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Home  »   LloydsPharmacyLatest News   »   PDA supports pharmacists as LloydsPharmacy complete divestment of their branch network

PDA supports pharmacists as LloydsPharmacy complete divestment of their branch network

The PDA is continuing to support pharmacists to understand and exercise their rights at work as a final announcement is made by Hallo Healthcare about their LloydsPharmacy business.

Thu 23rd November 2023 The PDA

On 23 November 2023, Hallo Healthcare advised the PDA that they had divested their final community pharmacy branch, meaning the network where the PDA Union is recognised to represent pharmacists with employment matters has now ceased to exist.

The original recognition at LloydsPharmacy agreed in February 2021 covered more than 2,500 pharmacists working at almost 1,300 pharmacies. Since the agreement was reached, the PDA has negotiated improved pay settlements and been consulted on other changes at work for pharmacists, ensuring their interests have been represented. A network of pharmacists was trained by the PDA to be union representatives at the company and, supported by union officials, they met regularly with senior management.

However, since McKesson sold LloydsPharmacy and other group businesses to Aurelius UK and the group was renamed as ‘Hallo healthcare’, there have been multiple changes to company structures, including a programme of divesting the community pharmacy branch network. This divestment programme concludes as the final branch leaves the business and therefore the LloydsPharmacy community pharmacy network no longer exists.

PDA Director, Paul Day said, “This final announcement has been long anticipated as divestments have reduced the size of the network continuously for many months, however it may still feel shocking to many people who have worked for LloydsPharmacy and others who have seen it as a key part of the community pharmacy sector. The exit of the second biggest chain is a significant change.

The PDA has worked with the company throughout the programme to avoid job losses and it should be noted that while the number of LloydsPharmacy branches has reduced, the other side of those transactions means that over 1,000 community pharmacy branches have been purchased by new owners, clearly demonstrating that operating a pharmacy can still be an attractive business proposition. 

Pharmacies remaining open, albeit under new ownership, maintains the vital access to a pharmacy for patients and the wider community.”  

In discussion with company management, PDA negotiators have confirmed that HR support will remain available to help resolve queries from former employees and the PDA can assist members with such issues too. PDA recognition will continue for the more than 100 pharmacists who remain employed by LloydsPharmacy Healthcare Services, a separate Hallo Healthcare business not directly impacted by today’s announcement.

With the notable exception of the strategic decision to no longer have in-store pharmacies at Sainsbury’s supermarkets, which led to 237 branch closures, this programme by Hallo Healthcare has avoided redundancies.  [NB: A dispute over the redundancy pay for those who did lose their jobs at Sainsbury’s is however currently subject to legal action supported by the PDA]

One of the major advantages of the PDA being the union exclusively for pharmacists wherever they practice and whoever employs them, is that membership remains appropriate for pharmacists before, during and after such changes. Therefore, the PDA is continuing to support pharmacists whose former LloydsPharmacy branch is now owned by a new employer. PDA members employed in other roles at Hallo Healthcare outside of the former branch network can also ask the PDA for individual support with employment issues.

PDA members with any concerns about their employer should continue to contact the PDA Member Support Centre, and any pharmacists who are not yet PDA members are encouraged to join now.

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The Pharmacists' Defence Association is a company limited by guarantee. Registered in England; Company No 4746656.

The Pharmacists' Defence Association is an appointed representative in respect of insurance mediation activities only of
The Pharmacy Insurance Agency Limited which is registered in England and Wales under company number 2591975
and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Register No 307063)

The PDA Union is recognised by the Certification Officer as an independent trade union.

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