World’s first IVF clinic brings in big hitter for strategic commercial role
nfertility has a major impact on the lives of those affected, but with an ageing population creating increasing demands on healthcare services, it is expected that the budget for non-life-critical treatments such as IVF will continue to be restricted.
Bourn Hall, the world’s first IVF clinic, has appointed Sean Sullivan as chair of its board of directors to help steer it through this changing and challenging landscape and move into the next phase of its growth.
Sullivan has gained an enviable reputation for his work in a range of industries including healthcare, working with the management teams of complex organisations to help them deliver new strategies.
He was voted UK Turnaround Practitioner of the Year in 2014 and again in 2018 for his work in the public sector.
The outgoing chair is Alan Dexter, who was appointed in 2014 after Bourn Hall was successful in fundraising to expand its network of clinics.
For Dexter, it was history repeating itself: he had been the first business director of Bourn Hall Clinic when it was established in 1980 by the IVF pioneers Steptoe, Edwards and Purdy.
At that time he was brought in to provide the commercial knowledge and business acumen required by its investors.
Dr Mike Macnamee, CEO of Bourn Hall, says: “Alan has been on the journey with Bourn Hall at key points in its history, providing invaluable wisdom and guidance. We are very grateful to him for his sterling work and he remains a good friend.”
World renowned for its expertise and innovation, Bourn Hall has established a strong presence across the east of England with full service fertility clinics in Cambridge, Norwich and Wickford and satellites in Colchester, Peterborough, and King’s Lynn.
It has won and retained major NHS contracts for diagnosis and assisted conception, including IVF, and provides self-funded treatment for those not able to access NHS treatment.
Dr Macnamee adds: “Successful fertility treatment is time intensive and personalised. Our ethos has always been to deliver the highest quality of patient care and to invest in research and innovation.
“However, there is increasing consolidation in the industry and pressure from others offering cut-price ‘one size fits all’ treatments.
“Sean has significant experience of repositioning organisations and we welcome his fresh perspectives and in-depth knowledge of the health economy.”
Sullivan said he had always had a particularly high opinion of Bourn Hall and an active interest in fertility, “both from my own circumstances and from a personal set of values about the conduct of this area of the health economy. I see Bourn Hall as a source of intellect and leadership in fertility medicine.”
He added: “Although Bourn Hall has competition from the larger groups and the local NHS-subsidised clinic, I believe it can outclass them on quality, reputation and success.
“It’s all very well to economise on your cornflakes, but fertility treatment is such a major life-changing transformational process that you will naturally want to choose the very best.
“If the clock is ticking and you have limited time, are you really going to worry about a modest price difference when Bourn Hall’s industry leading experience and proven quality will contribute towards a successful outcome?
“The team has been successful both in terms of the numbers of individual self-funded patients choosing Bourn Hall and via success in winning and retaining NHS contracts, but there is an opportunity to increase the scope of its offering and market share.
“It’s a competitive healthcare economy. The NHS is ever-tightening its belt. We’ve got work to do, there’s no avoiding that, so for a variety of reasons we can’t afford to slack off the pace.”