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The pharmacy cuts judicial review in Tweets


24 Mar 2017

In an unprecedented event this week, disputes between pharmacy organisations and the Government reached fever pitch in a court battle to overturn controversial cuts to English community pharmacy funding.

The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) and the National Pharmacy Association (NPA) were granted permission last year to mount a legal challenge against the Department of Health’s (DH) £320m funding cuts to the sector.

During the hearing, which took place at the High Court between 21 and 23 March, judge Mr Justice Collins heard evidence from all three parties.

A Department of Health spokesperson said: ‘We believe the changes implemented in December 2016 will improve the service offered to the public by, for example, introducing a quality-based payment and by further integrating pharmacy with primary care. We are ensuring that we make better use of pharmacists’ valuable clinical skills, and allocate taxpayers’ money more efficiently.

‘We have sought to persuade the Court that the case put forward by the PSNC and NPA is without merit. It is not appropriate to comment further whilst we await the outcome of these legal proceedings.’

Read on to find out how the sector reacted to the dramatic case on Twitter as it unfolded.

PSNC’s legal representative seemed unimpressed by the Government’s attitude towards the sector.

The judge presiding over the case observed that the Government was not overly worried about the high number of potential closures due to the cuts.

On the hearing’s second day, Chancellor of the Exchequer Phillip Hammond’s wish to create ‘efficiencies’ in the sector became apparent after a letter he wrote to Prime Minister Theresa May was presented as evidence.

Mr Justice Collins pointed out what he saw as flaws in the Government’s funding plans.

On the third and final day of the hearing, the DH’s defence attracted criticism from the sector after it referred to pharmacy’s retail offering, noting that Boots in Waterloo station sells sandwiches.

Justice Collins noted the need for a quick outcome to the case as the funding package is already in place. The judgement is expected to be given during the week of 3 April. Pharmacists have mixed predictions as to the result.

For a breakdown of the hearing as it happened, click the links below.

Day one

Day two

Day three


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