General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) chief executive Duncan Rudkin has said the regulator will examine the cost-efficiency of being based in Canary Wharf as part of a financial strategy review later this year.

Confirming there will be an increase to entry and renewal fees for pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and registered pharmacies from July 1 following a consultation, Rudkin said the GPhC acknowledged the majority of respondents opposed the rises as well as calls to consider other cost-saving measures such as relocating its headquarters.

The rises, the first since 2015, will see fees for pharmacists rise from £250 to £257, pharmacy technicians from £118 to £121 and pharmacy premises from £241 to £262.

Rudkin said the review would also look at introducing “a more flexible set of fee arrangements for people in different circumstances.”

“Some people replying to the consultation called for the GPhC to demonstrate further efficiency savings and said we should review our current accommodation. As an organisation we are committed to improving our efficiency and effectiveness,” he said.

“The Council has committed that in the coming year, we will develop a longer term financial strategy which includes a comprehensive review of costs and fees as well as an accommodation review.

“As part of this review, we will also explore how we might be able to develop a more flexible set of fee arrangements for people in different circumstances, and make sure that the respective costs of regulating pharmacy technicians, pharmacists and registered pharmacies continue to be allocated proportionately.

“This was another of the main suggestions in the responses to the consultation and something we have already committed to review.”

On the fee increases, Rudkin said: “Our Council carefully considered the consultation responses including the concerns raised and the overall economic context. Following that consideration, it was decided it was necessary to increase fees, for the first time since 2015.

“We have been able to keep fees at the same level in recent years through making efficiency savings and using some of our financial reserves but as we continue to see increases in our workload and costs, we do now need to make these increases in fees.

“Our role is to protect the public and give them assurance that they will receive safe and effective care when using pharmacy services. We have to make sure we have the resources necessary to carry out our regulatory functions effectively on their behalf.

“In common with the other health professions, the law requires regulation to be funded by the people and businesses being regulated, rather than being funded by government from taxation.”

 

 

Picture: rabbit75_ist (iStock)

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