A pharmacy manager working for Tesco in West Yorkshire – who wishes to remain anonymous – has claimed that they are left to run the pharmacy “completely on my own” for up to five hours a day.
The pharmacist claimed to be speaking on behalf of “20 to 25” Tesco pharmacists who share the same concerns, one of whom – another pharmacy manager – C+D has also spoken to for confirmation.
The pharmacist claimed they are left to run the pharmacy without any support staff “from 6.30am to 9am and 8pm to 10.30pm”.
A spokesperson for Tesco told C+D: “At quieter times of the day, there may be fewer colleagues working in our pharmacies, but they will always be supported by other colleagues in store.”
Tesco provides pharmacy services in more than 300 of its larger stores, which have hundreds of employees working alongside pharmacy staff, it added.
“Risks” with self-checking
The programme included anonymous testimonies from Boots pharmacists, one of whom claimed that a lack of staff “often” means pharmacists are forced to self-check medication.
Boots pharmacy director Richard Bradley said at the time: “In quiet times, such as late at night in one of our midnight pharmacies, a pharmacist may check their own work. They have ample space and time to be able to do this.”
Speaking to C+D, the Tesco pharmacy manager said that “serious errors” could potentially occur in stores, especially as “we have to self-check on occasions we’re left alone”.
The pharmacists have “voiced concerns at regional meetings”, but have so far had no luck in changing the supermarket’s procedures, they said.
Tesco told C+D that it “plans carefully to make sure we have an appropriate number of colleagues available to serve our customers”.
“If any colleague ever has a concern, we’d encourage them to speak with their manager,” it stressed.
Tesco staff can also raise concerns anonymously via the supermarket’s independent reporting system Protector Line, it added.