The General Medical Council (GMC) is to freeze all registration fees, including the annual retention fee, from April 2017 to March 2018.

The GMC’s council has agreed that next year’s annual retention fee should be frozen at £425, while the fee paid by medical school graduates to become provisionally registered will remain at £90 and the fee for a doctor’s first year of full registration will be kept at £200.

Doctors with worldwide incomes below £32,000 a year will continue to be eligible for a 50 per cent discount on the annual retention fee. The fee for the postgraduate Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) has also been frozen at £420.

Charlie Massey, the General Medical Council’s new Chief Executive, explained, ‘Health services across the UK and the professionals working within them are dealing with one of the toughest financial situations on record. Against this challenging backdrop it’s essential that we keep our registration fees for doctors as low as possible.

‘The measures that we have taken this year mean that we can freeze our registration fees in 2017. I am determined that the GMC will continue to exercise discipline in the way that it manages the income from its fees, stretching them as far as they will go to make sure the organisation remains in strong financial health while continuing to improve our services for doctors and patients.

‘Next year we will continue to strengthen our professional support for doctors as well as streamline our fitness to practice procedures to help us avoid carrying out full investigations wherever possible.’

The announcement about next year’s fees follows a major change programme by the GMC which has seen the organisation relocate around 130 posts from London to Manchester, and reform its defined benefit pension scheme for staff. These changes are expected to save the GMC up to £6 million a year by 2018.

To keep its registration fees as low as possible, the GMC is also exploring how to generate additional sources of income – such as charging for some of its services internationally.