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At the heart of general practice since 1960

GMC forecasts £2m loss as doctors head for exit over revalidation

The GMC has revealed a hole in its finances of up to £2.3m this year due to revalidation discouraging more doctors not to renew their licence to practise.

A GMC Council paper warns the regulator may have to stomach a reduction in income from £96.3m in 2012 to £95.6m in 2013, although if more doctors than expected fail to renew their registration then this could drop to as low as £94m.

The regulator has also begun a survey of doctors to ‘provide a clearer picture’ of the likely level of non-renewal, amid concerns about the true level of the financial impact revalidation could have this year on the regulator.

The GMC has pledged to freeze the annual retention fee at £390 for doctors this year, but this is based on their income not falling below £95.6m and GP leaders have warned that the GMC must manage its finances to accomodate the losses, and not pass it on to GPs in the form of higher registration fees.

A financial report - presented to GMC Council last month - predicts ‘a degree of volatility’ from the introduction of revalidation this year and that current estimates show the regulator’s income from fees could reduce substantially this year.

The GMC resources committee said it was ‘financially sound in 2013’, but future years were ‘sensitive to future expenditure plans and the extent to which revalidation prompts doctors to reconsider their registration status’.

They went to say: ‘The fee levels proposed in this report will generate total income of £95.6m in 2013, based on the assumptions set out in this report. However, the introduction of revalidation creates a degree of volatility to our income projections and actual income could fall within the range of £94m to £96m.’

GMC figures show 10,800 doctors have decided not to renew their membership and there is uncertainty over a further 21,900 doctors who have not yet provided the GMC with the name of the organisation that will revalidate them, despite repeated requests from the regulator.

Dr John Canning, chair of the GPC’s Professional Fees and Regulation committee, said revalidation was a factor in many GPs’ decision to retire early.

He said: ‘GPs are facing budget constraints, more implications on pensions and heavier workload. If you happen to be in your revalidation year you might think “I’m going to take my pension now”.’

But he warned the GMC to use their savings to bridge their drop in income, rather than raise fees: ‘The risk if they lose registrants is that fees will go up.

‘[But] they’re not starting from a zero base, they have reserves. I think instead of raising fees while this new system is being introduced I would expect them to use money from their accumulated fund.’

Dr Richard Vautrey, a GPC negotiator, said: ‘It’s undoubtable more GPs will retire this year. It’s clear when you look at spread of GPs, GPs in their 50s are taking early retirement. Revalidation won’t be the main reason why GPs retire, but it could be the straw that broke the camel’s back. The GMC will have to look at how to manage its finances accordingly.’

The GMC was asked to comment, but was not able to respond in time for publication.

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Readers' comments (12)

  • They dont realize all these are not retiring doctors; Nearly 10000 doctors (Relatively young) have emigrated (To Oz/ Canada/ Aemerica) in last 2-3 yrs
    The way things are look like more of us will leave
    Plz see page 43 of this study
    http://www.ama-assn.org/resources/doc/img/img-workforce-paper.pdf

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  • Sorry page 33 of this study
    http://www.ama-assn.org/resources/doc/img/img-workforce-paper.pdf

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  • Unfortunately it will presumably not be only this year that the GMC experiences a reduction in income. I have recently retired and my revalidation date has been set for 2015. Even though I have no intention of returning to paid work I will keep paying the full GMC fees until then. However it will clearly not be possible for me to revalidate and so my license to practice, and the associated fee, will be removed anyway. I would imagine there are a considerable number of doctors in a similar situation.

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  • The GMC itself is partly to blame for this situation, having done its best to alienate the Medical Profession at every turn.
    We no loger have any sense of ownership and the good-will ran out several years ago.

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  • 96.3 milliion in one year!! Wow!! Can we send this news to daily mail please to expose fatcats at GMC

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  • £95 million is a hell of as lot of money for an organization which hardly does anything especially for the people it collects this money from.
    As time goes on it appears to be more of an extortion racket than any thing else.

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  • ..yes what on earth are they doing with all this money??

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  • I remember that when I qualified, I paid a one-off lifetime registration fee.
    They reneged on that one and since then the organisation has become bigger and less doctor friendly every year.

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  • So who will run GP services when we have no doctors left?

    GP's are the backbone of the NHS, but as they always say, you are never missed until you are gone!

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  • Bob Hodges

    Don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you got till it's gone?

    They paved primary care, and put up a parking lot.

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