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Tesco cuts hourly locum rates by 50p

Tesco says its locum rates are "among the highest in the industry"

A locum agency has branded the drop in Tesco rates from July 20 "opportunistic"

EXCLUSIVE

Tesco will cut its locum rates by 50p an hour from next month, C+D has learned.

In a letter sent to a Tesco locum last month and seen by C+D, the supermarket said it would reduce its hourly pay by approximately 50p for all shifts after July 20 following a “recent review of market rates”.

Tesco confirmed to C+D yesterday (June 9) that it had made a “small reduction” to its locum rates. The supermarket would not reveal its current locum rate but claimed it was “among the highest in the industry”.

In its letter, Tesco encouraged locums to discuss the new rate with their manager. But a Tesco locum, who wished to remain anonymous, told C+D that his manager had been “not been informed” about the change when he had raised the subject.

The pharmacist said he felt “particularly aggrieved” that shifts booked before the pay drop was announced would not be honoured at the previous rate. The reduction also left him feeling “devalued”, he added. 

“Very short-sighted”

Shaun Hockey, managing director of locum agency PL-UK, said the reduction was "very short-sighted". "Although there is perceived oversupply of pharmacists, they will get mopped up by GP practices,” he told C+D.

Locums had “long memories” and the “opportunistic” rate change would mean some would decline to work for the supermarket in future, he added.

Locum pharmacist John Munday agreed that some locums could “vote with their feet” after hearing the news. He branded the rate change as “another big locum employer yet again downgrading [our] worth”.

In its letter, Tesco added that its travel expenses - 25p per mile for round trips of longer than 40 miles - and accommodation rate of £20 per night would not be affected. 

The average hourly locum rate last year was £21, a £3 drop since 2008, according to figures from C+D’s most recent salary surveyIn 2012, C+D learned that Tesco was cutting rates for locums who did not perform an MUR during their shift.
 


Would you reconsider working at Tesco as a result of the reduced locum rate?

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42 Comments

Farmer Cyst, Community pharmacist

Depends on where in the country you live. I've seen some pretty desperate offers in some parts of the country, with talk of closures seemingly inevitable. Alright, September is coming and that means that there'll be some newly qualified mugs who ruin their career accepting £16/hr and then spend the next 15 years negotiating it up to where it would have been if they had some back bone in the first place, but it's not all the end of the world. Personally this is the first time I've felt 'more in demand' in a long time, and am frequently able to charge a premium - just remember, they wont do you any favours. They don't take it personally. Don't gouge them, but don't think you're doing them any favours. If they seem stuck, make them pay for it. If they thought you were stuck, they'd squeeze you (obviously this doesn't mean completely screw them and make enemies)

Richard Andoh,

Well Tesco obviously is not the first to cut locum rates. All the big boys are at it. I personally can' t see this affecting supply of locum to Tesco. I think it's about time pharmacist grouped together to own facilities and gradually increase pharmacist ownership of Pharmacies. For the political animals I would say we need to thinking of creative ways of using the law to booster Pharmacist ownership and reduce the power of the corporate boys, otherwise we are going no where fast.

Anonymous Anonymous, Information Technology

Yes but that would mean those in power not doing as they are told by their masters (Boots, Lloyds, etc)

Tom Jerry, Community pharmacist

Boring company to work for and certainly a boring company to shop at, if I can remember the last time I went into a Tesco was 4 years ago and that was to empty my bowels, I suppose thats all that their good for !!! Every dog has its day and they've certainly had their's, good luck Tesco and congratulations on your future decline.

Miracure Pharmacist, Work for a health/commissioning consultancy company

we need to restrict number of pharmacists in a legal manner ie not incorrect criminal records ...my case is noe being reviewed by the CCRC.. possible miscarriage of justice ????????? i was planning to go to australia but you have to sit several exams including english... why can we adopt this system in Britain instead of making British like me suffer ..............

Gerry Diamond, Primary care pharmacist

It is a bit grim for pharmacist locum rates, as I have not worked in community pharmacy for good several months as it can be quite unrewarding professionally, But I do a locum in a GP practice on a Saturday morning running a minor illness clinic, no GP on site, do vaccinations, medication reviews, asthma reviews and spirometry. Sort out emergency prescription supplies...charge the £35.00 an hour.

Gerry Diamond, Primary care pharmacist

It is a bit grim for pharmacist locum rates, as I have not worked in community pharmacy for good several months as it can be quite unrewarding professionally, But I do a locum in a GP practice on a Saturday morning running a minor illness clinic, no GP on site, do vaccinations, medication reviews, asthma reviews and spirometry. Sort out emergency prescription supplies...charge the £35.00 an hour.

Gerry Diamond, Primary care pharmacist

It is a bit grim for pharmacist locum rates, as I have not worked in community pharmacy for good several months as it can be quite unrewarding professionally, But I do a locum in a GP practice on a Saturday morning running a minor illness clinic, no GP on site, do vaccinations, medication reviews, asthma reviews and spirometry. Sort out emergency prescription supplies...charge the £35.00 an hour.

Norman NIVEN, Community pharmacist

The staggering thing about this debate on Tesco's locum fee reduction, is the starting fee that has just been cut !! How far away is fee parity with technicians ? Pharmacists are now being used as cheap labour to replace nurses ! Just how far are we going to allow this fall to go ?

