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PDA members concerned about regulator fees and the cost of living crisis

The PDA recently conducted a survey of members working in Northern Ireland. The aim of the survey was to capture their views on their professional fees in response to trends in the concerns that members had raised.

Tue 6th December 2022 The PDA

The survey included indication questions regarding whether members found retention fees too high or low and how they felt the fees compared to other healthcare professions. In light of member feedback around increased living costs and the challenges of significant one-off payments, it also included a question on whether they would prefer to pay in instalments, if this was to be offered as an option.

The results of the survey were enlightening and had a huge response in the first 24 hours, demonstrating a high strength of feeling on this issue.

  • 97% of members surveyed felt the fees were too high.
  • 80% of members surveyed would opt to pay in instalments if this option were available to them.
  • On average, the fees accounted for 23% of a pharmacist’s take-home pay for one month.
  • 98% did not see any value added to their professional standing for the sum.

Members also reported feeling disadvantaged among their colleagues in terms of how fees are collected. Many queried as to why the registration fee was not offset for those on maternity leave or working reduced or flexible hours.

Traditionally, the counterargument for amending fee payment has been that it requires legislative change. This is outdated. It has been demonstrated throughout the pandemic, and its continued outworking, that when the will for legislative change exists, it can be accomplished. This is highlighted by other legislative changes in progress that affect the profession. Other medical, nursing, and various AHP professional bodies offer a facility to pay in instalments and acknowledge flexible working arrangements and offer reduced fee payment accordingly.

Further comments from members in the survey included some criticism of pharmacy leadership, such as the gender pay gap not being addressed and a lack of parity with healthcare colleagues.

The lack of equality with other healthcare professionals had already been highlighted earlier in the year when the PDA brought a motion to the Irish Congress of Trade Unions. The motion sought parity of terms and conditions for pharmacists within the health and social care sector. Congress recognised that the pharmacist workforce voice was traditionally underrepresented, including at a political level, where decisions are made that directly impact them. The motion was unanimously passed, and Congress pledged to support fair treatment, the voice of pharmacists, and pharmacists’ enhanced representation via the PDA Union.

It’s time for stakeholders to listen to the pharmacist’s voice, engage, and address the inequality with regards to professional fees. It’s time to examine the issues raised by members and to make a change which will benefit PDA members and all pharmacists working in Northern Ireland.

Get involved

  • PDA members can share this article and support the request to make the changes which will benefit all pharmacists.
  • Stakeholders can engage with the PDA and support change for pharmacists to create parity with other health and social care professions.

Not yet a PDA member?

If you have not yet joined the PDA, we encourage you to join today and ask your colleagues to do the same.

Membership is FREE to pharmacy students, trainee pharmacists and for the first three months of being newly qualified.


Read about our key member benefits here.





The Pharmacists' Defence Association is a company limited by guarantee. Registered in England; Company No 4746656.

The Pharmacists' Defence Association is an appointed representative in respect of insurance mediation activities only of
The Pharmacy Insurance Agency Limited which is registered in England and Wales under company number 2591975
and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Register No 307063)

The PDA Union is recognised by the Certification Officer as an independent trade union.

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