John A.
Head Of Planning
Specialism Finance Management

About John

Key Experiences

From studying literature to leading on acquisitions
I have worked in a range of operational and strategic roles across a range of healthcare organisations as an NHS employee and healthcare consultant.

I undertook an acute operational management role after leaving the GMTS scheme in order to really understand the pressures of operational management in an acute setting. I specifically chose a surgical role so I could have some experience of theatres.

I then left the NHS to work as a management consultant. I chose to do this as I felt it would give me experience of working across a range of organisations and at healthcare economy level with a range of more senior stakeholders than I had previously. I also wanted to get some more experience of working in the Department of health, but did not want to become a civil servant.

I returned to the NHS to take up a role in a well performing FT and have lead the acquisition of and integration with another trust. When I had decided I wanted to come back to the NHS, I did not take the job offer that was the best paid but the one where I felt there was the most interesting opportunities and the organisation that fit me best.

Current Position

I lead on a wide range of strategic and operational matters
I have a wide ranging remit in my current role and report jointly to the Director of Planning on strategic issues and to the Chief Operating Officer. It is a really varied and interesting role with strategic and operational components.

Reporting to the Chief Operating Officer I am responsible establishment of the programme providing coordination and delivery of key projects within and across divisions and acute sites. I have recently led the reconfiguration of healthcare for elderly people services at a recently acquired acute site to deliver reduced length of stay and consultant spend within four months of implementation.

Reporting to the Director of Planning, I am the lead for trust’s annual planning process and maintenance of the trust’s Integrated Business Plan. I also have to produce of trust wide strategies, including recently approved cancer strategy and manage of a rolling programme working with for Clinical Directors to develop evidence-based clinical strategies for service lines.

In this role I have also reported to the Deputy Chief Executive and lead on the acquisition of and integration with a neighbouring trust. From an acquisition perspective I successfully delivered of key transaction processes including Monitor assessment process, competition economics regulation, Trust Development Authority Gateway 3&4 approvals and negotiation of Heads of Terms with local CCGs, NHS England and the Trust Development Authority.

From an integration perspective, I established and led the Programme Management Office responsible for the successful and safe integration of three acute sites following acquisition. No major incidents or serious untoward incidents relating to integration between Days 1 – 100 were reported.

Main Motivations

Exciting trust-wide work in a progressive organisation
I enjoy what I do as I have the ability to deliver large trust-wide pieces of work, both operational and strategic, and also get to shape the agenda of the organisation.

I also really like the people I work with as there are a lot of inspirational senior people at the trust that we get to work with and I have a great team as well!

There is a really good culture at the trust, where everyone is approachable and where we are 'tough on the problem, not the person' which means that it is a great place to work.

The organisation as a whole is a supportive one and I also get to work with and mentor a number of up and coming junior staff with very bright futures, which is very rewarding.

Top Advice

the only right career decision is the one you make
1) don't look at a JD and think you can't do it. Think about people you know in similar roles . .there will be some people who are amazing and some people who aren't as good. Don't compare yourself to the outstanding person - you aren't expected to be there yet if you are just applying.
2) don't take a job just for the banding - it has to be something you want to do and will help you get where you want to go, not just be financially rewarding
3) don't just think about your next job, think about the one after that - what will the job you are thinking about taking lead you? Always think about what it will give you and allow you to do next
4) never just follow other people's advice! you can talk to people about frameworks in which to think about your career and suggestions but ultimately the only right decision about your career will be the one that you make yourself!

Greatest Achievement

The team we have created
When I started my current role I had to, quite quickly, build up a fairly large team from people already in the organisation, some new roles and some short term contractors.

I am very clear about two things:
- that we are a team where no-one is better than anyone else and everyone brings different skills that we can't survive without; and
- that the way we behave is as important as the quality of the work we produce.

Whenever I receive positive feedback from people about either an individual or the team as a whole I make sure that we feed it back - I
don't think that this is something that we do enough as it is really important to demonstrate the impact that people are having in an organisation.


Whatever your future leadership ambitions are, the NHS offers a fantastic start with a variety of challenging placements in an organisation that is wholeheartedly determined to provide equal opportunities to all employees. Selection for the scheme is based solely on aptitude and ability to ensure we have the best leaders for the NHS.

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