In a consultation – which ran from November 2018 to January 2019 – the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) proposed increasing pharmacist renewal fees by £7, premises renewal fees by £21 and pharmacy technicians renewal fees by £3.
Having considered the consultation responses, the GPhC is proposing to implement the increased fees of £257 for pharmacists, £121 for pharmacy technicians and £262 for premises – which remain unchanged from its original proposals – from July 1.
Announcing the proposals at a council meeting in October, the regulator said the fee for registered pharmacies will be higher than the fee for pharmacists “for the first time”. The proposed increases follow three years of frozen renewal fees.
However, analysis of the 5,409 consultation responses showed that 70% of pharmacy professionals and organisations disagreed with increasing the fees for pharmacists, while 66% disagreed with increasing the fees for pharmacy technicians and 51% opposed increasing premises fees.
The GPhC said it “recognised the financial climate and uncertainty in which our registrants are working” and it will “continue to challenge our costs”, including a pledge to secure a £720,000 efficiency saving for 2019-20.
“However, our income and fees must ensure that we can continue to work effectively as a regulator in the long term,” it said in papers published ahead of its council meeting on Thursday (March 7).
“The GPhC faces similar financial challenges and in order to continue effectively in our role in protecting the public, we need to take necessary steps to increase our fees,” it added.
The council will consider the consultation responses at the meeting on Thursday before any decisions are made, the GPhC stressed.
Office move considered
In its annual plan for 2019-20, the GPhC outlined ways it intends to “improve efficiency and effectiveness”, including the possibility of moving from its offices in Canary Wharf, London, the regulator said.
The GPhC moved to 25 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, in 2014, when it said it had been quoted an annual rent of £35 per square foot – equating to £1,347,500. It also pointed out that it would be exempt from paying VAT on rent in Canary Wharf.
In its latest council papers, the GPhC also said that alongside its efficiency savings work, “we will explore how we might be able to develop a more flexible set of fee arrangements and better allocate the cost of regulations to our registrants”.