Our client:

The Northern Health Science Alliance (NHSA) is a high profile partnership established by the leading Universities and NHS Hospital Trusts in the North of England. As such, it represents 15 million patients across eight city areas and hospitals in the North, home to c.17% of the UK’s population and c.24% of its health burden.

The NHSA aims to improve the health and wealth of the region by creating an internationally recognised, integrated life science and healthcare system. It has succeeded in raising the profile of the North as a unique patient research community along with securing funding to promote its mission globally. It will improve health through better alignment of its medical schools, NHS Trusts and universities to provide better health outcomes for its population. It will also create wealth by making strong links with a global life sciences and healthcare industry.

The challenge:

The Board is large with all of the Executive Directors, apart from the full-time CEO, coming from its constituent medical schools and universities. This provides plenty of academic, scientific and medical expertise. However, a skills gap existed around how to develop and exploit commercial opportunities, the Venture Capital/Spin-out ecosystem and how to improve NHS efficiency through better eHealth. The Board also needed the credibility of a strong non-exec director (NED) function to represent the interests of its external stakeholders. RSA was assigned to find and profile world-class expertise across healthcare, biotechnology, venture capitalism and industry.

How our approach made a difference:

Our first task was to analyse the Board and identify the skills that a team of highly talented NEDs would need to support the NHSA’s mission. There were three strands to the skills that we were looking for – finance, healthcare informatics and industry. We then engaged a high-value network of opinion formers in the UK and beyond across life sciences, data, investment, health services and academia to identify and profile the talent required.

The new NEDs would need to:

  • Provide surety of governance for stakeholders.
  • Have the weight of experience and credibility to make an impact on a very senior Board.
  • Offer insight, advice, leadership and access to networks.
  • Be transparent to media scrutiny.
  • Be neutral and Independent of institutions.
  • Be associated with medical devices, healthcare IT, financing, biotech or healthcare delivery.

Over a period of 3 months, we succeeded in bringing in three highly qualified and talented NED’s:

  • Professor Steve Myint, a Singapore & Finland-based health and biopharmaceutical professional with global board, finance and executive team level practice.
  • Alan Payne, the Chief Digital & Information Officer at Nuffield Health, the UK’s leading not for profit healthcare organisation.
  • Dr Stéphane Méry, a former venture capitalist with extensive experience in the healthcare industry.

The expertise of the new NEDs will allow the NHSA to drive forward the life and healthcare sciences sector in the North making it more attractive to investors & businesses globally and more effective for patients in the NHS.


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