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Pharmacy’s High Court date with destiny draws closer

By Neil Trainis

PUBLISHED: March 20, 2017 | UPDATED: March 20, 2017

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Community pharmacy’s date with destiny over its fight to halt the government’s cuts to its budget has drawn tantalisingly close, with judicial reviews by the PSNC and National Pharmacy Association to be heard jointly in the High Court tomorrow.

The hearing, which is expected to last three days, revolves around ministers’ reduction of community pharmacy’s budget over two years. The PSNC’s legal action is based on its belief that the government failed to carry out a lawful consultation on its proposals while the NPA believes the Department of Health (DoH) failed to properly consider the impact of the cuts on the poor, elderly, disabled and people from black and ethnic minorities.

“PSNC very much regrets that it became necessary to take this unprecedented step. We have always sought to work constructively and collaboratively with the NHS and Department of Health,” PSNC chief executive Sue Sharpe said.

“Over many years our negotiations were characterised by robust exchanges and a willingness on both sides to listen and consider each others’ views and analysis, and we were able to reach agreement.

“This changed last year and the Department would not engage with us constructively on the most important elements of the 17 December 2015 letter.

“PSNC’s focus this week will be on the hearing to ensure that our case is presented in the best way. We will issue a further statement after the proceedings.”

David Lock QC and Alison Foster QC will represent the NPA and PSNC repectively. The DoH will be represented by James Eadie QC who acted for and advised the government during the Leveson Inquiry and who acted for the Health Secretary during the Francis Inquiry into the Mid Staffordshire scandal.