Finance teams are crucial in the day-to-day running of any business and are responsible for the financial management of the company. This includes financial planning, budgeting, forecasting and reporting. 

At NPC we have recently appointed our new chief finance officer, Lewis Scandle. Lewis has been with us from the very beginning back in 2015 and we caught up with him to find out about his journey from starting as an apprentice and to find out why he is passionate about the role he plays in helping our staff and patients. 

I was born in Hexham and lived there until I was 18 when I decided I wanted some more independence and moved into the city centre of Newcastle with friends. I knew from quite a young age that I wanted to pursue a career in finance so when it came to picking my A-Levels it was a very easy choice, choosing to study maths, business, economics and physics which were the subjects I would need to study accountancy at university.

I applied to study economics and finance at Edinburgh University and was just about to make my first payment for my university accommodation when I got the call from Northumbria Healthcare to say I had been successful in gaining a position on their management trainee course. After a lot of thinking and discussions with my parents, I decided to accept the position at Northumbria as it felt like an opportunity that would open many doors and I would be able to stay in the North East, which is very much home to me. 

Starting the junior management trainee course was very daunting for someone who had just recently left school. I had worked part-time in a restaurant before, but going from school to an office environment was quite a big change for me. My duties in this role included using Excel to manage financial data, processing invoices and spending time with the different finance teams within the trust. I was only in my apprenticeship for a year when I got a permanent job in financial management within the estates and facilities teams. Gaining a secure, permanent position was a huge confidence boost for me and gave me clarity that I had made the right decision in not going to university. 

Then in 2015, Northumbria Primary Care (NPC) was created, and I was asked to work on this project with the financial management team. This was something completely brand new and it was incredibly exciting to be able to widen my knowledge skills to primary care. As NPC started to grow, I was promoted to a support accountant role while I also studied for my CIMA chartership, which is a master’s equivalent qualification. This was tough as it included lots of night classes and exams, but NPC supported me in fitting my studies around work. 

I did my final exam in 2020 and then COVID struck. During this time, I saw a lot of developments within the trust and NPC, including the opening of the Northumbria Manufacturing and Innovation Hub and the Primary Care vaccine programme roll-out. Although COVID was an incredibly challenging time, it benefitted me in enhancing my skill set and career development.

After working and studying continuously from leaving school, and reflecting on the constraints of the pandemic, I decided it was time to see more of the world. I took a career break for 10 months and visited Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. Travelling is a passion of mine and I feel very lucky to have been to some of the most beautiful parts of the world. New Zealand was a huge highlight of the trip as I have some family there that I had not seen for many years. 

Although the Australian weather made it very tempting to stay there, I’m a homebird at heart so decided to come back to the Northeast and I went back into my role as the principal finance manager for the Trust Subsidiaries. I worked in this role up until March 2024 when I was successful in gaining the position of Chief Finance Officer for NPC. This was a massive achievement for me and it has been a brilliant journey from being an apprentice, fresh out of school, to a Chief Finance Officer responsible for the day-to-day running of a large business.

As a Chief Finance Officer, my team and I assist the operational teams to help them make business decisions as efficiently and effectively as possible. The role is all-encompassing for financial decisions and touches everything from workforce planning, estate development, procurement, audit and much more. No two days are the same! 

If I had any advice to give to someone considering going down the apprenticeship route rather than university, I’d 100% say go for it! You don’t know what doors can open from an apprenticeship and the support I’ve had from my employer has meant that I’ve been able to complete the same qualifications that I would have if I did go to university.

As I mentioned previously, I’m a home bird and I love the Hexham countryside and getting out with my four dogs. I’m also a keen runner and have run the Great North Run four times for the Northumbria Healthcare Bright Charity. 

I’ve been with NPC from the very start, and I would say it’s a rewarding role and the decisions you make really do make a difference to the staff on the ground and the patients we serve. You might not necessarily associate a finance role with patient care, but a lot of the work completed and decisions we make can provide insights for operational teams to help deliver the best service provision possible.  

Being here from the very beginning, it’s been fascinating to see all the changes made over the last nine years. Starting with three practices and growing steadily, until more recently, with our workforce now increasing to over 500 is a massive achievement. Right now, is an incredibly exciting time for NPC. I’m really looking forward to welcoming new colleagues and adopting our new neighbourhood approach in 2024.

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