Always make sure you have the patient at the heart of all you do

by Suzanne Tracey

02 August 2017

After working as director of finance for over 12 years, last year Suzanne Tracey took the next step and became chief executive of Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Trust. She is also chair of the Providers Finance Faculty and is one of the most active HFMA members. In 2011 she spent a dynamic year as president of the HFMA.

Alongside her busy schedule, last year Suzanne raised  for charity over £5,000 with her colleagues Hannah Jacks and Hannah Wilkins. The three ladies cycled from London to Paris in aid of two charities -  Crohn’s and Colitis UK and the British Heart Foundation.

We caught up with Suzanne to find out more about her NHS career, the role of the HFMA in it and her year as HFMA president.

How did you start your NHS finance journey? 

I studied business studies at Swansea and decided I wanted to be an accountant. I studied CIPFA and trained with Price Waterhouse and on qualification decided that I would move to the NHS to get a couple of years’ experience. That was 24 years ago!! The NHS gets under your skin and I can’t imagine working anywhere else.  

Why did you get involved with the HFMA?

I was introduced to HFMA right at the start of my career by my then finance director, David Poynton. David was a huge supporter of staff development and really encouraged me to participate in HFMA to network, keep up to date on the latest policy changes and technical developments and to provide personal support to me in my different finance roles.  

What’s the most important HFMA member benefit for you? 

The knowledge that I am part of the HFMA family, that there is always help, support and encouragement from others should I need it. My other exec colleagues are very jealous of the network and support that us finance professionals have through HFMA

What was the most remarkable moment of your year as a president?

Suzanne TraceyWow, where do I start? Being president was an amazing experience, I really enjoyed the opportunity to visit each of the branches and see the great work that is being achieved locally (including a visit to the Shared Business Services in Pune, India who were very interested in the work of HFMA) … and of course presenting evidence to the Health Select Committee was an experience never to be forgotten!   

What made you want to be chair of the Provider Finance Faculty?

An opportunity to continue to support the wonderful work of HFMA, the Provider Finance Faculty is a great opportunity to keep abreast of the latest developments and share ideas and views with other colleagues     

What piece of advice do you have for others in NHS finance?

Your career in NHS finance is the best career you could possibly have – enjoy it and always make sure you have the patient at the heart of all you do.


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