It is important to find a common language and purpose

by Michael Dimov

04 November 2019

Having worked on the Carter review, Michael Dimov realised how important it is to have a good understanding of how finance flows in the NHS to improve the service. This motivated him to study for the HFMA diploma in healthcare business and finance. We spoke with him about his career path, his experience with the HFMA Academy and why finance should be at the heart of any service redesign.

How did you start your NHS journey?
My educational background is a mixture of clinical (speech and language therapy and psychology), research and health service management studies and my career to date includes more than 20 years of clinical practice as well as roles in clinical governance, business development, project management and operational service management in different healthcare systems. In 2017, thanks to my broad background and experience of community health services, I had the opportunity to join the team at NHS Improvement tasked with extending the original Carter review of acute hospitals productivity, into community and mental health services. The review, which was published in May 2018, highlighted significant variation in the productive use of healthcare resources and the way community health services are delivered. The multiple meetings with front-line and executive teams, during the period of the review, convinced me that improving the quality of care and patient outcomes go hand in hand with efficient use of resources and robust financial management. I felt that the skill-sets for both my current and future roles in community health improvement would be incomplete without knowledge of healthcare finance.

How did you get involved with the HFMA?
My first encounters with the HFMA were during the period of the Lord Carter review into operational productivity in community and mental health services. I have attended and presented at a number of events, workshops and special interest groups and learned a lot from my discussions with finance professionals from different provider organisations. Later on, I became aware of the learning and development opportunities with the HFMA and included them in my personal development plan.

What’s the most important HFMA member benefit for you?
I follow the HFMA bulletins and blogs with great interest. The publications allow me to achieve better understanding of the impact of different political and legislative changes and developments on the commissioning and delivery of health and care services. My membership has allowed to undertake studies in healthcare finance and given me access to a wealth of online resources.

Why did you chose to study the HFMA qualification and how has it impacted your working role?
Studying the HFMA modules allowed me to improve my theoretical understanding of healthcare finance in the UK, but also to appreciate practical perspectives and relevant decision-making processes by working together with fellow students from accounting and other finance backgrounds. I particularly value the discussions and interactions during the live module sessions as they provide a fascinating insight into the points of view, culture and experiences of people from different professional groups and organisations that are all part of the NHS.

What piece of advice do you have for people who are starting their NHS journey now?
The challenges faced by the NHS can only be resolved by the joint efforts of everyone involved in the commissioning, delivery and use of health and care services. Breaking professional silos and finding common language, grounds and purpose will be increasingly important. Use every opportunity to broaden your understanding and experience of the services you are responsible for.

We provide training and development opportunities for NHS staff from all levels. Join our 15,000-strong network today and learn how you can get more involved with your local branch.

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