Accessibility Links
Cookies on our website
By continuing to use this website we will assume you are happy to receive cookies as outlined in our cookie policy
Accept Policy

A look at the role of locums in today's NHS

Tagged In:  Allied Health, IR35

With pay caps and IR35 tax changes, the role of locums in the NHS is evolving. However, many health professionals still prefer the flexibility of locum work and many NHS trusts still rely on agency staff to deal with peaks and troughs in demand. Lee Emmett, Head of Sanctuary Health, gives us his take on the continuing relevance of the locum healthcare role.

What's the role of locum staff in today's NHS workforce?

The ideal model for any business is to have a highly-trained, flexible workforce on the payroll. The NHS is working towards that, but it will take time. Meanwhile, thousands of shifts are still unfilled every week in trusts across the UK and agency workers have a valuable role to play in helping employers match capacity with demand. Agency work also offers useful flexibility to trained healthcare professionals who are unable to commit to a permanent, full-time job, perhaps because of childcare commitments etc. Therefore, the NHS is able to benefit from their valuable skills and expertise.

As a trusted, framework agency, we can deliver high-calibre staff quickly and efficiently where they're needed – anyone from doctors and nurses to radiographers and occupational therapists.

Isn't it more expensive for the NHS to use a recruitment agency such as Sanctuary?

It's important to look at the bigger picture and assess it on a value-for-money basis. As a framework agency we've signed up to the pay caps and we're fully compliant with the new IR35 tax legislation. What's more our costs are fully transparent, measurable and controllable, which is not always the case when a trust recruits temporary or contract staff through other methods. There may be hidden charges or admin costs which are allocated to other cost centres within the system.

What are the key advantages to the NHS of using locum workers?

Locum staff provide flexibility, fast deployment and proven skills. They can also offer new perspectives on working practices, drawing on useful experience gained in other trusts.

How will the IR35 tax changes affect locum NHS staff?

The changes apply to all public sector workers, including NHS staff. Basically, the new legislation brings locum staff more in line with permanent employees because if they are determined as being inside IR35, tax and NI has to be deducted by the fee payer. Find out more here.

Are there any areas of healthcare where locums are particularly useful? 

Yes, there are several areas where locums are key to workforce planning and management, mainly because of particular difficulties in recruiting and maintaining permanent staff. They include emergency medicine, prison nursing and mental health services.

Can Sanctuary supply permanent staff?

We're committed to being a proactive long-term partner to the NHS and providing services that meet the changing needs of our healthcare system. That's why we've recently launched a new division to provide permanent recruitment services alongside our temporary provision to offer flexibility to our clients. Our innovative model enables us to source high-quality, vetted candidates quickly, efficiently and cost effectively.

Email a friend
Add new comment
ISO Logo   REC Member Logo Investors in People Logo CHAS Logo

© 2015 Sanctuary Personnel Limited, registered in England (No. 05972910). All Rights Reserved.
15 Friars Street, Ipswich IP1 1TD.