Inclusivity and engagement


HEFMA’s new National Chair, Kay Mulcahy brought last week’s National Forum to a close, picking up on the notable themes that had underpinned the event, and setting out some of her thoughts for her two-year tenure*.

Kay said she felt “very privileged” to become the nominated Chair of HEFMA for the next two years and is looking forward to the challenges the role presents.

Throughout the National Forum the importance of collaboration was reiterated. Working with others to achieve more is a theme that was touched on by many of the speakers in different ways. This engagement, to achieve the best possible patient outcome is at the heart of everything that Estates and Facilities (E&F) teams do. 

Keynote speaker, Alex Staniforth, set this theme in motion on the first morning, speaking with simplicity and honesty when he discussed resilience, drawing on his own experiences of climbing mountains. Kay identified a number of key takeaways, each and every one of which is pertinent to the work of E&F teams within the NHS today:

• As an individual, it’s okay not to have all of the answers because someone else on your team will have

• Live in the moment and take those critical first steps

• Focus on what you have, not what you lack and can’t control

• By achieving those marginal gains, collectively we can and will make a difference

• Stay resilient, and resilience means something different to each of us

• In overcoming the challenges we face, it’s the motivation that gets us started but it’s the commitment that keeps us going

• Think about what we could achieve if everyone pulls in the same direction.

This last point, Kay said, would be her mantra moving forwards and she would encourage HEFMA and its members to embrace this. “It takes will within the system to make it work and courage to think differently in order to trust collaboratively. We must engage, not just inform, and this is something I will take personal responsibility for as your National Chair.”

As the pandemic continues to retreat, it is time to move on to new ways of working. For National Council this will mean a transition to a hybrid model of some digital and some face-to-face meetings. It’s also time to re-focus and add some additional rigour to the objectives set out in HEFMA’s strategy to 2025, which will be led through the dedicated workforce leads. This means striving to enhance the workforce offer through apprenticeships, career route opportunities and professional coaching and mentoring services, driving the digital transformation agenda, continuing the journey to net zero and assisting members by upskilling staff to meet that vital strategy need, all whilst being vigilant on the compliance agenda to ensure that everything HEFMA does meets the standards the association expects to achieve and that are expected of it.

Kay sees her role as more about providing the vision and direction, but this agenda cannot be delivered without the members. It involves everyone. “I will ensure inclusivity, stakeholder engagement and invest in National Council and Branch Members to enhance the value you all bring and ensure you feel valued in return,” she said.

This will start with Branch visits and meeting with members to encourage a generation of new ideas, but most importantly to showcase the outstanding efforts and achievements back up through National Council and Pulse magazine so all members can see the contribution they are making to HEFMA as well as the wider NHS and patient care. This involves teamwork, and close relationships with NHS England & NHS Improvement as well as other partner organisations, harmonising activities to the benefit of all members of all organisations and associations. 

Kay’s first National Council meeting as National Chair in June is where the plan will be set out for the next 12 months. “I don’t believe in over-promising and under-delivering, so we will be setting ourselves key objectives to achieve, and show practical implementation and impact throughout HEFMA,” she concluded.


* The July/August issue of HEFMA Pulse magazine will include an interview with Kay for more detail on this agenda. 

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