The NHS is one of the UK's most visible and best-loved public services. Rarely out of the headlines, the NHS, and its funding, is often the site of both political tension and public passion. For finance professionals, this can make the health sector one of the most challenging and rewarding to work in.

In recent years, much of the debate around the NHS has centred on the way it integrates with the social care sector and how it can work to better support a preventive approach and improved public health outcomes.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought these issues into sharp relief and highlighted the interdependence of the health and social care sectors, particularly where finances are concerned. Anything that impacts on the financial sustainability or resilience of one of these service areas, has clear implications for the other.

On the other hand, the focus on a common goal during the pandemic has seen improved system working and collaboration between health, local government and wider partners. This is good practice which can be shared and developed.

As the NHS moves beyond COVID-19 and into the 'new normal' we must take these lessons forward and build a more resilient and sustainable health and care system for the future.

How CIPFA can help

CIPFA is the leading accountancy body for public services, providing lifelong education and training in accountancy and financial management. We also provide a range of leading advisory and consultancy services across the public sector, including the NHS. Best practice in public financial management is at the heart of what we do, and our ambition is to make a real difference to the world we live in. We work with organisations across the public sector to help ensure that public money is raised and spent with the highest degree of openness and that critically important services are provided efficiently and effectively.

Against the backdrop of COVID-19, delivering services and ensuring financial resilience will continue to be a major challenge for the NHS. Working with us, either through upskilling your teams or by transforming your finance functions, can help you increase social value and uphold public interest through the robust planning and management of public resources.