Why We are Striking for Fair Pay

BMA NHS North West

A letter from a GP Trainee in the North-West written before the 5-day walkout, 7 am 13th July-7am 18th July:

I am starting GP training in August at 80% of full time hours (34.5h per week). So training will take 3 years and 3 months. I will have to pay out of my own pocket to fulfil the mandatory requirements of the GP training programme:

  1. GMC fees, to keep my name on the register. This increases substantially after 5 years of qualification. £1198.
  2. BMA fees – it is not mandatory to be in a union, but you’d have to be mad to work in the NHS and not have union representation. These increase depending on your wage. £1080.
  3. RCGP/portfolio fees – I actually have to pay a lot of money just to access the online portfolio that I have to use to evidence my training. This is a one-off subscription plus annual fees. £1560.
  4. Exam fees – these are for the three exams that have to be passed to complete training. £2726 for all three.

The total for these four items is £6564. This is the amount I will be paying out of my own pocket to do my job.

In addition, there are revision courses/subscriptions and the equipment I need for work. And yes, I can claim tax back – eg I got £40 back out of the £400 I paid out during Final Year 2 – but I still had to fork out for it first.

If paying two grand of your own money per year to do your job is normal, then I’ll take it all back, but I don’t think it is, and I’ve had enough. And these figures do not include my over £80k in student finance debt.

The BMA today (22/08/23) urged GP trainees to take part in the ballot to renew the mandate for strike action by junior doctors, and to post their ballots back by 26th August to ensure it arrives by 31st August.
To become a GP, you first have to do a university degree in medical sciences, recognised by the General Medical Council. This typically takes 5 years. Then you usually do a two year foundation course of general training, while waiting to be accepted on a specialist training course in General Practice. This typically takes 3 years.