HFMA 2019: Clarke becomes association president

by Seamus Ward

06 December 2019

Unveiling her presidential theme, Pride in the future, as she took the chains of office this morning, Ms Clarke (pictured) urged the finance function to take on the future on its own terms – helping shape the future and taking pride in its work.Caroline.Clarke l

‘Without people we are nothing’.  NHS colleagues looked to HFMA members for objectivity and clear presentation of facts. The profession should take pride in these values and core strengths.

She commended the Designing our future briefing. ‘We are going to make a career in NHS finance the best there is, and we’re going to do it together, and when we look back, we’re going to be proud of what we’ve done,’ she added.

But there was a wider people challenge in the NHS, with the service needing another 250,000 new staff over the next decade. Technology provided part of the answer, but this had to be harnessed well. She spoke of a seven-masted schooner in 1902 – the only one ever built – which was almost immediately surpassed by steam-powered vessels. And she contrasted this with Gutenberg’s Western printing press, which shifted the paradigm in communications, but which was based on the wine press. ‘He took an existing thing and applied it elsewhere. Sometimes innovation is as simple as that.

‘We need to approach these problems with an optimistic outlook and be more like Gutenberg, less like the unfortunate schooner. That is our job. ‘ 

Ms Clarke (pictured with immediate past president Bill Gregory) called for more attention to be paid to diversity, highlighting the HFMA’s journey from one female leader in 60 years to adding five in the last decade.Caroline.Clarke.and.Bill.Gregory l

Yet, it could do more. ‘While we’re making attempts to increase ethnic minority representation on our board, we would also like to do this at every committee, whether branch or national. We have therefore conducted our first ever survey and will look to increase representation from all sections of the community in all our activities. This is an important objective for us as we continue to become the modern, progressive organisation we want to be.’