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Trainees to face lower MRCGP exam fees

Change to exam and AiT membership fees delivers 'fairness to all' GP trainees, says RCGP

Louise Prime

Friday, 05 June 2015

The cost of the MRCGP licensing exam is being substantially cut for this summer’s new cohort of GP trainees at the same time as a rise in membership fees for Associates in Training (AiTs), the Royal Collage of GPs has announced. The College said the new cost structure will “ensure fairness and greater transparency for GP trainees”.

The RCGP pointed out that moving some of the financial burden from the examination fee onto the AiT membership fee will reflect “the true cost of services and benefits provided for Associates in Training (AiTs)” – the category of membership that it established specifically to support trainees – as well as significantly reducing the overall cost for future trainees who need to sit the exam more than once. Although those who pass the exam first time will end up paying slightly more, the College said that because of the ‘substantial’ tax advantages that it has negotiated, this will be offset by the tax that can now be reclaimed from HMRC on examination fees through trainees’ normal tax returns.

The new fee structure will also benefit less-than-full-time trainees, who can sometimes be at a disadvantage under the current scheme, said the College.

Trainees who complete in three years will from now on pay £595.43 more for AiT membership, but with a reduction of £409 in examination fees (Clinical Skills Assessment and Applied Knowledge Test).

The RCGP’s honorary treasurer Dr Helen Stokes-Lampard said: “Fairness to all our trainees is the driving force for these changes and all trainees can be confident that they are being treated fairly and transparently.

“Trainees who are less than full time will be eligible for a much simpler and, for the vast majority, cheaper package of fees, while trainees who find it harder to get through their training and need to sit the exam more than once in future will be paying significantly less overall.

“We appreciate that those who pass first time will pay a little more but we hope that as many people as possible will take advantage of the tax relief also negotiated by the College to more than offset this increase ... we are confident that the new structure of fees is the most accurate, fair and clear we have ever had.”

She added: “The RCGP is only too well aware of the financial pressures on trainees and has been careful to keep uplifts to a minimum so the overall increases are a reflection of inflationary costs and nothing more.”

The Royal College of GPs has elected Bristol GP Dr Terry Kemple as its next president, it announced yesterday. He’ll take over from Professor Mike Pringle at the College’s Annual General Meeting on 20 November 2015. The other three candidates were Professor Mayur Lakhani, Dr Colin Hunter and Dr Michael Dixon. Dr Kemple, who is also a GP educationalist and an appraiser, said during his Election campaign that if elected, he would prioritise three things: reducing unnecessary workload for family doctors; increasing the GP workforce by ensuring that medical schools and the NHS are performance managed to achieve the required number of GPs; and finding and spreading the most efficient and effective ways to provide primary care services as quickly as possible.

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