will make sure we continue to meet our wide-ranging responsibilities and manage the increased demand on all our services.
"In 2015 we expect to process more than 20,000 registration applications and 75,000 revalidation recommendations, and cope with a significant increase in more serious complaints about doctors. For the first time the GMC fee includes a government levy to fund the Professional Standards Authority. This will cost £600k in 2015, rising to £800k a year from 2016.
"Raising the fee will also help us to deliver our ambitious reform agenda – an agenda set out in our corporate strategy which we published earlier this year. This includes making our medical register much more useful, sharing more of our data about the profession and the organisations in which doctors practise and train, developing our plans for a national licensing exam, and raising standards of medical practice by working more closely with doctors to help them with the challenging issues they face as professionals. In 2015 we will expand our professionalism work as well as roll out our programme for doctors new to UK practice to ease them through this critical point in their career.
"We are committed to being a cost effective regulator that delivers value for money. One reason why we have cut or frozen the fee over the last five years is because of the money we have saved by working differently. Between 2010 and 2013, we generated savings of nearly £48 million. This year we are on track to save nearly £9m – through a combination of in-year work plus ongoing gains from projects started in previous years. We will continue to bear down on our costs and deliver further savings to keep the annual retention fee as low as possible.