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Rejected pharmacy bidders could get second chance

Legal Pharmacists who have appealed against a rejected application to open a pharmacy and been turned down because they missed the deadline could have the chance to re-appeal, C+D has learned.

Pharmacists who have appealed against a rejected application to open a pharmacy and been turned down because they missed the deadline could have the chance to appeal again, C+D has learned.


The NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA) has admitted that it has been wrongly dismissing pharmacy appeals as being out of time, after failing to take account of an extension to the deadline made in July last year.


NHSLA has written to two contractors, telling them they could have their application reconsidered, it told C+D today (May 13).


The NHSLA has admitted that it has been wrongly dismissing pharmacy appeals as being out of time, after failing to take account of an extension to the deadline made in July last year

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Under regulations introduced in July 2012, contractors have 30 days to appeal to the NHSLA after receiving a decision letter from their PCT. But the NHSLA was still following 2005 pharmacy regulations which stated that pharmacists had 30 days to appeal from the time the letter was sent by the PCT.


In March, solicitors firm George Davies LLP wrote to the NHSLA to contend a client's appeal that was thrown out because of the deadline. The NHSLA initially disagreed with the solicitors' judgement, but later agreed to the new deadline.


The new deadline could have "very significant implications" for contractors who had had appeals rejected because they missed the deadline, said George Davies LLP associate Andrea James. She said she was pleased the NHSLA had adopted a reasonable approach.  


"In view of how many appeals we deal with where we win and establish that the PCT erred in its decision making, it's concerning to think that a number of contractors who might well have won their appeal missed their opportunity," she told C+D.


An NHSLA spokesman said that the new deadline may not apply to all types of appeals and contractors should check the wording of the regulations to make sure they did not miss a deadline.


Noel Wardle, partner at law firm Charles Russell, said the new time limit had the potential to cause confusion for pharmacists because PCTs had not sent letters by recorded delivery and therefore it was unclear exactly when they were received.


Under the NHS reforms, market-entry powers, including applications for new premises, were transferred from PCTs to NHS England's local area teams.


In March, the company Primary Care Commissioning, which offers guidance to commissioners, warned that NHS England could expect many of its decisions on applications for new premises to be appealed as the use of pharmaceutical needs assessments (PNAs) to determine applications was still relatively new.


Does this chance to appeal again apply to you?

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1 Comments

Stephen Eggleston, Community pharmacist

Surely the difference between when a decision is sent and when it was recieved would only be a matter of a few days - and if you are serious about opening a new contract, wouldn't applicants be a bit more "on the ball" to appeal?

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