While the NHS has set a cap on agency workers, NHS contractors will be delighted to hear that there appears to be a last-minute increase in limited company usage in the NHS. These professionals hired by the NHS have an off-payroll arrangement with the healthcare authorities.
In the financial year 2015-16, the NHS gave approval to hire 33 professionals off-payroll, according to Health Service Journal. This is an increase from the previous fiscal year, when the number of off-payroll professionals was eight.
According to the available data, these executives are earning an annual salary amounting to £550,000, and some of them had previously taken early retirement and received payoffs equal to £700,000. These huge payments are adding to the NHS deficit, with the organisation having spent a mammoth £3.6 billion on agency and contract workers in the last financial year.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt will be left red-faced with figures of £550,000, particularly when in 2015 he had emphasised that no temporary manager working for the NHS would earn more than a full-time manager. Full-time managers in the NHS draw an annual salary of £340,000.
NHS Improvement CEO Jim Mackey had expressed his anger in February 2016 at the PSCs working with the NHS. He claimed that they were not paying a lot of taxes because they were off-payroll.
Hunt and Mackey don’t appear to be angry with NHS contractors, who are IT specialists. These professionals are hired frequently by the NHS on a contract basis primarily because they can be put to work faster than permanent IT workers.
However, NHS contractors should take note that all non-payroll workers working in public sector organisations will very soon fall under the purview of new status and tax rules. From April 2017, the rules may not allow a large number of PSCs from offering their services to public sector organisations.
The UK Government will be launching a consultation on the rules to draft a framework that may reduce the duration that NHS contractors and PSCs can work with the NHS.