Published on: 15th February 2016 | Updated on: 15th March 2022

Details of, and links to, what happened following the Government publishing an open letter to PSNC about its intention to cut community pharmacy funding.


High Court rules pharmacy funding was not unlawful

The High Court ruled that the funding reduction imposed on community pharmacies on 20th October 2016 and the consultation relating to it were not unlawful and cannot be quashed. However, despite ruling in favour of the Secretary of State, Mr. Justice Collins was critical of the Department of Health’s failure to provide key analysis to PSNC, calling it “regrettable” and “unjustified”.

The decision means the changes made in the December 2016 Drug Tariff, which implemented a funding cut and introduced a new Single Activity Fee, among other changes, will remain in force. Funding for 2016/17 was set at £2.687bn and for 2017/18 at £2.592bn.


Judicial Review hearing concluded

The hearing of the Judicial Review cases relating to the changes imposed on community pharmacy on October 20th 2016 concluded. The two cases brought by PSNC and the NPA were heard alongside one another by Mr Justice Collins in the High Court. The hearing lasted from Tuesday March 21 to Thursday March 23.


Judicial Review cases to be heard

The Judicial Reviews relating to the changes imposed on community pharmacy on October 20th 2016 began on Tuesday 21st March. During the hearing the judge will explore the arguments from each party and consider the very substantial amount of information that has been disclosed through this process.


PSNC Judicial Review to be heard alongside NPA case in March

The High Court began considering PSNC’s Judicial Review in the week commencing 20th March 2017, alongside a case from the National Pharmacy Association.


High Court grants permission for PSNC Judicial Review

The High Court granted PSNC permission for a Judicial Review of the Secretary of State’s October decision to implement cuts to community pharmacy funding and other changes. The hearing is to be expedited and will be heard in the week commencing 6 February 2017.


PSNC seeks Judicial Review of consultation on community pharmacy

PSNC sought permission from the High Court to apply for a 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.


PSNC response to Opposition Day debate on community pharmacy funding

An Opposition Day debate was held in the House of Commons on community pharmacies. Whilst Opposition debates and any votes are not binding and so cannot themselves force policy changes, they do form part of the bigger picture and it was encouraging to see support from MPs of all parties.


PSNC calls on DH to use pharmacy cuts to fund minor ailments service

PSNC Chief Executive Sue Sharpe called on the Department of Health to use the cuts from the community pharmacy funding budget to fund a pharmacy minor ailments service in 2017.


The funding imposition: raising awareness

Details of national and local media coverage on the Government’s decision to impose the funding package on community pharmacy.


Government imposes community pharmacy funding reduction

The Government imposed a two-year funding package on community pharmacy, with a £113 million reduction in funding in 2016/17.


PSNC response to Parliamentary debate on community pharmacy funding

Michael Dugher, MP for Barnsley East who has been supporting the campaign for community pharmacy, raised an urgent question on community pharmacy in the House of Commons.  The key points made by the minister have been set out in a PSNC Briefing along with PSNC’s responses to them.


National pharmacy pilots: Advice for LPCs

Guidance published for LPCs on the Department of Health’s plans to commission a national Urgent Medicines Supply pilot service – an NHS funded emergency supply service.


Community pharmacy campaign: getting involved

PSNC and the other national pharmacy organisations worked hard to ensure that the media and politicians were aware of the announcements and the ongoing concerns about community pharmacy. LPCs also wrote to local MPs to alert them about the developments.


Contractor Announcement: PSNC rejects DH proposed funding package

PSNC rejected the Department of Health’s proposed funding package for 2016/17. The proposed package includes reckless cuts to pharmacy funding that will, if implemented, see patients suffer as services are withdrawn.


PSNC Statement: Response to Minister’s announcement on urgent care role

PSNC and the other pharmacy organisations issued a statement in response to an announcement regarding community pharmacy’s role in urgent care by pharmacy minister David Mowat MP.


Support your local pharmacy campaign: party conference season

The national pharmacy bodies (PSNC, Pharmacy Voice, RPS, NPA, AIMp, and the CCA) continued to work together closely to ensure politicians know that the future of community pharmacy is still under threat.


Department of Health update on community pharmacy in 2016/17 and beyond

The Department of Health (DH) invited PSNC to re-enter negotiations on community pharmacy in 2016/17 and beyond. DH said that it aims to announce a package by mid-October, to be implemented from December 1st.


Minister confirms proposed funding cuts will not be implemented from October

Pharmacy minister David Mowat announced that the proposed £170 million community pharmacy funding cut would not be implemented this October.


David Mowat MP to have resposibility for pharmacy in new ministerial role

The Department of Health announced David Mowat, the MP for Warrington South, will be the minister with responsibility for pharmacy. PSNC will be writing to Mr Mowat urgently to ask him to consider the future of community pharmacy.


Government postpones ‘hub and spoke’ plans

The Government announced that it would further engage with PSNC and other stakeholders before making changes to medicines legislation on ‘hub and spoke’ dispensing, and the Department of Health does not envisage changes to the legislation commencing on October 1st.


MP briefing event success as pharmacy consultation ends

As the consultation on changes to community pharmacy in 2016/17 and beyond came to a close, community pharmacy representatives were in Westminster briefing MPs and their teams about community pharmacy services and presenting a patient petition to Downing Street. Around 50 MPs attended the Westminster event.


