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Why the pharmacy cuts case focused on sandwiches and shampoo

After three days of evidence, revelations and "spiky" exchanges, C+D picks out the most memorable moments in the NPA and PSNC's legal challenge to the funding cuts in England.

1) The "insider" revelation

On the first day of proceedings, the High Court was presented with a heavily redacted 53-page government document, which revealed that senior Department of Health (DH) officials were advised about pharmacy's financial situation by an unknown sector insider in July 2015.

The minutes from the meeting describe the insider as having "experience of buying, selling and managing pharmacy businesses".

Community pharmacist Chris Mckendrick called for the full un-redacted document – and the name of the sector insider – to be made public.

"How can redacted documents mean 'full disclosure'?" he asked on the C+D website.

Read the full story here.

 

2) Prime Minister was "concerned" about pharmacy funding cuts

Day two and another – as the National Pharmacy Association's (NPA) Stephen Fishwick described – "sensational document" comes to light. This time a letter from chancellor Philip Hammond to Theresa May, reassuring her over the funding cuts.

According to the letter – which can be read here – the Prime Minister was “concerned about the cuts and their potential effects on small and medium-sized enterprises”.

Find out how Mr Hammond convinced Ms May here.

Watch Mr Fishwick summarise the NPA's reaction to this letter here.

 

3) Pharmacy staff "do shampoo"


This comment, made by the DH's lawyer James Eadie on the final day of proceedings, certainly caused a reaction on Twitter, and even prompted an outburst from one court attendee.

 

4) A "fag packet" plan for pharmacy

While otherwise reserved, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee's (PSNC) lawyer Alison Foster's description of the government's ill-conceived plans for the sector was used on a couple of occasions during the week.

 

5) "Spiky" exchanges

Court attendees suggest that at times the exchanges between judge Justice Collins and Mr Eadie became a little heated... 

 

6) #Sandwichgate

Mr Eadie's attempt to suggest that pharmacies don't just provide health services – by exclaiming "Boots in Waterloo sells sandwiches" – sparked some comic reactions on Twitter:

 

What next?

 

Watch C+D's deputy news editor Annabelle Collins wrap up the three days in court here

And finally...

What do you think the outcome of the High Court hearing will be?

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