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North West Finance Directors Conference 2023

The North West Finance Directors Conference took place on the 19th and 20th October 2023 at Carden Park Hotel, and despite the rather soggy end to the week in Cheshire, the Embridge team gained some valuable insights of ‘Scaling the challenge together’ which was the theme for this year’s conference.

Over the two days, Steve Haines, CCO, Phil Brown, Public Sector Sales, and Harriet Aubrook, Business Development Executive listened to and gained insights from lots of passionate speakers about the current situation in the North West and the wider NHS community. There is no denying that finance teams have many challenges ahead of them.   

One challenge will be staffing levels to support the ever-growing ageing population. It is expected by 2025, the country will have double the number of people in the 85+ age group. Finance professionals will no doubt be working out over the coming years how to support the need for additional beds and other key NHS resources to support the ageing population. Having accurate finance data at your fingertips and being able to drive insight from that data will be a crucial element to success in this area.  

The first session of a two-day conference began with Julian Kelly, the CFO of NHS England, who gave a talk on the current state of the nation. Julian emphasised the need to increase staffing levels in primary care, dentistry, social care, and other areas. He also stressed the importance of technology in identifying solutions to these challenges. According to Julian, the implementation of technology could reduce administrative tasks by 60-70%, which is essential for improving NHS services. Therefore, having the right technology readily available is critical for successful change.

By having access to data and working as a team, as highlighted by Dr Sarah Hauxwell and Becky Hogan at the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, they talked about how, as an organisation, they would previously have spent their way out of problems, creating a history of financial deficit. But now, with more accurate information, a ‘ward to board’ approach, and getting comfortable with being uncomfortable, they are well on their way to removing their deficit and creating an environment that allows for meaningful change.  

Additional key points discussed at the event were: 

  • These were the “toughest times ever”, a message repeated by many of the speakers at the conference. 
  • The NHS has experienced significant stress and change and is searching for a pathway of “Winning, Stabilising, Improving” by investing in technology throughout. 
  • The challenges and priorities for ICBs over the next 5 years are possible solutions to funding and productivity challenges, including shared services, zero-based budgeting and the heart of Health and Social Care delivery requiring alignment to local authorities, and considering the merits of moving social care statutory obligations from local authorities to the NHS.

The overwhelming feeling from the conference was genuine care and passion for the NHS. There is an appetite to integrate Finance, Rostering and Costing systems to provide a single version of the truth and better workforce analysis and forecasting (for staffing and financial). By having more data readily available, improving the accuracy of the data, and driving insight from it, the North West finance community are starting to get a better understanding of the current climate and various challenges and using that to push continual improvement in our NHS.  

Embridge Consulting

About Embridge Consulting

Embridge Consulting is a leading boutique systems integration consultancy, specialising in Unit4 ERP and other partners.

Founded in 2009 and headquartered in the UK, the consultancy works with clients in the public sector, nonprofit, professional services, and other sectors to provide a more personal and tailored client experience compared to other, more traditional global systems integrators. Through professional and experienced consulting, best-in-class ERP technology, training, and a commitment to continual client improvement, Embridge is helping clients achieve faster time to value from digital transformation programs, at lower cost and with less risk.

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