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‘Completely wrong’ to move GPhC from London

Duncan Rudkin says the regulator took "external advice" before moving to Canary Wharf

The regulator needed to remain in the capital to retain staff, says chief executive Duncan Rudkin


The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has justified its decision to remain in London in the face of criticism from fee-payers.

A “number of respondents” to a GPhC consultation on fee rises had suggested that the organisation should move its headquarters outside of the capital to save money, the regulator said in notes from its council meeting last week (June 11).

The GPhC moved its offices from Lambeth to Canary Wharf last September, and GPhC chief executive Duncan Rudkin stressed that it would have been “completely wrong for the organisation to move out of London”.

It was “very important” that the GPhC did not “lose all the experienced staff we’d started to build”, and this was a “powerful factor” in its decision to remain in the city, Mr Rudkin told C+D in an exclusive interview on Monday (June 15).

Mr Rudkin welcomed the points raised by respondents to the GPhC consultation, which ran from February to May.

It would have been “a shame” if the GPhC had not been confronted on its office costs, he said. “The accommodation for all organisations is a line of cost, so it’s right that it is scrutinised,” he said.

The regulator had undergone a “thorough process with external advice” when deciding on the location of its new headquarters, pointed out Mr Rudkin. He stressed its offices at Canary Wharf provided “good value for registrants”.

The GPhC had also started to hire out its hearing rooms “from time to time” when it had spare capacity, he said.

“We are not missing out on any opportunity to challenge ourselves to manage and contain costs wherever we can,” Mr Rudkin added. 

How much does the new GPhC headquarters cost?

Last year, the regulator said it had been quoted an annual rent of £35 per square foot - equating to £1,347,500 - for its new premises in 25 Canada Square. 

At the time, the GPhC stressed that this figure did not reflect the total value of the deal, which it would not fully reveal because the details were commercially sensitive. It pointed out that it would be exempt from paying VAT on rent in Canary Wharf.

In comparison, the General Medical Council paid £3.7 million to rent its London headquarters in 2012, while the General Dental Council only paid £351,000 to rent three London premises for the same year.


Was the GPhC right to remain in London?

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Neeraj Salwan, Superintendent Pharmacist

Sounds like an edition of the FIFA files, lets get the yanks in to deconstruct these money crazed, living in another world from the rest of us dinosaurs...

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

Nice Idea but football will survive their little blip. Pharmacy would only crumble.

Aslam Bakarally, Community pharmacist

If they want to stay in London they should move to Dagenham cheapest place for rent that I know and also help with its regeneration in some indirect way. Otherwise an industrial estate near Stockton on Tees will do fine.

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

Doesn't matter anyway. Soon there won't be much to regulate. Rudders and co will have filled their boots by then before swanning off for directorships at Boots, Lloyds etc....

Robert Goff, Industrial pharmacist

Here we go again another London centric body justifying the desire of their top people not to move out ofthe city. Obviously the flights into London City are a lot more convenient for Mr Rudkin, I'm sure Manchester could be just as easy ...

John Randell, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

it was “very important” that the GPhC did not “lose all the experienced staff we’d started to build”, and this was a “powerful factor” in its decision WHAT AN EXCUSE MOST OF THE STAFF SONT LIVE THE CENTER OF LONDON IF ANYTHING ITS A PAIN GETTING TO WORK.... sorry for the caps really tickled by this all

Farmer Cyst, Community pharmacist

I understand the need for first rate organisations, or any international company to be in the centre of London. It's largely vanity, but it bestows an image of presteige and no doubt makes it easier to 'meet the right people'. Pharmacy is not such a profession. It's dying on it's arse, to put it crudely. It's extremely frustrating to see that the only people who get to feel like professionals in this God forsaken career choice is Mr Rudkin and his posse, and he'd have got that being a dentist anyway. No one is ever going to take us seriously. The G.Ps are too well organised and too popular, the people that 'manage' us are often fresh from a branch of T-Mobile (and so see no reason things can't run the same) right up until the continual disappointment that is the PSNC. No, Pharmacy is done for, it doesn't need expensive, centrally located buildings in London. The government can ignore us just as well if we were on the Isle of Wight as the Isle of Dogs.

John Randell, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

"Pharmacy is not such a profession. It's dying on it's arse, to put it crudely. perhaps thats why they choose to make bed where the banks bed......look what banks are know dont know when the next one will go

Yasif Salim, Community pharmacist

Greed says it all

Paul Knapton, Community pharmacist

OK, they need to stay in London to retain their staff. But why not open another Hearings Centre in the North of the UK? I feel sorry for the Scottish registrants who are called to attend Canary Wharf.

M Yang, Community pharmacist

Give it a few years and the UK (in its current form) might not even exist. By then we'll probably have separate regulatory bodies for Scotland and England. Cheaper to have an HQ in Glasgow or Edinburgh, if you ask me.

Farmer Cyst, Community pharmacist

(Note, I am not a spokesman for the GPhC, merely a Pharmacist who likes to state fictional answers to questions) - Regrettably they spent all the money on really nice chairs, computers and desks for themselves, and so the funds simply were not availablke to open a second centre up in somewhere that isn't London. Also added to that they simply don't care - they're going to strike you off if the multiple tells them too or not, why would they come up there to strike you off when they could make you come to them?!

Shameful and self-serving. The irony is that the GPhC recently commented about the limited reflection that registrants demonstrated in their CPD. Perhaps they should get their own - palatial - house in order first. If it has to be London, why the most expensive part?? I know that writing this is a waste of time because anything we say won't derail this gravy train. We're just the poor saps who are obliged to pay their wages and the inflated property rental - why should we get a say?

geoffrey gardener, Community pharmacist

So those of us who live and work in the real world are having to run harder and harder just to stand still, whilst our regulators stick two fingers up at us from the top of their ivory tower, nice work if you can get it.

Dave Downham, Manager

I wonder who provided the "external advice" and how much that cost to justify staying? Maybe a move to Monaco to be closer to the boss of GPhC's main source of income is on the cards.

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

Laugh or cry? you choose.

Kevin Western, Community pharmacist

It would be better if the GPhC could provide some evidence for how paying FOUR TIMES what the GMC pay is good value for me, given my utter lack of desire to use the place.

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