70 per cent of NHS trusts have made IT their top priority as the organisation faces an IT shakeup

NHS IT shakeup feeds surge in demand for specialists

A massive upswing in demand for senior technology talent in the NHS sees 70 per cent of NHS trusts say IT is their top priority.

The increase in the need for computer skills is being driven by large IT-related change and transformation projects such as the computerisation of patient records as well as the imminent replacement of Primary Care Trusts and Strategic Heath Authorities with Clinical Commissioning Groups and Commissioning Support Units.

According to a recent survey undertaken by the UK Healthcare Practice of Twenty Recruitment, all of the 50 Trusts polled said that they expected IT investment to play a significant part in their 2013 budgets with 70 per cent saying that they were making IT their top priority, compared to 40 per cent last year.

Jessica Lorimer, senior appointments specialist for Twenty Health, said the changing face of the NHS means there is a growing requirement for interim technology specialists with experience of major change and transformation projects who can provide better value than an outsourced management consultancy.

"While there is an obvious need for project managers and business analysts to implement these projects, there is also a shortage of top executive talent. Some of the new Clinical Commissioning Groups, which come into being on 31 March, are missing critical pieces of their board, so Interim C Level candidates with the right sort of experience are in high demand.

“While many of the headlines in recent months have been around job cuts and downsizing in the public sector, it seems the war for talent – particularly from a technology perspective – is firmly back on the agenda."

When asked about the resourcing of planned projects, almost two-thirds of trusts (65 per cent) said that they would take a project approach and use contract and interim staff, while just over a third (35 per cent) said that they would invest in training for their existing permanent staff.

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