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NHS England agrees to repay pharmacies' MUR fines

NHS England West Midlands has confirmed no further deductions will be made for this financial year

NHS England West Midlands has agreed to repay money to contractors who were fined for not completing their information governance toolkit.

The commissioner said the “historic review of contractors will cease” and “further deductions in 2016-17 will not be made”, in a statement published on Walsall local pharmaceutical committee's (LPC) website. 

However, the regional NHS England team warned that it would still recall money paid to contractors for “any failures to complete the toolkit for the financial year 2016-17 onwards”.

C+D reported last month that around 150 pharmacies in the West Midlands area had been served breach notices by NHS England’s regional team, warning that historic medicines use review (MUR) payments would be deducted for not completing their toolkit.

“All contractors have until March 31, 2017 to complete the toolkit for this financial year,” the regional team added in its latest statement, which Walsall LPC said was issued on December 28. 

David Reissner, senior healthcare partner at law firm Charles Russell Speechlys, told C+D last month his firm was dealing with appeals from almost 30 cases of contractors receiving these breach notices, with the total sum already exceeding £250,000.  

"Unfortunate" that breach notices were served

Mr Reissner said that although it is a "great relief" that the breach notices have been withdrawn, it is odd that NHS England West Midlands has done so by the "means of a press release, which it appears to have issued before contacting the pharmacy owners affected". 

"Given that the NHS regulations require NHS England to co-operate and communicate with pharmacy owners before issuing a breach notice, it is unfortunate that they were served at all," Mr Reissner said. 

The regional team's u-turn highlights the "lack of common sense" in the original decision to claim back fees for MURs that "NHS England knows were properly carried out", Mr Reissner added.

Have you been contacted by NHS West Midlands about a breach notice?
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