My work situation has changed somewhat. Without really looking too hard, I was approached to do a project at an NHS trust in Lancashire. I didn’t really have time to think it through properly as they needed an answer asap, but in short I agreed.

My mother asked me the other day what I really did. She knows me as an accountant, and the type of contracts I am doing are clearly not what an accountant really does. So for everyone’s benefit, and in simple terms, I am an eProcurement Project Manager and Implementation Consultant. What I do, is I go into companies that want to automate their Procurement (Buying) processes. Instead of filling in bits of paper and sending them to a Procurement team to process, the end user can log onto a web-based system and log their request directly. We build rules that map each individual’s approval route, so that their request will automatically be emailed to their boss for approval, before going to Procurement to place the order, again electronically. This will then feed into their account and financial systems. When the goods come in, receipts are processed on the same system, and payments automatically generated.

Anyhow, so I have just completed the installation of one of these systems for the Equalities Commission (EHRC) in Manchester. It has been a fantastic project and has gone particularly well. For all intents and purposes the project is now complete and needs to be handed back to the ‘Business as Usual’ team. Only problem is that they don’t have anyone in place to take over the day-to-day managing of the system, and it is quite time consuming.

In the meantime, I agreed to stay on until the end of June to help them with their Systems Upgrade Project. But now, as I have secured this new project in the NHS, I only have 2 days to dedicate to the project. It shouldn’t be an issue, assuming that they find someone to do the handover on the previous project!

At this NHS trust, I need to be putting in a similar system for them. The only difference is that it is far more complex, far bigger and the NHS is just so difficult to work in, due to their inefficiency! I have been working there 1 or 2 days per week for the past month as I phase out at the EHRC. The problem there is that they are completely clueless when it comes to the roll-out of eProcurement systems and still think that the equivalent of 2.5 people could roll the whole system out. I think it is naïve and impossible (they have insisted that they only need 3 days a week from me!) and I don’t really want to take the project on unless they commit to resource it.

So basically, I am feeling stressed to the tilt at the moment. At the EHRC I am expected to do 7 days’ work a week in 3 days (going down to 2), unless I can hand the old project over, and at the NHS they expect 5 days’ work a week results in spite of the fact that I am working only 2 days per week for them.

The honest answer is that I don’t really like to work in the NHS, because they frustrate me so. (4 weeks later and I am still waiting for a laptop and a login for the Procurement system!) But I understand we’re in a recession and I have got to do what I’ve got to do to earn a living.

I must remember that I must work to live not live to work!