Healthcare Freelances, er, booze...

IT'S TIME for healthcare freelances to clear your diaries for the next Healthcare Freelance social event. The date: Wednesday 15 September. The place: The Albion, Thornhill Road, London N1 (nearest tubes Angel & Highbury and Islington). We'll gather from 6 pm onwards and, depending on numbers, go on for a meal in Upper Street.

There has been a worrying outbreak of editors sending "all rights" commissioning forms of the kind that normally go to academic contributors. Our advice is to watch out - and forcefully to remind editors that we have negotiated a different contract.

For the first time, the company seems to be trying to grab all rights for photographs, too. It can expect vigorous opposition.

Taxation at source remains a headache for some members. Despite what some publishers may say, there has been no change in the rules for bona fide freelance subs and designers. All can - and should - claim exemption from PAYE. The NUJ Freelance Office has a draft letter to send to tax offices when claiming exemption.

Fees reminder: HSJ and Nursing Times should be paying a minimum £147 per day and £186 per 1000 words. Editors need reminding that the lineage rate is absurdly low and that the day rate, while better than many, is by no means the best. It's up to individual members to argue for higher rates, especially for rush bookings or jobs requiring extra research.

Fancy an expenses-paid sabbatical in the US? We have been asked to help publicise the 2000 - 2001 Harkness Fellowships in Health Care Policy. Beth Lowe of the Commonwealth Fund, New York, says: "The awards offer a program that enables mid-career health policy experts (including print and television journalists) to spend 4 to 12 months in the United States conducting a policy-oriented research project and work with leading US health policy experts. Applicants must be citizens of the United Kingdom, Australia, or New Zealand. If you're interested, or if you want to join the Healthcare Freelance mailing list, contact me at Mike_Cross@compuserve.com. If you'd like to set up a similar network in another company or area, contact the Freelance.

Sep/Oct 1999
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