A HEALTHCARE professional was turned away and told he was ‘nothing special’ by shop staff while trying to buy medical supplies for a patient.

The healthcare worker, whose identity has been protected by the Advertiser, says he dashed into town on Friday to find supplies that he hadn’t been able to source from the local pharmacy.

Sainsbury’s, in Shepherds Spring Lane, was his first port of call. But after arriving at the store, identifying himself and explaining the situation he was told he was ‘nothing special’ and that priority hours for NHS workers were between 7.30am and 8am only.

The shop employee allegedly then told him he should ask those queuing if it was okay to push in.

The healthcare worker says he was left ‘embarrassed’ and ‘humiliated’, adding: “He was just so obnoxious. He said, ‘you’re not special, key workers can come between 7.30am and 8am, go and ask to queue.’

“I’m trying to help people in the community and he’s just chinned me off.”

He continued: “It was humiliating. He said, ‘you can ask people in the queue if they will let you in.’ But it was right around to the [car park] entrance.

“I said, ‘okay, fine, I haven’t got time for this’. Went across to Tesco, had the items in my hand within about ten minutes, no problems.”

The healthcare worker says he made it clear he wasn’t looking to do his own shopping, rather he was in need of bandages and medication that he hadn’t been able to get from the pharmacy for a patient he was seeing shortly.

“I didn’t expect them to get it, even if he had said, ‘hang on a couple of minutes and we’ll get you through’,” he continued. “But to be in front of everyone and be told you’re nothing special…

“I’m not saying I’m anything special, I’m just trying to help.”

He has since praised Tesco for being understanding about the situation, as well as other supermarkets in the area who have been similarly accommodating in recent weeks.

“If you go to Aldi or Lidl or Asda, they’ve been fantastic too,” he said. “And that’s what it’s all about – helping each other out, not getting a power rush over having a yellow jacket on.”

A Sainsbury’s spokesperson says the company is investigating the incident.

They told the Advertiser: “We are reserving half an hour from 7:30am - 8am from Monday to Saturday in all of our supermarkets for NHS and social care workers.

"We are sorry for any disappointment this may cause and are investigating this customer’s experience.”