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01.03.16

Finance staff remain committed to NHS, despite growing pressures

Job satisfaction and commitment is high among NHS finance staff despite uncertainty over their career security, a new survey has revealed.

The research, published by the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) in the NHS Finance Function in 2015: England report, finds that finance staff rate their average job satisfaction as 6.7 out of 10.

When asked what motivated them, 71% said the public sector values of the NHS, 60% said the focus on improving patient care and 54% stated the satisfaction they gain from their role.

However, many expressed doubt about their job security. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of NHS staff surveyed said they would like to spend the rest of their career in the service, but only 47% expect they will stay employed until they retire.

Paul Briddock, director of policy at HFMA, said: “The need for talented finance staff to help their organisations to deliver high-quality services with restricted financial resources has never been higher. In the midst of these significant financial pressures, those working in the NHS finance function are dedicated and ready to meet the challenges head on.

“We’re going to rely heavily on finance directors and their teams to see the NHS through the current financial challenges so the key now is to keep the most skilled people in the service and keep them motivated.

“We must be mindful of the immense pressure these people are under and make sure that the new initiatives, caps and rules being introduced in a bid to make savings and improve productivity aren’t being used as a stick to beat them with. Rather, we need the entire health and social care system to work together collaboratively.”

The NHS’ finance staff’s positive attitude comes at a challenging time for NHS finance, with Monitor’s latest financial figures warning that NHS trusts are £2.3bn in deficit.

The HFMA found a slight increase in the number of staff undertaking financial management activities, a sign of the increasing importance of their role in trying to cut the deficit.

When asked how they thought they could add further value to their organisations, 60% of finance staff said better communication between finance and non-finance staff, 59% said the financial literacy of non-finance staff should be improved and 53% said better access to data.

While the vast majority of respondents (78%) feel their line managers value them, this figure falls to 48% for their organisation’s board and 46% for clinicians in their organisation.

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