WHH finance team win national team of the year accolade

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The finance team at Warrington and Halton Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have been recognised for their response to unprecedented challenges with a national award from the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA).

The team had seen their offices destroyed by a fire that inflicted severe damage on Warrington Hospital’s Kendrick Wing in 2018 and faced the challenges of being dispersed across the Trust for two-and-a-half years as a result. They had just returned to coming back together as team in their refurbished office space when the COVID-19 pandemic hit bringing with it a further set of demands and difficulties with little time to prepare.

Last week they were named Finance Team of the Year in the HFMA 2020 awards in recognition of their approach to these challenges. In the wake of the pandemic they supported the Trust’s operational demands by introducing new process to streamline and prioritise COVID-19 related business cases and they oversaw the management and distribution of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) stocks not only for WHH but for other trusts in the Cheshire and Merseyside region.

The team’s impact also extended into the staff health and wellbeing with many staff volunteering to become staff welfare and support champions with daily mental wellbeing support check-ins. In addition the team also supported the Trust to establish a paid childcare facility during the initial lockdown when schools and wider childcare provision were closed to most. They also assisted in setting up paid accommodation for staff that needed to live outside the family home in order to continue working during the pandemic. The team also introduced new working patterns to take account of colleagues who had childcare responsibilities or who needed to follow shielding guidance.

Against this backdrop the team also managed to continue to support good financial management and governance processes and delivered a quality set of annual accounts during the year-end process all whilst working remotely.

Andrea McGee, Chief Finance Officer and Deputy Chief Executive for WHH, said: “I am absolutely thrilled at this award for the team. They have certainly earned it as a team that has demonstrated such resilience and camaraderie through some extremely tough and challenging times in recent years.

“It is also particularly pleasing that the award nomination also recognised the role our finance team has played in ensuring our hospital teams at both sites have been equipped to continue to deliver quality and safe services for our patients, particularly through the pandemic.”