Mark Philpott started his career in the NHS during the mid-1990s, and went on to join the Royal Army Medical Corps as an Officer. He built skills and experience having helped deliver hospital and community rehabilitation services in the UK and abroad during a ten year career. Since joining NPH as business director in 2016 he has risen to the position of CEO, taking the firm from £1m turnover to £7m.
What was your first job?
My first ever job was as a lifeguard at Exeter Swimming Pool on my gap year after school! Not exactly Baywatch…
What is the best advice or support you’ve been given in business?
A piece of advice that has really stuck with me is, ‘get to know your why’ – why do you do what you do? Chase your passion before success. Success is an outcome of personal passion and fulfilment, not the means to an end.
What are the main changes you’ve seen in your business/sector, and what are the challenges you’re facing?
There has been a significant change in the healthcare sector due to our ageing population and as a result of this, challenges like increasing, even overwhelming, dependency on medical services. Our fantastic NHS has seen the direct results of this, especially during the pandemic where services were stretched beyond capacity. To caveat this, our sector has seen some change in that businesses are taking more responsibility for the health of their employees, rather than the onus falling purely on the NHS. However, I believe this change needs to go further. Employers must recognise that life doesn’t stop at the work gates, and become partners in health to their employees.
How has the pandemic changed the way you work?
At NPH Group, we have become far more agile and adaptable. Before the pandemic, we were a traditional occupational health and wellbeing provider, but we recognised the need for Covid-19 testing services early on in the pandemic and pioneered the way of rolling out lateral flow tests both nationally and internationally.
We’re now in conversations with governments around the globe to provide lateral flow tests to detect other diseases, like flu, yellow fever, HIV, and tuberculosis. This will allow all people, in developed and developing countries, to have greater control over their own health.
Who is your role model in business?
I don’t have a particular role model, but I enjoy following people who have created success through a multitude of different routes and explored many different ventures. I believe their success shows the importance of adaptability in an ever-changing marketplace.
What would your dream job be?
My current job has become a passion like no other, and I truly believe that once you have found a passion in life, you should pursue it to the best of your abilities. My dream job is the job I have now, but I’d never get complacent. I want to continue expanding NPH Group and developing my own expertise so that a real difference can be made to health across the world.
What advice would you give to someone starting out a career in your sector?
I would encourage someone starting out in the health sector to have a ‘no nonsense’ conversation with themselves. Above anyone else, it’s important to be honest with yourself about the actions needed for development.
I’d also advise a healthcare novice to be open and willing to learn from others always and to come at healthcare from a place of compassion and empathy without judgement. Finally, I’d always say – leave your ego at the door!
What makes the North East a good place to do business?
The North East is a wonderful place because it provides access to a rich network of collaborative businesses and a great community of friendly, warm, and welcoming people willing to help you be the best you can be. I honestly could not think of a better place to live and work.
How important is it for business to play a role in society?
It is fundamentally important for a business to play a role in society. Of course, part of this role is commercial, but businesses are also fantastic tools for social good. If a business cares for its staff this can have excellent repercussions for a happy workforce that can enrich the lives of their loved ones, creating a ripple effect of wellbeing both inside and outside of the workplace. With many of us still working from home, this has never been more important.
Businesses also have a platform to tackle topics like social inequality, mental and physical health, diversity, and inclusivity, meaning that networks can be created and conversations started on how to create positive change in society.