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Lawyer: £10 from every pharmacy is enough to challenge cuts

Noel Wardle: "Six-figure sum" needed to get "urgent hearing" to court

Lawyers at law firm Charles Russell Speechlys are asking pharmacists to contribute to the cost of a legal challenge against the pharmacy funding cuts.

Noel Wardle, a partner at the firm, said the sector would need to raise “a low six-figure sum” to fund the cost of a senior lawyer taking the “urgent hearings” to court.

Mr Wardle said he is “very confident” that community pharmacists could pursue legal proceedings, as the government’s decision to cut the pharmacy budget in England by £113 million from December  and the process in which the funding cuts were decided  are “legally flawed”.

“If every pharmacy contributed £10 to the cause – [less than] half a medicines use review [payment] – then we’d be home and dry,” he told C+D. 

“And in the grand scheme of there being around 11,500 community pharmacies in England, that is a tiny amount.”

Mr Wardle said the crowd-funding scheme has not attracted a “huge amount of contact” from pharmacists yet, but the firm has been approached in relation to a legal challenge.

Initial plans to launch legal proceedings against the funding proposals, first published in December 2015, stalled in April when the government said it was still in “consultation stages” with the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee, Mr Wardle said.

“That stage has finished now,” he said, so we’ll “pick up where we left off”.

Back to where we started

Mr Wardle told C+D that pharmacists would either have to “knuckle down and get on with” the funding drop, or pursue a legal challenge.

“I’m not saying [the campaigning, petitions and parliamentary questions] were the wrong approach, but with the benefit of hindsight, it frankly doesn’t appear to have made any difference,” Mr Wardle said.

“We have the funding cut that we were going to have last December, just with a couple of tweaks, so we’re in the same position we were 10-11 months ago.”

“This funding cut is irrational,” he stressed.

Last week (October 21) The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) confirmed that it was looking into "legal avenues" over the funding cuts

Will you be contributing to the costs of a legal challenge?

Amish Patel, Community pharmacist

I know noel and he is a person of integrity. He does not need to vouch for bsuiness, Now asking 10 per contractor is nothing it allows a very inexpensive way to challenge the cuts. if contractors cannot put up £10 to mount a legal challenge then that says it all bet many contractors spend more than that going out to dinner. also ask yourselves all the groups like numark avicenna pharmplus you pay membership what have they done, apart from petitions. 

A legal challenge represents a serious challenge to the doh. Petitions are a momentary catch of mood that can be withstood by resolute determination like the doh are showing. CR have many years experience of the sector and if they say we can challenge the cuts then i am fully confident that they could. 

i propose contractors esp independents get behind this. lets enlist the support of pharmacy wholesalers and suppliers to help highlight this action and importantly contribute to it as well! we should pull all levers possible. 



Jonny Johal, Pharmacy Area manager/ Operations Manager

Can't the PSNC do this? Their chief exec is a barrister at law, Noel, please enlighten me.

Marc Borson, Community pharmacist


In USA Walgreens pharmacies earn $120,000 inc health cover there are loads of tax deductible expenses as well. Technicians are on around $34,000 jobs, 


Valentine Trodd, Community pharmacist

Lawers lining their pockets again! Good man Noel, keep up the good work and thanks your lucky stars your're not a pharmacist!

Jupo Patel, Production & Technical

Mr Reissner thinking of different ways to make sure he and his colleagues get paid. Very smart. Pharmacy it seems could learn a lot from Law(A proper profession).

Anonymous Anonymous, Information Technology

"Proper profesion" - pull the other one! If you had said "properly paid profession" I would have agreed! Only surpassed by estate agents in terms of their trumped up pay and parasitic nature...

Jupo Patel, Production & Technical

'Properly paid' is still light years better than your pharmacy profession.

Mike Bereza, Community pharmacist

I would be up for helping to do a Kickstarter, if anyone else is up for it.

Jonny Johal, Pharmacy Area manager/ Operations Manager

The UK's economy is not where most of us would like, we have unemployment issues, people's wages are stagnating (while company profits are on the rise), the armed forces, police, welfare and others in the economy are having to face cuts, is it appropriate for pharmacists and owners of pharmacies to take taxpayers to court in an attempt to insulate themselves from the wider economy? The taxpayer is not a charity organisation for fat cat phamacy owners, it is plain to see that there are too many pharmacies and pharmacists. Recognise the economic situation, live with it or find something else more lucrative to do, I still say the BBC should make a programme called "Benefits Street - the pharmaceutical edition". Please don't be fooled by these lawyers, they only want an excuse to go to court, and get more fees. Is Noel Wardle soliciting for business?

