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PSNI delay over fee payments is to ‘detriment’ of pharmacists, warns PDA

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PSNI delay over fee payments is to ‘detriment’ of pharmacists, warns PDA

The Pharmacists’ Defence Association has said it is disappointed pharmacists in Northern Ireland will not be able to pay their retention fees in instalments from next month despite their regulatory and professional body reaching an agreement on that with pharmacy’s union last year.

The Pharmaceutical Society of Northern Ireland said it had to delay giving pharmacists the option of paying their fees in quarterly direct debit payments from June because it “requires legislative change to take effect.” The PSNI said it was working to ensure pharmacists can pay in quarterly payments from 2025-26.

The PDA, who said it raised concerns with the PSNI after a survey of the union’s members found fees on average accounted for 23 per cent of a pharmacist’s take-home pay for one month, said members told it fees were “a significant financial burden on them and their households during the ongoing cost of living crisis.”

The PDA also said its survey revealed 97 per cent of members felt fees were too high and 80 per cent would choose to pay in instalments if possible.

It warned the delay was “to the detriment of PDA members and indeed all PSNI registrants” and insisted it compounded “disparities between pharmacists and other sectors of the healthcare workforce.”

“Unfortunately, many pharmacists, particularly those working less than full-time hours or on maternity leave, may have budgeted according to the PSNI’s original statement of intent,” the PDA said, insisting it would “continue to press this as a matter of high priority.”

The PSNI, who promised not to increase the annual £398 renewal fee, said: “We have undertaken a significant amount of work to bring about the functional changes to enable payments to be made by instalments but unfortunately it also requires legislative change to take effect.

“We understand that instalments are a preferred method of payment for many of our registrants and are continuing to progress this matter to ensure we have the necessary regulations in place to allow for such payments to be made in 25-26.”

 

 

 

 

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