TRAINEE GPs will pay almost £600 more in membership fees, the Royal College of GPs has announced.
This will be partly offset by a reduction in examination fees and new tax breaks in a package of measures designed to “rebalance” costs and ensure “fairness and greater transparency”.
The new pricing structure will have particular benefits for those studying part-time and those who have to sit the exam more than once as they had previously been unable to take advantage of some discounted rates.
From July 2015, trainees completing the programme in three years will pay £595.43 more for associate in training (AiT) membership with the RCGP, while the costs of sitting the clinical skills assessment and applied knowledge test will drop by £409. The College also hopes trainees will take advantage of arrangements that allow all tax paid on exam fees (around 40 per cent) to be reclaimed from HMRC via normal tax returns. For the majority of trainees, this could be worth around £500 to £600.
RCGP Honorary Treasurer Dr Helen Stokes-Lampard admitted trainees who pass first time will pay more but said the changes would not mean they are subsidising costs for those who fail.
She said: “Fairness to all our trainees is the driving force for these changes and all trainees can be confident that they are being treated fairly and transparently.
“Trainees who are less than full time will be eligible for a much simpler and, for the vast majority, cheaper package of fees, while trainees who find it harder to get through their training and need to sit the exam more than once in future will be paying significantly less overall."
She said over the past three years the College had undergone a full review to ensure fees are representative of the costs incurred, adding that the new structure is “the most accurate, fair and clear we have ever had.”