HDA UK Media And Political Bulletin – 22 May 2018

Media and Political Bulletin

22 May 2018

Media Summary

Breaking: Pharmacy’s battle to overturn governments funding cuts resumes in court

PharmacyBusiness, Neil Trainis, 21 May 2018  

Pharmacy Business reports that community pharmacy’s battle to overturn the government’s funding cuts will resume today as appeals by two leading bodies against a judge’s verdict last year that ministers did not act unlawfully in imposing the measures is heard.

The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) and Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) will have their cases heard at the Court of Appeal just over one year after Lord Justice Collins dismissed their judicial reviews of the decision to implement £320 million in cuts over a two-year period. The hearing is expected to last three days.

The PSNC’s original judicial review revolved around their belief that the government had failed to carry out a proper consultation on the cuts while the NPA’s argument was that ministers did not conduct an adequate impact assessment of the cuts on vulnerable groups such as the elderly, disabled and people living in deprived areas.

The PSNC said: “We do not expect the judges to make an immediate decision at the end of the hearing, which means that we may not know the outcome of the appeal cases for several weeks. It is not helpful to speculate on what the outcome may be at this stage.”

 

Parliamentary Coverage

 

There is no parliamentary coverage today.

 

Full Coverage

Breaking: Pharmacy’s battle to overturn governments funding cuts resumes in court

PharmacyBusiness, Neil Trainis, 21 May 2018  

 

Community pharmacy’s battle to overturn the government’s funding cuts will resume tomorrow as appeals by two leading bodies against a judge’s verdict last year that ministers did not act unlawfully in imposing the measures is heard.

The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) and Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) will have their cases heard at the Court of Appeal just over one year after Lord Justice Collins dismissed their judicial reviews of the decision to implement £320 million in cuts over a two-year period. The hearing is expected to last three days.

The PSNC’s original judicial review revolved around their belief that the government had failed to carry out a proper consultation on the cuts while the NPA’s argument was that ministers did not conduct an adequate impact assessment of the cuts on vulnerable groups such as the elderly, disabled and people living in deprived areas.

The PSNC said: “We do not expect the judges to make an immediate decision at the end of the hearing, which means that we may not know the outcome of the appeal cases for several weeks. It is not helpful to speculate on what the outcome may be at this stage.”

Despite his decision not to quash the cuts last year, Lord Justice Collins was critical of the Department of Health’s (since renamed Department of Health and Social Care) consultation process which he said was unfair albeit not unlawful. The department had failed to disclose its use of a Companies House analysis which it claimed showed community pharmacies had an operating margin of 15%.

Lord Justice Collins also said the department did not understand the duty to reduce health inequalities when making decisions about the NHS and highlighted the range of services being delivered by community pharmacies to some of the most deprived areas of England.

PSNC director of operations and support Gordon Hockey said: “PSNC 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 and collaboratively with the NHS and Department of Health and hope to begin substantive discussions with them on the future of community pharmacy very soon.”

NPA vice-chair Andrew Lane said: “Pharmacies are disproportionately located in deprived areas, a rare exception to the so-called inverse care law under which people with the highest needs have the least access to advice and treatment.

“The high court judgment vindicated our stance on health inequalities and we now want to see that flow through to a logical and fair conclusion. Had the Department of Health properly considered the impact of its cuts, it would have realised that the cuts 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.”

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