GPhC approves fee hike but says it will review spending

Latest

GPhC approves fee hike but says it will review spending

In Latest

The General Pharmaceutical Council is set to increase its annual fees following a consultation in which a majority of respondents disagreed with the regulator’s proposals, but has said in response to criticisms of its spending that it will seek ways to reduce its expenses including reviewing the location of its current headquarters in Canary Wharf.

It now appears likely that the initial proposals to raise registration and annual renewal fees by £7 for pharmacists, £3 for pharmacy technicians and £21 for registered premises will take effect from July 1, with council members having agreed to progress these changes at the GPhC’s March 7 council meeting.

The GPhC said that of the 5,409 written responses it had to the consultation (which ran from November 2018 to January 2019), 70 per cent disagreed with the increase for pharmacists, 66 per cent with that for technicians and 51 per cent with the increase for registered pharmacies. 41 per cent of respondents did not agree that the proposals were in line with the GPhC’s fees policy.

'Increase is a challenge to absorb'

The GPhC said there were a number of common themes in respondents’ objections, with some saying the financial conditions the sector is facing “make any increase in fees a challenge to absorb” and others saying the regulator is “insulated from the same financial challenges facing the sector”.

Some felt that individuals’ financial circumstances should be taken into account, with flexible fee options depending on income, number of hours worked and whether a registrant is someone with a protected characteristic such as a disability. Some argued for higher fees for those whose conduct led to them being the subject of fitness-to-practise cases.

The GPhC responded: “We recognise the financial climate and uncertainty in which our registrants are working, whether that be in community pharmacy, primary care, hospitals or other settings. Our decisions in previous years to freeze fees and also to avoid significant increases in this year took into account the financial challenges of individuals on our register and the sector at large.”

The GPhC said it is looking into flexible fee options but that it is “difficult to commit to particular options for discounts or pro-rata payments” until its review (which is currently underway) is complete.

Noting that “some respondents made specific mention of not being able to claim tax relief on their fee payments,” the GPhC advised that “this is a possibility to help manage the costs of registration”.

The regulator’s role

Some respondents’ objections may arise from a lack of understanding of the role of the regulator, the GPhC claimed, with a number of them appearing to have “expectations for the GPhC to play a role representing the professions’ or sector’s interests in matters such as managing workforce numbers and negotiating staff salaries and contract remuneration.”

The GPhC said: “We need to do more to address some of the misunderstandings amongst some of our registrants about the role that we perform on behalf of members of the public through regulation of pharmacy. And we need to make clear that this role sets us apart from the pharmacy sector.

“This means that the options to challenge our costs are not the same as pharmacy organisations and we are not able to represent the views of the professions and sector on matters that are for professional and trade associations.”

Unpopular

The GPhC acknowledged the fact the pharmacy professions had not welcomed the fee proposals but claimed that despite being unpopular they were necessary: “Our income and fees must ensure that we can continue to work effectively as regulator in the long term. Effective regulation benefits not only patients and the public, but also registrants.

“Being a registered professional, or providing services from a registered pharmacy, means that patients can have confidence in the safety and effectiveness of pharmacy services.”

The regulator acknowledged there had been several “negative comments about the consultation exercise” by respondents who felt they “ would not be listened to and that the GPhC had already made its decision”.

Spending

Some have criticised the regulator for asking for a fee increase from registrants before maximising efficiencies in its spending. For example, in its consultation response the Pharmacists’ Defence Association argued that the GPhC’s spending on its Canary Wharf premises, council member remuneration and litigation were excessive and that efficiencies should first be sought in these areas.

The regulator responded: “We will continue to challenge our costs and improve efficiency and effectiveness. Our annual plan for 2019-20 makes clear some of the measures that we intend to consider to achieve this goal. Now included within our work for next year is the initiation of a review of our current accommodation and future options.

“We are also intending to continue to make improvements to our systems to improve service experience and improve efficiency and effectiveness. And we will continue to challenge our costs more generally and our 2019-20 budget includes a further £720,000 efficiency saving."

Record my learning outcomes

Latest

Inspiring stories related to health, fitness and the pursuit of wellbeing

Share:

More like this

bookmark_icon_off
Latest

Locate a Locum Learning launched

Locate Learning launches today, increasing members access to extensive learning library.

1 Min Article

bookmark_icon_off
Latest

MHRA issues thermometer warning

MHRA issues thermometer warning after increase in the number of unreliable products available in the UK. 

1 Min Article

bookmark_icon_off
Latest

Nearly 90 per cent of adults would have tested positive for Covid-19 antibodies in June, says ONS

ONS estimates vast majority would have had antibodies in mid-June.

