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Health Select Committee to hear evidence on funding cuts

Health Select Committee: The evidence session has been delayed until 2017

A cross-party group of MPs will hear evidence on the reforms to pharmacy funding in England, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) has confirmed.

The Health Select Committee – which is tasked by the House of Commons with examining the policy, administration and expenditure of the Department of Health (DH) and its related bodies – will hear evidence on the government’s decision to cut pharmacy funding in England by £113 million from this month. 

The “one-off” evidence session will also consider the conclusions of the upcoming independent review of community pharmacy services, conducted by King’s Fund director of policy Richard Murray and due out this month, PSNC said.

The Health Select Committee confirmed that Mr Murray will be in attendance at the hearing, which will also hear evidence from: pharmacy minister David Mowat; England’s chief pharmaceutical officer Keith Ridge; and representatives from PSNC, Pharmacy Voice, and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.

Minister “constrained” by legal action

The session was originally scheduled to take place tomorrow (December 13), but has been delayed until 2017 while the committee awaits the progress of the PSNC’s legal action against the funding cuts, it announced last week (December 8).

In a statement on its website, the Health Select Committee said: “PSNC has written to the committee expressing concern that until the legal action is resolved, the minister may feel constrained in the evidence he can offer.

"Bearing in mind the concern expressed by PSNC, and not wanting to be limited by legal action...the committee has decided to postpone the session to a date in the new year, to be decided depending on the progress of the legal action,” it added.

PSNC chief executive Sue Sharpe said: “It is vitally important that parliament is able to properly scrutinise both the recent changes in community pharmacy funding and the findings of the Murray review.

“[The review] has not yet been published and it is important that there is time to consider its recommendations carefully, before the inquiry takes place.”

NHS England told C+D today (December 12) that it expects to have an update on the review later this week.

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