NHS staff caught by IR35 set to flee Britain

Being caught by IR35 in the public sector is so dreadful that the vast majority of NHS workers are toying with fleeing the country altogether, a survey shows.

In fact, 50% of workers told union IHPA they would mull leaving the entire EU to get a healthcare job overseas if ‘inside IR35.’ An extra third facing this status would escape to an EU nation.

The easier option (which many contractors in IT have already taken) is to move to the private sector -- the favoured course of the healthcare workers, chosen by 70% of the respondents.

Hinting at why the NHS workers feel so strongly, IHPA pointed out that those deemed inside IR35 since April 2017 have had their incomes slashed by between 30 and 50 per cent.

But the union alleges the cuts in take-home pay are being unfairly applied, because “certain NHS trusts” are still wrongly implementing the rules in a “blanket and incorrect” way. A barrister has said the same.

“It’s highly troubling,” said Ben Itsuokor, consultant geriatrician and president of the IHPA.

“Distressingly, stories have now emerged revealing that vulnerable locums are being encouraged towards unsustainable, questionable tax arrangements which could leave them facing life-changing tax bills long-term.

“This, coupled with the ongoing NHS crisis, looks set to drive a backlash of locums leaving the service, and even the country, due to contract work becoming economically unviable, creating severe staff shortages.”

According to the IHPA, 85% of healthcare PSCs believe that ongoing staff shortages will cause a decline in NHS patient safety. And 98% say they will look at quitting their NHS work if it was deemed inside IR35.

“Clearly, there is the real and present danger that patient safety and care will be put at risk,” reflected Mr Itsuokor. “Continuing to contract under false employment in this manner increases costs for trusts and will lead to much bigger problems down the line.”

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