GMC registration fee 'too expensive'

The GMC registration fee has been condemned as 'too expensive for its purpose' by the BMA's annual representative meeting (ARM).

But delegates at the Liverpool event last week rejected motions demanding that the government help pick up the bill.

Dr Beryl de Souza, a consultant plastic surgeon, said it was an outrage that doctors were expected to pay £410 a year for the 'privilege' of being regulated.

'The government says it has decreed this onerous and complex system for the safety of the public,' she said. 'We say the public, in the form of the government, should pay for it.'

Devon LMC chairman Dr Peter Joliffe agreed, and said the American revolutionary cry 'no taxation without representation' applied to the GMC coun-cil's move to an unelected, semi-lay membership.

'We are no longer a profession if we do not elect people to make decisions for us,' he said. 'We have been relegated to the status of a trade.'

But former GMC council representative Dr Edwin Borman argued that, by refusing to pay the fee, the profession would 'give away any say we have over how we are regulated'.

BMA council chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum denied the changes to the GMC council meant the profession had lost its influence. 'This is not the time to risk losing the influence we have,' he said. The ARM ultimately backed the motion criticising the cost of the registration fee.

But it rejected motions which would have demanded that the government either pay the fee in proportion to the lay membership of the GMC council, or pay the full costs of regulation.

It overwhelmingly backed one deploring a proposal that 'unsubstantiated and anonymous complaints against doctors could be recorded by the GMC without the individual doctor being notified'.

A GMC spokesman said: 'We have worked hard to ensure that we are an efficient and economic organisation.'

jonn.elledge@haymarket.com

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