HDA Media And Political Bulletin – 8 March 2016

Lawyers formally warn Burt about ‘legally flawed’ cuts

Chemist and Druggist, Samuel Horti, 7 March 2016


Law firm Charles Russell Speechlys sent a letter to the government with a warning that its planned cut to community pharmacy funding is flawed from a legal point of view. It has given a deadline of March 18 for the government to issue a response, depending on which its clients might launch legal action.


Pharmacy Biz also reported this news.


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Pharmacy Biz, Neil Trainis, 7 March 2016


David Reissner, a partner at Charles Russell Speechlys, has suggested the government’s consultation on its cuts to pharmacy funding may have to be “restarted and conducted properly” if the pharmacy profession chooses to legally challenge its validity.


Speculation has been rife that community pharmacy will contest the validity of the consultation, which ends on March 24, in the high court. The consultation has been intensely criticised by heads of pharmacy organisations, although both Pharmacy Voice and the National Pharmacy Association both refused to confirm if they will instigate a legal challenge.


Ian Strachan, the chief executive of the NPA, has said the consultation is “short on detail” while Claire Ward, chair of Pharmacy Voice, has described it as “fundamentally flawed.”


“The consultation may have to be restarted and conducted properly,” Reissner, pictured at this year’s Sigma conference in Jamaica, told Pharmacy Business.


“It is not possible to say yet what will happen as a result of a proper consultation, because we do not know what information will be provided to support the Department of Health’s proposals.”


When asked if a legal challenge was likely to succeed, he said: “My clients have received a QC’s advice that a challenge to the consultation process would succeed unless the Department of Health complies with the requirements of a valid consultation.”


Reissner added: “(A) consultation is a legal requirement. The NHS Act says the Secretary of State cannot change remuneration without it.


“Consultation has a legal meaning and the Secretary of State must provide sufficient details of what is proposed, and keep an open mind about implementing remuneration and other changes until the consultation responses have been considered.”


A separate consultation is to be held on the government’s plan to introduce a hub and spoke dispensing model across community pharmacy.

HDA Media And Political Bulletin – 8 March 2016

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