Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The JCST is an intercollegiate body, working on behalf of the 4 surgical colleges in the UK and Ireland as well as with the surgical specialty associations. It also works closely with postgraduate deaneries/Local Education and Training Boards (LETBs), schools of surgery and organisations representing trainees. With a Specialty Advisory Committee (SAC) for each of the 10 surgical specialties, 5 Training Interface Groups (TIGs) covering areas straddling more than one specialty and an Intercollegiate Core Surgical Training Committee (CSTC), it is the parent body for the Intercollegiate Surgical Curriculum Programme (ISCP) and responsible for developing and maintaining standards across surgical training, within the General Medical Council's (GMC) regulatory framework.

SACs and the staff teams who support them enrol trainees at the start of their training, monitor their progress and make recommendations to the GMC when they are ready for the award of their Certificates (CCT or CESR CP). On behalf of the GMC, SAC panels also evaluate applications for Certificates of Eligibility for Specialist Registration (CESRs).

When was the fee introduced and why?

The fee was introduced in August 2008. It is being used to support the running costs of the Joint Committee on Surgical Training (JCST), including the Intercollegiate Surgical Curriculum Programme (ISCP).

The fee was introduced to support the surgical Royal Colleges, which no longer receive regular government funding to support the costs of the JCST. The costs include those associated with trainee enrolment and recommendation for certification; the work of the Specialty Advisory Committees (SACs); curriculum educational review, evaluation and development; website support; and continuous improvements to our online systems.

The Colleges met the running costs of the ISCP (curriculum development and website development) during the first year of operation and from August 2008 onwards trainees have been charged to cover costs. The Colleges have continued to contribute to the costs of both the JCST and the ISCP.

There were discussions between ASiT and BOTA before the fee was introduced and both are represented at JCST meetings and other committees. We acknowledge that the trainee organisations opposed the introduction of the fee and continue to have strong reservations.

The Joint Committee for Postgraduate Training in Dentistry (JCTPD) adopted the ISCP for dental surgical training from August 2011. The fee has been set at 50% of the surgical fee because dental surgical trainees do not make use of the full range of JCST services.

You can find more information about JCST finances and how we use the fee in the January editions of our twice-yearly JCST newsletter.

Who does the fee apply to?

The fee applies to all surgical trainees who started training on or after 1 August 2007, and those who moved/switched from the Calman/SpR system to the StR training system. It also applies to those who are not in approved training programmes (or Calman/SpR trainees still in programme), who wish to use the interactive sections of the Intercollegiate Surgical Curriculum Programme (ISCP) website to record progress. Please see below for further details:

Surgical trainees in approved training programmes/posts

All surgical trainees enrolled with JCST, in an approved training programme or post, who also use the ISCP. 

Non-trainees (or trainees not in approved training programmes/posts)

Any doctors not in training programmes/posts who may want to use the interactive tools in ISCP and seek advice from JCST.

Dental trainees

A number of dental surgical specialties have adopted the ISCP. Please refer to your SAC if you are not sure whether it has been implemented in your specialty.

If you have further queries about this subject, please contact the ISCP helpdesk:

How much is the fee?

Please refer to table below:

2016-17  2017-18  2018-19   2019-20 
Surgical Trainee £185 £220 £255  £255 £260 £260  £260
Dental Trainee £92.50 £110 £127.50  £127.50 £130 £130  £130
Non-trainee/Other £185 £220 £255  £255 £260  £260 £260

Further details about the fee and increases can be found here.

How do you pay?

The fee is payable by logging into your ISCP account and following the ‘JCST fee’ link under the ‘Dashboard’ heading. Some Surgical Colleges also have arrangements in place to allow trainees to combine fee payments with College membership fee payments.

What sort of payment method is accepted?

You can pay the fee using your credit/debit card. American Express is not accepted.

The JCST fee should be paid up-front i.e. at the point of access/start of the academic year; payment should be made in full, with the fee amount calculated according to training status. Please note, monthly payment options are not compatible with the ISCP system.

