PSNC seeks judicial review to challenge pharmacy cuts

After much speculation in recent weeks, PSNC has confirmed that it is seeking a judicial review of the decision to implement cuts to community pharmacy funding in England.

PSNC has sought permission from the High Court to apply for the judicial review on the grounds that it believes the Secretary of State failed to carry out a lawful consultation on the proposals for community pharmacy.

An expedited hearing has been requested, so that if permission to seek judicial review is granted, the hearing will take place as soon as practicable.

PSNC accepts the need for the NHS to achieve efficiencies within the community pharmacy sector and is not challenging this principle, but it does not believe that the consultation process on the proposals that are now being implemented complied with the requirements of a lawful consultation.

PSNC believes that the Department of Health has used poor data which it did not disclose as a basis for its decision, rather than updating existing high quality data.

PSNC’s application raises a number of concerns about the consultation, including:
• The DH’s failure to disclose the fact that it had carried out an analysis of pharmacies’ profitability based on Companies House data as part of its impact assessment
• The delay in providing this analysis to PSNC after the publication of the impact assessment
• The validity of the DH analysis including the sample size and the use of accounting returns, rather than economic returns, as the basis for the assessment of pharmacies’ economic viability and how they might be affected by the changes
• The DH’s failure to analyse what the levels of pharmacy closures may be.

PSNC has been taking legal and other expert advice since the letter of December 17th 2015 and in recent weeks working closely with other pharmacy organisations also exploring legal options. The National Pharmacy Association is named as an interested party in PSNC’s application.

PSNC chief executive, Sue Sharpe, said: “PSNC has spent the past twelve months trying to work constructively with the Department of Health and NHS England to enable community pharmacy to help the NHS to meet the increasing challenges that it faces. We have sought to avoid taking legal action and very much regret that the process the NHS has followed has made this impossible.”

We have sought to avoid taking legal action

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