Legal battle over pharmacy at new west Cumbrian hospital
Last updated at 16:34, Wednesday, 02 October 2013
A new £11 million hospital currently standing empty in west Cumbria is now the subject of a legal battle.
Allerdale council leader Alan Smith has today hit out at health bosses over delays in opening Cockermouth’s new hospital, which has been almost finished for months.
Meanwhile, it has emerged a long-established town pharmacy is launching legal action because it claims it was never given the chance to be part of the development.
Once complete, the Isel Road facility will house community beds, GP services, a pharmacy and various clinics.
But JWW Allison, which has ran a chemist in the town for generations, claims the contract to run the pharmacy was awarded to another party without proper tendering.
It claims it received assurances back in 2011 from property consultants acting for what was then Cumbria Primary Care Trust (PCT) that there would be a competitive tendering process but it says this hasn’t happened.
It is therefore calling for a judicial review.
An injunction is currently in place preventing a pharmacy from opening at the hospital.
A JWW Allison spokesman said: “We have taken this action because of necessity, in order to ensure decisions made relating to matters as important as pharmacy provision are handled in a fair and transparent matter.”
As Cumbria PCT has now been disbanded, NHS England is responding to the legal action. It said it could not comment at this stage.
It is not clear whether the pharmacy issue has added to the delay in opening the new hospital. However it is believed some internal fittings, such as kitchen facilities, remain unfinished.
Mr Smith said this wasn’t good enough. “It cost millions of pounds but the doors are closed. It was supposed to open in July, then August/September. We’re now in October – why hasn’t that happened?
Mr Smith was among a group of councillors and community representatives who attended a health summit organised by Copeland MP Jamie Reed on Monday.
They quizzed bosses from various health trusts and voiced concerns about the future of healthcare in west Cumbria. This included fears that plans to upgrade all of north Cumbria’s community hospitals had stalled due to funding drying up.
Mr Reed claims that Maryport and Millom are among those that will be left without major upgrades.
A spokeswoman for the Cumbria Partnership health trust, which runs the area’s community hospitals, confirmed no plans are in place for further investment but said they were working with their new commissioners – the GP-run Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group – and the county’s health and wellbeing board to develop future proposals.
However she added that local health funds are looking increasingly tighter.
The health summit was also an opportunity to scrutinise plans to move services from Whitehaven to Carlisle.
First published at 16:31, Wednesday, 02 October 2013
Published by http://www.newsandstar.co.uk
Have your say
It appears that the injunction only stops the pharmacy moving, so it doesn't put anyone out of business.
If the pharmacy was given the valuable premises when the lawful decision was to tender, then they don't deserve to move to the new hospital.
I think that a challenge must be made
Doctors earn more than enough money without trying to open pharmacies. It's disgusting behaviour.
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