Risk & Economy » Public Sector » Only 5% of NHS finance staff feel appreciated by public

JUST 5% of NHS finance staff feel valued by the British public.

That’s the finding from the latest research from the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA).

Yet despite such a downbeat perception, over six out of ten (64%) finance professionals in the cash-strapped NHS say they are so dedicated to the institution that they want to spend the rest of their careers there.

The research – conducted amongst 500 employees – was undertaken in the face of what the HFMA dubs the “most challenging financial operating environment to date.

And notwithstanding such loyalty, many fear that the constant governmental change and wave after wave of “reforms” means they won’t be able to fulfil their ambitions, with only 47% expecting they’ll be able to continue to be employed by the NHS until they retire.

The research, published in the NHS Finance Function in 2015: England report, shows a stoic NHS finance staff workforce, who report a relatively high average level of job satisfaction, at 6.7 out of 10 (down marginally from 6.8 in 2013) and who are “ready to meet the current challenges”.

The majority (71%) said the public sector values of the NHS keep them motivated and 60% said the focus on improving patient care and the satisfaction they gain from their role (54%) drives them.

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.”

Some 60% of those quizzed said they believe better communication between finance and non-finance staff “would most improve the understanding of the value added by finance staff”.

Nearly eight out ten surveyed (78%) believe their line managers value them, falling to 48% for their organisation’s board and 46% for clinicians in their organisation. This drops off a proverbial cliff when feeling valued by the government at just 10% and 5% from the public.