Norman NIVEN, Community pharmacist

Tesco have shaved 50p per hour off the locum rate I suppose when you have the financial problems that Tesco has, " EVERY LITTLE HELPS"

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

Can anyone think of another 'profession' where there is so much work and responsibility for so little renumeration? Poor poor pharmacy students

Angela Channing, Community pharmacist

It's not really a profession anymore though is it? Roll on retirement. If you're under 30, go and do Medicine, or at the very least train as an independent prescriber.

Stephen Walker, Community pharmacist

The rates being bandied about are not reflective of what is currently being paid across the country. They vary considerably depending on location. I run a locum agency with a high client base in the independent sector - whilst all business want to pay the least for a service they can, most of our clients are willing to pay for a quality service at rates above these being quoted. They don't want to ruin their businesses.

John Randell, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

stop complaining....their rates are far much better than industry rates at the moment and most locums know that.even with the 50p drop...... most other companies these days you would be lucky to get anything with a with a number 2 at the front.....

Anthony Fielding, Pharmacist

Stop complaining?! Most other healthcare professionals complain they dont get an annual pay rise, never mind a pay cut. Pharmacists are being undervalued, Nurses, GPs Dentists would not stand for this, only people benefiting from this are the greedy owners who are rubbing their hands at the decrease in Pharmacists wages. We are constantly being asked to do more, and now being paid less!

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

You're not an employee?

Tesco rates are well above the market rate anyway, given their recent quarterly loss I do not blame them. As mentioned in the above post it is simple supply and demand. However that does not mean that nothing can be done. Pharmacists can do a few things: 1. Restrict supply of pharmacist - as with doctors and their strong body (the BMA), who regularly negotiate pay of doctors with the NHS, doctors are able to increase their wage by restricting the supply of doctors through decreasing the supply of them (via higher grade requirements into medical school etc). Pharmacists can learn from this, however it is important that a strong union is created, in my opinion pharmacy unions are fragmented and therefore have little value, a reform is required. 2. Demand side - we can increase the demand of pharmacist through expanding their role. Indeed the move to pharmacists in GP surgeries is a move in the right direction. Solely relying on a typical pharmacist role (simple dispensing etc) is in my opinion too restrictive and is likely to become even less important when dispensers take over pharmacists roles. Therefore I encourage pharmacists to seek retraining to expand their roles. Furthermore I encourage academic pharmacists to research new roles of pharmacists particularly in hospitals, possibly retraining Pharmacist in more clinical roles similar those of nurses. Pharmacists should not just complain about the issues but instead discuss solutions and be united in their approach. The market will eventually clear at an even lower rate, whether pharmacists like it or not unless change is made soon.

Stephen McGonigle, Information Technology

Read "Sapiens" then chill, then retrain xxx

Stephen McGonigle, Information Technology

Read "Sapiens" then chill, then retrain xxx

Stephen McGonigle, Information Technology

Read "Sapiens" then chill, then retrain xxx

thepharmacist Forever!, Pharmacist Director

Looks like I may need to change my name to ........ Electrician Forever!! Oh how sad, good pharmacist should show their qualities and skills and discuss with their employers the value they bring, those who want quality and have the ability to listen will make informed decisions, leaving perhaps other pharmacist having to deal with organisation that don't listen and don't appreciate the value of a good healthcare professional who is respected by their patients. Maybe hold out with the name change for now !!!!!

John Willetts, Locum pharmacist

The economic law of supply and demand will always prevail. If there is an excess supply of something (and it doesn't matter whether it's peaches, paper or pharmacists) the price of it goes down. I don't see this changing considering the volume being trained by universities combined with European imports. Most of the latter are excellent and come from an economy that pays them as little as a fifth the UK rate. So who can blame them? Recently I needed an electrician to do some work for me in my own house. He did a very good job. I was happy to pay him. He charged me for one hour. It was £26. Draw your own conclusions ...

Anonymous Anonymous, Information Technology

Tesco rates are currently as follows £20.50 per hour til 7pm. £24.50 7pm-10pm. £25.50 10pm+. If an MUR is completed then the rates are £1.50 per hour more. Compare this to the rates that locum optoms charge Tesco (and others) and then weep when you realise you've wasted 5 years for a degree to enter a profession that is in terminal decline (both in salary and the quality of students being churned out as 'pharmacists')...

Mark Bolton,

Not entirely true, i would check again

Philip Sealey, Locum pharmacist

Tesco has three geographical "Bands" of rates. The ones quoted by Anonymous are the lowest of the three bands.

Anonymous Anonymous, Information Technology

Thanks Tesco pharmacist...

Charles Finlayson, Production & Technical

Well, what did we all expect?? More pharmacists, so lower wages, all wanted by the multiples, and independents.Don't forget the bottom line.....

Stephen McGonigle, Information Technology

Boycott Tesco. Read "Sapiens" CHILL

J. Locum, Locum pharmacist

mr moore, your comment re breach of contact, it probably isn't . My recollection of the contract that tesco offer is that they can cancel you at short notice and you get nothing. I haven't worked for them for years because, unlike many locums, I read the contract before I sign it and I didn't like their attitude ( they are not the only company in that category). You are of course right that they should not be able to do this but without a strong union this is impossible, the PDA do the best they can but anti-union laws are against them and indeed all employees

Philip Sealey, Locum pharmacist

David is right: I have experienced cancellation by more companies than just Tesco, and there is no comeback available to the locum. Don't forget thought that locums can cancel too, though personally I have very rarely done this, and only through illness. We should be mindful of both sides of the equation before feeling hard done by.

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