By Mark Venables

Regular readers of our Healthcare Roundup will know that there is huge concern over financing for health and social care. The major think tanks, finance leads and noted commentators appear to agree – there is not enough money in the system to cope with increasing demand.

This week’s autumn statement on government spending plans turned a deaf ear to this clamour. Departmental spending would remain the same. The government says it is already investing £10bn in the NHS. It argues its case still, despite quite robust challenges to its use of that figure.

Recent debates over the amount invested in the NHS reminded me of the classic dead parrot sketch by Monty Python. This classic comedy moment sees a shop owner insist that a recently-puchased parrot – a Norwegian Blue no less – was very much alive, despite the customer showing that it was very much dead. No more. It was an ex-parrot.

No, the shop owner insisted. It was tired, It was resting, It was ‘pining for the fjords’.

It was bare-faced denial of the highest order, made into comedy by the brilliant writing and performances of the Monty Python team.

Is this government also in denial about the investment required to keep the health and social care system alive? The figures we read would make it seem so. Provider and commissioner deficits rising, targets consistently missed, and a looming crisis in social care all appear quite real.

In the Monty Python scene, the shop keeper rattles the parrot’s cage to show that is still alive, just as the government rattles its money box and repeats how it is investing £10bn in ‘the NHS’s own plan’, the Five Year Forward View.

Our health and social care services might not be quite as obviously dead as the parrot in the Python sketch. Advances are being made, efficiencies sought, new ways of thinking and doing things are emerging that will improve how we look after each other.

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But health and social care services are definitely stunned. People, processes and technology need to work together to help build a sustainable health and social care system. Otherwise we face the prospect of a harsh Norwegian winter ahead.

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Mark Venables

Mark Venables

Founder and CEO
Mark is a specialist in sales and business development. After a long and successful career in IT sales he has excellent connections in the technology and healthcare sectors. Clients value the fact that he understands business from an insider’s point of view, having built and run his own technology company. Mark is now focused on growing Highland Marketing, winning new business and developing its future strategy.

Mark has a vast network of contacts within the technology and healthcare industry and he works hard to grow that network on a daily basis. Renowned for his tenacity and his positive outlook, he never gives up, something that clients really value. And it is here, in his second role at Highland Marketing, that he can assist clients with their business development and sales efforts.
“What I offer clients is an extensive network of contacts, and a detailed understanding of the realities of running and developing a business. It’s in my nature to communicate whether it’s with board members, key decision makers and stakeholders or individual staff. My goal is to understand their needs and offer a solution. And through this I can help build new relationships for our clients, either with potential partners, prospective customers or influential organisations and individuals.”
A little about Mark:
  • Sailing boats – He developed an early love of sailing – a skill he learnt aboard a 58ft captured German World War II yacht called Overlord. In 1982 he attempted to sail the world, but his vessel was nearly sunk in the same storm which prevented TV presenter John Noakes from making a similar voyage.
  • Selling antiques – Mark learned the gentle art of sales from his dad who had a specialist antiques business in Farnham, Surrey. He remembers his first ever sale, made as a lad in the 1980s, when he got £900 for an 18th century, veneered tilt top hexagonal table.
  • Mark has a knack of finding ways to make business entertaining as well as profitable, whether it’s with client trips to Grand Prix races or deep sea fishing expeditions. If you want a chat about what Highland Marketing can do for you then he’ll happily join you for a meeting at your office, or even a round of golf – at which you’ll almost certainly win!

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