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Sainsbury's staff welcomed to 'world's best' pharmacy chain

Managing director Cormac Tobin delivered an "inspirational" speech to staff, according to one attendee

Lloydspharmacy’s parent company officially welcomed its new Sainsbury’s employees to the multiple last week with a staff event in Warwickshire, C+D has learned.

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 


Have you transferred over to Lloydspharmacy as part of the Sainsbury's deal?

Gerry Diamond, Primary care pharmacist

I used to do a Saturday morning regularly in one of their hospital pharmacies and covered other sites, The staff were absolutely lovely even the area manager was very good. But it was the out of touch higher centralised echelons who were more of a problem.... Anyway good luck

Jonny Johal, Pharmacy Area manager/ Operations Manager

Hahaha, this Mr Tobin is more of a comedian than I thought. He's the type who can cut your locum rate and thank you for doing a good job at the same time. Lloydspharmacy being the best - I think most of my professional colleagues would disagree.

I've transferred over and customers are saying its a proper pharmacy now then.  Counter sales are up and it's been an eye opener how much more focused lloyds are on the pharmacy business than sainsburys were 

Amal England, Public Relations

Counter sales had to go up, for the last 12 months Sainsburys shelves were bare! Prior to that most Sainsburys pharmacies were outperforming Lloyds..... Hence celesio were very interested!

Lloyds isn't really focused per say, it's sole business is pharmacy.

What does the patient know- nothing.... They take Aspirin for decades and yet they call it Apsirin.

Lloyds is going to chase professionalism out the front door.... Wait and see.

Jonny Johal, Pharmacy Area manager/ Operations Manager

Instant results? You know what they say, "if it sounds too good. ....". Which branch of Sainsbury/lloyds you are referring to? Didn't you do a good enough job previously?

Danny TheRed, Community pharmacist

Shame customers thought that of your pharmacy, no one ever said that of us, they know we're a proper pharmacy from the excellent service and expertise we offer, sounds like you let Sainsburys down...

Chemical Mistry, Information Technology

I assume that's why Sainsburys sold it ! Doesn't take a genius to work that out!

dave k, Community pharmacist

Money we take OTC wise is up to. most probably to do with the fact that prices have increased by an average 20 pecent

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

You've got to love the corporate twaddle though!!

Gordon Levick, Locum pharmacist

Best pharmacy comoany? Just like Englands football team is the worlds best soccer outfit.

Danny TheRed, Community pharmacist

Inspirational perhaps but actions speak louder than words and I'm not seeing any actions to help me deliver, in fact hinder is more true, support is minimal, many are feeling disillusioned, Lloyds need to be careful not to ruin what is so great about Sainsburys pharmacy, they need to understand that we are quite different from their branches next to surgeries, our customers expect great service and timely service, our growth is stellar compared to existing branches, wonder why? If Cormac really cares then perhaps an internal anonymous temperature check is in order

R A, Community pharmacist

I sincerely wish everyone the best of luck from the bottom of my heart they will need it dealing with the "world's best best pharmacy chain" although I wonder what does this company exactly excel at?

Amal England, Public Relations

This company excels at market capitalisation and shareholder return ..... Are you a shareholder?

Paul Smith, Accuracy checking technician

Unfortunately, until now I don't have nothing good to say about being a "new" Lloyds employee. Dealing with any department within the company is a nightmare; people working in their HR are rude and unhelpful ; the pension scheme is poor and is not comparable with Sainsburys pension scheme despite of what they have said. Perhaps is time to move on with life.

Amal England, Public Relations

Your words are an echo of what i did back in 2009. When i was finally on my knees, i walked out, never to return. Please don't feel sorry for me or give me sympathy..... Save it for the poor staff that remained.

R S, Community pharmacist

The pharmacists I know at 2 branches are all looking for other jobs, I can't think of a single Locum that's worked in my pharmacy that has positive words about lloyds.
I think they had to fit all the merchandise / branding themselves while they were open in the day whilst doing the normal job instead of getting shop fitters to do it all when they were closed! No pressure there then, better not make any dispensing errors!

Liz Jones,

This site lately is more entertaining than Coronation St or Emmerdale. It is even more surreal  than Star Trek. 

Honest Tikes, Sales

"Today is the next step of your exciting journey” Can't wait...up the M1 and down the P45 via Beeston

Nat Mitchell, Community pharmacist

The best at what?

Stephen Walsh, Community pharmacist

“the reason we acquired Sainsbury’s was because we believe in the people. "

What utter management-speak rubbish. Profit not come into it then?

Jonny Johal, Pharmacy Area manager/ Operations Manager

If pharmacies are making that much profits for Sainsburys, why did they sell them?

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