Vanessa Collins, Finance Assistant, started her career at HUC as an Acute in-Hours Visiting Services (AIHVS) Coordinator eight years ago. She tells us about her journey at HUC and how her move to the Finance department was the best decision of her career.
Vanessa joined HUC in 2013 as a part-time AIHVS Coordinator, while her children were at primary school, she worked during school hours. The AIHVS service is part of our portfolio in East and North Hertfordshire. GP practices can ‘outsource’ patient visits within agreed referral criteria, which are then undertaken by one of HUC’s Visiting Doctor or an Urgent Care Practitioner (UCP); they will treat the patient and then provide updated notes for the practice. As an AIHVS Coordinator, Vanessa would be the intermediary between the GP practices and our own drivers and visiting GPs, arranging visits for patients who needed to be seen that day.
“It’s quite a small and close-knit team, with all the doctors and drivers, who are all very friendly. My days used to fly by, it’s so fast-paced, co-ordinating appointments within minutes,” says Vanessa. “Your communication skills have to be strong as you speak to a lot of different people. During my AIHVS time, I learnt a lot about different people and roles in general, but also about HUC and the NHS 111 service, which was very insightful for me,” she adds.
After four years in the role, Vanessa was looking for a change and came across an administrator role vacancy in the service delivery department. “I wanted to stay at HUC but develop myself further, so I applied for the job and was successful. It was a great stepping stone but my interest really lies in Finance. So, when a maternity cover came up in the Finance department a couple of years down the line, I jumped at the chance and couldn’t be happier that I got the job. It was something I always wanted to do,” she says smiling.
Since she joined the Finance team 18 months ago, Vanessa has been learning the trade. “I’m responsible for our invoices for all sites — from medication to agency staff to sundries, all while home working due to the pandemic.” She explains further, “My day starts off with checking the supplier’s inbox, opening each email, printing and coding invoices according to the different areas. And then they must be segregated and itemised as there are different VATs applicable for different items. I’ve truly enjoyed growing into the role.”
“I am also pursuing an AAT level 2 Apprenticeship with HUC and attend college once a week. This really helps me understand my job,” she adds.
Things have changed massively from the time she began working within the organisation. “When I first started, we were not a very big organisation – our focus primarily was Hertfordshire. As time went by, Cambridgeshire & Peterborough have come along, followed by Luton & Bedfordshire. There have been lots of different projects, successes, and achievements, and we’ve now become quite a large company. We’re evolving all the time, and I really like the mix of people, the organisation, and the opportunity to move to different roles within the organisation,” she points out.
Vanessa also highlights the fun things she enjoys in the organisation. “The Steps Challenge was quite cool. We formed teams and were quite competitive with each other (in a friendly way), often asking others how they were faring, and playing down the number of steps we had done each day. It was really good to have a purpose to walk and get some fresh air and exercise. The looks from people who were not part of the challenge was funny and it gave them a talking point as they wondered why would someone keep jogging on a spot while at the photocopier or coffee machine!” she laughs.
But it is the values of HUC that resonate with her the most. “I like what we stand for, here to provide care for patients. The people in the organisation are friendly and passionate about what they do. There is team spirit and a great ethos in the organisation and it’s definitely a great place to work. If I meet anyone who is looking for a job and interested, I always encourage them to apply,” she says.