Our Blogs

News from industry, GSA or the team...

26. 10. 2016

Clinical Coding explained for non clinical coders!

Clinical Coding For Non-Coders In recent weeks here at GSA we have had a number of new starters in our permanent IT sales team. As tradition states, on their first day our senior managers show them around our offices and introduce the existing teams to them. We are always asked to give a brief overview of what we do, and what markets we work in. Cue the blank faces when Tom and I explain that we specialise in placing Clinical Coders and Clinical Coding staff into NHS trusts across the UK. A feeling I am sure that Clinical Coders across the country are used to when they introduce themselves to someone new and the “so what do you do for a living” question comes up! This got me thinking. How do we explain what a Clinical Coder does to a Non-Coder? Clinical Coders are a bit like NHS detectives. Following your treatment (whether that be in an NHS Hospital, Walk In Centre or Mental Health Trust) your patient notes – the ones that the medical professionals have written all over - are sent to or collected by the Clinical Coding team. Here, the Clinical Coders look at the treatment you have received and why you have received it. They use their Clinical Coding bibles (OPCS & ICD 10) to convert your diagnosis and procedures into codes that are then entered onto a computer system. These codes equate to a financial figure, and the NHS trust uses this coded information to work out how much your treatment or consultation has cost. The fun thing to remember here is that, most of the time (but not always!) medical professional's handwriting can be described as a scribble. Clinical Coders have to understand the language that Doctors and Clinicians use, they have to understand the human body, the procedures and the treatments that patients receive. They have to liaise with senior doctors across the hospitals from Children's Wards to Trauma Wards, to Mental Health Units, to specialist Cancer Wards. They then have to ensure what they have coded is accurate and correct so that the hospital received the right amount of money for the treatment that has been given – not to mention working to extremely tight deadlines. Talk about stressful hey? Add into that the consent changes to procedures, the changes in patient lifestyle (how do you code a fall from a Hoverboard when they didn’t even exist last year? How do you code the misuse of Legal Highs that didn’t exist last month?) constant studying, workshops and refresher courses to keep up to date AND having to pass some REALLY hard exams to become officially certified! We can explain Clinical Coding in simple terms, but it really is far from simple – its significance and impact across the NHS is invaluable. #ClinicalCoding #ClinicalCoders #ACC #NCCQ #GSA #NHS #NationalHealthService To discuss clinical coding, as a client or contractor, please contact Tom Blakey
29. 01. 2016

Travel & Subsistence nonsense; discuss!

Come April this year, HMRC have decided, in their infinite wisdom, to remove Travel & Subsistence tax relief for workers providing their services through an intermediary where Supervision, Direction OR Control applies. Their belief is that agency workers only work at one location (like an employee) and therefore should not be able to have this tax relief. The fact that many workers have many roles throughout a year, validly argued to HMRC by many interested parties, seemed to fall on deaf ears, helping to reduce the flexibility of the UK work force; not what the country needs right now. There is some light at the end of the tunnel, but not a lot. If you work through a PSC (personal service company), the entitlement to claim this tax relief will be aligned with your IR35 status, so if your assignment is outside of IR35 you can claim it. If you work through an Umbrella company, as I mentioned, this all hinges around whether Supervision, Direction OR Control applies, and the very flawed test that HMRC will apply. Essentially, if you are subject to Supervision, Direction OR Control as to the manner in which you undertake your services, by ANYONE in the supply chain, you will be unable to claim the tax relief. There will be an assumption of SDC so umbrellas will automatically not claim the tax relief. However, if an end client confirms no SDC, the tax relief can apply. There is a very big HOWEVER though. Even if Supervision, Direction OR Control does not appear to apply, the fact that anyone in the supply chain COULD exercise Supervision, Direction OR Control, even if they don’t then it still applies. Many clients may not want to risk confirming there is no SDC when the test is not black and white. What will be the results of this? For PSCs, it will currently have very little affect (but wait until next year when the review of IR35 has finally finished its consultation!) For Umbrella workers, take home pay may be reduced – which could push up charge rates to clients across all sectors Many Umbrella workers may decide to work through their own PSC which is not always the right model for them. In theory, it will affect 40% of the market as 60% do not currently claim this tax relief anyway. In the light of the Google and Starbucks corporation tax debacles, this vastly sweeping attack on the flexible workforce market, across tens of thousands of workers, will raise about the same as Google have finally paid in tax. Worth the effort? I don’t think so – go focus on a few more multinationals and HMRC might see its revenue grow.
14. 01. 2016

Optimise your LinkedIn profile to get spotted

LinkedIn has become synonymous with recruitment, and if you are looking for a new job, or interested in hearing about opportunities that might tempt you to make a move, you'll want your profile to be found. With 350 million LinkedIn users, it's essential to do what you can to ensure your profile is optimised to make sure this happens. You need to think of this optimisation in 2 ways. Firstly, you want to appear in searches and, secondly, you want those who find you to be interested in your details. Below is a brief summary of some simple actions you can take to be more visible. Your headline - include relevant, meaningful terms / job titles that people understand. Search for people with similar jobs to you to see what they call themselves. If you had a strange job title, consider 'normalising' it so people find you and understand your job. Change your LinkedIn URL. As standard, LinkedIn gives you a default URL that looks something like linkedin.com/pub/yourname2454646. By simply selecting Edit Profile from the top menu, then contact info, click on the cog to the right of this URL and you will have the option of choosing your own ie linkedin.com/in/yourname Profile photo - make it professional. LinkedIn is not facebook. Remember it is a professional identity. Summary - sell yourself in your job history - your experience, achievements, projects, skills. Education - ensure your education is complete and upto date. Get as many connections, endorsements and recommendations as you can - all these help you rank highly. Join groups - you are 5 times more likely to be found if you are a member of relevant groups. A great example of a well completed profile can be found on our Clinical Coding team recruiters, Tom Blakey. This links through to his info page on our site, or you can do directly to his LinkedIn profile here.
06. 02. 2015

HMRC's new reporting requirements released

As part of the HMRC’s intermediary reporting requirements (part of the Employment Intermediaries Legislation), HMRC have finally released the details of what information about contractors they require each quarter starting from April this year. It;s hard to believe, but the final list of information is a trimmed down version of what was originally proposed! GSA Techsource has been involved in working with HMRC in testing the new reporting solution but, unfortunately, had little say in what data is required. Just a few months ago, HMRC had told us they wanted dates of birth and gender, potentially leaving us and our clients open to discrimination claims. Fortunately we were not the only voice that raised grave concerns over this point, and HMRC appeared, to a point, to have conceded. GSA primarily engages with Ltd company contractors, and therefore has a contractual relationship with that limited company. However, HMRC require us to supply the workers home address details along with their National Insurance number – this may (or will) prove a highly contentious issue with many contractors in the market place but appears to be something that cannot be avoided. I sincerely hope HMRC have given enough time for our software suppliers to develop solutions within their software to at least go some way to making the collation of this information bearable, although I do see it is going to be an expensive and time consuming problem the whole industry now faces.