West Mids update for 2020

What a journey 2020 has been! So let me start by stating outright just how proud I am of my Finance team. The NHS Finance community always steps up and I think this is a real credit to us.  In those early weeks of the pandemic I clapped with extra gusto to acknowledge not only the frontline efforts but also my team, because I know just how hard they worked to keep our services working; both front of house and behind the scenes.
So whilst we dealt with the biggest crisis in NHS history and finance teams put themselves forward to help push roll cages of PPE throughout the hospital, whilst grappling with a totally new financial framework and dealing with the challenge of business continuity and remote working, we set ourselves a new challenge – to build back better than we had been before, and to embrace the new opportunities that were emerging.
Which leads me to FFF and the accreditation process. It is fair to say that here at UHCW, FFF has been close to many of our hearts for some time. We have signed the declaration and its messages are at the heart of our finance development and engagement strategy. No doubt you will have seen some of our Value Makers tweet with enthusiasm. FFF gives us a framework and a community to embrace best practice. There is a wealth of resources available, offering a range of tools to access your maturity in different areas and to improve Finances “value add”. Most importantly, for me, signing up signal’s intent; both within finance and to the organisation. It is a statement that we are part of something, and that something is going to help make us the best we can be.
Linked to this journey we have just achieved our level 1 accreditation and we now work towards level 2. We embraced the spirit not just the tick box in this and as such we have ensured we have bridged gaps in evidence with guidance and processes built on best practice and our UHCW methodology. The certificate stands proudly behind me in my MS Teams meetings and I celebrated our achievement not only in our Finance team brief but also in our Chief Officer Forum – an audience of over one hundred of our top leaders in the Trust.  We have some internationally renowned services here at UHCW and it is really important to me that the organisation knows it’s backed with first rate support.
COVID has been “interesting”! It’s accelerated some of our desire to digitalise and become paperless, and it’s allowed us to reset some of the processes and practices of the past; but it would be wrong to say that there haven’t been significant challenges in this. We have moved through the change curve at an unprecedented pace, and whilst I am confident we are heading in the right direction, it is not easy keeping everyone on board.  It is my team’s commitment that has kept the show on the road, but I can’t ignore some of the resilience cracks that COVID has exposed.
But now onto the fun part where I fast forward 12 months beyond the current COVID world! Clinical engagement is at an all time high and we’ve moved forward with our redesign work having attained the next level of accreditation; finally we can reflect on how much we’ve achieved.  And as I raise my glass to the screen for the HFMA 12 days of Christmas this year, next year I look forward to the NHS Finance community coming together in the same space, no doubt we’ll have a few stories to share!
This is the first in a series of blogs from CFOs in the West Mids which we will be adding to the virtual networks.