Pharmacy Ownership Changes

If you are working in a Pharmacy which is subject to a change of ownership please do let us know of any issues or concerns.

Tue 18th April 2017 The PDA

Pharmacies are increasingly changing ownership with a recent report from law firm Hugh James, identifying that 1,294 pharmacies were taken over by a new owner during 2015/16. This shows an increase in the rate at which community pharmacies are consolidating into multiples. But even among multiples, individual branches will sometimes change ownership.

We’ve recently learned that Cohen Chemists have purchased eight branches from Lloyds Pharmacy as they divest excess branches following the purchase of the Sainsbury’s pharmacy business. We also understand that another nine former Lloyds Pharmacy branches have been purchased by Sutton Chase.

While it may be an increasingly common occurrence for these changes to happen, it can still be a worrying time for those affected who may discover, sometimes with no meaningful prior warning, that their employer will change. It can mean changes to management or working arrangements and an abrupt end to long standing working relationship with colleagues that remain in roles with the previous owner. There may be changes or uncertainty about employment contracts.

Employees have some legal protection when the employer changes in these circumstances, but often individual pharmacists will not know what their rights are, or how to challenge management action.

This is where the PDAU come in. As an independent trade union, we exist to help our members and have helped members with similar situations in the past. Our team understand the implications for pharmacy and have experts in employment law so we can help with every aspect of such a change.

PDAU members are not only affected as employees, but as Responsible Pharmacists, with the statutory duty to secure the safe and effective running of the pharmacy, they must also ensure that practice meets regulatory standards and patient safety is not compromised while maintaining service and adjusting to any changes to procedures, staffing or practices.

We’d hope for any changes to be well managed by the new owners and for you to be properly consulted, informed and involved as a Pharmacy professional, however if there are concerns you must raise the issue, preferably in writing, with a senior governance pharmacist or the Superintendent Pharmacist to make them aware of your concerns. If you believe that your concerns are not being addressed satisfactorily by the company or patient safety remains at risk, the PDAU should be contacted for advice.

If you are working in a Pharmacy which is subject to a change of ownership please do let us know of any issues or concerns you have and if you know a Pharmacist colleague who is not yet a member of the PDAU, please recommend they join us today.

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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