When you tell your friends and family that you work in NHS finance how do they respond?

Are they impressed, knowing that those working in NHS finance are among the very best? By reputation do they conclude that you must have earned your place and you must demonstrate the highest levels of integrity, dedication, expertise and skill?

In truth, that is probably not their reaction; more likely it is one of sympathy, it may possibly even be a little disparaging depending on how they are influenced by negative media portrayals.

We want that to change.

Our vision is that working in NHS finance is something that people aspire to. It will be consistently rated as one of the best and most diverse employers in the country; developing its own staff and attracting the best from elsewhere. The profession will be recognised as a key ingredient to delivering world-class healthcare, innovating to drive value and enabling the best outcomes for patients.

It is the case that those working in NHS finance often are among the best, some could have higher salaries or more kudos by committing their talents to a different business but chose the NHS because they have a public sector ethos and wanted an organisation that is aligned to their own values.

In 2018 the NHS celebrated it’s 70 year anniversary and was voted number 1 of ‘British things’ in which the public take most pride in. For many British people the NHS is a symbol of a fair society, delivering free at the point of access services for all, irrespective of wealth or financial contribution (source: Mintel).

Working in NHS finance we don’t always bask in the pride that people feel for the front line services, and perhaps that is fair, we hold neither the knife, the hand, nor the full trust of the vulnerable person before us. However, we do hold a great deal of responsibility for a function that, if not done well, impacts on the services our patients receive, the experience of our staff and the reputation and trust of our organisation and the NHS.

Future-Focused Finance, the HFMA and PwC have worked together to outline a vision for the future NHS finance function. Now we need your help. We need the thoughts and opinions of every one of the 16,000 people who work in NHS finance. It is your opportunity to help shape the NHS finance function of the future. We have published a report: NHS finance: designing our future which is the start of our engagement with you. We want to know what you think; whoever you are and wherever you work.

The report contains a series of questions to gain your views and there is an email address to send them to us. In addition to this, we will be holding seven regional events in early 2020 along with two online workshops to gauge the views of as many of you as we can. Further information about these will be circulated in the new year but please contact us on futurefocusedfinance@nhs.net if you would like to be added to the circulation list.

For four years running Rolex has been ranked number 1 in the Forbes World’s Most Reputable Companies list. The Swiss watchmaker is rooted in the luxury lifestyle it represents and the core company values of quality and integrity. However this year there was a new entry into the top 10. Netflix climbed 15 places and arrived at number 9; by marketing and outreach to engage new audiences, Netflix have positioned themselves as the new media company that is here to stay. Within 10 years NHS finance can position itself as the best, if that’s what we all decide to do.

Will you?