THE General Medical Council is to cut annual fees for all doctors for the first time since 1970.
From April 2012, practising doctors will pay £390 a year instead of £420 – a saving of £2.50 per month. Registered doctors who don’t have a licence to practise will pay £140 instead of £145 – a saving of 42p per month. Provisionally registered doctors will make a similar saving, paying £95 instead of £100.
The move follows a decision last year by the GMC to freeze its annual fees.
The regulator will also increase the earnings threshold entitling doctors to a 50 per cent fees discount from April. Any doctor whose total gross annual worldwide income from all sources is less than £30,000 will qualify, compared to the current threshold of £26,000.
The GMC agreed a package of cuts at a council meeting on Tuesday. It said the reductions were possible thanks to £8million of efficiency savings made in 2011. These include an expansion of the in-house legal team, a cut in the number of panel members from five to three and greater use of e-communication rather than paper.
GMC chief executive Niall Dickson said: “We have a responsibility to provide value for money and, as far as we can, to control our costs. As a result of further efficiencies achieved across the organisation, we are able this year to pass on savings to all doctors.
“We are making these reductions at the same time as facing increasing demand on our services and delivering major initiatives that will benefit doctors and patients, including the introduction of revalidation, the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service, and the roll-out of employer and regional liaison teams.”
Other fee reductions include the cost of a Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) which will be cut from December 15, 2011 from £500 to £390 and the Certificate of Eligibility for Specialist Registration or GP Registration (CESR or CEGPR) which will drop from £1,600 to £1,500. Doctors with current open CCT, CESR and CEGPR applications on December 15, 2011 will benefit from the reduction. All other certification-related fees will be frozen at 2010/2011 levels.
The 245,000 doctors on the GMC register will save an estimated total of more than £6.5million thanks to the cuts.
The GMC is encouraging doctors to pay their annual retention fee via GMC Online. Find out more at http://www.gmc-uk.org/doctors/registration_news/10672.asp