Stepping up to challenges and going above and beyond in their roles is something we know finance staff are great at, but this year we have seen true resilience and strength from our colleagues across the country in response to the pandemic, which we are proud to celebrate!

Pulling together at The Christie NHS FT

“It is an understatement to say that year-end and maintaining ‘business as usual’ has been extremely challenging this year. With the finance team all working from home for the first time and the auditors working remotely, it has been up to us to adapt to a new way of delivering the accounts and audit. Every member of the team has risen to the challenge – I have been amazed, but not surprised, at how creative the team has been. Whether it’s learning new ways of communicating (how did we manage before Microsoft Teams?), adapting processes and procedures, developing alternative means of providing services, covering for colleagues off sick, or working long hours whilst juggling other responsibilities, the whole finance team has been exceptional. I am always optimistic, so whilst the crisis has been and is a tragedy, it is also a catalyst for change and I am sure that there are many positives to take from our new ways of working which we can build on for the future.”

Hero Award for children

Alder Hey Children’s NHS FT set up an initiative where thank you letters were sent to the children of finance staff working at the trust. The initiative was called the Finance Hero award. The trust acknowledged how difficult it can be working from home and caring for young children at the same time, especially during the pandemic, and they wanted to recognise this by contacting children by letter / email directly. The letters thanked the children for their support and shared updates on what their parent had been involved in at work. Included within the letter was a Hero medal, ‘to reward them for looking after Mummy / Daddy, and for being kind and helpful during this tough time.’

A personal reflection – Jonathan Lumb, NHS Shared Business Services

Just before lockdown, we started to move all meetings and calls online in the interim, and then before we knew it the world around us and our normal ways of working changed completely. Home working with conference and video calls became the norm, with the added benefit of no motorway queues or train journeys around the country. The loss of our operational capacity in India as they locked down completely, made re-planning and re-distributing the workload around the UK workforce a priority. My day job took a back seat and tasks I’d long forgotten were quickly relearnt! The revised NHS finance regime meant new processes had to be planned and implemented at pace. A crazy situation – you could not have written it! Working from home and the impact on members of the family has been tough and has taken some getting used to. Our dogs have kept us sane during their walks, however I can foresee a bad case of separation anxiety for our puppy if ever I return to an office job! Thrown in amongst all of this, we lost a close relative to the dreaded Covid-19. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s just the flu – we should all look after each other, follow the rules and keep safe. And remember, the NHS Finance team is stronger together and the VM network is a great source of support!