How we use doctors’ fees

We get most of our income from the annual fee doctors pay to remain registered, along with other registration fees. Here’s how we spend that money.

What do we spend our budget on?

Diagram showing how we spend our budget, which comes from the annual retention fee

Supporting doctors with their practice

We set the standards that doctors must meet. And we give guidance and advice to help them meet these standards.

As part of this, we run workshops across the UK to help doctors understand our guidance and to address the most challenging areas of practice. In 2016, we met over 21,400 doctors and over 15,000 medical students. We’ve also developed tools so doctors can access our guidance on mobile devices.

Over the next three years, we want to invest more in initiatives like this, which drive improvements in care and prevent harm to patients.

Overseeing the quality of education and training

We set the standards – and check the quality – of medical education and training.

Data from our annual national training surveys help us identify and tackle areas of concern in UK training environments. We also review and inspect medical schools and postgraduate training environments, including hospitals and GP practices.

In 2016, we worked with nearly 100 organisations to address concerns about how they support trainees and the quality of education they provide.

Handling concerns about doctors

When someone raises a concern to us about a doctor, we assess it. We check to see if the doctor is putting the safety of patients, or the public’s confidence in doctors, at risk.

This involves collecting and reviewing evidence, such as witness statements and reports from experts. Since 2016, we’ve been reducing our costs on investigating concerns, by reviewing them at an early stage to filter out those we don’t need to fully investigate (such as single clinical mistakes). Our expenditure on fitness to practise was £2.8 million under budget in 2016.

To really modernise the way that we carry out investigations, we need a change to the law to give us more discretion and flexibility.

Maintaining the medical register

We check every doctor’s identity and qualifications before we let them join the medical register. We also keep track of changes to make sure this information is accurate. Each year, we process more than 23,000 applications to join or leave the register.

Delivering revalidation

We work with healthcare organisations across the UK to make sure every doctor has an annual appraisal. This is confirmed every five years through revalidation. We approve around 55,000 revalidation recommendations every year.

Revalidation supports doctors’ professional development and helps to make sure they are fit to practise, by encouraging them to reflect on their practice. In 2018, we’ll continue to work with the medical colleges and employers to make appraisal and revalidation more straightforward for doctors.

Managing and developing the organisation

We have more than 1,200 staff working in five locations around the UK.

We have a number of teams who make sure that changes to the way we work are well evidenced, fair and communicated to the profession. We also have a dedicated data team, who help us and other organisations to better understand the profession, any emerging risks and opportunities for safe medical practice.

Since 2015 we’ve made significant savings in this aspect of our work by transferring around 130 jobs from London to Manchester and reducing the size of our office space in London by half.