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Tesco Pharmacy

Tesco pharmacy

Tesco's pharmacy at Bar Hill, Cambridgeshire

Tesco is one of the UK’s largest and most successful supermarkets with around 2,282 UK stores and nearly 300,000 staff. The company is distributed right across the UK with stores of various sizes in every geographical region.


The pharmacy business reflects the company’s confidence and success with 278 counters and plans to have 300 by the end of 2009. The staffing level is also consistently high with a total number of full-time equivalent (FTE) pharmacists of 738 (June 2009) giving 483 full-time positions and 255 FTEs. In addition there are 2,172 supporting roles with 211 trained to NVQ Level 3. Each pharmacy has between 2.5 and 3 qualified pharmacists (pharmacy manager and two deputies) and these are supported by up to 12 dispensers and counter assistants.

Training and benefits

The company has a successful preregistration scheme, which it has found attracts their graduates to stay with them after qualifying. Training and support is taken seriously with a comprehensive induction programme on joining, pharmacy assistant accredited training programme, basic leadership training, funded continuing professional development for pharmacists with time off allowed. Roles in the company could eventually include pharmacy manager, regional pharmacy manager and various head office roles.

Paul Pilkington, Pharmacy Operations Manager for Tesco Stores Ltd makes it clear that customers and staff are the company’s priority with staff encouraged to try as hard as they can to understand customers and be first to meet their needs. In addition, all staff members are encouraged to broaden their experience and work in different areas of the company and here the Tesco commitment to staff is stronger than ever with support and encouragement. Tesco is committed to supporting community pharmacy in any way it can. The pharmacy added value services include weight management clinic, free blood pressure check, total cholesterol check, diabetes screening and a new hay fever and allergy testing service.

Tesco has an excellent pension scheme and a range of staff benefits that can be used for saving and discounts. These include shares in success (share bonus scheme), save as you earn (save cash or buy discounted shares), buy as you earn (after three months you can buy shares every month), staff privilege card (10 per cent discount on Tesco products after six months qualification period). Tesco staff are also offered special deals on theme parks, holidays and gym membership, and there are always new deals going on.


“Our aim is to reflect the communities we serve and mirror the workforce that we recruit from. We try to make sure everyone can work in a way that suits their circumstances. We support flexible working, offering part-time roles and encouraging job-sharing opportunities and shift-swapping where possible. . . We talk about ‘Every little helps’ quite a lot, but it’s not just a catchphrase or marketing slogan, it represents everything we stand for. For our people and our customers, it’s how we run our businesses from China to Chorley.”

Good causes

Social events are organised at a store level and charity events include a yearly sponsored charity (Muscular Dystrophy in 2009) for which support is provided right across the company at all levels and from different departments. An example is the Pharmacy Gala Awards dinner where the achievements of individuals are recognised and money is raised for the charity of the year. Paul Pilkington commented finally, “Tesco very much comes down to a culture and set of values where we treat our people very well and expect them to carry this over to the customers giving their very best efforts to listen, support and understand.”

Huw Kidwell is a freelance writer