A new survey by the specialist IT healthcare recruiter max20 suggests that many Umbrella Company techies are deterred from seeking contracting roles in the NHS under the mistaken belief that previous health service experience would be necessary.

The survey polled 130 IT professionals working outside the NHS and 400 working within it. 70% of the NHS outsiders have considered working for the service.

The recruiter, which works with 150-plus NHS organisations including Primary Care Trusts, Informatics Services and some of the UK’s largest Trusts, also found that many IT contractors are attracted to NHS work but exclude themselves from applying for roles because they assume they lack necessary NHS experience.

Don Tomlinson, max20’s managing director, said: “The NHS will miss out on new talent to meet the growing demands for high level IT professionals created by the restructuring of the organisation. We have to get across that the NHS is starting to seriously consider experienced IT professionals with business skills. We have placed quite a number senior staff without NHS experience this year. Things are changing fast, but this message and others are yet to fully to catch-up.”

His comments echo remarks made by Bill Parsons, one of the expert panellists who took part in the PCG’s National Freelancer’s Day on 21st November. He said: “I firmly believe that if the public sector does not have access to freelancers and contractors, it will end up having bad computer systems.”

IT contractors who already work in the NHS tend to have multiple contracts and work on a long-term basis, the survey found.

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