The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) has said it intends to increase its registration and renewal fees by 7.5% from April 2024.
The increase, which affects pharmacies, pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and foundation trainees across Great Britain, equates to an increase in the pharmacist renewal fee of £19 from £257 to £276; the pharmacy premises renewal fee by £27 from £365 to £392; and the pharmacy technician renewal fee by £9 from £121 to £130.
The proposed increase follows a freeze in registration and renewal fees in 2022 and 2023, which the regulator said was “to help reduce pressure on both pharmacy professionals and pharmacy owners”.
Announcing a consultation on the proposed increases on 16 May 2023, the GPhC said keeping fees at current levels for this financial year would give “registrants and applicants time to prepare for any increase in subsequent years”.
Duncan Rudkin, chief executive of the GPhC, said: “In the last few years, we have been able to avoid raising many of these fees by improving our efficiency and by using our financial reserves to cover any gap between our income and our outgoings. While we are continuing to look for ways to make savings, we now have to consider increasing fees.
“We appreciate the cost of living is affecting everyone, including pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, foundation trainees, as well as pharmacy business owners. Like many organisations we are experiencing an increase in operational costs driven by higher rates of inflation, increasing utility bills and supplier costs.
“We are proposing a below inflation increase, deferred to 2024, and hope that by proposing this change well in advance, we can help those who need to pay fees plan accordingly.”
Commenting on the proposed increase, Paul Day, director of the Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA), said: “We already know that the headline suggestion is an increase which may be less than inflation, but is more than most pharmacists’ pay has increased, so if pharmacists are asked to give a larger share of their income to the regulator they will want to see what value derives from that funding.
“The major spending choices made by the GPhC will also need to be transparently seen as appropriate, and for example the PDA has consistently queried the need for offices in Canary Wharf [London],” he added.
The consultation, which is open to organisations and individuals, closes on 8 August 2023 and is available here.