NHS accountants suffering low morale

More
than one in five finance managers in the NHS considers morale among accountants
in the healthcare sector to be either ‘low’ or ‘poor’,  a survey by Hays Accountancy Personnel
reveals.

The
study reveals that an overwhelming majority of finance managers – 70 per cent –
believe their individual departments could be more motivated, and 77 per cent
said positive and negative motivation cascaded down the ranks.

Accountants
demonstrated huge scepticism about government pledges of financial support for
the health service and contempt for league tables. Andy Robling, director of
Hays Accountancy Personnel’s public sector division, commented: "With
morale among managers at a disturbingly low level, the outlook is
alarming."

Twenty-eight
per cent of respondents cite ‘challenge of the job’ as the reason they had
pursued a career in health, while 27 per cent sought ‘a sense of putting
something back’. On a day-to-day basis, 38 per cent of managers reveal that the
non-routine nature of health finance work kept them interested, with ‘team and
colleagues’ inspiring a further 22 per cent.

Less
than one-third (31 per cent) of managers describe morale in finance departments
as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’. More than half (54 per cent) claim that frequent
changes in policies and procedures demotivate them, with 39 per cent stating
that unclear organisational goals are to blame for lack of motivation. Amid the
upheaval of pressure to deliver, 53 per cent of finance managers say motivation
would be enhanced if senior management involved them more in strategic change management
issues.

Mark
Knight, chief executive of the Health Finance Managers Association, said:  "NHS restructuring is leading to
fatigue and insecurity within finance departments – I can see how this results
in low morale."

However,
Knight said that many departments have a positive agenda for training and
development.

www.haysworks.com/surveys/hfma

By Ben Willmott

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