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JAN 31/2014

Where is demand for doctors and nurses strongest at the moment?

Trained staff applying for NHS jobs are likely to be seeing no end of competition for their expertise at the moment, as demand for skilled medical professionals across the country continues to increase.

At present, the NHS is undergoing a number of wide-reaching reforms that - combined with a growing need for maximum efficiency and better use of resources across the public sector - is making it more essential than ever that employers have access to the personnel necessary to provide the highest possible standard of service.

As is always the case, these trends are affecting some parts of the country more than others, meaning those on the lookout for jobs could be well-served by refining their search to the areas that are in greatest need of medical skills.

The Telegraph recently published a survey revealing that hospitals are currently facing a shortage of 20,000 doctors and nurses, predominantly in accident and emergency departments - positions that are particularly important to fill during the busier winter months.

Freedom of Information requests by the Sunday edition of the newspaper across 63 NHS trusts found that average vacancy rates for doctors are 4.5 per cent and 6.3 per cent for nurses, with some organisations in greater need of new recruits or locum staff than others.

Hospitals that require the most new nurses include Royal Brompton & Harefield, Northampton General, Mid-Staffordshire, Imperial College and Heatherwood & Wexham Park, while the Mid-Staffordshire, North Staffordshire, Barking Havering & Redbridge, Blackpool Fylde & Wyre and United Lincolnshire trusts are in need of consultants.

Meanwhile, the Royal Marsden London, East & North Hertfordshire, Barnsley, Barnet & Chase Farm and Royal Bolton trusts topped the rankings in terms of specialist registrar vacancies.

These patterns of rising demand for medical staff can also be observed on a larger regional scale. For example, the recent Bank of Scotland Report on Jobs revealed that the nursing, medical and care sector continued to record the fastest rate of growth in terms of demand out of any industry in Scotland last month, with the pace of expansion rising at the fastest rate ever recorded. This was the case across both the temporary and permanent jobs markets.

Additionally, London has been noted as an area in which demand for nursing staff has been unusually high in recent months, leading to discussions of the matter in parliament at the behest of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).

The RCN is currently having success in its efforts to increase the number of nursing students in the UK, but it believes that further measures are needed if demand for staff is to be met effectively.

Due to the shortage of medical skills in the UK at present, many NHS-affiliated organisations are stepping up their recruitment efforts at present, such as the recent launch of an East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust student paramedic recruitment programme, which aims to hire 400 staff.

By paying attention to regional trends and initiatives of this kind, talented medical professionals will find it easier to find temporary and permanent positions that make the best use of their skills.

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