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Revealed: The pharmacies ready to take government to court

David Reissner: Government has already decided to make cut despite ongoing consultation

Lawyer David Reissner has provided exclusive details of his firm's letter to pharmacy minister to Alistair Burt warning of legal action over funding cuts


C+D can exclusively reveal the names of five pharmacies who are threatening to take the government to court over funding cuts.

Backed by eight clients, law firm Charles Russell Speechlys warned pharmacy minister Alistair Burt about potential legal action last Friday (March 4).

In a letter sent to the minister, the firm labelled the government's plans to cut pharmacy funding in England by 6% “legally flawed”.

The firm's senior healthcare partner David Reissner told C+D that, as a legal requirement of its ongoing consultation into pharmacy funding, the government must be open to changing its mind. But it has “plainly” already decided to make the 6% cut, he said.

Who has backed the letter?

Three of the law firm’s eight clients wish to remain anonymous. The other five are:

•    Contractors Elisabeth and Alun Hopkins, who own Hopkins Pharmacy in Uxbridge

•    Butt & Hobbs Ltd, which trades as Hobbs Pharmacy, a 10-strong nationwide chain

•    Medipharmacy Group, a 23-strong chain based in the south-east of England

•    CG Murray & Son, which trades as Murray’s Pharmacy, a 25-strong chain based in the Midlands

•    Waremoss Ltd, the trading name of Kamsons Pharmacy, a nationwide chain with 56 branches

In the letter, the law firm demanded confirmation that the government is not committed to reducing pharmacy remuneration in October. It also asked for detailed proposals for any funding changes.

The letter imposed a deadline of 4pm on March 18 for Mr Burt to respond. Depending on that response, Charles Russell Speechlys' clients may take the government to court, it said.

Government consultation "strikingly deficient"

The firm's letter said the government’s consultation on the cuts – due to end on March 24 – is “seriously and strikingly deficient”. The government has also not provided enough detail on its proposed funding changes, the letter added.

It quoted Alistair Burt’s answer to a C+D question on funding cuts last month, in which the minister said the cuts were already “settled”.

Mr Reissner said that, should his firm launch a judicial review on the cuts, he expects other pharmacy chains to join the fight. If any of the pharmacy bodies said they were launching legal action, his clients would consider whether they need to take action themselves, he said.


Would you back legal action?

We want to hear your views, but please express them in the spirit of a constructive, professional debate. For more information about what this means, please click here to see our community principles and information


Pavol Kosa, Locum pharmacist

Lloydspharmacy is one of the remaining 3 I suppose...

Bal Singh, Locum pharmacist

Do the lawyers want to extend their lawsuit to have other pharmacies and *GASP* *SHOCK!* LPCs to sign up?

Would that strengthen the argument?

Bitter Twisted Envious Locum, Pharmacy staff

london locum I think you could do a good job you should write to Kirit and ask for a job as PR for day lewis. I will put good word in for you with Kirit 

Neeraj Salwan, Superintendent Pharmacist

I've heard that this Shami character is working for C&D to spice up these comments.. Please ban this person as is high jacking most of these debates with one sided comments..

Arvind Sami, Locum pharmacist

A healthy 2 sided debate would be ideal, though often unachievable in such situations. Hijacking threads to stir emotion...sounds like Internet troll...

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

A nice balance perhaps to the one sided  Day Lewis advertising ? Can we ban them also ?

Pharmacy HLP, Manager


Brilliant effort from Mrs Hopkins not being scared to show what she is made of . These cuts are illegal unwarranted and against natural justice . No planning no understanding of what is being destroyed and no alternative future path laid out for all the 1000s thrown onto the NHS scrap heap.

Shame that the negotiators did not see all these problems before we got here and were not able to give a strong account of the value and potential of the existing 12000 pharmacies.




