Dr Harry Brünjes, chairman of Premier Medical Group, on how he got to the top
How did you make it to where you are today?
I have always had an interest in business but was convinced in the early years that medicine was my career. I was a junior surgeon at Guy’s in London and the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton. I began to do medico-legal reports when I was a police surgeon and started Premier Medical in 1995. In January last year we merged with Medico-Legal Reporting.
What are the key challenges ahead?
Attracting and retaining good expert opinion. Premier Medical has also invested significantly in IT; it is important that our medical experts are IT proficient.
What has changed the most since you started?
Medical opinion has become modernised and commoditised. And the daily bag of post was an important aspect of the day when I started Premier Medical – now most instructions come electronically.
What advice would you offer someone starting out?
When I was young I wanted to be a professional musician and used to read constantly on the topic. I was compelled by the simple advice of Lew Grade, the impresario: “If you want to be successful and do well, there are three things you have to do: put the alarm on early to go to work; work efficiently and don’t waste time; ensure that business relationships are long-term and not transient.”
What is the biggest mistake you have made?
I can think of lots of little mistakes. However, we should have moved IT up the agenda sooner rather than later. The benefits to our customers in terms of accuracy, consistency and process cost have been exceptional.
What is your biggest success?
The retention of key doctors. The original doctors of Premier worked with me at Guy’s in my junior surgeon days. All of them have stayed the course and have been pivotal to the success of the business.
Tell us about some of your contemporaries and friends
There are friends from medical student days who, like myself, have ended up with a different career from the one we anticipated when we started out. There are two obvious examples: Jonathan Palmer, the grand prix driver who now owns many of the country’s leading race tracks, including Brands Hatch, and Jonathan Webb, who represented England at rugby and who is now a knee surgeon, running the Jonathan Webb Knee Clinics. I see them both regularly.
What is your unique selling point?
My enthusiasm for both medicine and business. My interest in music and the stage has also been helpful
When you are not working, what do you do to relax?
I am still involved in music, theatre and golf. My wife is a professional choreographer so we see a lot of shows in the West End. We also enjoy our time with our four children.
What is your favourite book/film/football team?
Book: The Hound of the Baskervilles, by Arthur Conan Doyle.
Film: Scent of a Woman with Al Pacino, Yankee Doodle Dandy with James Cagney and In the
Heat of the Night with Rod Steiger and Sidney Poitier.
Football: Tottenham Hotspur – enough said!