16th October 2013

By Helen Briggs

In the last year max20 has seen an unprecedented openness to consider IT and technical contractors with business backgrounds for new roles. 

As the NHS initiates and develops a range of new projects as well as new approaches to using IT to deliver services more efficiently, more professionals with non-NHS backgrounds have entered the organisation. 

Helen Briggs was Head of Business Improvement at Durham University before taking her contract with the NHS.  It was a role that combined technical skills with business and project management, a combination that perfectly suited the profile of IT professional that the NHS commonly wants to attract today.

Here Helen gives a picture of her move into the NHS at South of Tyne and Wear.

“I joined the NHS for a contract in March 2012.

It was initially a three month contract but was renewed a further four times until May 2013.

I look back on my time in the NHS at South of Tyne and Wear as being very rewarding.

Some IT professionals outside the NHS might believe that it is bureaucratic and turgid in its approach. I found that not to be the case. 

In my experience other sectors can suffer from that curse, the NHS does not have a monopoly on bureaucracy.  Indeed, the NHS demonstrates a lot more agility than is the common perception.

The commitment to patient care and the resolve to get things done was well above the call of duty and made a great impression.

The transition to the NHS, with it unique culture, was actually very straightforward.  This was on a personal and professional level.

So how did the working in the NHS benefit my career?

Well it helped me get my present contract for a start through the new skills and experience I acquired.  I’m certain that it gave me additional confidence in delivering challenging projects under acute time pressure and within a dramatically changing environment.  It short, it gave more breadth to my CV.

But it was also the team spirit and ‘can do’ approach of the other  professionals that crystallised it as such a rewarding period in my professional life. 

It was a very satisfying experience.

If the opportunity to work in the NHS was presented again at the right time I would take it.”

Helen can be reached through LinkedIn: 


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