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GOC statement on staged payments

19 Nov 2009

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ABDO issued an email to its members stating that ‘the GOC has once again refused to allow registrants who need to, to pay in two instalments’. We would like to clarify that this is not the case.

The GOC has not ruled out the introduction of staged payments. However, this is not a facility we are currently able to offer. As explained in our consultation on fees, a change would be required to the Registration Rules to enable payment by instalments. This is due to the drafting of the Rules, which are expressed in terms of a single ‘application fee’ and which require a notice to be sent out by 15 March in the event of non-payment.

Legislative change is a costly, complex and time-consuming process. The minimum time to achieve such a change would be around 18 months, but could be longer.

The GOC has a number of concerns about the possible costs and unintended consequences of such a change to the rules. Missing a payment would mean that a practitioner was removed from the register. This could mean that those registrants experiencing the most severe financial difficulties were unable to work. The additional costs of adapting our systems, following up missed instalments, and dealing with removals and restorations throughout the year would place a further burden on the fee.

We explored the possibility of working with a finance company as a way to provide this facility without the need for legislative change. However, we were not able to pursue this option, as the fee charged to provide the facility would have been unacceptably high in relation to the registration fee. In addition, due to the credit checks required, this approach would have been unlikely to have benefited those in the most stretched financial circumstances.

As a result, Council agreed that it needs to spend more time looking at the full costs and potential risks and benefits of introducing staged payments, before a final decision is taken. An impact assessment will be carried out next year to support this work.
 

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