NHS struggles with off payroll workers

Thursday 25 August 2016

The NHS is paying "off-payroll" workers significantly higher wages than their peers in permanent positions, which is contributing to the long-term financial instability of the health service.

This is according to a new report obtained by the Daily Telegraph that found that many NHS Trusts were paying managers "off payroll", despite various pledges to restrict the practice.

It revealed that the number of managers being paid in this manner has risen by almost a quarter, with one temporary employee having a wage that was equivalent to £60,000 a month. This is a record high for the health service for any single employee and comes at a time when the NHS is trying to reduce its outgoings to improve its financial position.

These rates are much higher than permanent staff such as head of the NHS Simon Stevens who gets £190,000 a year.

Finding better ways to resolve the apparent skills shortage could help the health service reduce its £2 billion deficit reported last year.

Speaking about the Telegraph report, managing director at Brookson Outsourcing Andrew Fahey highlighted the importance of standardised, centralised systems for handling off-payroll employees.

He said: “Given the pressures that the NHS are under to control temporary labour spend both from a true cost perspective but also from the increased administrative overhead of handling off-payroll worker compliance, it is vital they have standardised, centralised systems for handling all of their off-payroll worker spend."

Most NHS organisations will have one system for nurses, another for medics, and another for admin and clerical, he explained, but very rarely do these systems link up or provide joined up management information for the Trust. This makes it "virtually impossible" for the NHS to manage this overspend and compliance risk appropriately, Mr Fahey added.

"Brookson Direct has been designed to handle all the off-payroll worker requirements for the NHS by ensuring they maximise the use of permanent and bank staff first and foremost and then where agencies are engaged it ensures that the charges are in line with government approved frameworks. Brookson Direct then handles all the off payroll worker checks keeping the NHS compliant with the latest employment legislation. This holistic approach across each area of temporary labour spend for the first time allows the NHS to tackle the spend issues appropriately," he explained. 

Brookson has helped over 90,000 Healthcare Professionals, contractors, interims and locums, since 1995. Using our unrivalled experience and expertise we deliver advice and services to the NHS enabling them to manage their temporary workforce in a fundamentally different way, delivering real and significant cost savings without any impact on the quality and quantity of temporary workers. The NHS benefit from improved information, financial and risk management.


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