The View From: Julia Rudrum, Assistant Director of Assurance, NHS Brighton & Hove
How important is governance?
Good governance is critical to the success of any organisation – public or private. Well governed organisations have good internal controls: mitigating risk and enhancing the prospects of corporate success. Private sector investment becomes more attractive to shareholders: public bodies can deliver the best possible services within defined resources. In the current challenging times it is even more important that good governance is at the heart of what we do. It cannot be omitted to save costs as it affects an organisation’s ability to achieve its objectives.
Is constant tinkering with NHS structures counter-productive?
The NHS is an extremely complex and large system, involving many legal entities in the public, private and voluntary sectors. Given the high levels of healthcare public spending – approximately £100bn – it is inevitable there will be significant scrutiny and different ideas to increase effectiveness. But transition increases the risk of reduced focus on delivery. I have worked in the NHS for 25 years: change has always been a factor.
Should there be more or fewer finance professionals in the NHS?
The key is ensuring the appropriate skills and competencies are available, including financial skills. This could mean training non-finance staff as well as looking at the number of finance professionals. Finance professionals need a breadth of skills to be applied in the changing landscape, which is one of the strengths of the ACCA qualification.
Can finance professionals improve NHS productivity?
Yes. To achieve the level of efficiencies required – £20bn – whilst improving the quality of services and meeting the demand for new (and often more expensive) services and therapies, we must ensure sufficient, relevant, financial skills are available to support clinical decision-makers.
What would you change about your working life?
Cut the time spent in meetings. It is always a challenge to get sufficient headroom to take forward key workstreams.
Brighton & Hove trust’s annual turnover
Finance staff employed