Why is this not part of my College membership fee?

The fee is specifically to cover training costs rather than the broader College membership costs. However, the Edinburgh and Glasgow Colleges now have arrangements in place to allow trainees to combine payment of the fee with their membership fees.

Can I get tax relief?

Yes. The fee is now tax deductible. Further details can be found here.

What happens if I do not pay the fee?

If you do not pay the fee, you will be unable to access the interactive elements of the curriculum’s web platform, will not be able to use the ISCP system as your online training portfolio (e.g. for learning agreements and workplace-based assessments), and the JCST will not be able to process requests such as those for support for out of programme training and ultimately recommend you for certification. Surgical trainees have until the end of October to pay the fee.

I am a surgical trainee only working part-time; do I have to pay the full fee?

You can apply for a proportional payment (e.g. if you work 70% of a week, you could apply to pay 70% of the current fee). The JCST will ask the Training Programme Director (TPD)/Deanery/LETB to confirm your circumstances and, once we receive the notification from them that your reasons are acceptable, we will activate your ISCP account access.

As a Calman trainee, not using the website, do I have to pay?

No. Please refer to Who does the fee apply to?

I am a surgical trainee going on an out of programme post (or prolonged leave of any kind). Do I have to pay the fee?

If your out of programme post (normally an OOPT or an OOPR) has been prospectively approved by the GMC and is to count towards certification, you will need to pay the fee. If your circumstances change, please contact the helpdesk.

If your out of programme activity is not going to count towards certification (OOPE, OOPC or other), at present you would not be expected to pay. If you plan to add new evidence to your portfolio while undertaking the activity, however, you will be required to pay a third of the full fee on a proportional basis.

(Example: if in August 2015 you were undertaking a 12 month OOPE which was not counting towards your certification and wished to add evidence, you would have to pay a third of £255 i.e. £85; if you were doing 6 months in training and 6 months in OOPE, you would have to pay £127.5 to cover your time in training and £42.5 if you wished to add new evidence to your portfolio whilst in the OOPE. PLEASE NOTE THAT ANY FURTHER INCREASES TO THE TRAINEE FEE WILL AFFECT THE VALUES/AMOUNTS USED IN THIS EXAMPLE.)

You should also still inform the JCST that you will be out of programme, even if the time is not counting.

Please note that the above does not apply to academic trainees i.e. Academic Clinical Fellows (ACFs) and Academic Clinical Lecturers (ACLs). Academic trainees are considered to be in full time training.

The JCST may agree to waive the fee for trainees working on an unpaid basis in low income economies as defined by the World Bank, whether with an aid or disaster relief agency or via an independent arrangement. This will apply to prospectively approved periods of out of programme training (OOPT) of at least 6 months’ duration and will be on a pro rata basis to cover the time spent working in the country in question. We shall consider each case individually and the ultimate decision will rest with the JCST Chair.

Is there a discount if I (surgical trainee) only have 6 months left in my training or if my start date is deferred beyond October?

Trainees who have less than 12 months left for their training can pay less than the full fee i.e. 50% if they are training for six months.

You should inform the JCST if your start date is beyond October, as we will need to ascertain how much of the fee you will be required to pay for that academic year (e.g. if you enter training in April you will be required to pay the fee from April to end of July). You will also be required to pay the fee up until your expected certification date (if applicable).

In both cases, your Training Programme Director or the Deanery/LETB will be notified to confirm your circumstances and, once we receive the notification from them that your reasons are acceptable, we will activate your ISCP account access.

Please note that, before JCST confirms part-payments, it will seek Deanery/LETB clarification

Can I get a refund?

If you are entitled to a refund and it is within a year of the payment for which you wish to receive a refund, we will process it. Otherwise, if more than a year has passed, we will credit your account instead.

What people or organisations have access to my payment information?

The JCST / ISCP helpdesk.

Who can I contact for further information?

Please contact the ISCP helpdesk ( or the JCST Trainee Services Team.