GMC set to cut annual fees for first time in its history
14 Dec 2011
Exclusive The GMC is set to cut its annual retention fee for GPs for the first time in history, under plans being tabled at a meeting of GMC Council today.
GMC Council is expected to approve the cut, which will see the annual retention fee for practising GPs fall from £420 to £390 - the first time the annual retention fee has fallen since its introduction in 1970. The fee cut, which will come into force in April 2012, will be a welcome boost to GPs at a time when practice income is falling and GP pensions are being hit hard by Government reforms.
The plans for fee reductions, detailed in a draft budget to be tabled at this morning's GMC Council meeting, also reveal that retention fees for registered doctors who do not have a license to practise will be reduced from £145 to £140. The GMC said the fee cuts were made possible due to a ‘number of factors', including savings made by cost cutting drives and the fact that a higher number of doctors were registered than was initially forecast.
The GMC board papers state:‘The [GMC] Resources Committee concluded that we are able to reduce the annual retention fee (ARF) from £420 to £390 for doctors holding registration with a licence to practise, and from £145 to £140 for doctors holding registration without a licence to practise, effective from 1 April 2012.'
In recognition of the ‘challenging financial circumstances' faced by new doctors, the papers also reveal a series of proposed cuts in registration fees for newly qualified medics. Provisional registration costs, for Foundation Year 1 doctors will fall from £100 to £95. Registration fees will be trimmed from £210 to £195 for doctors moving from Foundation Year 1 to Foundation Year 2 and the same reduction will be introduced for new doctors who have qualified abroad.
A series of certification fees will also fall or be frozen. Charges for Certificates of Completion of Training (CCT) will drop from £500 to £390. Fees for the Certificate of Eligibility for GP registration (CEGPR), which is administered by the RCGP for doctors who have not followed the standard CCT route, will fall from £1,600 to £1,500. Charges for reviews, resubmissions and appeals will be frozen at current levels.
The drop in registration and GP annual retention fees won't come into force until April 2012. However, if approved, certification fee changes will be introduced from this Friday in a bid to prevent applicants from holding off getting certified until next April.
The GMC is also expected to increase the number of low earning doctors eligible for a 50% reduction in the Annual Retention Fee. From April 2012 doctors earning up to £30,000 will receive a 50% reduction. Under current GMC rules the discount only applies to doctors earning up to £26,000.