Chandra Nathwani, Community pharmacist forgot to mention RBS made a £469m loss in the 3rd qtr!

So perhaps we do need to tighten our belts.

(Fat cat who?)

Shaun Steren, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Interesting post! This is something I have always dwelled upon - when are we going to be found out? 

Compared to other jobs pharmacy always had abnormally low unemployment  levels (essentially zero) and high wages. This was not the end product of a efficient allocation of capital by a free market system, but simply special privilege bestowed by government. 

I think this explains the distinct lack of innovation and elitism in community pharmacy - energy has been spent protecting unjustified  privilege. 

So do I have much sympathy for the position pharmacists find themselves in? Not really, for a long time pharmacists have spent their time hoping they were not going to be found out. 

Jupo Patel, Production & Technical

Yours is the best post on here. Just imagine if this were made public?? Lawyers colluding with Contractors to maintain the the healthy flow of taxpayer money into their pockets. Incredible.

fatnose pansies, Sales

The funding cut is bigger than originally announced, because in 2017/18 it will be cut by 7.4% vs the 2014/15 global sum. NHS items will have increased by 5% in that time. Where is the PSNC in all of this? The PSNC is paid for by contractors through LPCs and legal action against the cuts could be taken under the PSNC's constitution.

Would it be embarrassing to some contractors to be suing the government to maintain their business profits? Could that be why we haven't heard from the PSNC about this, or could they be talking to someone other than CRS?

Jonny Johal, Pharmacy Area manager/ Operations Manager

*This comment has been deleted to comply with C+D's community principles*

Jonny Johal, Pharmacy Area manager/ Operations Manager

? Why

Jupo Patel, Production & Technical

Probably because you upset an ally of C&D?

Paul Miyagi, Information Technology

You are absolutely correct. Unfortunately I think most pharmacists are unaware of this .  Sue Sharpe is a nice person with good intent, but when it comes to hard negotiating skills , there seems to be a shortfall.

Jonny Johal, Pharmacy Area manager/ Operations Manager

Quite right, Mr Miyagi, we must not forget that Sue Sharpe is not just the CEO of PSNC, she is also supposed to be a Barrister at Law ... why hasn't she suggested this?

Ranveer Bassey, Community pharmacist

There's a website for action like this

Paul Miyagi, Information Technology

What about an extra £10 to get GPhC quango decommissioned ???

M Yang, Community pharmacist

That'll probably be the bare minimum needed, the government will have considerable resources to keep going so we should be asking for £20. My forgetful father often loses at least that much in his trouser pockets, only for it to show up as soggy notes when the washing machine is being emptied! The crowdfunding website could easily be configured to accept contributions from anyone with a paypal account, so the public and all pharmacists from across the UK could help fund it (with the option to give however much you like).

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

I'm such a fool! I thought the contributions I've been making to our representative body would cover for things like this. My mistake!

Jonny Johal, Pharmacy Area manager/ Operations Manager

The PSNC needs a restructure ... are there anybody on this forum who are happy with the performance of their negotiating body?

Bal Singh, Locum pharmacist

What body are you referring to? The GPhC aren't for pharmacists, they are out to "protect the public" without upsetting any of the big boys. The RPSGB? pretty sure they used their funds to help move location , while decrying the increase of cost of living along side upping their membership fee. The PDA and NPA are insurance providers. Which basically leaves the RPSGB. Who I don't think have enough members to consider an action like this, although you could argue their lack of membership is linked to that same lack of action when called upon for things like this. Although if you share one of their exam papers......

Prafulkumar Soneji, Locum pharmacist

If I am not mistaken then Lucky Ex-Locum is referring to PSNC.

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

Actually I was referring to the RPSGB who I will shortly be an ex-member of. There is precisely no benefit to being a member and it would be best left to wither and die painlessly. Toothless is far too weak a word for how useless they are. 

Tohidul Islam, Locum pharmacist

If they're that "confident" then go for a no win no fee basis. *This comment has been edited to comply with C+D's community principles*

S Morein, Pharmacy Area manager/ Operations Manager

Why don't the lawyer do it pro bono? Take their fee after a win. Nice work if you get paid whether you win or lose

N O, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Considering the UK population of 65 Million, going by Mr. Wardel's theory, just £2 from each person would wipe out the whole of the funding cuts. And if the wealthy lawyers and the cotractors contribute a bit higher amount we could as well see the whole NHS deficit being wiped out. These cheeky lawyers !!!

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