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With the NHS turning 75 earlier this month, there are urgent calls for the government to reconsider how vital specialist contractors are for the public healthcare service.

When the government changed IR35 rules back in 2017, public sector bodies, including the NHS, faced potential tax liabilities when outsourcing staff.

The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) believe that this has only worsened staff shortages, putting the NHS in the position it’s in today.

Derek Cribb, IPSE Chief Executive, said, “As the NHS turns seventy-five it is important that we recognise the role that freelance specialists have played in ensuring services are delivered. The external expertise and additional capacity that freelancers bring ultimately help the organisation operate more efficiently.

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“Unfortunately, in recent years, freelancers have found it increasingly difficult to access roles within the NHS. IR35 and other compliance burdens often act as a barrier to efficient workforce management and should be more properly considered by the NHS leadership.”

“Working alongside permanent staff, freelancers help organisations to manage peaks and troughs in demand and improve the quality of service. The NHS is no different. The flexible workforce can help to power the NHS for another seventy-five years but we must remove barriers which prevent effective staffing.”

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