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Global healthcare recruitment consultancy, MSI Group, has warned that more needs to be done to train and develop healthcare professionals if we are to avoid major future skills-gaps.

Following widespread, and ongoing, reports of staff shortages within the NHS, market analysis of MSI Group’s key specialisms has identified the most sought-after clinicians across the UK, many of which already feature on the Government’s current Shortage Occupation List (SOL).

1. District Nurses – The NHS’s move towards ‘Virtual Wards’ – designed to prevent unplanned admissions by using the systems of a hospital ward to provide multidisciplinary case management in the community – has created unprecedented demand for district nurses. This current demand is extended to Health Visitors and other community staff.

2. Accident and Emergency Doctors – There is currently an acute shortage of doctors to work in A&E departments, which is highlighted in the current SOL. As such, locum doctors with experience in this area are highly sought after.

3. Specialist ICU nurses – There is currently high demand for specialist nurses to staff intensive care units, particularly neonatal intensive care units as reported in the Government’s SOL.

4. Radiographers – HPC registered radiographers are in short supply nationally. Radiologists, the medical consultant staff who lead complex examinations, are also sought-after.

5. Accident and Emergency Nurses – A&E departments are largely seeking to recruit nurses following new guidance, published earlier this year, which recommends there should be a maximum of four patients per nurse.

6. Locum GPs – Following the Government initiatives to improve access to GPs outside of normal opening hours, there has been an increase in demand for locum GPs who can offer ‘wrap-around’ services during evenings and weekends, both in-person and remotely.

7. Psychiatrists – The Royal College of Psychiatrists has warned of a looming skills-gap within the field which can be attributed to a lack of British specialists coupled with visa restrictions. There is particular demand for psychiatry consultants who specialise in old age, which is outlined in the Government’s SOL.

8. Sonographers – There is currently strong demand for Sonographers, which, according to the Society of Radiographers, can be attributed to an inability to recruit suitable applicants full time. In fact, according to Society’s research, around two-thirds of ultrasound specialists work part time.

9. Paediatric Nurses – Although not on the Government SOL, registered paediatric and neonatal nurses are continually sought-after, as strict nurse-to-patient ratios are enforced amid consistent demand.

10. Surgeons – MSI group is currently experiencing particular demand for surgeons, and this trend looks set to continue. According to The Royal College of Surgeons (RCS), for the past two years, Britain has failed to fill all of its training places for new surgeons. Furthermore, a survey of nearly 1,000 medical graduates from 13 universities, carried out by the RCS, found that more than half cited "poor anatomy teaching at medical school" as a reason for not pursuing a career in surgery.

Commenting on the shortages, Nick Simpson, MSI Group’s CEO comments;
“Local and national skills shortages mean that public sector organisations can struggle to recruit desperately needed talent. Bringing on board the skills they require on a contract basis can be the answer to maintaining front-line services to respond to heightened demand. However, long-term, it is essential that investment is made in training and development to ensure that we are able to pipeline talent for the future.”

- Ends

Notes to editors

Founded in 2002, MSI Group is a leading supplier of frontline healthcare professionals, senior healthcare managers, pharmaceutical, medical device and life science staff. Clients include the NHS and other public, private and third sector organisations across 14 countries. It is the 4th largest medical locum agency on the HealthTrust Europe (HTE) temporary staffing framework agreement, and the 7th largest nursing agency on the list.

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