Technical / Bursaries support diversity agenda

19 September 2022 Steve Brown

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LANDSCAPE_quals_shutterstock_illoThe newly reformatted advanced qualifications are being relaunched in October, bringing together the former advanced diploma in healthcare business and finance and the diploma in advanced primary care management in a combined programme. Choice of modules will determine the specific diploma awarded.

The association also delivers intermediate level qualifications, particularly relevant to agenda for change bands 2 to 6 staff. Many of the modules are free to study via the HFMA bitesize route, with courses available through the electronic staff record system. However, the cost of the final assessment – leading to an intermediate diploma – has been identified as an obstacle for some learners.

Both the advanced and intermediate schemes will be eligible for the new pilot bursary scheme, with 20 bursaries up for grabs in time for October’s advanced qualification intake. The bursary will cover 75% of the cost of the qualifications.

‘There have been two barriers inhibiting people signing up for the advanced qualifications programme – the time it takes to complete and the cost,’ said Emily Osgood, head of the HFMA Academy. ‘The review of the qualification, which now only involves the completion of two modules, rather than the previous three, addresses the time issue. And the new bursaries should make the qualifications even more accessible.’

One NHS Finance has highlighted that the NHS finance function, at its most senior levels, does not reflect the populations it serves and has committed to improving this position. So the HFMA bursaries will be targeted at people at all stages of their careers from these under-represented groups.

The association’s qualifications programme has benefited from NHS England-funded bursaries, but this funding ended in 2021.

The HFMA is keen to support the development of a more diverse finance function and is working with One NHS Finance’s National Finance Academy, which has developed an equality, diversity and inclusion action plan. Supporting the development of staff at all points in their careers is recognised as vital to the creation of a more diverse group of senior finance leaders.

The bursary programme is particularly focused on supporting women, those from different ethnic groups, people with a disability or those from the LGBTQ community.

The revised advanced qualifications now have two intakes a year – October and March. A diploma (60 credits) is awarded for completing two HFMA advanced modules, each worth 30 credits. The completion of two diplomas would entitle the learner to move on to an MBA, run by the University of Northampton. Qualified accountants wanting to take the MBA route can be eligible for exemption from one of the diplomas.

The course usually costs £2,200 plus VAT – the bursary could save individuals or their organisations £1,650. About 600 people have started to study on the HFMA advanced qualifications programme, with 300 already achieving a masters-level diploma.

Learners on the advanced programme complete two of seven modules on: making finance work in the NHS; managing the healthcare business; supporting quality care with patient-level costing; personal effectiveness and leadership; tools to support decision-making; creating and delivering value in UK healthcare: and NHS law, policy and governance in primary care.