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Joe Teape

Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust

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Joe Teape qualified as an accountant with CIPFA and has enjoyed a long career in public-sector finance. He worked for local authorities before joining the National Health Service (NHS) in 2001. He has been Director of Finance at Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust since 2010.

Working with a succession of top-class finance directors in local government and the NHS encouraged Joe Teape to aim for the top. “When I joined the NHS, I was inspired by many experienced finance directors, who showed massive commitment to the NHS and to improving patient care,” he says.

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Throughout his career, Joe has focused on understanding the sector that he works in. He has also drawn on professional networks including CIPFA and the Healthcare Financial Management Association. “I learnt a lot from colleagues through these networks and I also had some great leaders who gave me the freedom to make mistakes and learn for myself how to be an effective financial professional within the NHS,” he recalls.

At present, the NHS is focused on strengthening its financial controls and ensuring that public money is used responsibly while maintaining patient safety and quality of care. “Over the next five years, we will need a much more strategic and transformational approach,” Joe predicts. “We will be focusing more on financial strategy and transformation of health systems since the demand for health services will outweigh the funding available.”

Joe’s advice to would-be FDs is to “put every effort into understanding the business that you work in, develop relationships with people at all levels, work hard and show through your actions on a daily basis your passion, commitment and determination to succeed”. He adds: “Leading by example and treating people at every level in the way that you would expect to be treated is important.”

Joe admits that he lives for work and loves what he does. “I consider myself to be available 24/7 for the hospital where I work and this is often at the detriment of my own family.” But working for the NHS has a powerful draw, he says. “In the NHS, the best thing about being an FD is seeing in real time the fantastic impact you can have on patient care.”