Chemist takes legal action over Cockermouth hospital
Last updated at 12:05, Friday, 04 October 2013
A Cockermouth chemist has started legal action against the NHS over its pharmacy contract for the town’s new £11 million hospital.
JWW Allison, which has been in the town for generations, claims that a contract to run the pharmacy at the new Isel Road hospital has been awarded without a proper tendering process.
Its action means there is an injunction in place to prevent a pharmacy opening at the new site.
JWW Allison claimed it received assurances in 2011 from property consultants, acting for what was then the Cumbria Primary Care Trust, that there was a competitive tendering process.
But the pharmacy claims that this never happened.
A spokesman for JWW Allison said: “JWW Allison has made a number of requests for information and clarification as to the process followed in order to understand the decisions made and the reason for the apparent absence of a tender process.
“JWW Allison considers the responses received are inadequate.
“We have therefore reluctantly been left with no option but to issue proceedings.
“JWW Allison considers it important that there is transparency of decision-making surrounding the provision of public services and believes the people of Cockermouth are entitled to understand how their healthcare services are provided.
“JWW Allison has taken this action because of necessity, in order to ensure that decisions made relating to matters as important as pharmacy provision, impacting upon JWW Allison and the wider community of Cockermouth, are handled in a fair and transparent manner.
“JWW Allison wish to ensure that the right provision of pharmacy services is available and local businesses, including JWW Allison, and the wider community are not disadvantaged.”
The primary care trust has now disbanded and NHS England is dealing with the legal action.
A spokesman said it was unable to comment while legal proceedings were taking place.
Meanwhile, Councillor Alan Smith, Labour leader of Allerdale council, has criticised a delay in the hospital’s opening.
Coun Smith, who is also a Cockermouth town councillor, said: “The issue of the pharmacy should not prevent the whole of the hospital project.
“It is a disgrace really. A complete farce. We have spent all this money on it and the doors are still locked.
“This is a commercial issue and nothing should be stopping them opening the doors. The people in this area deserve a good health service.
“I cannot see it opening up any time this year but we do need a speedy solution.”
A spokeswoman from NHS Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group said there was no definite opening date, but services would move in when final fittings were completed.
First published at 11:58, Friday, 04 October 2013
Published by http://www.timesandstar.co.uk
Have your say
I feel one important factor which annoys me is that why wasn't this sorted well before the planned hospital completion date to prevent a site now empty?It would appear to onlookers like Allisons have left it to the very last moment to have this injunction placed in order delay the whole move. A move which I expect would have the biggest impact on their business. This tactic, regardless of the outcome of the injunction, is surely unacceptable!
It's annoying to see comments that contradict the story in print. The story has a statement from the NHS saying that the building isn't finished. So who exactly is to blame for that?
I imagine that it isn't easy to get an injunction and that you would need to prove that there is a case to answer. Why would a small company take on the might of the NHS unless it was sure of wrongdoing? They would risk bankruptcy surely.
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