President's tour: Eastern

by Mark Orchard

27 October 2017


The ninth leg of my tour was also the second race course venue on this 2017 HFMA branch conference circuit (the first being Wolverhampton back in June). This time my focus was all on the 09:35 at Newmarket.

Eastern Branch has a strong branch committee, led by chair Andy Ray but with plenty of strength in depth. Today, sadly due to Andy not being well, we were blessed with the fortune of having honorary HFMA fellow Keith Wood step in to be our master of ceremonies for the event. Thank you Keith – you were a real star.

Succeeding in tough times was the branch theme for the day and the event provided a timely pause for reflection following commentary circulating in recent weeks about the relentless pressure NHS finance professionals are under once again.

It was helpful, then, that Bob Alexander, executive director of resource and deputy chief executive at NHS Improvement, took the opportunity to thank local finance leaders and their teams for all that they had achieved in 2016/17 and continue to work towards achieving again in 2017/18.

Acknowledgement of effort and achievement goes a long way, especially in a world where we seldom have time to reflect on our collective delivery. This is never to be under estimated and as always, Bob's reflections were hugely valued, highly respected and extremely impactful.

We can do this. Delivering on 2017/18 was always going to be a tougher challenge than even last year. But by working together across our local patches the aggregation of organisational financial commitments is still within reach. Succeeding in tough times hit the mark and framed a ‘can do’ outlook that was quite tangible across most of the day.

The branch network has a big part to play in this. Supporting each other is an important factor in helping us to succeed together, despite the well-rehearsed and broadly common challenges. It was good, then, to see a thriving network in Eastern that continues to harness positive collective development.

And this branch has a very impressive forward plan of events that includes:

So, there is lots going on.

This particular conference was sponsored by BDO and supported by seven other exhibitors in the main hall, without which these events would simply not be viable.

Finally, it was good for me to be able to catch up with the HFMA team between sessions to support planning for our national HFMA annual conference being held in London early in December. The agenda is shaping up well now and I know that those of you able to attend will not be disappointed with the broad range of sessions we have lined up for you this year.

President's tour: Scotland
President's tour: Kent, Surrey and Sussex 
President's tour: South West
President's tour: Wales
President's tour: North West
President's tour: London
President's tour Yorkshire and Humber
President’s tour: West Midlands
Presidents's tour: South Central