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Tesco slashes hourly locum rates by at least a pound

Tesco: Rates were reduced after reviewing the locum rates market

The supermarket will reduce its rates in July

Tesco will drop its hourly locum rates by at least a pound from next month, C+D has learned.

A Tesco pharmacy manager in the south east has shared with C+D details of a decrease in each of the rates the supermarket pays, due to begin on July 20. 

All Tesco stores are branded A, B or C depending on the supply of locums in their area.
 Standard daytime rates from Monday to Friday for a supermarket rated as 'A' will drop from £19.50 to £18, according to the manager. 

Other rates will drop by as much as £3.50.
 Full details of the changes can be seen below:

Tesco response

Tesco told C+D it made the changes following a recent review of locum market rates. 

The supermarket remains committed to offering hourly rates which are "competitive within the industry", it added.

"Exploiting economies of scale"

But Community pharmacist Hanbal Chaudry responded to the news by accusing multiples of “not only exploiting economies of scale when it comes to buying drugs, but also locum services”.

C+D reported last year that Tesco cut its locum rates by 50p, which locum agencies described at the time as “short sighted”.

Locum campaign

One locum pharmacist has organised an online campaign against the cuts. Read his letter to the supermarket here.

Fellow multiple Well backtracked yesterday (June 27) on an email criticising its locums for requesting higher pay during the Eid religious festival.

Read more about locum news

What do you think about the rates drop?

We want to hear your views, but please express them in the spirit of a constructive, professional debate. For more information about what this means, please click here to see our community principles and information


DILIP Patel, Pharmacy

All very interesting. I had my own business for 27 years, semi retired now so do occasionall Locum work . We can argue about The Proffesion till the cows come home but it's a case of supply and demand. There are too many Pharmacists out there hence rates have dropped. I am fortunate I am towards the end of my career  but do feel for the new graduates and those embarking on a career in Pharmacy. Let's face it, Pharmacy has and always will be a divided profession - there is the Single Independent, small groups , medium groups and of course the Large Multiples who have there own agenda. If I was a Goverment Official I'd be quietly laughing away watching these so called Professionals bickering and fighting and bending over backwards to offer " Free" this that and the other- Carry On   Pharmacists , we don't have the time or money for you, we got those GP's to deal with who do show a " United Front" and they are a lot tougher to deal with. Oh yes, the 100 hours, probably the less said about them the better though there are exceptions who do provide a very high class, professional and ethical service. They have done more damage to the profession than anyone else in the last few years. United we Stand, Divided We Fall. Will we ever be United, I doubt it so we can carry on complaining and the Goverment will Carry On Laughing!!  However, I live in hope and like I said earlier I am towards the end of my career  and enjoyed being a Pharmacist for the last 37 years and still love and care for the Profession though don't have the same passion for the reasons mentioned above and urge All to work towards a United Profession and then and only then will WE be taken seriously.











Eugene Ibe, Locum pharmacist

This so so anoying , shocking but not surprising. Why? Let me say firstly that as a locum I had before now taken a personal decision never  to work for TESCO both as a resident and as a Locum. This decision was from the previous time when they made a cut and further pegged the maximum hours. Now, why is it not suprising? Please reason with me. Locums; especially and Pharmacist at large , do we have a body  whose duty is to negotiate and fix a minimum price per hour? Ans. NO. Do we: locums have any associstion ; local or national, where we discause and agree on things of particular interest to us? Ans, NO. OK, do we have a unified front as one voice speaking for our good? (like the Doctors and Nurses), NO.  In this our so called first world and top demaocratic society, do we; locums have an organised lobby group? Again Ans. No. Fine, even if we have similar organistions ( if any) have they accepted and acknowledged our plite as thier primary concern?  Ofcause not. All we do is  to complain and no action to follow up. Incredibly, the employers love it and are so comfortable with our position: providing  proffessional services with legaly high risky/expossing responsiblity @ the national minimum wage. Great!! 
1, Stop complaining, 2, Take a personal decision never to be belittled in any form by any person or group of persons and for the posterity of Pharmacy profession. 3, Come together , form a local locum forum in your vicinity, with the aim that these local forums will further conglomerate into a National Pharmacists Locum association. Then we can have a unified mouth piece and a direction to follow. IT IS TIME TO ACT.

Lorna Simmonds, Student

Yes I have had enough of hearing how little Pharmacists are paid wihtin the community. I am currently seeking employment in the Hopsital setting where pharamcists are valued and demanded. I am currently getting the all the essential and required training through a compnay that is contracted by  NHS hospitals. The previous cohort of community pharamcists have all secured jobs within a Hospital setting. Here are the details:

Call 07498828852/ 01273620072 to find out more or email: [email protected]

This company also has a facebook page called : Stream Pharma. Give them an email or a call and start your lucrative and valued hosptial pharmacy career.

Pharmacy HLP, Manager

My kids can get more than is paid as a locum rate by helping teach others with music grades. If any one has skills in the arts maybe a change of direction.

what a terrible shame because this is a great profession with no comensurate remuneration.

Minimum wage is up so that means the gap between a graduate pharmacist and HCA is slowly  becoming negligable if you consider the level of responsibility expected of a pharmacist .

Freelance Chemist, Pre-reg Pharmacist


Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

Just as an add-on - has anyone had problems with NMS at multiples? I've lost count of the amount of times I've been asked to do interventions and follow ups on patients that aren't eligible for NMS - the worst one being a three year old child!

Pill Counter, Pharmacy

Have you not been asked to do follow ups on the deceased? you haven' lived man!


Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

Call for Doris Stokes...... (anyone under 40 or so - look her up on Wikipedia!)

