Friday, September 15, 2006

Daylight Robbery

I sometimes wonder where all the money goes. Not all of my money personnally. I know where that goes: on booze and the good times. No, I mean all the money that the GMC and the Royal Colleges rake in in the form of fees for compulsory registration and examinations, respectively.

For example, the current cost of registration is some £290. For this paltry sum, one gets ones name added to the medical register. Wooohooo. Now, in 2004, there were 140,000 doctors in England alone. Based on that figure, that would be an annual income of roughly £40 million. Not a bad for keeping a list up to date, I'd say. If anybody can tell me what other useful function the GMC fulfills that might explain where some of that whopping wad of cash goes, I would be interested to hear.

The Royal College of Physcians on the other hand charges £295, £295 and £480 for the parts 1, 2 and 3 of its compulsory examination for membership. Should you be lucky enough to pass, it then charges you a further £200 for the privilege of a certificate. Most people spend an additional small fortune on courses and books to help them get through the exam, but I will ignore this as it does not go directly to the College. Thus, the absolute minimum you could spend to obtain your membership is £1270. Given that there were around 20,000 SHOs in England in 2004 - who will take on average 2 years to obtain membership - the College must, therefore, have an approximate annual income from its examinations of (1,270*20,000/2=) £25 million. And what does it provide in return for this? Absolutely sweet F.A.

I have an image of some College fat cat, Rolex on one hand and cigar in the other, waiving the latest cheque to pop through that esteemed institution's golden letter box, whilst he bellows out across the room to his rotund, red-faced chum: "so, Henry, still on for supper at the Ritz tonight? Looks like dinner's on...(squints through monocle to read cheque)...a certain Dr Sinner tonight. Charming!"


Blogger Kate said...

Speaking from a strictly historical perspective, the Royal College has always been a haven for elitist snobs. Oh, yes, they give some schtick about "professional standards" and "networking", but really... Your money goes to them, so they can make themselves more elite and snobby, and you, by virtue of association, also become more elite and snobby. Break out the brandy snifters!

10:52 am  
Blogger Name withheld to protect the guilty said...

I don't know about your medical licensure folks, or the ones here in the States (NBME), but I know that the company who runs the SAT makes a killing--bigger profit margins than even big pharma, so that's where the money goes over here: straight into some fat cat's pocket. Perhaps on your side of the pond too?

6:47 pm  
Blogger vegas said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:49 am  
Blogger vegas said...

Thanks for doing the sums that I couldn't be bothered to do - the amounts are shocking. The GMC do 2 things - they keep a list and then they strike you off when they get the chance. The BMA does 2 things - they keep a list and they get you cheaper insurance (so I'm told). The Royal College of Physicians does 2 things - they make you work like a bitch to pass their exams and they also keep a list.

At least I can opt out of the BMA. The rest will continue to take my money until I decide to leave the NHS.

12:50 am  
Blogger Christopher said...

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9:07 am  
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12:02 pm  
Blogger The Venial Sinner said...

Gee, thanks Brad.

And hello, Christopher.

8:14 am  
Blogger freedom said...

The GMC and the Royal College are there to keep as many of you doctorly types safe from prying eyes, independent auditing and judicial review as possible.

They are front organisations for the benefit of all doctors by providing the image of a regulatory regime and professional status.

Like all protection rackets the fees are high and always rising. And of course there are a few lucky fellows at the top of the tree who get to drink the cream.

If you can explain the presence of such outdated fossils in the mpodern age better than that i'll eat my head.

12:28 pm  
Blogger freedom said...

* modern

** I wear no hat

12:29 pm  
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11:25 pm  

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