Comment / Support in hard times

04 June 2023 Mark Knight

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There is no doubt that we are in uncharted waters as cracks start to show in the financial position this early in the financial year. I speak to finance professionals on an almost daily basis, all of whom are worried about the future for them and their organisations. I’m listening and learning about the financial position and how we can play our part. As a result, the association is developing several initiatives to help members over the remainder of 2023.

The key thing to say at times like this is that you won’t see us in the media or on TV much. That’s not how the HFMA works. We are too embedded in the system for that to be sensible or productive. What we would lose would be too great, not in financial terms, but in our daily influence with those making decisions. 

Mark Knight

Our effect is most keenly felt by the sheer volume of our outputs, which are vital to the system; we do not function by sound bites or being in the media. For example, our financial sustainability checklist was last year mandated to be completed by organisations. That is how we work: quiet influence and practical support for the NHS and its finance community.

We are speaking constantly to whoever will listen, to enable us to support you as members and ensure we get through this difficult period. We are constantly hammering home president Lee Bond’s message: let’s get back to the numbers – it’s all about Strength in numbers.

We have programmes to excite and interest you. Our summer series is a free online learning event for members from 20-22 June. We also have lots of local programming through the branch network, as well as coaching and networking resources available. In addition, One NHS Finance has heaps of resources available through its networks. We have the 180 hours of free online content available on the electronic staff record. And by 2024, it will be on our own e-learning management system.

But there’s more! Through the HFMA Hub network, we are trying to create new opportunities for professionals to get together. We want to ensure we don’t neglect meeting either online or face to face at a time when everyone is tempted to bury their heads in the sand. We are also looking at how we can support systems to refocus on the basics of financial control and cost containment. We are looking at online sessions, and possibly a day conference, to refresh those skills. We’ll announce more in the coming months.

Our band 2 to 6 membership scheme continues to progress well and we now have a range of programmes and services for this group. We have more than 4,000 members in this category with our total number of full members close to 8,000. 

This fantastic news shows that we are becoming a more inclusive and representative organisation. We are starting to get a better handle on our members to help us see how representative we are of the service and population as a whole. 

To help us complete the picture, we will be contacting existing members for further details soon. Please respond when we ask for this information. It is important we can measure against our objectives and truly be the ‘voice of healthcare finance’.