Wednesday, 18 November 2015

NHS’s use of specialist contractors still on the rise

by Matthew Brown, Managing Director of giant group

With stories that address the issues surrounding the NHS dominating much of the mainstream media, it’s somewhat unsurprising that significant pressure is being applied to hospitals and clinical commissioning groups (CCG’s) to increase efficiency and cut costs. And unsurprisingly our analysis of the most recent data collected from our database of contractors reflects this growing pressure. The figures highlight a significant decrease in the time between contracts with the majority of contractors reporting an average gap of 0-31 days, which represents a substantial reduction from figures recorded in 2014. So what is causing this trend and driving gaps between assignments down?

This decreasing time between assignments is a clear indication of the NHS’s increasing demand for extremely specialist and experienced professionals, particularly those whose expertise lie within IT, finance and operational design. These contractors are not being brought in to merely make up numbers, they are highly focus individuals with a very definite niche skillset, being tasked to address specific problems.

Contractors are being used to overhaul outdated systems, with the aim of alleviating strain on permanent staff by improving the ways in which they work on a day to day basis, as well as creating and implementing strategies to cut costs without compromising on standard of care. Regardless of whether it’s an information manager redesigning an entire IT system, or a finance manager reviewing existing budgets and implementing cost effective solutions, it’s this combination of specialist skills and extensive experience that allows them to complete complex tasks efficiently and to an exceptionally high standard.

What is becoming increasingly clear is that the tasks which contractors are being assigned to are ones that require a significant amount of expertise and that the changes being implemented are key to improving the current system. So sourcing the right people to complete them is vital if we are serious about making significant improvements to our healthcare system.

Recent reports have suggested that the health service’s costs continue to spiral out of control and taking on experts who can cut long term expenditure, whilst still maintaining high standards, is one way of driving improved efficiency. Some commentators have expressed concern over the initial cost of taking on contractors. However the long-term improvements they can make in terms of efficiency will more than offset the cost incurred, and as such they should be seen as an investment.

Furthermore the increased importance being placed on applicants having previous experience within the health service, means the contractors being taken on are individuals that truly possess the ability to make a substantial improvement to the NHS. 

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