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GPhC proposes 4 per cent increase for 2012 renewal fee (updated)

By News team

Proposed fees for renewal of General Pharmaceutical Council registration for 2011-12 were agreed at a GPhC meeting on 10 February 2011 and will be published for consultation this week (17 February 2011).

Fees for pharmacists and premises will rise by 4 per cent to £272 and £226, respectively, and technician fees will drop by about 15 per cent to £120, if the proposals are agreed after a 12-week consultation period.

Paying by credit card will incur a 2 per cent charge and by quarterly direct debit a £15 charge. Payment by debit card or annual direct debit will not incur any additional charges.

Chief executive of the GPhC Duncan Rudkin told PJ Online that in setting the fees, the GPhC had considered the income needed to fund its functions and responsibilities, the level of fees relative to other regulators, current and future inflation rates and proportionality between what regulation costs and what registrants are being asked to pay.

A reduction is proposed for technicians to better reflect costs and to bring these fees more in line with fees for comparable professions. Mr Rudkin explained that, although for many aspects of regulation the costs for pharmacists and technicians will be broadly similar, fitness to practise cases, which represent a significant proportion of the GPhC’s costs, relate almost exclusively to pharmacists. The GPhC recognises that this may change and intends to track future trends.

Technician FtP cases will rise, says PDA

However, Pharmacists’ Defence Association director John Murphy hit out against using “historical data to predict the future”.

He said: “Of course the number of cases brought to the GPhC is higher for pharmacists. Logically, fitness to practise cases for technicians will increase as it becomes compulsory for them to be registered.” He said a mismatch in fees may bring effective regulation of both professions under question.  

The Association of Pharmacy Technicians (UK) said it has been lobbying the GPhC for some time on this issue and raised it in its response to the recent GPhC fees consultation. APTUK president Steve Acres said: “This is a significant decision for APTUK as it demonstrates in the clearest possible way what can be achieved through quiet diplomacy and effective relationship building. It also demonstrates the value of a well organised and focused professional leadership body.”

Margaret Peycke, the National Pharmacy Association’s policy manager stressed setting the fees should be a “transparent process” and said the NPA would be looking into the proposed rise and respond in due course.

A spokeswoman from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society said the fee increase was regretful and that the RPS would respond to the consultation making sure any increase “is proportionate with regard to the regulation of our members”.

A final decision on the new fees will be announced in June 2011.

The GPhC also approved its business plan and budget at the meeting. The business plan details five areas of action: developing the organisation; dealing with the fitness to practise legacy; registration; development of standards; and review of interim policies. The budget for 2011-12 shows a surplus of £598,463 (after tax). Income is expected to be £17.6m and expenditure £17m.

An operational performance report (PDF 133KB) was reviewed at the meeting and subsequent reports will become a permanent agenda item at future meetings.

See this story for the council's decision on 2011-12 registration fees

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal URI: 11068370

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