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Until now, in the private sector, it has been for the contractor to decide their employment status and hence their tax arrangements.  From April 2021, unless the main client (pharmacy business) qualifies for the “small company exemption” they will be required to determine the contractor’s IR35 status. If they decide the contractor should be taxed as an employee, the client will be required to deduct tax and NIC at source alongside the PAYE deductions they make for their actual employees.

 In this update “contractor” is used as it is in the wider business world, to mean a “locum” who has been engaged to provide pharmacist services by a “client” (such as an independent pharmacy or multiple)as opposed to  the Pharmacy Contractor for NHS Services.

This could be a problem. The best way to check is to use the link below. It assumes that there is an agreement/contract in place for each piece of locum work. The key areas are substitution and incurring costs before they are reimbursed. If the pharmacy would accept a substitute locum this is a massive step towards IR35 not being applied.

When it asks the question as to whether you are an officer of the company it is referring to the pharmacy company, not your company.

It is possible to get a tax specialist to draw up a contract that would be sufficient to avoid any issues but it would all depend whether the pharmacy would accept the terms that had to be included. As it will be the pharmacies that have to decide whether IR35 applies or not it may be that they prepare suitable contracts. Alternatively, they might decide not to bother at all and simply deduct tax and NIC from any future payments. This would leave the locum's income massively reduced.

We believe that if you are booked as a locum via Nightingale Pharmacy Services you should be protected, as each booking is an individual contract and the terms and conditions of bookings state that you can substitute a suitably qualified person to replace you if necessary.

Nightingale Pharmacy Services cannot offer tax advice but can direct you to expert advice if you require it. Please use Contact Us to get in  touch.


 Please contact us via SMS, e-mail or fax. If you wish to book a locum or register please be aware that we do not work by telephone, please use the details below to request your needs.  Thank You.   


Over the past month or so, we have seen too many instances where locums are submitting what they regard as "invoices" when they are not. On rare occasions they have been hand written on scraps of  paper, GPhC numbers (for registered professionals) omitted, statement of self-employment declaration or resonsibility of locum's company for tax and national insurance payments, no invoice number and several other failings.


The list could go on - no wonder HMRC are licking their lips at this!

The job of HMRC is to collect revenue for the government of the day, and to collect as much as they can. Some locums are being reclassified over procedural grounds such as the above as employees not self-employed, resulting in both them and the employing pharmacy having to pay large amounts of back tax.


If unsure of what  requirement an invoice should include, you can download  for free from our website a template invoice form to complete which covers all bases and therefore  protects you to a large extent. Other factors may apply but refer back to the  February 2021 details at the  begining of this update for more detail. This has been available on our website for free since 2011.