1 Min Article

bookmark_icon_off
Latest

New NHS clinics to provide pelvic floor support for women

Pregnant women and new mums are to receive support from new NHS clinics.

1 Min Article

bookmark_icon_off
Latest

NICE recommends mental health support for people with acne

Mental health support is key in managing acne vulgaris, says clinical watchdog.

1 Min Article

bookmark_icon_off
Latest

RPS calls for action on women's health inequalities

Action is needed to reduce the inequalities faced by women when accessing health services, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society has said. 

1 Min Article

bookmark_icon_off
Latest

Reports of potential bidding war over LloydsPharmacy

LloydsPharmacy could be the target of a three-way bidding war fought among financial investors over the next few weeks, it has been reported.

1 Min Article

bookmark_icon_off
Latest

Dukes to leave PSNC in September

PSNC chief executive Simon Dukes will leave his post at the end of September after just over three and-a-half years in the role.

1 Min Article

bookmark_icon_off
Latest

NHSE: Pharmacy must speak 'as one' to gain power

Community pharmacies need to speak 'as one' to gain greater influence within primary care, a senior NHS England official has said. 

1 Min Article

bookmark_icon_off
Latest

E-cig loophole puts minors at risk, Government told

A charity criticises the government for failing to close a loophole allowing companies to hand out free e-cigarettes to under-18s. 

1 Min Article

bookmark_icon_off
Latest

Lloyds pulls nasal spray over 'bold' Covid claims

LloydsPharmacy has "paused" sales of a £15 nasal spray that claims to neutralise the coronavirus before it can make people ill.

1 Min Article

bookmark_icon_off
Latest

DH sets ambitious targets for winter flu programme

The Department of Health and Social Care announces that it aims to vaccinate 85 per cent of people aged 65 and over against influenza.

1 Min Article

bookmark_icon_off
Latest

Wright review group to hold focus groups to form proposals

The Wright review steering group will hold a series of online focus groups and workshops this month and in August.

1 Min Article

bookmark_icon_off
Latest

Two Solihull pharmacists jailed for illegal supply of POMs

Dean Dookhan and Narvinder Nandra pleaded guilty to two charges concerning the illegal supply of 21,000 Zolpidem pills.

1 Min Article

bookmark_icon_off
Latest

Pharmacist to run London marathon for charity

Pharmacist Mohammed Hussain will run the London marathon to raise money for Pharmacist Support.

1 Min Article

bookmark_icon_off
Latest

Boots opens flu jab bookings as demand soars

Boots says it has opened bookings for its winter flu jab service amid reports of soaring demand. 

1 Min Article

bookmark_icon_off
Latest

Running app downloaded over five million times this month

The Couch to 5K app contains advice and information from a celebrity coach to help users record their progress. 

1 Min Article

bookmark_icon_off
Latest

Drug companies fined £260m for "excessive and unfair" price hikes to hydrocortisone tablets over a 10 year period.

1 Min Article

bookmark_icon_off
Latest

IBS sufferers worried about return to workplace

People with irritable bowel syndrome are anxious about lockdown easing and the prospect of going back to the workplace contributing to their symptoms.

1 Min Article

bookmark_icon_off
Latest

GPhC too soft on corporate multiples claims PDA

The GPhC is disproportionately tough on individual registrants compared to pharmacy owners and premises, the PDA has claimed. 

1 Min Article

Recommended Learning

bookmark icon off
Sponsored education

Skincare training for pharmacy

Delve into dry skin management and understand how you can make a difference to customers looking for advice, support and product recommendations to help manage their compromised skin.

15 Min Module

bookmark icon off
Sponsored education

Fungal Nail Roundup

Complete this short interactive module to refresh your knowledge on identifying and treating fungal nail infections, and discover more about a product you can recommend to customers.

5 Min Module

bookmark icon off
Sponsored education

Understanding constipation treatments

Discover the key benefits of different types of laxatives, and the right questions to ask customers to ensure you know which to recommend

10 Min Module

bookmark icon off
Sponsored education

Understanding the impact of dry skin conditions

Learn about the emotional impact of dry and eczema-prone skin, and confidently recommend products for skin treatment and maintenance.

10 Min Module

bookmark icon off
Sponsored education

VIAGRA® CONNECT at the Counter

Build your confidence in advising customers with erection problems so you can help make a real difference to their lives 

2 Min Module

bookmark icon off
Sponsored education

Supporting customers to sleep better

Explore the rotating pack shot to find out more about Nytol Liquid Caramel Flavour, a clinically-proven alternative to sleeping tablets, and understand how you can support customers to sleep better.

5 Min Module