C+D published a letter on Wednesday (April 19), received by the Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) from an anonymous locum pharmacist, which described a former Sainsbury's pharmacy as being in "turmoil" under its new owners.
Pharmacists commenting on the C+D website and Facebook page began to share their stories of the supermarket pharmacies' transition over to Lloyds, with some praising the extra support they now receive. Others questioned why pharmacists have to resort to sending anonymous letters to have their concerns heard.
"No surprises here"
A former Lloydspharmacy employee posting on the C+D website as “Beta Blocker” agreed with some of the claims in the letter and said they knew Sainsbury’s pharmacists were “in for a shock” when news of the acquisition came through in July 2015. “Is anyone surprised [at the letter]?” they asked.
On C+D’s Facebook page, pharmacist Bilal Hussain reiterated some of the anonymous locum’s claims, describing short-staffing and “extremely stressed” pharmacists in the Lloydspharmacy branches he has previously worked for.
A community pharmacist posting on the C+D website, who wished to remain anonymous, applauded the locum for sending the letter. “I hope this encourages other locums to report where working conditions are not up to scratch.”
Resonding to the same C+D article, Former Sainsbury’s dispenser Louise Smith described her new Lloydspharmacy area manager as “brilliant”.
“I can only speak for our store, but since being taken over by Lloydspharmacy we have more support from people who are actually tuned into pharmacy," she wrote on the C+D website.
"We have an area network that supports each other and a brilliant area manager who will help you no matter what the problem is."
Ms Smith admitted there are “more targets and deadlines” and “staff have to work much harder” under their new owners. “I think we all had it too easy with Sainsbury’s," she added.
Self-employed locum Rachel Prosser agreed that the branches she has worked in “seem to have managed the transition fairly well”.
“I understand why [the locum] wants to remain anonymous,” Ms Prosser said on Facebook, but suggested Lloydspharmacy management would not be able to address the concerns without specific details of the branch in question.
She warned there could be “more upheaval” to come, as the former Sainsbury’s branches are not yet using the Lloydspharmacy computer system. “They are going to have to introduce it sometime,” she added.
Pharmacy manager Maria Parvaiz – who has worked for Lloydspharmacy for 10 years – said she has always found it to be “very professional” and “well-respected”.
Pharmacists have to become “more professional” to survive in this “very competitive” sector, she posted on Facebook.
Join the ongoing discussion on C+D's Facebook page here