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MAR 24/2014

A review of the locum jobs market for physiotherapists

 People looking for locum physio jobs in the UK at the moment may find now is one of the best times in recent memory in which to do so, with plenty of enticing and exciting opportunities available.

Physiotherapy has always played an important role in the NHS care structure, but a number of changes are taking place in the market at the moment that are likely to see locum physios come into greater demand than ever.

Those looking for a role in this emerging sector that matches their abilities, career goals and interests will also find that signing up with Medacs Healthcare could be the best way of finding the right opportunity for them.

Where are locum physios in greatest demand at the moment?
According to Gareth Jones, physiotherapy team manager at Medacs Healthcare, now is a great time to get into the locum physiotherapy jobs market in the UK, with "lots of opportunities" currently available to talented and qualified staff.

In geographical terms, the north-west of England has been identified as offering a particularly wide selection of job openings at the moment, with the majority of locum physio roles offered by Medacs Healthcare coming from this region.

Mr Jones explained: "I think with the budgets coming to an end, a lot of local trusts and NHS organisations are trying to expand their workforce at the moment."

One of the key trends that is driving physiotherapy recruitment rates in the region is the presence of a highly successful graduate scheme, which takes new physiotherapy graduates who have qualified in the last 12 months and helps them get their foot on the career ladder for the first time. They initially begin on a lower rate of pay, but by getting this early opportunity to utilise their degree and training, they get the key experience needed to enable them to work their way up relatively quickly.

"Before, it was always quite hard for newly-qualified staff to get their foot on the ladder in terms of locum jobs, because most areas want someone who can hit the ground running, " noted Mr Jones. "Our graduate scheme provides a cheaper temporary staffing alternative to hospitals, which encourages them to offer roles to new graduates that wouldn’t have been available to them before."

He added that he believes this scheme could be beneficial if it were to be rolled out to other health trusts or local authorities.

What kind of opportunities will be available now and in the future?
Those entering the locum physiotherapy market at the moment will find they are able to find work in a variety of different fields.

One of the beauties of working in the physiotherapy field is the wide range of interventions, services and roles it encompasses, all centred around the idea of helping patients to regain physical and mental functions. Because this can involve addressing neuromuscular, musculoskeletal, cardiovascular and respiratory issues, locum physios can choose to specialise in all sorts of areas, including research roles, consultancy jobs or high-profile work with sporting teams.

According to Mr Jones, neurology-oriented roles, community-based jobs and acute hospital placements are particularly common at the moment, while more specialised jobs are also available to Medacs Healthcare clients from time to time.

Over the coming months and years, physio jobs are likely to become more diverse and widely available, as changes in the way NHS services are planned and commissioned are set to see allied health professionals playing a greater role in care provision.

For example, the law recently changed to allow physiotherapists and podiatrists to independently prescribe medications for the first time, making the UK the first country in the world to do so. The first wave of physios to qualify as independent prescribers are already coming through after completing the relevant training courses, giving them more professional autonomy than ever.

Meanwhile, plans are also afoot to change the structure of care planning, creating multidisciplinary care networks centred on the needs of the patient. This means that physiotherapists will be tasked with working more closely with GPs and other healthcare professionals to provide joined-up individual care, while patients will have greater choice over the type of services they receive, making it easier for them to opt for physiotherapy over other forms of treatment.

Mr Jones also expressed confidence that changes in the market will make it easier to find work in the locum physiotherapy field, but noted that this is likely to depend on budget availability in local areas. Therefore, those who wish to find the best and most appropriate roles available need to be prepared to go where the jobs are.

"If you are open to relocating for vacancies, you have more options in terms of jobs, which is what some of our locum staff do tend to do and more locum staff are coming to realise. We assist with finding temporary accommodation for our locum physios while they undertake various positions across the country.” he advised.

Check out some of our latest locum physio jobs here.

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