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Lloydspharmacy staff told to reduce working hours

Lloydspharmacy is expecting each branch to reduce its staffing by “around five hours per week” to meet “payroll challenges”, the Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) Union has claimed.

“A number of members” contacted the union last month to inform them that the multiple is expecting employees to voluntarily agree to reduce their working hours, PDA Union assistant general secretary Mark Pitt told C+D today (April 10).

Responding to the claims, Richard James, head of central operations for Lloydspharmacy, said: "Good business practice requires us to respond to market factors and changing customer behaviour."

As such, the multiple “regularly reviews staffing levels to ensure our colleagues are available at the best time, in the best place for our customers”, Mr James said.

“These reviews may require us to increase or decrease hours in our stores," he added.

Lloydspharmacy did not confirm the number of hours each branch would be expected to cut, or whether locum hours would be included.

In a letter sent to members working for the multiple on March 30 – and seen by C+D – the PDA Union claimed Lloydspharmacy managers may have to decide which employees will have their hours cut if volunteers do not come forward.

PDA patient safety concerns

The union also expressed “concern” that any reduction in staffing hours would increase the workload for remaining pharmacy staff, and could compromise patient safety.

“Members are reminded that as responsible pharmacists...if the resources available in the pharmacy put the safe operation of the pharmacy at risk, they will be held personally responsible in the event of an error or complaint to the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC),” the union warned in its letter.

Mr Pitt said “a couple” of members have since contacted the union to say they have resigned from Lloydspharmacy because of “ongoing workplace pressures” at the multiple.

“Unfortunately this could be the shape of things to come, because of the funding cuts,” Mr Pitt added.

The union advised any members "who feel under undue pressure to voluntarily reduce their hours" to contact it for individual advice.

Staffing levels and workplace pressures: the headlines

The GPhC confirmed in October 2016 that inspectors will continue to monitor pharmacies’ staffing levels, despite increased financial pressures caused by the funding cuts in England.

Earlier this year, Cormac Tobin, managing director of Lloydspharmacy parent company Celesio UK, told C+D he could not promise that no staff will lose their jobs as a result of the funding cuts. Read more here.

Have you been asked to reduce your working hours?

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