Fast bounce back expected in temporary healthcare staffing market

The temporary healthcare and recruitment market is expected to bounce back strongly after taking a hit from the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the latest research from LaingBuisson

The 5th edition of its Healthcare Workforce & Recruitment UK Market Report estimates that the market is worth £4.3bn, with the NHS accounting for 70% and the care home sector 14%. While the market’s value has reduced during the pandemic, record hospital waiting lists are expected to fuel a fast recovery.

The sector has undergone a series of challenges in recent years. The introduction of the Agency Rules have contained expenditure by the NHS in England and the sector has been subject to several employment tax provisions.

The most prominent of these is the extension of the IR35 legislation to the public sector in 2017 and to the private sector in April 2021. This has impacted the supply of all temporary workers into the NHS by healthcare recruitment agencies. However, there is evidence IR35 rules have not been enforced rigorously enough and as a result, there may be significant numbers of temporary healthcare workers receiving payment under schemes that may fall foul of the IR35 provisions if challenged.

The report also covers how NHS Professionals has changed in recent years and its role in driving down reliance on agency supply.

Report author, Suhail Mirza, said: ‘The past few years has seen the government promise to take steps to resolve staff shortages and levels of agency spend in the NHS. Most recently, this has come in the form of the NHS Interim People Plan in June 2019 and then the full NHS People Plan in July 2020. These promise to improve leadership and create a new operating model for the NHS workforce. The full People Plan also lays out a vision of offering flexibility to all NHS staff alongside developing a culture of inclusion and belonging.’

In depth coverage of the new report will be featured in the July issue of Healthcare Markets.