The council declared a rise in the renewal fees for pharmacy workers starting next year
The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has decided to increase the renewal fees of pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and pharmacy premises by 7.5% from April 2024.
The pharmacy technician’s renewal fee will see an increase by £9 from £121 to £130, pharmacists fees from £257 to £276, and pharmacy premises from £365 to £392.
The following decision came even despite the renewal fees being frozen for individual registrants since 2019 and for pharmacy premises since 2021.
This move was facilitated through cost savings measures like using financial reserves and downsizing to a smaller office.
However, the council confirmed that the fee hike is due to higher rates of inflation, increase in utility bills and supplier costs.
Duncan Rudkin, Chief Executive and Registrar of the GPhC, said: “We know that these are challenging times and that this increase will come as unwelcome news to those we regulate. But to be effective in our role of protecting the public we need to make sure the fees we charge cover the cost of regulation going forward.”
Giving reasons for the fee rise, Rudkin stated that they are subject to the same “inflationary pressures and financial challenges” as those they regulate.
The Council concluded that it took the “difficult decision” to raise the fees in order to be in a position to continue to carry out regulatory work.
“We are working in a changing environment and have to adapt accordingly and regulate in a world where pharmacy is evolving at pace,” Rudkin said.
“This will continue to lead to significant changes in the scope and complexity of our work, on top of the major projects we are already undertaking such as reforms to initial education and training; post-registration assurance of practice, and the development of new standards following legislative change.
“In taking this difficult decision, we are ensuring we can carry out our statutory duties and continue to ensure patients and the public receive safe and effective pharmacy care and have trust in pharmacy, now and in the future,” he added.
The Council received 7129 responses to the consultation on fees, which closed on 8 August 2023, and many of them disagreed with the proposed increases.
Responding to the feedback on paying fees differently, the GPhC said that it will be “looking into the feasibility of offering a monthly direct debit option, in addition to the current option to pay by quarterly direct debit.”
In the near future, the GPhC is planning to move towards a more regular and incremental approach to fee setting to provide more certainty about future fees and enable any fee changes to be introduced more gradually in the future.