United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust Chief Executive Officer Jan Sobieraj has raised grave concerns over the recent changes to the IR35 status for contractors. This tax amendment also covers medical and healthcare contractors, including locum doctors.
Sobieraj stated that the trust was worried about keeping the services going at Lincoln County Hospital as many agency staff and contractors are hesitant about working for county hospitals with the enforcement of the IR35 status.
With the introduction of the IR35 status from 1st April, locum doctors will have to pay higher tax and national insurance, pointed out Sobieraj. As a result, the number of doctors wanting to become locums has reduced significantly.
He went on to add that the county hospital is heavily dependent on locums, and this has been the case for several years. United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust has been facing a recruitment problem, which is prevalent across all NHS trusts, not only to hire medical staff but also nursing staff.
Sobieraj also said that in the last few weeks, just before the IR35 changes were launched, the situation has gone from bad to worse. It has created an internal crisis that the trust and the hospital are unable to resolve. He was especially concerned about the services offered at Lincoln County Hospital as the trust is worried that the hospital may not be able to offer its services for too long, and the community should be made aware of it.
Sobieraj recommended that people should opt for self-care, visit their local GP, or go to the local pharmacist. They should visit the hospital only if they are ill. At the same time, he suggested that if people have access to other options, they should make use of them rather than using the hospital services.