PSNC responds to “Community pharmacy in 2016/17 and beyond” letter

PSNC published its response to the Government’s letter from 17th December 2015. Within the response, PSNC makes clear that the proposals contained in the letter represent a major threat to the future availability of accessible healthcare, support and advice from community pharmacies. We are concerned that this threat has not been made clear to the public nor to their representatives, and that the policies underpinning the letter have not been based on analysis of the likely consequences or costs to the public as patients, members of our communities, or taxpayers.


PSNC responds to ‘Hub and Spoke’ consultation

PSNC published its response to the consultation on ‘hub and spoke’ dispensing. Following confirmation from the Department of Health that the draft regulations, if implemented, would permit hub and spoke dispensing between “relevant clinical entities” which it is proposed would include hospitals and surgeries, PSNC became concerned that this would potentially bypass registered pharmacy premises.


Contractor update: community pharmacy funding and negotiations

Peter Cattee, Chair of PSNC’s Funding and Contract Subcommittee and CEO of PCT Healthcare, made a statement to contractors following a meeting of the full PSNC Committee in which they reviewed the outcome of our discussions and agreed next steps.


Dispensing errors and automated dispensing research

PSNC published a paper examining the research around dispensing errors and automated dispensing in pharmacy. The paper highlights statistics produced from the research and comments on their validity in assessing the impact of automation on reducing dispensing errors.


DH releases slides from stakeholder event

The Department of Health (DH) held a stakeholder engagement event on its consultation on the future of community pharmacy. At the event a series of slides were presented and DH provided the stakeholders with copies to share with their members.


PSNC publishes counter proposal

PSNC published its counter proposal setting out how community pharmacy could use its unique skills, accessibility and contact with the public and patients to reduce NHS costs and improve quality. The counter proposal sets out how community pharmacy services, including an emergency supply of medicines service, could be used to generate the savings the NHS needs to make through pharmacy, without a cut in funding.


DH consultation event

DH released further information on its consultation on the future of community pharmacy ahead of a stakeholder engagement event to be held on Thursday 28th April. A background pack that was supplied to the wider stakeholders (Pharmacy Voice, RPS, Local Government Association, GPhC, ATPUK and National Voices) has been shared. This includes the interim summary of consultation responses so far and ‘source papers’ that were produced to inform initial discussions with the PSNC.


Department of Health extends community pharmacy consultation period

DH confirmed it would extend its consultation on community pharmacy in 2016/17 and beyond for two months until 24th May. Pharmacy minister Alistair Burt announced the extension during a meeting of the All Party Pharmacy Group, saying the Government saw real potential for greater use of community pharmacy and that the extension of the consultation would give more time for it to develop its proposals working with PSNC and informed by other stakeholders.

24/02/2016 & 10/03/2016

PSNC hold contractor meetings on implications of Government proposals

PSNC held two meetings, one in the West Midlands and one in London, for community pharmacy contractors to discuss the implications of the recent Government proposals for the future of community pharmacy. During the meetings key figures from PSNC discussed the government’s plans, PSNC’s strategy, the campaign in response to the government’s plans and the action that contractors can take. NPA colleagues also joined us to speak about the NPA response and campaign support.


PSNC publishes service development proposals

PSNC published a set of service proposals that describe how pharmacy services could develop in the future within the context of Government drives for efficiency. The proposals include the introduction of a care package, which would see repeat dispensing becoming a default option where medicines are needed on a long-term basis, patient registration at pharmacies, and pharmacies offering enhanced medicines optimisation services.


PSNC holds Special Meeting of LPC Chairs and Chief Officers

The majority of LPCs were represented at a special meeting organised by PSNC to discuss the implications of the Government’s plans. At the meeting ideas for campaigning at a local level were considered by the attendees; these ideas are being fed into the planning for a campaign that PSNC is undertaking with Pharmacy Voice, the NPA, AIMp and the CCA.

Week commencing 18/01/2016

Further details about the Government plans for community pharmacy are published

DH published a stakeholder briefing document, providing further information on their proposals, including a reference to plans to phase out Establishment payments. The Government also responded to an online petition seeking to stop the community pharmacy funding reduction for 2016/17, restating its aim to have a more clinically focused community pharmacy service and its belief that efficiencies can be made in the sector.

Additionally, a summary of a meeting between pharmacy minister Alistair Burt, the Department of Health and the All-Party Pharmacy Group revealed the minister suggested that between 1,000 and 3,000 community pharmacies could close and DH confirmed that there will be further funding reductions for community pharmacy in years beyond 2016/17.


PSNC demands clarity on NHS England’s long-term plans

PSNC responded to the Government’s open letter saying that it would be unable to commence negotiations on community pharmacy in 2016/17 until DH shared further detail of its longer term plans and the analysis underpinning them. PSNC Chief Executive Sue Sharpe said she feared NHS England was aiming for a larger funding cut in 2017/18 alongside reductions in pharmacy numbers and a drive towards a commoditised supply service, bypassing access to the support and advice available at community pharmacies.


PSNC’s initial response

PSNC published its initial response to the open letter from the Government, saying the announcement has delivered a financial blow to community pharmacy.


Government sends open letter to PSNC

In an open letter to PSNC, revealed at a meeting hosted by pharmacy minister Alistair Burt, the Government announced that funding for community pharmacy in 2016/17 will be cut by £170m. The cut, from £2.8bn to £2.63bn, is a reduction of more than 6% in cash terms. The decision to publish the letter is unprecedented, and in stark contrast to the secrecy that the NHS has always insisted on for negotiations in the past.

Return to the 2016 campaign archive page.

For more information on this topic please email info@psnc.org.uk

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