Published: 20/05/2004, Volume II4, No. 5906 Page 7

The October deadline for implementing the new pharmacy contract could be in danger because of wrangling over its cost.

An emergency meeting with health minister Rosie Winterton was expected to take place this week.

This follows claims by the pharmaceutical services negotiating committee (PSNC) that the department's initial funding proposal demonstrated 'a wholly unrealistic position'.

A statement said: 'At that meeting PSNC will seek clarification as to whether or not...the Department of Health still intends to move towards implementation of the new contract in October 2004.'

A PSNC spokeswoman told HSJ it was important to get agreement 'before the summer' because of a tight timetable of contract roadshows required for the ballot on funding among pharmacists.