This weeks leadership message from Heather Madden

Heather Madden

I can’t believe we are into the second half of the financial year already, with that expensive Christmas period sprinting up towards us all.

Winter and especially the Christmas period is just about our most busy time as an NHS trust, and also our most expensive time. In Finance we look after every NHS £ we get – in this financial year of 2018-2019, we plan to receive and spend just over £280m. Most of this comes from us, the taxpayer, so we must take care of it.

As a team at EEAST, we continually work hard to ensure we direct the biggest proportion possible of our funding to our patient-facing costs so we can provide the very best care for our patients. Those costs include Emergency Operations, HART, PTS, Resilience, Patient Safety and Operations Support to name but a few, together with all the non-pay items we rely on such as the medical equipment, fuel, drugs, uniforms, vehicle parts, repairs, cleaning - again to name but a few!

We all also rely heavily on our teams in the supporting functions to help us operate, again too numerous to all list here but it includes of course us here in Finance; what I am trying to say is that we are a team here at EEAST and all need each other to be as productive and successful as we can.

Here in the Finance team we try to be as efficient as possible to make working lives as smooth as possible. We look to make sure the money is there to pay all our liabilities, starting with salaries which you’ll be pleased to know is pretty high up on our list of priorities. We also work closely with our Business Development colleagues, led by Nicky Ward, to get the best contractual terms we possibly can - once this is agreed we have to get that funding into our account, which is not always as straightforward as there are many key performance indicators (KPIs) for us to achieve.

We also get through a vast quantity of invoices from suppliers – around 40,000 per year and it is important we check and verify every single one of them because we don’t have a penny to waste. It is imperative we make sure all invoices have an associated official Purchase Order from an authorised manager. We also get many attempts by fraudsters to get their hands on our cash with false invoices and claims because they hope our checking systems are weak, but we are confident they are not. Our assurance is helped by colleagues ensuring they follow the procedures for obtaining good and services - the process is pretty straightforward and Finance and Procurement are happy to help if you have any queries.

The same should be said for HR forms - please complete them in a timely manner so people are paid on time and correctly!

We’ve had good feedback about the Finance team sending budget statements to all managers each month to show charges to their cost centre. Please check your statements and make sure everything is in order as we are happy to look into your queries and make any corrections or amendments. Everything costs money, so if you are looking to make changes to your team and its work, make sure we cost the change for you to make sure your bases are covered.  In fact, we are about to relaunch the finance training course for all budget managers and their staff, to give an insight into how NHS finance works and then how you can most easily spend the money.  The session dates and locations will be advertised soon, but, of course, we will look to avoid the busier times.  Please book on, it really can be quite interesting.

Elsewhere, we are launching the cycle and car salary sacrifice schemes, both of which we know will be popular. You will find information on what to do and how to apply on East24 within the next couple of days, and posters and leaflets on both will be available around the region. Just email if you need anything more.

Something else you may not know we handle in Finance are the charitable funds, which are donations from grateful members of the public. If you have any queries on this please do not hesitate to email

Thanks for taking the time to read this message – remember, if you haven’t get got your flu vaccination, please get the #JabDone and look out for details on clinics on East24, Twitter and facebook crewroom. The NHS staff surveys is also well under way and takes about 15 minutes to fill in so please ensure you have your say this year.


Published 25th October 2018


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