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Chris Gibson on innovation in medicine

In my 30 years of working in commercial business, both in the UK and abroad I am privileged to have met some really capable entrepreneurs and individuals.

Normally this is either through my own network or by recommendation and I still never cease to be amazed at some of the career journeys and achievements.

In my experience, most aspiring career individuals have some form of "driver" – their own reason to get out of bed in the morning, whether it’s a professional goal or a career milestone.


I recently hosted an event for 20 board leaders on "Innovation in Medicine" led by Chris Gibson MBE. Chris was somebody whose CV caught my eye and it was recommended that I should meet him. As "UK innovator of the year", not only had he been awarded the MBE for his work around the Ebola Crisis in Sierra Leone, he had also helped to rescue Terry Waite out of Beirut. His task in Sierra Leone, having been conscripted by the UK government was to set up a hospital to contain the Ebola virus with 1500 staff and a budget of £900k. The 1%  allowance on fatalities was his aimed outcome and this was a 24/7 round the clock operation.

"Innovation" played a major part as two-way camera systems monitored those patients contaminated, with interactive entrance systems in the language of patient choice allowing all in patients to be able to communicate upon arrival at the hospital. Medical Dyes were used to assist and locate infection with every move inside the hospital being constantly monitored. Absolute safety and prevention against contamination was re-qualified and all patient targets were met, building confidence in the Ebola virus not spreading rapidly. Just a few pieces of the jigsaw, but much more data was needed.

The 40/70 rule was used to make decisions on a daily basis. Data was collected and monitored throughout to achieve every possible way forward to success.

Interestingly, Chris compared the project with sports: 

"The Formula 1 team collect 1.4 billion sets of data in 1 race alone - but at what stage is there enough data to back up a decision made? It is about where you draw the line?”

Chris opened the event with three lines by Professor James Francis Pantridge CBE MC MD -  a Physician and Cardiologist from Northern Ireland who transformed emergency medicine and paramedic services with the invention of the portable defibrillator:
“People can be put into three groups: Those who make things happen. Those who watch things happen and those that wondered what had happened.”

As a result of his time abroad, Chris has managed to create an outstanding and award winning "helicopter view of risk" within any health organisation at any time; he is now working with healthcare clients to create best practices. 

Chris is definitely someone who "makes things happen” and has had a most interesting and rewarding career.  The most exciting piece of his career is that he is now mentoring and coaching on leadership, so that others will benefit from his insight and experience of working so successfully within the Health Sector.  If you would like to talk to Chris about his coaching, leadership or risk assessment work, please contact Denise Raw at Interim Partners.


Denise Raw is Principal - Private Healthcare

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