President’s tour: Yorkshire and Humber

by Mark Orchard

30 January 2017


Writing this short blog on my long train journey home from Scunthorpe to Fareham, my thoughts turned to what I had taken away from the first of my 13 HFMA branch conference appearances as national president.

I arrived late yesterday in time to join colleagues for dinner and opened day two of the Yorkshire and Humber Branch annual conference this morning as the ‘warm-up act’ for our much-respected NHS Improvement CEO Jim Mackey (below). So briefly, what have I learnt?

First and foremost, this trip has reinforced my long-held view that the branches really are the lifeblood of our association. With 165 paying conference delegates and over 200 people at last night's gala dinner and awards ceremony (including sponsors, who without their support much of our work would simply not be viable – so a massive thank you to all of them too), this branch conference is even bigger than last year. Jim Mackey

Nigel Booth (branch chair) and Laura Hill (branch administrator) clearly run a tight ship, along with Cathy Kennedy (branch president) and what I can only assume must be a very devoted branch committee – after all, behind every successful branch are a small number of unsung and often unrecognised heroes.

Yorkshire and Humber certainly know how to pull together a big-draw agenda. But I was equally impressed to learn that two-thirds of the delegate places were sold on the strength of the branch simply releasing a date and venue alone – long before any agenda or speaker line-up was subsequently announced. Further, when all of the rooms at the hotel were quickly completely sold out, even more delegate bookings were offered by using a nearby hotel as an overflow. 

Demand for professional networking and shared learning is clearly not an issue for this patch, which is especially impressive when you consider the time of year for this event. (Without exception the remaining 12 branches have scheduled their annual headline conferences either in June or between September and November this year.)

The Yorkshire and Humber branch awards also received a significant number of entries. Hats off to this patch I say.

My next HFMA commitment will be chairing our board of trustees and general assembly meetings this week. As we finalise our proposed 2017-2020 strategy, learn more about the design prototype for our new membership app and embrace what we hope to be a strong first cohort for our much anticipated new qualification, I will be keen to ensure that our branch network continues to remain at the very heart of all of our thinking.

The service we are all proud to support is about care and patients. But this is also a people business – with colleagues playing their part across clinical, operational and support roles – and I have been reminded today just how much everyone counts.


President's tour: Scotland
President's tour: Eastern
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