The View From: Paul Assinder, President of the Healthcare Financial Management Association and Director of Finance and Information at the Dudley Group of Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
What is HFMA’s main challenge?
HFMA is the main professional body representing finance staff in the healthcare sector. Membership has traditionally been limited to accountants working in the NHS. While the state will continue funding and commissioning healthcare, financial functions may increasingly take place in a plurality of public and private care organisations. Providing the best care for patients seamlessly across these boundaries presents a challenge to HFMA to provide the ‘professional glue’ linking finance professionals – whoever they are employed by.
Does HFMA need to adapt?
The Government’s White Paper ‘Liberating the NHS’ sets a clear direction of travel for healthcare in the UK, with its emphasis on very local commissioning of care through GP clusters and away from ‘command and control’ accountability. HFMA has a unique perspective on policy proposals – viewing them through a very practical lens and focused upon effective delivery. Our links to health systems internationally represent an excellent yardstick to measure the impact of new approaches to healthcare funding and management.
How is the role of healthcare finance professionals changing?
The key challenge for finance professionals is to deliver this vision against a background of funding restraint, whilst keeping control of the NHS £100bn + budget. HFMA will be a key source of personal and professional support for members through this change. We will keep re-emphasising to government and others the importance of retaining financial control through the change.
How can you be president of HFMA while running a £260m organisation?
By having two highly talented and committed groups of professionals. I give HFMA the attention it deserves because of the fantastic support from my fellow directors and colleagues in Dudley and the support of my family.
What do you do away from work?
I spend as much time as possible with my wife Debbie and two teenage kids. I enjoy foreign travel and I’m a fanatical Birmingham City supporter.
HFMA members: 4,000
HFMA staff: 20
HFMA turnover: £4m
Dudley Trust staff: 3,800 FTEs
Dudley Trust turnover: £260m