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GPhC defends £103 premises fee increase for pharmacy

Pharmacy professionals have until March 31 to respond to the consultation
Pharmacy professionals have until March 31 to respond to the consultation

The GPhC is “no longer in a position” to subsidise pharmacy premises fees, its director of inspection and fitness-to-practise Claire Bryce-Smith has said.

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has previously “covered some of the costs of the registration fees” for pharmacy premises owners out of its financial “reserves”.

However, the regulator is no longer able to do so, despite cost-saving measures and and an “ongoing efficiency plan”, Ms Bryce-Smith said in a video addressing the annual Sigma conference in Cebu, the Philippines last week (February 18).

The regulator, which is currently consulting on proposals to increase pharmacy premises fees by £103, from £262 to £365, needs to “ensure that those costs are covered fully”, she added.

When the consultation was announced in January, the GPhC said it was “proposing this increase now because we need a robust and sustainable financial framework with fees that reflect the true cost of regulation”.

There will be no fee increases for pharmacists or pharmacy technicians, only for contractors, Ms Bryce-Smith reiterated.

“The consultation is asking whether you think the fees for pharmacy premises should be covered by those we're actually regulating,” she said.

The GPhC is also looking into a “future fees strategy” that may involve “more differentiated fees”. This could include taking into account the “scale of the operation and the services which are actually being provided,” Ms Bryce-Smith added.

Pharmacy professionals can read the full consultation document here and have until March 31 to respond.

6 Comments
Question: 
What do you make of Ms Bryce-Smith's comments?

Ben Merriman, Community pharmacist

Any mention of those pharmacists, technicians and pharmacy contractors that find themselves no longer in a position to subsidise a regulator that failed to meet four out of ten fitness to practise standards of good regulation? https://www.chemistanddruggist.co.uk/news/watchdog-raises-concerns-over-gphcs-fitness-to-practise-process

Richard MacLeavy, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

The problem at the GPHC is that last year they lost money. The fees paid by pharmacists, techs and contractors did not cover the cost of operating the GPHC. Ms Bryce-Smith takes the view that the GPHC "subsidises" fees for contractors as a result. Of course that is one way to view the problem. The other way is look at it like NB has, pointing out that they could be far more efficient in the way they operate highlighting their premises at Canary Wharf as an example of costs which could be much better controlled. Its worth considering that in your average pharmacy you will have the contractor paying £265, at least one pharmacist paying £250 and at least one tech paying £118. So £633 per pharmacy for the cost of regulation and they inspect once every 4 years or so. At £2,532 per inspection, its a real insult to suggest that the costs are in some way subsidised. 

Benie I, Locum pharmacist

More interesting is to consider how they will make ends meet once the  pharmacies have been culled down to the numbers desired by the governement and pharmacists are largely replaced by robots and removing the requiremnt for pharmacists being necessary for a phamacy to operate.

Will registration fees be £1000s per annum for the 'lucky' remaining few.

N B, Community pharmacist

Get out of Canary wharf. ! The GPHC should be disbanded. They are not worthy of regulation. their FTP has been discredited and they bring our profession into disrepute. I want to know who is accountable.!!

Leon The Apothecary, Student

The GPhC is also looking into a “future fees strategy” that may involve “more differentiated fees”. This could include taking into account the “scale of the operation and the services which are actually being provided,” Ms Bryce-Smith added.

That is the kind of comment that worries me because, in my opinion, that kind of change creates a tiered ecosystem; one where Pharmacies are forced to focus on milestones instead of a patient-centric approach.

anti-depressed Pharmacist, Manager

They want to create new taxes/fees because once p2u and amazon dominate there will be very few pharmay premises tax. In other words they will tax you on how many item you dispense and pharmacist will be taxed on what services they provide (flu jab, ehc, etc). I said it before the only thing the gphc is protecting is their pension.

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