GPs face paying GMC fees of £420 a year to renew their licence, after the regulator announced a 7.69% increase – the first rise in five years – at its board meeting today.
The rise in GMC fees comes as an Freedom of Information Act request revealed that six senior GMC staff members are paid more annually than Prime Minister David Cameron.
GPs currently have to foot £390 per year for registration with a licence and £140 for registration without a licence. However, that cost has been cut or frozen for the past five years as a result of the ‘challenging times’ being experienced by doctors.
But GP leaders have said that the move to raise the fees is ‘disappointing’, and that ‘every penny counts’ to balance practices’ books.
And the FOI response, obtained by Pulse, reveals that six GMC officials including director of resources and quality assurance Neil Roberts, director of fitness to practise Anthony Omo and director of registration and revalidation Una Lane, all earn more than Mr Cameron’s £142,500 salary.
Meanwhile, chief executive Niall Dickson tops the wage list, earning £225,000.
Other senior GMC figures earning more than the Mr Cameron include director of strategy and communication Paul Buckley, and interim director of education and standards Judith Hulf.
Mr Dickson said at the board meeting today: ‘For five years we have succeeded in cutting or freezing our fees – increased demand now means we need to restore it to the level it was in 2010, if we are to continue to meet our wide-ranging obligations.
‘These responsibilities have increased substantially in recent years with, for example, the introduction of revalidation and the oversight of postgraduate education.’
GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey said before the increase was confirmed: ‘I think it is disappointing that they are now having to increase them again if that is actually the case. Practices are struggling and every penny counts as far as trying to balance expenses and competing bills that the practices are having to deal with.
‘So whilst in itself it might not seem that significant, all these things start to add up.’
Professor Sir Peter Rubin, chair of the GMC, said about its senior salaries: ‘Senior management team salaries are overseen by the remuneration committee on behalf of Council and published on the GMC website. The remuneration committee takes external specialist advice to ensure that we benchmark our salary levels against comparable organisations.
‘The salaries we offer reflect the fact that the GMC is a high performing organisation operating in a highly competitive environment. We also have to bear in mind that in the past 12 months, two longstanding members of the senior management team have left to work for other organisations as have a number of assistant directors. We need to offer the right salaries to ensure that we continue to recruit and retain high quality senior staff.’