My main role is providing financial expertise and guidance to colleagues who commission and contract health and wellbeing services for the population of Sussex. This includes primary care, GP services, dentists and optometry. I’m also involved in community services such as district nursing and the estates of the organisation, moving them towards net zero.

In addition, I provide leadership to the management accounting function within the organisation. I have a team of accountants supporting me: seven in the primary care team and seven in the community services team.

Working in public sector finance is a bit like landing jumbo jet on a postage stamp

I am an advocate for staff wellbeing and development, and the One NHS Finance scheme. Part of my role is to promote our work to the rest of the organisation, and speak at clinicians’ conferences, explaining how budgets are fixed and that we are all trying to get the best we can for the money available. We are working to the same cause: trying to help the patient.

As finances in the public sector are fixed, we need to spend every penny wisely. It’s a bit like landing jumbo jet on a postage stamp. We also have to grapple with the constantly changing guidance around these limited finances. During the first 12 months of the pandemic we went through four different financial regimes in one financial year.

I grew up on a council estate where you weren’t expected to go very far

At school I was rebellious and failed my A levels. I grew up on a council estate where you weren’t expected to go very far. My summer job as security at Butlin’s led to me being offered a job in the finance team, and I didn’t look back from there. I went on to become a cashier at a hospital in Chichester, where they encouraged me to take a professional qualification. I chose ACCA as I wanted a qualification that would give me a rounder picture. From cashier, I moved to management accounts and then made steady progress, gaining a promotion every three years.

My family and I are cruise addicts so our holidays are based on where we can reach from Southampton. We’ve been to fantastic places, including the Norwegian fjords. Our latest was a cruise to New York, where we ended up as extras in the film Let Them All Talk on the return journey. If you look hard enough, you might just spot my shoulder!