Freelance Chemist, Pre-reg Pharmacist

I have been in the same position and I have had to tell the staff no I'm not doing an NMS on a baby!!

Angela Channing, Community pharmacist


CAPT FX, Locum pharmacist

There is something that is completely lost to the people who make these decisions. They should never be surprised when Pharmacists, locum or otherwise provide them with service in return that is commesurate with how much they pay. People can say whatever they want about professionalism but over the years Pharmacists have quietly played this passive resistance card very well. Contractors want to pay as little as they can and the rates they pay do not reflect the experience of the Pharmacist they employ. Surely why would a Pharmacist with 20 years experience waste his experience when he gets paid the same rate as a newly qualified who started yesterday. Yes the rates will continue to drop and there is nothing Pharmacists can do, but so will the mediocrity, falling professional standards and the possibility that this Profession will be in the news for costing patients their lives. Passive restistance is out there and it is the only option left and as to whether its right or wrong is another aspect. Why should the department of health continue to pay Pharmacy as a Profession when the profession itself has stopped taking itself seriously. 

Angela Channing, Community pharmacist

I totally agree, Francis.  I also think things will only get worse, and wait until there are too many graduates and not enough pre-reg places. That can't be too far off. I'm still not sure why students are so eager to still do a pharmacy degree. If I was 16 or 17 years old, and doing research and was told by a locum that I was being offered the same rate or even less than I was earning 10 yrs ago, AND this was likely to continue, then I would have to think very carefully about why this was happening, and if it was a short-term thing, and if not, then vote with my feet. Sadly, it seems the 6th formers of today, are not doing that in great enough numbers. Maybe they will by 2020, when we will probably be down another £ or two! What I want to know though is, when does it become not worth it to do the degree, or remain in the "profession" ? 

Pill Counter, Pharmacy

Waldron will shut down your account if you keep on telling the truth.

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

The trouble with pharmacy and pharmacists is that there will always be SOMEONE who will work for peanuts and betray the entire profession. If every locum in the country decided to have the same week off they might just appreciate what we do. Of course that will never happen because a) Pharmacy isn't that well co-ordinated and b) half of locums will see it as an opportunity to bag a better rate (and I say this as someone who only very recently went back into employment). I have been a pharmacist for 26 years and in all that time I have NEVER seen pharmacists all pulling in the same direction.


Shaun Steren, Pharmaceutical Adviser

If pharmacists were to be somebody from your old school, they would be the school snitch. Think about it. 

Farmer Cyst, Community pharmacist

We are a weasley profession, that's for sure. Even the stereotypical image of the pharmacist is a pale, slightly dishevelled man who looks a bit cowardly.

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

That's so true. I, of course, am perfect.......

Simon Quinn,

Disgraceful rates exploutative. But guess what ? Just say NO !  If enough Locums do that they'll soon think again. Also BOYCOTT Tescos. I returned from the Middle East in 2003, then the rates were £22/23. I only work on hospital now. My rate £35 take it or leave it. I'm still working. 

dave k, Community pharmacist

sometimes its financially impossible to boycott full stop- but say not doing any weekend shifts. Not saying it will break them but will make them think twice 

Shaun Steren, Pharmaceutical Adviser

And who will be happy to take your Saturday's from you? Well, off the top of my head: somebody with huge student debts, somebody who is funding a grand house building project in their native land or somebody who has left an economy with 50% youth unemployment rates and second world wages. So with the greatest respect - don't talk daft. 

Farm Assistant, Community pharmacist

BREXIT is ten years too late. Actually come to think of it there are a couple of vacancies going that require no qualifications, no work ethic, no morals, no brains, no loyalty and I'm not talking about the RPS!

Chris Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

The real issue is the increasing numbers of graduates...until that is dealt with then this will continue, there is no lower limit of locum/employee pay rates despite what we think is reasonable, the multiples will decide..for employee pharmacists unconcerned think again, we are next. Pharmacy as a 'profession' is divided, apathetic and too willing to accept what is dished out to us, I see no single professional body that have the will or clout to improve things for community pharmacists in the short to medium term, reaaly depressing...leaving the EU may help a bit but not significantly.

Freelance Chemist, Pre-reg Pharmacist

I will be Brexiting out of community pharmacy!!!

Paul Dishman, Pharmaceutical Adviser

If you don't like the rate, then don't accept the booking.

Pill Counter, Pharmacy

DEad right Paul. Similarly if a tyre salesman tells you to do an MUR or else don't do it. There, all problems in community pharmacy solved at a stroke

Prafulkumar Soneji, Locum pharmacist

Frightening thing is that other pharmacy chain and employers will follow suite.



M Yang, Community pharmacist

I've never locumed for Tesco before and after reading this article I never will. While it makes sense from the profit perspective to classify your branches according to availability of locums in the area, it's also a signal for locums to do little more than the minimum to keep the pharmacy running. I appreciate good work ethic but why should I work so hard when I know the business doesn't appreciate me and will happily slash rates? I haven't seen any of my regular clients in the independent sector go below £22.50 and if they're wise about retaining their best locums then they won't. What goes around comes around and, even with the current surplus of pharmacists, there will come a time when they can't find anyone to keep their pharmacies open. The locums will be ignoring their phones or have moved on.

P M, Community pharmacist

this is just the start of the cuts , others will follow including independents, being a locum isnt what is used to be and the new realilty is lower wages .

oh and most locums do the min already - as its not their business! they wouldnt go out of their way to help the business or patients..

Pill Counter, Pharmacy

PM, you would have complained about the abolishment of slavery as it woyld have hit your productivity an you NET PROFIT.

P M, Community pharmacist

really so being a pharmacist is like being a slave .. wow your comparison is shocking..


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