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NHS a hot spot for contractors despite on-going criticism

By Matthew Brown, managing director of giant group

The NHS seems to have been having an even tougher time than usual recently. Various news reports suggest the service is not only struggling to stay on top of workloads, but also find additional resources. Topics such as A&E waiting times and the services ability to cope with demand are the subject of many debates.

However, while each political party outlines their budget plans for the NHS, many commentatorshave suggested that theres still not enough investment being made. In fact, Simon Stevens, the chief executive of NHS England, recently outlinedan 8billion gap between the funding available to the NHS and what it really needs to remain in operation. In amongst these budget debates, there have been suggestions that there needs to be a reviewof NHS outsourcing as big contracts fall through, to the cost of both the supplier and end-user.

You could perhaps be forgiven, then, for thinking that this arena is unlikely to be a hot spot for contractor activity. However, latest insight from our database suggests that the very opposite is true.
Indeed, we found that of those healthcare specialists surveyed, 87% were expecting to see their earnings increase or remain level over the coming year despite the uncertain financial viability of the NHS. Added to this, almost half (47%) were expecting to find work in hospitals alone in the next twelve months. Clearly then, contractors are confident that demand for their services will remain high in the sector, but, given the current state of the NHS why is this the case?

In my view, the positive contractor sentiment appears to be indicative of the on-going skills shortages facing the healthcare arena and perhaps depicts a more realistic insight into the current situation within the NHS. The sector has long noted a scarcity of talent, and with growing pressure on the NHS this gap between supply and demand will only widen. Its perhaps for this very reason that specialist contract staff remain positive despite some on-going negative media reports of the state of the healthcare arena.

And while the results of the general election could impact this demand, for now at least contractors can expect to remain highly sought after.


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