A locum pharmacist has started an email campaign in protest at Tesco's decision to drop its locum rates from July 20.
Siddiqur Rahman originally posted his email template in a social media group for locums in Greater London, Essex and Kent. But it is now being used by locum groups around the country, he told C+D.
Mr Rahman drafted the letter in response to news that Tesco will cut its rates by between £1 and £3.50. Full details of the changes can be found here.
Read the full letter, addressed to Tesco's pharmacy operations manager, below:
Firstly, I'd like to thank you for sharing your thoughts with us – a healthy relationship between companies and locums is key and open communication is, I feel, a focal part of that.
However, in the same vein, the significant reduced locum rate drop to £18/hr, and also especially the Sunday and Bank Holiday rates being the same rate as on a Saturday, are well below the market standard and so pharmacists aren't being entirely unreasonable to expect a fair rate.
Also, from experience, a lot of locum shifts offered by Tesco have been on an urgent emergency basis, mainly on a social media platform such as Facebook and Whatsapp. To offer these shifts for £18/hr starting rate seems abysmal, especially when we are expected to be flu vaccination accredited.
Additionally, I feel that, from experience, Tesco's general rates are at the low end being offered and that's why I've generally gone to other companies when offered shifts at a higher average rate and covering my travel expenses. Perhaps this backlash is a symptom of a general dissatisfaction with reduced locum rates over the years, with companies preferring to pay someone £20/hr just to get the job done, over someone such as myself – with more extensive management experience and aiming to fulfill at least two MURs and some NMS activity at a slightly higher rate of £23/hr.
I fully recognise the potential pharmacy cuts from the NHS which have yet to be applied. However, I feel that to slash locum rates now is purely an easy way to increase profits.
I also feel that to ensure retention [of staff], Tesco may need to look at paying higher rates to attract and then keep the right kind of locums, especially when we are being asked to undergo flu vaccination training at our own cost, and at increased risk and liability to ourselves – even though Tesco say they will cover the indemnity.
I look forward to working with you in the future. I hope that my feedback is taken in a positive light, as I have much respect for your company.