The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiaing Committee (PSNC) has received permission to appeal against a High Court decision to reject its legal challenge to government funding cuts.

According to PSNC, the appeal is not likely to be heard for several months.

Sue Sharpe, PSNC’s CEO, said: 'We hope that we will be able to have constructive discussions with the Department of Health (DH) and NHS England. Ideally we would like those to mean we did not need to pursue an appeal, but PSNC will do what it feels is right to protect pharmacies and the patients they care for.'

The Pharmacist has contacted the DH for comment.

On 18 May, Mr Justice Collins gave his judgment, finding against PSNC, but criticising the DH consultation process, stating that it was unfair, but not so unfair as to be unlawful.The DH had failed to disclose its use of a Companies House analysis that it said showed community pharmacies have an operating margin of 15%.

In giving permission for PSNC to appeal, Mr Justice Collins reportedly said: ‘While naturally I am not persuaded that I failed in any of the respects alleged…I recognise the real effect of the cuts on pharmacies and the apparent reliance on the 15% and the non-disclosure,’ according to the negotiator.

NPA also appeals unsuccessful cuts challenge

The Pharmacist understands that the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) has also received permission for an appeal of its own unsuccessful bid to overturn the cuts and has lodged its appeal papers with the Court of Appeal.

Solicitor Andrea James, partner at Knights Professional Services, who led the NPA's challenge against the funding cuts, tweeted that Mr Justice Collins had also approved the organisation's request to be reconsidered.

The NPA's case against the cuts was heard in the same judicial review as PSNC's claim.