Appeals against a High Court judge’s decision to uphold the Government’s cuts to pharmacy funding will be heard this week.

The Court of Appeal will hear cases from the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) and the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) seeking to overturn Mr Justice Collins’ decision last year to ‘regretfully’ rule in favour of The Department of Health and Social Care’s (DHSC) cuts to English pharmacy funding.

Both organisations received permission for a judicial review against the cuts in late 2016.

Their respective cases will be heard in the Court starting from tomorrow (22 May). The hearing is expected to last for three days and there is no fixed date for the verdict.

The DHSC told The Pharmacist it is unable to comment on the ongoing case.

PSNC highlighted that it may take several weeks after the hearing until a decision on the outcome of the appeals is reached.

It is ‘not helpful to speculate’ on the outcome at this time, it stressed.


‘Disproportionate cuts’

The NPA’s case against the cuts argues that the DHSC failed to ‘properly consider the impact of the cuts in deprived areas’.

NPA vice chair Andrew Lane said: ‘Pharmacies are disproportionately located in deprived areas…The High Court judgement vindicated our stance on health inequalities and we now want to see that flow through to a logical and fair conclusion.

‘Had the DHSC properly considered the impact of the cuts, it would have realised that [they] will ultimately have a disproportionate effect on people living in the most deprived areas of England, where there is already a lack of NHS provision.’


‘Unprecedented’ legal action

PSNC’s case against the cuts argues that the Health secretary failed to carry out a lawful consultation on the DHSC’s proposals to cut pharmacy funding.

PSNC director of operations and support Gordon Hockey said: ‘PNC has always regretted very much that it became necessary to take the unprecedented step of seeking a judicial review.

‘We have always sought to work constructively with the NHS and DHSC and hope to begin substantive discussions with them on the future of community pharmacy very soon.’