THE HEALTH SERVICE
Immediately after this however came possibly the most entertaining speaker of the day. Roy Lilley discussed the future of the National Health Service. He also managed to find time in his half hour slot to discuss spanish art, the lusty voice he’d downloaded for his satnav system and his mother’s porn habits. The serious points made in his speech however were that while everyone agrees that the nhs needs reforming, nobody seems quite sure exactly what it should be changed into. Lilley’s own suggestion was that, rather than having hospitals which seek to treat every condition and deal with every contingency, specialist facilities should be established nationwide, dealing only with one specialty.
Following Lilley’s explosively energetic performance the baton was passed to the unfortunate Nicholas Holgate. Though he had some interesting points, his discussion of how Conservative borough councils in the capital were consolidating services across political boundaries, fell a little flat.
But his was perhaps not the most disappointing political performance of the day. Esther McVey, MP, was intended to be the standout speaker. But, after having to reschedule her speaking slot due to a conflict with a vote in the House of Commons, she arrived obviously unprepared, immediately opening the floor to questions, saying nothing herself. Clearly caught unawares the audience had to be stirred into action, with BIFM CEO, Gareth Tancred, offering the first, asking how the FM industry can further raise its profile in political circles. McVey’s answers were very much a politician’s however, and few will have learnt anything they didn’t know already before she scurried back to her ministerial car and Parliament. The fact that a government minister appeared at ThinkFM at all, regardless of how the performance came across however, is a sign of the growing influence of FM.
And this was what the conference as a whole was all about. As with all events, there were good parts, and not so good, but ThinkFM showcased the importance and increased confidence of the facilities management industry demonstrating how it should stop being too insular and how FM can take its place as a valued partner in the wider business world.
ThinkFM wasn’t all about guest speakers and lectures however, after the end of the working day the BIFM took the opportunity to showcase the brand new FM TV, produced in partnership ITN Productions.
Sat back with drinks in hand those members of the audience willing to stay late were able to watch as national news anchor Natasha Kaplinski interviewed industry heavyweights Liz Kentish, Gareth Tancred, incumbent FM of the Year Deborah Rowland and new chair of the Institute Julie Kortens about their views on the sector.
Many of the conference’s speakers could be seen again. Roy Lilley, Esther McVey, Chris Kane and Peter Cheese could all be seen expanding upon their specialist subjects.
Several leading FM businesses also took the opportunity to get involved and promote themselves. Mitie, Bellrock, interserve and Asure Software among them.