GMC to slash registration fees for doctors

Press Release

13 Dec 2017

Thousands of newly qualified doctors will benefit from a new fixed-term discount on GMC registration fees, which could save them over £1000.

We are determined to reduce the cost of regulation, both for individual doctors and the health system as a whole.

Professor Terence Stephenson, GMC Chair

The decision, made on 12 December, follows operational savings made since 2015 and a commitment to reduce regulatory cost on doctors.

The fixed-term discounts, starting from 1 April 2018, will apply to doctors’ fees for up to six years on the register, dependant on how they join.

All 7000 doctors who apply for provisional registration from April 2018 will benefit from the full package of discounts, saving them over £1000. An additional 41,000 doctors who have been registered for less than six years will also be eligible for some discounts.

All doctors who have held full registration for more than five years will receive a fee reduction of £35 – meaning they will pay £390 for their annual retention fee instead of £425.

GMC Chair Professor Terence Stephenson said the decision was a mark of the organisation’s drive to alleviate pressure on doctors new to medical practice and the wider medical profession where possible.

Professor Stephenson said:

‘Many professionals find their first years in work the most financially challenging as they face a host of new expenses.

‘The cost of student loans, indemnity insurance, monthly subscriptions and ongoing training amount to significant sums.

‘I hope that this change to the way we structure our fees will provide additional practical support to doctors early in their careers.’

All of these changes will take effect from doctors’ registration and renewal dates from 1 April 2018 onwards.

The fee reductions have been possible thanks to saving efforts, which include the relocation of more than 130 jobs from London to Manchester and reforms to streamline the GMC’s fitness to practise procedures.

Professor Stephenson added:

‘We are determined to reduce the cost of regulation, both for individual doctors and the health system as a whole. We are very focused on providing value for every pound of registrants’ money. We are only able to make these changes because of diligent saving efforts and careful financial planning.

‘With greater flexibility to our underpinning legislation – something we hope the Government will deliver as quickly as possible once its current consultation is over – we could deliver further benefits for doctors and patients, even more efficiently.’

After listening to feedback from doctors, the GMC has also decided to remove a transaction charge for paying the annual retention fee through monthly or quarterly instalments, from 1 April 2018.

From January, in line with a government directive from earlier this year, there will no longer be credit card charges applied.

From 2019 onwards, the GMC will aim to limit any fee increases in line with inflation, to avoid large one-off increases in future years.

Notes to editors

  • There are two main ways that doctors apply to join the UK register:

    • The majority of doctors apply for provisional registration with a licence to practise, which allows them to practise in approved Foundation Year 1 posts. They then apply for full registration with a licence to practise, to move on to Foundation Year 2 in an approved training programme.
    • If a doctor has completed an acceptable internship overseas or in the UK, they can apply for full registration, without having to apply for provisional registration first.
  • Once on the full register, all doctors then pay an annual retention fee to stay on the medical register.
  • In registration route one, doctors will receive discounts for a total of six years – a discount when they apply for provisional registration, a discount when they move to full registration and then a discounted annual retention fee for four years.
  • In registration route two, doctors who have not previously held provisional registration will pay discounted fees for up to five years from the date of their primary medical qualification.
  • The fixed-term discounts will not be offered retrospectively. However, doctors who have been fully registered for four years or less will receive the discount for the remaining period (from their next renewal date). For example, if a doctor was granted full registration in August 2017, they will receive the discount on their annual retention fee for the following four years.
  • Doctors can remain provisionally registered for up to three years. If a doctor stays provisionally registered for longer than one year, they will still pay the £150 full registration fee and £150 annual retention fee for their first four years of full registration.
  • Doctors who aren’t eligible for these new fees can still apply for a 50% discount if their gross annual worldwide income is below £32,000.

The General Medical Council (GMC) is an independent organisation that helps to protect patients and improve medical education and practice across the UK.

  • We decide which doctors are qualified to work here and we oversee UK medical education and training.
  • We set the standards that doctors need to follow, and make sure that they continue to meet these standards throughout their careers.
  • We take action when we believe a doctor may be putting the safety of patients, or the public's confidence in doctors, at risk.

We are not here to protect doctors - their interests are protected by others. Our job is to protect the public.

We are independent of government and the medical profession and accountable to Parliament. Our powers are given to us by Parliament through the Medical Act 1983.

We are a registered charity (number 1089278 with the Charity Commission for England and Wales, and number SC037750 with the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator), we have to show that our aims are for public benefit.

The GMC Media Relations Office can be contacted on 020 7189 5454, email

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