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NHS patient record backlogs fuel demand for professional talent

Contract Recruitment Index highlights

• There was a 11% increase in vacancies month-on-month

• NHS patient record backlogs fuel demand for professional talent

• Private Sector recruitment fares less well as election uncertainty gains momentum

• There was a 1 % rate decrease month-on-month

This surge in demand for professional talent – over a period which is traditionally impacted by a seasonal hiring downturn- can be attributed to employers in the public sector scrambling for talent in a bid to respond to the widespread reports of NHS failures and ensure that frontline services are maintained.

Jodie Finn, associate director of Venn Group, commented, “It comes as no surprise that, given the continued demand placed on the NHS to do more for less, our Recruitment Index shows a huge surge in demand for professional talent to service the Capital’s public sector employers. Whilst our private sector teams experienced a slowdown in hiring, largely attributed to caution surrounding the general election, our public sector consultants have recorded one of the busiest Januarys on record.

“Much of the demand we have been seeing across the NHS stems from the long-standing focus on utilising digitally led services. As a result we have noted ongoing requests for technology specialists – in particular project managers and developers - to empower clinicians through the more efficient use of mobile devices. Due to an increased focus on improving Electronic Patient Records and Patient Administrator systems, there has been a notable rise in demand for specialist contractors within configuration and development to assist in this area.

“There has also been a consistent requirement for Clinical Coders with the necessary Accredited Clinical Coder (ACC) qualification as Trusts struggle with coding backlogs. Contractors have been in particular demand to help plug the permanent talent deficit in this area.”

Shortage of permanent professionals pushes up rates in certain areas

There was an average rate reduction for those securing new assignments in January 2015 of 1% which can largely be attributed to a slowdown in private sector hiring. Looking specifically at the public sector, however, there are more positive signs for professionals which can be attributed largely to NHS trusts utilising contractors to not only plug permanent skills shortages, but also ensure front line services are maintained. In particular, clinical coding professionals have been able to command exceptionally lucrative rates. A Head of Clinical Coding & Data Quality can expect to receive in excess of &pound350 per day and an ACC qualified Clinical Coder can earn &pound200 a day in the current environment.

Private Sector recruitment fares less well as election uncertainty gains momentum

Across the private sector, the Recruitment Index reveals that employers have remained cautious over hiring decisions as the General Election fast approaches. Despite this, however, there have been notable sector fluctuations with the legal arena in particular showing strong growth signs.

Finn added, “Our conversations with private sector employers have revealed that many are taking a very cautious approach to hiring in the lead up to the May General Election. While this is perhaps unsurprising given the potentially game-changing and uncertain political landscape we could be faced with, it is by no means all doom and gloom for the private sector employment arena.

“The legal sector has had a fantastic start the year which, as we have noted for some time, is indicative of a booming residential and commercial property market. Consequently Conveyancing Locums have been in particular demand as well as Residential Property Solicitors to help ensure property completions are completed in a timely and efficient manner.”

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