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GPhC to raise fees despite opposition

Duncan Rudkin: Fee rise "necessary" to meet growing costs of regulation

Chief executive Duncan Rudkin says the regulator has "carefully considered" that 60 per cent of registrants oppose a £10 hike in fees

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) will go ahead with October’s fee rise despite opposition from the sector.

Sixty per cent of 1,072 respondents to a GPhC consultation “disagreed or strongly disagreed” with the regulator’s plans to raise pharmacists’ registration fees by £10 to £250, it said in its council meeting notes last week (June 11). Sixty-five per cent were opposed to raising technician’s registrants fees by the same amount to £118, it added.

GPhC chief executive Duncan Rudkin said the regulator had “carefully considered” the concerns of respondents, but stressed that the new fees were “necessary” to meet the growing costs of regulation.

An analysis of the GPhC’s consultation, which ran from February to May, revealed that the fee rises for pharmacists and technicians were only supported by 17 per cent and 16 per cent of respondents respectively.

Thirty-four per cent of respondents also disagreed with the £20 hike in premises fees to £241, compared to 26 per cent who supported it, the GPhC said.

The regulator highlighted that the increase followed an “extended period” when fees had either been reduced or stayed the same. The planned increases would leave fees lower than in 2011, when pharmacists were charged £262 and pharmacy technicians £142, it pointed out.

The consultation had revealed “broad support” for the GPhC’s approach to working out the fees, it said. But “numerous respondents” had argued that it was “unfair and disproportionate" that registrants working part-time had to pay a full fee.

The regulator responded that introducing a payment system based on the number of hours worked would be “complex and costly to administer”. The costs of regulating the sector - such as setting standards and investigating fitness to practise concerns - were not affected by the number of hours a registrant worked, it said.

Direct debit fees

The GPhC added that it would scrap its £15 administration fee for quarterly direct debits in response to “a number of respondents” who “expressed frustration” with the current payment system. This meant that pharmacists and technicians paying in this way would see the overall cost of their registration drop by £5, it stressed.

The regulator agreed with some respondents that offering a monthly direct debit scheme would also be "an attractive option". Although it pledged to look into this further, it would be "complex" to implement and would not be possible before the new fees were introduced in October, it said.

 


What do you think of the fees rises?

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13 Comments

John Randell, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

why have a consultation when you are going to do it anyway

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

it keeps people busy pushing paper around their desks at the HQ amongst the bankers in docklands. can't have them sitting round doing nothning.

Angela Channing, Community pharmacist

I know! Surely there was somewhere cheaper in London for Dunc and Co. to sit and shuffle paper?? !! What exactly does he DO all day?

Neeraj Salwan, Superintendent Pharmacist

Ok so let me get this right, GPhC not siding with their memberships opinions hmmm I always thought they were their to support us... So if we were to take a vote on cutting the salaries of GPhC staff, FtP committee members etc & the massive rent/ rates of a swanky London office would the majority of the membership be in favour and would this result be ignored...

Dodo pharmacist, Community pharmacist

The GPhC are not there to support us, they are there to investigate, discipline and remove us from the register. It is time pharmacists woke up to this.

Super Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

Have a consultation, the result of which is opposition to a hike, take it into consideration then still go ahead with your original plan anyway. What a waste of time!

Brian Smith, Pharmacy technician

Totally agree. Many pharmacy people i know work part time hours and to disregard the feelings of the respndents is an absolute waste of everyones precious time. I work in the NHS and have had a fabulous 1% pay rise. Some people in other areas of pharmacy have had no pay rise and even pay cuts and the NHS don't pay our fees. Those that have agreed with the increase are obviously earning much more than the rest of us.

Angela Channing, Community pharmacist

I would LOVE a 1% pay rise. The last rise I had was in 2008. That is 7 years ago, yes, SEVEN! So think yourself lucky. And 2 chains I work for have CUT rates, one by 13% and the other by 21%.

John Smith, Locum pharmacist

Are we to believe that 40% of pharmacists were in favour of giving more of their hard earned cash to the GPhC, who routinely kick pharmacists off the register for minor misdemeanours?

Kevin Western, Community pharmacist

GPhC costs are split between Pharmacists and contractors via premises fees I guess contractors would rather P'cists paid more as well as them for premises

John Alan James Robinson, Superintendent Pharmacist

I rather thought that inflation or even perhaps deflation had been the order of the day for the last three years. We hear that Tesco has cut locum fees by 50p per hour. Further there are more pharmacists qualifying which equals more revenue . Perhaps more work ? Probably more a function of the increased scrutiny that prevails. Do we know what has happened to salaries at the GPhC ? Some employers pay, many don't. As ever, lawyers don't come cheap. Premises fees I understand. personal fees not so sure.

Antonio Lex, Primary care pharmacist

its understandable, it has been frozen for 3three years and is small in comparison to many other jobs that require membership of a governing body. Furthermore dont most employers pay for fees? Mine does.

Dave Downham, Manager

Exactly the point - it's a cost on employers that is not perceived to add any value.

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