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PSNC to take funding cut fight to High Court

The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) is launching a legal challenge to the pharmacy funding cuts, the negotiator confirmed on the day the cuts come into force.

PSNC has sought permission from the High Court to apply for judicial review on the grounds that the Secretary of State “failed to carry out a lawful consultation” on the proposals for the sector.

If the judicial review is granted, the hearing will take place “as soon as practicable”, PSNC said yesterday afternoon (December 1).

The negotiator believes the Department of Health (DH) acted unlawfully because it:

  • Failed to disclose that it had carried out an analysis of the profitability of pharmacies based on their Companies House data, as part of its impact assessment.
  • Delayed providing this analysis to PSNC until after the impact assessment was published.
  • Conducted an analysis that was "invalid" because of its sample size and because it used accounting returns, rather than economic returns, as the basis for assessing pharmacies’ economic viability.
  • Failed to analyse how many pharmacies could close.

PSNC said the National Pharmacy Association is a “named party” in the negotiator's legal challenge.

PSNC chief executive Sue Sharpe said: “PSNC has spent the past twelve months trying to work constructively with the DH and NHS England to enable community pharmacy to help the NHS meet the increasing challenges it faces."

"We have sought to avoid taking legal action and very much regret that the process the NHS has followed has made this impossible.”

The Department of Health said in response: "We do not accept the grounds for judicial review and will seek to persuade the Court that the case is without merit.”

Last month, PSNC's Mark Burdon shared an insider's view on the funding negotiations. Listen below:

Do you think the PSNC's legal challenge will work?

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