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Insider's view: Managers are under constant MUR pressure too

A pharmacist who has worked for several multiples talks anonymously to C+D about the MUR targets set for locums and managers

EXCLUSIVE
 
What is it like for managers at pharmacy multiples? Many have become the focus of criticism for pressurising staff to perform unnecessary MURs in order to maximise profits. 
 
One pharmacist, who contacted C+D under condition of anonymity, gives his insight into the pressures pharmacy managers face. 
 
In most multiples, there is constant reference to the need to complete your share of the pharmacy’s MUR target – there is not so much, if any, [pressure] in the independents.
 
I can confirm that the culture inside Boots was exactly the same or even worse than published in the Guardian. It was usually suggested that you do a minimum of two a day, or one if working part-time – although they loved it if you did more.

If, as a store manager, you failed to deliver MURs, you would not receive a pay increase and your manager’s bonus would be reduced substantially.
 
The targets were written into your contract, which you had to deliver. This constant pressure broke hundreds of very able, loyal managers, who then left the company.
 
As far as I can see, only one firm is as harsh with its MUR delivery and pay rate as Boots – and that’s [160+ branch multiple] Cohens.
 
In the locum agreement letter (below) you can feel the tone, and how it would affect a locum financially if you failed to deliver the required number of MURs.

 

Leaked letter to locums at Cohens Chemist - 2013

Subject: VARIATION OF TERMS OF LOCUM CONTRACT

Dear pharmacist,

I write to inform you that we have reviewed our
locum rates and propose to set them as follows:

• £21 per hour provided that you conduct two
MURs or more during the course of the day.
• £19 per hour if two MURs are not completed
during the course of the day.

This amendment is effective from April 1, 2013.

If you are booked to work in branches that do not
have a consultation room or have already completed
400 MURs for the year, you will be paid £21 per hour
automatically.

You will be paid at £19 per hour
unless you complete a locum feedback form to
report that you have completed a minimum of
two MURs.

All other terms of the locum contract you have
signed with us will remain unchanged. Unless we
hear from you to the contrary, we will assume your
acceptance.

Yours sincerely,
Cohens

 

How did the companies respond?

C+D approached both Boots and Cohens for a comment in response to the accusations that the pay of managers of both companies is tied explicitly to MUR targets.

Both stressed that they are among many multiples that incentivise staff for good service. Zoe Serrant, head of operations and superintendent pharmacist at Cohens, said the multiple – which has more than 160 pharmacies in the north-west of England and across the UK – values “every one of our staff”.

Boots said it would not comment on an individual case, but said that pay for pharmacists and managers is assessed “against a broad range of objectives”.

Read the companies' full responses here.
 


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