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Xrayser reveals plans for Cat M pay grades and generic employees

“The cost of toilets and loo breaks outweighs the price of Tena pants”

Xrayser imagines the lengths pharmacy employers could go to keep their businesses above water

“We used to say, ‘our most valuable asset is our staff’, but studies prove that our most valuable asset is money. Apparently, money is really worth something, whereas it seems people can’t be sold anymore. Trust me, we did try it. Rather than make redundancies, we tried to sell staff to another pharmacy chain, but the legal department got very antsy about some modern slavery act, so we had to quash that idea.”

So says human resources consultant Damien Chancroid, who has been employed by many different pharmacy multiples.

“What about staff motivation and customer service?” I ask.

“I recommend modelling staff motivation and customer service on Ryanair.”

“Really? Why model it on a company that scores poorly on staffing and service?”

“Because they’re an airline, and pharmacy superintendents are always banging on about how we can learn from the airline industry.”

“Isn’t that in relation to their safety record and root cause analysis?”

“Well, whatever, we’ve seen a reduction in error reports from our pharmacies.”

“Really? So your pharmacies are making fewer dispensing errors?”

“No, I didn’t say that. I said we’re seeing fewer reports.”

“Could that be because the staff cuts mean they haven’t got time to make them now?”

“Well we haven’t analysed that, but I was tasked with reducing error reports so, you know, mission accomplished! One more tick against my bonus target objectives…”

“Talking of bonus targets, it appears that pharmacists and pharmacy managers at Lloydspharmacy were overpaid their bonus and then were upset that they had to repay some of it.”

“Shocking the pharmacists were upset this way. Absolutely dreadful.”

“Really? You think the company was wrong to demand it back?”

“No, I think the pharmacists were wrong to be upset. After all, they work in a pharmacy, so they’re used to the concept of a clawback after an overpayment. In fact, we’re now going to be basing all our staff pay on the drug tariff. Basic hours – or ‘category M hours’ as we will be calling them from now – are Monday to Friday and the hourly rate will vary according to the number of generic employees available. This will be lower in stores where we have larger numbers of staff, but at times of staff shortages there could be a pay concession.”

“And locum staff?”

“They are a ‘special’, for which there’s a set maximum rate and a fixed £20 for expenses.”

“What about staff facilities?”

“Most employees are now part time, so I recommend companies save the cost of staff areas. No need if no one works long enough to have a lunch break. Then I point out that the cost of toilets and loo breaks outweighs the price of Tena pants.”

“You’re not honestly telling me that…”

“My bonus target – another tick!”

“Finally, can I ask you about unions and the Boots pharmacists’ bid for full Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) representation?”

“Best thing that could happen for the management. You’d think multiple unions are a good thing but no, in HR we realise that the more groups involved in negotiations, the longer it takes! Whether it’s the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee and the National Pharmacy Association bringing a legal challenge to the pharmacy cuts before new contract negotiations, or the PDA and the Boots Pharmacists’ Association vying to negotiate terms and conditions, just like Brexit it means more money for the negotiators and less money for those they are negotiating for. And another point towards my bonus…”

A long-running C+D contributor, the identity of Xrayser remains a mystery, but his irreverent views are known by all. Tweet him @Xrayser



Andrew Martin, Primary care pharmacist

Very droll.

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