The National Pharmacy Association (NPA) is challenging the Government's proposed pharmacy funding cuts, in a High Court case.

The NPA, which represents independent community pharmacy members, claims that the funding cuts would hit the vulnerable hardest - the elderly, disabled and ethnic communities.

The Chairman of the NPA, Ian Strachan, said: "We are fighting this case to protect patients and communities in deprived areas, and to smoke out the flawed thinking behind the Government cuts to pharmacy funding. Had the Department of Health properly considered the impact of its cuts, it would have realised that the cuts will 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."

The NPA claims that the people behind the decision to cut funding to community pharmacy do not appreciate the role of pharmacies beyond dispensing and the role they play within healthcare, including using their skills in an accessible way to ease the burden on other parts of the healthcare system.

The NPA had earlier led a campaign that obtained over two million signatures for its petition against the cuts.

The High Court hearing takes place later in March.

Comment

At a time when the NHS needs to obtain more for less, community pharmacy can provide part of the answer. This should involve expanding their role to enable better outcomes more efficiently. The funding cuts could save money in the immediate short term, but actually cost more money and lead to worse outcomes as patients have worse results and clog up the system in more expensive areas such as GP practices and A&E.