Primary plans to change its name to Healius

ASX-listed medical centre, pathology and diagnostic imaging provider Primary Health Care plans to change its name to Healius to reflect the change in focus it has had since the end of the Bateman era.

The company will take the name change to its shareholders for their approval at the company's annual general meeting in Sydney on November 22.

Primary was founded by Sydney GP Ed Bateman in 1986 as a 24-hour, bulk-billed medical practice and listed on the stock exchange in 1998. While it made shrewd investments in the pathology and radiology sectors, Primary had a long-standing reputation for being tough with its contracted GPs and for its no-appointments policy.

It also owned leading GP software firm Health Communication Network (HCN), now known by its main brand MedicalDirector. Primary bought HCN in 2005 and sold it in 2016 to private equity firm Affinity for $155m.

Since Dr Bateman's death in 2015, the other members of the Bateman family who worked for the company have left. Following the resignation of managing director Peter Gregg last year, it has been run by former IPN CEO Malcolm Parmenter, who has introduced a change of focus.

This includes reintroducing appointments and offering more attractive contracts to GPs, as well as a big technology refresh.

In a letter to shareholders, Primary said the new name of Healius represented a new direction for the company, which it says conveys “a perspective that healthcare is essential and sustaining, but at the same time part and parcel of everyday life”.

“The new name – and company brand – aims to be approachable, warm, distinctive, and a clear pivot from the name Primary Health Care,” it said.

The name change will go to vote at the AGM and if it passes, will come into effect from December 3. The company will also request that the ASX change its listing code to HLS.

Posted in Movers and shakers

Tags: MedicalDirector, Primary Health Care, HCN

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