Memorandum by the Department of Health
1. The Committee asked for an explanation of the
reasons for the increases in fees specified in the provisions
substituted by regulations 4 to 6. We have been supplied with
the following explanation by the General Medical Council. The
GMC is an independent statutory body established under the Medical
Acts, the most recent of these being the Medical Act 1983.
2. In May 1999, the General Medical Council agreed
the first increase in registration fees since May 1991. The Council
noted that, in the eight years since the last fee increase, our
annual operating expenditure had increased from £8.7M to
3. The increase in operating expenditure was primarily
caused by the rapid increase in our Fitness to Practise activity,
including the introduction of new powers granted by the Medical
(Professional Performance) Act 1995 and codified in the Statutory
Instrument entitled General Medical Council (Professional Performance)
Rules 1997. The Council noted that Professional Conduct Committee
days had increased by 140 between 1991 and 1998, Preliminary Proceedings
Committee days increased by 167% and the number of new Health
Committee cases had increased by 101%. Despite this growth, the
GMC had succeeded in containing costs but in 1998 it had operated
at a deficit for the first time since 1991, and was budgeting
for a deficit in 1999.
4. In setting the new fees, from 1 January 2000,
the Council took the opportunity to simplify and rationalise the
fees structure. Rather than 26 different fees, the Council agreed
a fee of £130 for all initial applications, renewals, extensions
and restorations, with the exception of applications for provisional
registration, which was set at £80.
5. Although most doctors paid more from 1 January
2000, some fees decreased. For example, some overseas qualified
doctors had paid up to £350 for a renewal of limited registration.
6. The revised fees structure was intended to restore
the Council's budget to a small surplus. In the event, Fitness
to Practise activity has continued to accelerate. Professional
Performance cases are up by 600% since 1999, and three Professional
Conduct Committee panels will each sit for 50 weeks, compared
to one panel sitting for 20 weeks in 1997. The financial effect
of this rapid growth, is a budgeted deficit of £2.2M in 2000,
rather than the small surplus predicted. The increase in fees
from 1 January 2001 is intended to eliminate the deficit and provide
the additional resources required to meet the increases in public
demand for our services.
7. From 1 January 2001, the fee for all initial applications,
renewals, extensions and restorations, with the exception of applications
for provisional registration, will £175. The fee for provisional
registration will be £100.
8. The Council has agreed to review fees annually
16 November 2000