Comment / Pressure relief

11 March 2024 Claire Wilson

You don’t need me to tell you how challenging things are for the NHS finance function at the moment. As I write this column, we are focused on closing a challenging financial year, while simultaneously developing financial plans for an even more difficult year ahead. The pressures being faced by our members amount to a key area of concern for the HFMA board.

 Some of you will have seen our chief finance officer temperature check survey (see News), designed to help us understand more about how we can support you and your teams.

We are still collecting the responses, but the early results are no surprise, with 90% of respondents saying that the pressure is increasing and more than half reporting that they are struggling to manage it, and that it is impacting negatively on their health and wellbeing.

We are also asking members how this pressure impacts on maintaining professional standards and what we must do as a finance community to protect professional integrity when times are tough. 

Once the survey is closed, we will be looking through the data carefully to understand how the HFMA can help and how we can act on your behalf to support the profession more broadly. 

This is important to us all, and to me personally, so if you have any other thoughts about how the HFMA can provide support on this, please drop me a note on [email protected].

In the meantime, using the branch networks and connecting across our wider finance community has never been so important. 

One of the key aspects of my Working as one presidential theme this year is the need to come together across the finance function to tackle the big challenges we are facing. Working as one means that we are never on our own. 
There is incredible work being done in every single NHS organisation across the country. And for many of our individual challenges, there will be a team that has cracked it somewhere. We will all have brilliant ideas to offer in return.

On the subject of sharing, NHS England has recently launched NHS Impact (, an approach that supports organisations, systems and providers with a shared framework for continuous improvement. 

Key to this is sharing best practice and learning from one another to tackle clinical, operational and financial challenges. 
I encourage anyone who is not yet familiar with it to have a look. 

The power of harnessing the knowledge of teams delivering care to develop solutions really resonates with me. 
Being able to engage everyone on our biggest problems in a way that is meaningful to them, where everyone understands their contribution, will give us our greatest chance of success. 

Finance leaders have a critical part to play in developing the conditions for this to happen.  

Contact the president on [email protected]