Call Me Cycnical, Senior Management

I'm afraid pharmacy owners have been devaluing themselves for years by competing with their neighbour. Giving away services for free, supplying equipment to carehomes for free, blistering anyones meds in order to lock in the patient, collecting scripts and delivering to patients homes. Tell me any other business that can afford to do this? There's clearly been too much fat around and now its getting burnt off. You've got yourselves to blame. If I had my way people would pay for GP's appointments, that would solve 99% of the problems we have right though the system. You guys could also help the system by stopping the spongers who get their meds for free when they shouldn't. Less than 3 % pay when collecting scripts according to the pharmacy owners I deal with. Well where do you think the money comes from to pay for that? People need to put into the system, before they can take it out, if not we run out of cash. Dont think for one minute I'm supporting these cuts, many of my friends and customers are going to suffer, however, you've encouraged the governments behaviour because you are so divided and have weak representation in the form of the professional bodies you subscribe to. Just look at what the junior doctors are doing! Grow some my friends.

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

Won't make many friends on here with that sort of attitude. Most want the status quo to remain.

Bitter Twisted Envious Locum, Pharmacy staff

we want change now. We want locums to be given contracts and then we too can pay peanuts to locums

Call Me Cycnical, Senior Management

Tough love London Locum, I'm not here for friends, perhaps you should be on Facebook

Leon The Apothecary, Student

Been studying judical review recently. This is very good news.

Mi Wa, Community pharmacist

Applying your own logic to your own comments Sami boy, if you don't like pharmacy, contractors etc. then get out and shut up silly little boy.  You're a walking/crawling contradiction.

Sami Khaderia, Non healthcare professional

I have accepted the cuts....its about time others did too.....if they are not cut this year...they sure will next year...ill give u a business lesson for free mi waaaaaaaaa....if supply is greater than demand prices fall.....

P M, Community pharmacist

sami what do you want?

Sami Khaderia, Non healthcare professional

I want justice for all and not a select few........majority of pharmacists are NOT  contractors....if there is a surplus of pharmacies common sense states to reduce funding....

A Hussain, Senior Management

But answer why faced with an over supply of pharmacists it is not common sense to lower locum rates?  If you're foolish enough to believe that these cuts are about reducing the number of pharmacies then you just don't get it.  It is purely about cuts.  The government would be delighted if every pharmacy survived the funding cut and the phasing out of the establishment payment as they would still have the resource.  The excuse of there being too many pharmacies is there to justify the cuts.  Business lesson over.

Sami Khaderia, Non healthcare professional

hussain, locum rates have decreased due to an over supply in  the market...i fail to understand your logic.....

A Hussain, Senior Management

The biggest mistake I have made is trying to reason with an idiot.  Off to find a brick wall...

s8chy P, Pharmacy owner/ Proprietor

You two are Hilarious!

Bitter Twisted Envious Locum, Pharmacy staff

Why whats wrong with arguing with lodon locum and sami? You prefer a wall? 


Just because we are locums dont mean we are idiots

Sami Khaderia, Non healthcare professional

These cuts are on the table as the government knows the service will not be affected as any closures will be mopped up by other pharmacies.....if you read PNAs, NHS england want exsisting pharmacies to extend their hours instead of new applications....

why not have a free for all ? like they do in most developed countries?



A Hussain, Senior Management

You never answer a question as you don't have an answer.  I own a pharmacy so I'm well aware of PNA's.  If establishment payments are phased out then they won't care how many pharmacies there are.  That's the issue here.  They see establishment payments as money for nothing.  Maybe they are, but so are farm subsidies, GP rent reimbursement in that case.  How do you think the 'free for all' systems impact on employee remuneration?  Have you noticed how I don't 'like' my own comments?  Rather grown up of me!

A Hussain, Senior Management

This business lesson also applies to locum rates surely...

Sami Khaderia, Non healthcare professional

A hussain.......locums hvnt had a payrise in over a decade.....!!!!

A Hussain, Senior Management

And your point is?

Sami Khaderia, Non healthcare professional

Mi Waaaaaaaaaa

Bitter Twisted Envious Locum, Pharmacy staff

What a great post only a locum like you or me could do that 

Marc Borson, Community pharmacist

at first I backed such action but i

A Hussain, Senior Management

Credit where credit's due.  Putting their money where their mouth is.  Many haven't and wouldn't and I'm guilty of that too.  


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