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Independent review of GPhC payments needed

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Independent review of GPhC payments needed

The English Pharmacy Board member Sid Dajani has called for an independent panel to review the amount of money paid to council members at the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) and assess the merits of referring each case to its fitness-to-practise committee for a full hearing.

Criticising pharmacy’s regulator for overseeing “unnecessary litigation” and its recent proposals to increase the 2019-20 fees for pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and pharmacy owners, the consultation of which ended last month, Dajani (pictured) accused the GPhC of trying to raise pharmacists’ costs whilst failing to look at efficiency savings from within its own structures.

He questioned why the GPhC had not held a consultation on cost-cutting internally and a review of its own efficiencies. The GPhC’s 14-strong council includes its chairman Nigel Clarke and Digby Emson, who has been chairman of Buttercups Training.

The GPhC had proposed to increase pharmacists’ fees by £7 from £250 to £257, pharmacy technicians by £3 from £118 to £121 and pharmacy premises by £21 from £241 to £262. It was the first proposed increase in fees since 2015.

Writing exclusively for ICP, Dajani said: “The GPhC wants to raise over £750,000 a year to combat an increasing workload. Why is there no GPhC consultation on cost-cutting and reviewing its own efficiency?

“We can consider it moving out of expensive premises in Canary Wharf to a cheaper location as a part of an inner-city regeneration programme where many pharmacies are found.

“We could discuss appointing an independent panel to review council members’ remuneration and governance but above all, review the worthiness of referrals in fitness-to-practise cases - because unnecessarily high rents and costs of unnecessary litigation should not be passed on to registrants and pharmacy owners.

“Their answer is the rises are still below inflation but that’s no excuse. They have a guaranteed set income, regardless of inflation which increases each year, with new registrants outstripping those leaving practice.

“And let’s not forget, pharmacists have not had a pay increase despite increasing workloads or in line with inflation and, unlike the GPhC, owners do not have the luxury of stable business planning due to monthly tariff changes. I’d say the GPhC should cut costs before increasing our hard-sought fees.”

Dajani added: “Today, the GPhC is a vast organisation with a huge budget, guaranteed income and a seemingly insatiable yearning for power. It employs a host of administrators who mostly have little or no experience of pharmacy in practice.”

The GPhC did not respond when contacted by ICP.

 

Dajani’s assessment of pharmacy’s regulator and its approach to cost-efficiencies and regulation will be in March’s edition of ICP.

 

 

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