Member Monday Q&A - Helen Chalmers, SA Health

As part of our 'Member Monday Q&A' campaign we will be posting a new interview every Monday with a HFMA Member, Sponsor or Partner. This week we interviewed Helen Chalmers from SA Health.


 Helen Chalmers - Executive Director Health Services Programs & Funding, Department for Health & Wellbeing, SA Health.


Name, outline for your role and organisation

Helen Chalmers, Executive Director Health Services Programs & Funding, Department for Health & Wellbeing, SA Health.

How do you work with HFMA?

I am a new Board member and working to establish a formal SA Chapter of HFMA. It is a partial return to my roots as a CFO for many years in the UK NHS, where I closely engaged in HFMA. In 2019, I gained a new portfolio in SA Health and am working with a team of fabulous accountants that demonstrates the value of a health-finance interface.

How are you coping with no self-isolation in your working life?

Everyone has such a unique COVID story to tell. My work story has been on the occasionally frantic-to-busy scale, but it’s my home story that has kept me grounded, with seven young adults aged 20 to 25 years old and two locations: my husband’s farm (probably the safest place in the world to be) and my city work life. That meant in the longest days, I would still be able to come home to a cooked meal from one of them, a glass of wine, a quick debrief on the day’s events, a call to the group on the farm and then fall into bed. Rinse and repeat. The kids had a very different story which involved a huge amount of poker at night, and I have been surprised to find that Uno is so popular… :-). The group have been fantastic as a contrast to the state of the world.

What are you most looking forward to doing when self-isolation ends?

Seeing my parents in Sydney face to face, who I regularly visit in normal time. Local country footy in our car around the local oval. And maybe sitting outside the pub with the neighbors.   

Tell us about the current diversity within your role with additional duties due to COVID-19?

I have been fortunate to be at the front of our COVID response and co-leading the acute stream in the command structure in the DHW for system response. I have lived in operational and emergency world for many years but working with the Australian Defence Force was a real insight and creating a new system way of operating was interesting. Decant plans, Private Hospitals, Elective Surgery and PPE were in our remit so there were some very interesting moments… Despite the challenges, SA has been such an outstanding environment to be in that the rewards are evident, and we feel incredibly fortunate to be relatively safe here and devastated to see such loss elsewhere.

HFMA Corporate Partners