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 (DH) 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’s role is to represent community pharmacy contractors. We have always sought to do this by working positively with the NHS to ensure that community pharmacies can do their best to meet the needs of the NHS, patients and local communities, and that the NHS recognises and acknowledges the value they provide.
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.”
Dave Carter, Gateshead & South Tyneside LPC Chair said:
"Pharmacy has always been willing to work constructively with the NHS however this year has been a tough year and it is really sad that it has come to this however I believe (and I am sure most contractors will believe) that this is the right course of action since the department of health have not engaged with the PSNC and worse still not followed due process."