There is about to be whining. Be warned.
In order to remain a doctor I have to pay £420 every year. This I pay for the privilege of being struck off if I am found unfit to practice. On top of that there is membership of the British Medical Association (£220), and an (effectively mandatory) sign-up to a medical defense union (varies by grade and by union – currently around £50 for me, but increases dramatically as you become more senior). Annually, therefore, I am £700 out-of-pocket simply to do my job. Happy days.
But there’s more. In order to progress in my career, I have to take exams. Currently, I am taking the exams for Membership of the Royal College of Physicians (MRCP), which all medical specialist doctor wannabes need to take. There are separate exams for surgeons (MRCS – take a wild guess) and A&E doctors/GPs/psychiatry etc, which I’m not going to talk about because I know very little about them.
MRCP comes in three parts – £419 each for the first two exams and £657 for the final one. The pass rate for Part 1 is 37%. Even assuming that you stroll through all the exams that you have, first time, and you don’t need to go on any revision courses, it ends up costing you £1500. You need to complete these exams in the 2-year core training block. Therefore, during those two years, you spend at least £2900 in order to ensure you have a career at the end. Going on a simulation course for the final part of MRCP (called PACES – someone probably spent ages coming up with that one so they could prefix ‘putting doctors through their’ on it) can add over a grand, and is heavily recommended. Ouch.
Then there’s skills courses (ultrasound level 1, £250, chest drain insertion, £60 etc etc…) and, to boot, I’ve just had to pay an extra £330 for the joy of spending hours of my own time filling out my e-portfolio (another necessity if I want to continue working). Three and a half grand down the plug so I can go to work, and keep on going to work, for two years. Ever get the feeling you’re being rinsed?