New research by a prominent self-employed payroll provider reveals a significant increase in freelance contracting opportunities in the NHS, the recruitment industry news source Recruitment International reports.

The annual study polled Umbrella Company Employees working as healthcare contractors and found that one-fifth were confident of more NHS opportunities over the next 12 months. The renewed optimism appears to have been buoyed by recent government promises of more NHS investment, even though healthcare contracting took a significant hit over the last year. The pledge to pour additional investment into the NHS is, it seems, already stimulating increased demand for skilled contractors.

Commenting on the research, Umbrella Company expert Matthew Brown, whose company commissioned the survey, said: “The additional NHS budgets promised last month will certainly be beneficial for specialist healthcare contractors. As hospitals look to increase efficiencies and meet growing patient demands, experienced professionals will be required to oversee developments. It would also appear that of all the sectors we work in, healthcare is one of the most confident.”

He added: “The latest figures show a shift in balance of preference between long-term contract and higher per hour payment, suggesting contractors are becoming increasingly optimistic about opportunities.”

Contractors working in private clinics and hospitals have seen increased demand recently, the study additionally reveals. Over the last two years, a mere 2% of the poll respondents said they were working in this sector; in contrast, the proportion had increased more than five-fold to 11% in July 2013. With private hospitals currently engaged in growth and efficiency drives, this figure is expected to reach 14% over the next year.

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