Despite major cuts to front line services in the NHS, the health service is still short of specialist medical staff. That’s the message from the new white paper on the medical employment market from Your World Recruitment, who also warns that the government must be careful not to store up problems for the future of the NHS.

The report reveals that although cuts across the board in the healthcare sector have led to a decline in medical jobs across the UK, at the same time there are still a number of opportunities out there, especially for GPs, nurses and other medical experts with very specialist skills. These skill shortages include cochlear implant specialists within audiology, paediatric occupational therapists and MRI / ultrasound experts within radiology. Although pay levels have frozen for many, certain jobs or hospitals that are struggling to find talent are driving up remuneration to attract the right people.

The report also tells of the increasing number of locum healthcare staff moving into permanent positions, mainly due to the increased job security in what is a challenging time for the public sector. With less jobs, longer waiting lists and less locums to fill temporary positions when hospitals get busy, Your World is warning that investment in staff needs to continue in order to avoid future problems and staff shortages.

“With the UK’s huge deficit, it was of course necessary to make cuts everywhere, including the NHS”, comments managing director of Your World Recruitment, Tony Moss. “However at the same time, people aren’t going to stop getting ill just because we’re in tough economic times – the health service perhaps needs more attention than ever before. Although agencies are often seen as a drain on resources, they are in fact going to become even more important in 2011. Agencies need to make sure that locum healthcare staff receive competitive pay and don’t take their skills elsewhere to ensure they can supply key specialist staff at very short notice to fill critical positions.”