Simon Devane: Members Showcase

Simon Devane, CEO Pure Sports Medicine ‘PSM’ and founding Director of MSKPN, tells us about his unconventional root into physio, moving from a career in commercial forestry in New Zealand to being the CEO of PSM. We also discover his enthusiasm for the advantages that MSKPN offers to its members.

“If you’re focused on growing your business and being a high-quality provider, you should be a member of MSKPN.”

Following a career in commercial forestry and major infrastructure projects with expertise in operations and leadership, I coincidentally shared a flat with Andrew Willett, the founder of Pure Sports Medicine. I joined the business in 2007 and haven’t looked back.

MSKPN is a unique forum

As a business owner there’s no other place where you can get the bespoke support we offer. We tackle not only commercial issues that relate to growth and development but equally the development of a high quality service.

I am a co-founder of MSKPN

It started with an introduction to the fellow founding directors. Our aim was to connect with businesses in our sector that held comparable goals and aspirations and faced similar challenges. The idea of creating a gold standard for quality and defining what good looks like, took shape.

Our plan was to raise the bar from the perspectives of patients, providers, and services. We believed that by rallying providers around this call to action, we could instigate changes and shape patient expectations. This remains a significant focus 5 years later.

It’s hard work from an MSKPN director perspective

We give our time freely and are all quite involved. We collectively try to generate change in our sector and deliver greater benefits to members.

The continual challenge is how do we engage our members

We have a large number of loyal members who we know we do a good job for. The goal now is to grow our membership base. More members will give us the ability to do more and invest in areas where we can make more of a difference.

There are many benefits of membership

As a member you have access to a wealth of knowledge. Individuals seeking to expand their businesses often have numerous questions, and utilising the member base as a sounding board for troubleshooting is incredibly useful. We support members by instilling the confidence that they are not navigating those challenges alone.


Read more about Simon’s early career and progress to date …

Science has always been a passion of mine

I was born and raised in New Zealand. Coming from a non-clinical background, my root into MSK has been through a business/commercial perspective. At university I did a double science degree in microbiology and forestry science. Taking a family member’s advice, I opted to work in the commercial forestry sector, which was exciting with plenty going on. I soon became used to managing large contracts and teams across a large geographic area, a role I held for 5 years.

In 2002 I left New Zealand and travelled around Europe

The visa restrictions meant I had to arrive in the UK before I turned 28. My goals were to travel, play rugby and work in the City to fund the travel. I played rugby at competitive semi-professional level, playing for London Scottish between 2002 and 2008.

Arriving in London I had a number of transferrable skills

I worked in rail engineering which involved managing contracts for Network Rail and moved on to work for BP and later BT working on multiple projects, working directly with the CFO.

My entry into healthcare was through Pure Sports Medicine

I happened to share a flat with Andrew Willett, the founder PSM. In 2001, Andrew, an ex-professional rugby player from Australia, was studying for an MBA and playing rugby for the University of Oxford when he snapped his Achilles tendon. He was unable to access the support he would have received in Australia, through the UK’s publicly provided system. No one could definitively guide him as to whom he should see or where he should go. The concept of a specialist sports medicine centre was born and PSM opened its doors to see patients in 2003.

PSM is now the leading provider

Andrew asked if I would join him to run the operational aspects, and having played a lot of sport, I felt I had an understanding of sports medicine. Joining as Operations Manager in March 2007, I later progressed to the role of COO, where I served for 6 ½ years. Subsequently, I transitioned to the role of Managing Director, eventually becoming the CEO in January 2015. PSM is now the UK’s leading private provider of musculoskeletal, sport and exercise medicine.

We are a unique team of sport, exercise and MSK medicine specialists

Dedicated to the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of injuries and musculoskeletal problems, we are a team of over 160 staff. I got to see the business evolve from an idea into an entity. And I love my work because it’s a people business.

The SEM model didn’t exist in the UK and trying to educate the market was difficult

We were breaking new ground and brought in sport and exercise medicine consultants from Australia before the faculty of SEM was even thought about. You’re educating patients, referrers, insurers, GP’s and surgeons as to why you’re different. The biggest challenge was making sure people understood what our unique selling point was and how we could help.

We built an infrastructure from scratch

As the business grows it develops different needs. There isn’t really a blueprint for how to plan 10 years ahead. I was keen on planning for growth, staying agile and not being hamstrung by bespoke software products. We are now a fully cloud-based business with a well developed central business team across operations, marketing, finance and people.

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