Abermed boss answers the questions
Abermed was founded 40 years ago to provide remote health care to offshore workers around the UK. Since then it has grown into a major occupational health provider to a variety of industries. Here managing director Ross Haworth tells us more about the company.
What do you do?
Abermed responds to health, wellbeing and medical concerns that arise in the course of employment. Our remit extends from implementing preventative, controlling and remedial measures to advising on health-related legal matters. Abermeds operations originated in the oil and gas industry. Over the last few years, we have used our energy expertise to break into other sectors, such as construction, maritime and rail. Many of our medical staff have direct experience in the disciplines they advise.
Who are the key people in the business?
Our medical staff are the core of Abermed. This means that Chris Schenk, chief medical director is indispensible. In July he was joined by medical director, Steve Boorman, former chief medical advisor and director of health and safety for the Royal Mail Group.
What is unique about what the company does?
Abermed works to change the mindset of employers and employees with a two pronged approach.
Health agendas have previously focused on curative measures but Abermed emphasises the benefits of a preventative approach. Health can sometimes remain an afterthought in the workplace but good health is critical and should always be valued. Health and safety policies can tend to be safety driven so, we are encouraging UK industries to put health back into health and safety.
What has been the single biggest investment?
Broadening our capabilities and supporting our energy clients globally. We now have eleven Abermed units across the UK.
Has there been a key moment or turning point?
The management buyout and creation of Abermed Limited. We were in the right place at the right time. The demand for occupational healthcare services was increasing and this was the key to our expansion. In just five years, Abermed progressed from having a single site in Aberdeen, with a turnover of £800,000, to operating clinics across the UK and generating a turnover of £20million.
What is the business plan and how does the company intend to grow?
Our growth plan has two parts. Internationalising our energy offering is an important goal. We are also determined to continue to serve to other industry sectors. We are in no way limited to the energy sector. Our interests and capabilities are applicable to a wide range of businesses.
How does the company use technology and IT?
We have an integrated, bespoke medical and booking system. We are developing a telehealth system that provides healthcare to remote locations quickly and easily. Our online health surveillance system means that, when it is established in an organisation, managers can efficiently monitor employee health surveillance themselves.
Who are your key customers/what are your key markets?
Important markets are employers who havent yet realised the difference that an investment in staff health and wellbeing can make to their business. Our key customers include energy operators, contractors and service companies.
What has been the biggest hurdle which has been overcome?
Securing overseas opportunities for clients was a daunting prospect, but we overcame this hurdle when Abermed became part International SOS. As a result, we are in a very strong position to drive and deliver services across the globe.
Where do you want the business to be in 10 years time?
I would like to see Abermed supplying occupational healthcare services to the Virgin moon mission.
If you were given s1 million to invest in the company how would you use it?
I would continue to develop our services and expand the company by investing in our people.
What's the best part of running a business?
Im passionate about helping to create a self-evolving organisation. It is incredibly rewarding to give people the freedom, flexibility and opportunity to learn and develop.