Celesio UK hosted 340 new employees at the Chesford Grange hotel in Kenilworth on October 4.
In attendance were representatives from each of Sainsbury’s 277 in-store pharmacies and its four hospital branches, which Celesio acquired in July. More than 2,500 Sainsbury’s employees transferred to Lloydspharmacy on September 1 as part of the £125 million deal, Celesio UK said.
Lloydspharmacy’s Sainsbury’s integration lead, Will Jennings, kicked off proceedings by welcoming new employees “to a pharmacy passionate about your development, clinical excellence and growing your business”, the multiple told C+D.
“It’s been a long time since July 29, 2015, when the deal was first done, and we recognise that it has been a period of uncertainty for you and your teams,” he told delegates.
“The last month has meant some really hard work and I want to sincerely thank you for all you have done – your commitment and effort. Today is the next step of your exciting journey.”
"Welcome to the best pharmacy company in the world"
Celesio UK managing director Cormac Tobin then delivered a rallying speech – which one employee apparently described as “inspirational” – opening with: “Welcome to the best pharmacy company in the world.”
Mr Tobin explained to the new Lloydspharmacy staff that “the reason we acquired Sainsbury’s was because we believe in the people. Meeting you all, I feel the passion that you want to deliver the best healthcare in the UK.”
Mr Tobin promised to help pharmacists “release” their clinical expertise to benefit patients, Celesio said.
“The knowledge in your heads is far superior to other healthcare workers,” Mr Tobin added. “Pharmacy should be a destination in the community for healthcare knowledge.”
Attendees were then invited to a ‘speed dating’ style ice-breaker session between colleagues from both Lloydspharmacy and Sainsbury’s, Celesio said.
It told C+D that Nancy Young, former Sainsbury’s employee and a trainee pharmacy technician from Plymouth, said: “I’m made up to be joining so many friendly people. The whole thing has been very professional and you always feel like you’ve got someone next to you to support you.”
All of Sainsbury’s pharmacies will be rebranded over the next nine months. The pharmacy in Sainsbury’s Nine Elms branch in London is the first to be “transformed”, Celesio added.
In July, the government’s competition watchdog announced that Lloydspharmacy would have to sell branches in 12 areas of England and Wales before it sanctioned the Sainsbury’s deal, to prevent a “substantial lessening of competition” for patients. View all the branches up for sale here