The NPA has applied to the High Court for a judicial review of pharmacy funding cuts.
The NPA’s challenge is partly based on the Department of Health’s failure to consider the impact its cuts would have on the elderly, the disabled and people from black and minority ethnic communities, it said in a statement. The cuts would have a disproportionate effect on people with legally protected characteristics and those who live in the most deprived areas of England, where there is already a lack of NHS healthcare provision, it said.
“We have been driven to take this step by the intransigence of the Department of Health in the face of widespread public concern about the approach they are taking to the vital front line service provided by local pharmacies," said NPA chairman Ian Strachan. “The community pharmacy network is a part of the health service that can truly be said to serve all communities, including the most vulnerable neighbourhoods. We see it as our public duty to try to preserve access to pharmaceutical care for those in most need.
“Even as we take this next step, we invite the Department of Health to step back from the precipice and enter into constructive discussions about a positive way forward for the sector and the NHS.”
The High Court is in recess until the second week of January, so no decision can be made before then about whether the NPA will be granted leave to proceed.
The NPA has also been named as an ‘interested party’ in the separate proceedings launched by PSNC.