In the mid-1970s, the convergence of the introduction of a universal free health system, Medibank (the forerunner of Medicare) with the advent of automation and computerisation transformed laboratory medicine. Almost overnight, Medibank delivered a vast pool of patients from thousands of general practitioners, while the economies of scale created by automated high-volume testing meant the practice had the capacity to deliver the same fast, efficient, teaching hospital-standard service into regional areas. At the start of the 1970s the numbers of tests the practice was performing each week were reported in the hundreds. By the 1990s, they were being counted in the hundreds of thousands.
This was a time when a progressive practice could make its mark on the world. It was a matter of professional pride that profits were reinvested and innovation encouraged so as to stay ahead of the game. The practice became known for its many ‘firsts’ as decisions were taken that would set it on the path to where it is today. There was considerable pride in the evolving S&N brand - the unique collection of clever, curious individuals who between them had a level of expertise that would set the practice apart.
By the mid-1990s, the former family firm had transformed itself into a large-scale, multi-disciplinary organisation and in order to continue to attract the best talent and invest in new technologies, it sought a sustainable source of funding. Corporate investment was acquired and in 1997, Sonic Healthcare became the parent company. It was clear from the start that there was a synergy between the two companies. With shared corporate values, both were innovators with a ‘people first’ philosophy, and they had taken similar routes to achieving their respective successes. Importantly, they each had an excellent rapport with their referring doctors based on a medically focused management structure.
The arrival of the 21st century heralded a new era for Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology.
As a member of the Sonic Healthcare ‘federation’, it was able to consolidate its reputation as Australia’s largest private referral laboratory specialising in esoteric and complex testing, while providing a full range of around-the-clock testing services to the communities of Queensland, Northern NSW and Darwin. This meant continuing investment in state-of-the art equipment and a commitment to staying at the leading-edge of scientific innovation. In 2017, with its eye firmly set on the future, the practice developed a new purpose-designed main laboratory in Brisbane.
The Brisbane Clinic, 79 Wickham Tce, Brisbane,1956
225 Wickam Terrace, Brisbane, 1964
Biochemistry lab, 255 Wickham Tce, Brisbane, 1964
Medibank (forerunner of Medicare) terminal, 1975
133 Leichhardt St, Spring Hill,1976
SMAC-1 (Sequential Multiple Analysis - Computer), Biochemistry, 1980s
Taringa laboratory, 1989
Dr John Sullivan, 1990s
Dr Nick Nicolaides, 1990s
Couriers and Collectors, 1990s
Biochemistry, Taringa, 1990s
Haematology, Taringa, 2000s
Bowen Hills laboratory, 2017
Bowen Hills GLP track, 2017
Bowen Hills, 2017