"“We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.” "

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao 12th March 2009

""We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system."

Timothy Geithner US Secretary of the Treasury, previously President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.1/3/2009

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

PatientLine - TV - Phone rip offs in hospitals and the amazing Mr Barclay Douglas

On Friday , non-profitable Hospital bedside phone operator Patientline (LSE: PTL.L - news) said finance director Phil Dennis will be leaving the company on 10th April .Following the withdrawal from the US market and the sale of its Dutch business as approved at the recent EGM, the company is now concentrating its activities in one business based in the UK. Turnover to Y/E July 2006 was £ 55 MN with 11 Mn losses and the company £87MN borrowings. Curiously they claimed that ..

"Ward closures and empty beds have reduced the number of terminals being used in the UK"

Oddly a Press release from Citigate Dewe Rogers concerning the introduction of Barclay Douglas (of which see more later) said "thousands of terminals lying idle because they were not functioning and problems blamed on NHS ward closures rather than on causes under management’s control"

"Phil sees his future with an expanding group of businesses and has decided to seek a new career elsewhere," it added. You can bet he got his paycheck and any outstanding expenses through at the end of the month.

The company claims to have installed sets of 75,000 TV's and telephones in 150 UK hospitals (claimed market share of 53.7%.) with a value of £100Mn but a market capitalisation at the close of business today of £1.7Mn. Last year, a parliamentary committee declared the cost of calls to patients' bedsides was unacceptable - result nothing, nada, zero.

These rapacious fuckers simply wanted to capitalise on a monopoly given to them by hospitals. Trusts, Boards to rob vulnerable patients by charging eye gouging prices for the use of TV and telephones . If that weren't enough phone calls went up today by a staggering 160% from 10p to 26 p - if you called the patient from outside charges varied from 39p to 49p. To balance this, TV charges have been reduced.By the end of April 2007 1 day of TV (24 continuous hours) will cost £2.90 - children free.

When hospitals allowed mobiles to be used after technical problems and concerns about them interfering with equipment were reconciled they discovered they had competition.

That's the way capitalism works.

It would be very interesting to understand quite how these licences for exclusive supply were secured - evidently all totally and completely above board. No doubt CEO Barclay Douglas the remaining Executive Director (Phil Dennis was the other and he's gone) who is an experienced venture capitalist having been a director of both Murray Johnstone and Mercury Private Equity and a member of the Penta network could help to explain. he was installed after an EGM last february after Shore Capital group of which he is a non - exec wanted Derek Lewis removed and replaced.

Curiously the Board made the following report (available here)

The Nominations Committee has considered Barclay Douglas as a candidate for Chairman.Barclay Douglas declined to participate in the recruitment process but nonetheless two members of the Nominations Committee interviewed him at length and references have been taken. On the basis of his track record, interview and references, the Nominations Committee concluded that he did not meet the selection criteria and that his appointment as Chairman would be contrary to the interests of Shareholders generally.

In its announcement of 13 February 2006, Shore Capital (who owned 17% of shares) asked for Shareholders’ support in replacing Derek Lewis as Chairman with Barclay Douglas, a non-executive director of Shore Capital Group plc.

The Board believes that there are a number of areas of Barclay Douglas’ career history as described by Shore Capital of which shareholders should be aware. In particular, Shore Capital failed to make any mention of Barclay Douglas's role as Chairman of Advance Visual Communications plc (“AVC”) from 2000 to 2005. AVC listed on AIM on 15 November 2000 with a market capitalisation of £14.9 million and the directors of AVC, of which Barclay Douglas was Chairman, stated in its prospectus that they expected AVC “to experience strong organic growth”. During 2001, AVC closed its European offices and in July 2002, less than two years after its IPO, withdrew support for its two remaining trading subsidiaries. These subsidiaries subsequently appointed a liquidator. (Source: Regulatory News Service, 5 July 2002). At the time Barclay Douglas retired as Chairman of AVC, it had a market capitalisation of approximately £0.2 million.

Further, Shore Capital stated that:

    “as finance director [ Barclay Douglas] assisted in restoring [Sock Shop] to profit prior to a sale in 1994.” (announcement by Shore Capital, 13 February 2006)

    By the time Sock Shop was sold in October 1994 its financial performance had reversed from generating profit before taxation of £0.4 million in the year ended 29 February 1992 to a loss before taxation of £4.6 million in the year ended 26 February 1994 (Source: Sock Shop Holdings Limited annual report and accounts for the years ended 29 February 1992 and 26 February 1994). Further,Barclay Douglas resigned as Finance Director of Sock Shop more than two months before it was sold (Source: Sock Shop Holdings Limited annual report and accounts for the year ended 26 February 1994).

    “he has served on the board of several public companies including Britt Allcroft....” (announcement by Shore Capital, 13 February 2006)

    Barclay Douglas resigned from the Board of Britt Allcroft Group Limited, as it was then known, before it became a listed public company. (Source: Companies House, Form 288b, 16 October 1996).

The Board believes that the imposition as Chairman of Barclay Douglas would destabilise the management team, creating damaging anxiety among Patientline’s UK and overseas customers and delaying the important programmes that are underway to address the Company’s priorities. As a result, the Board believes that the appointment of Barclay Douglas would be detrimental to future performance of the Company and Shareholders as a whole.

Interesting man Mr Barclay Douglas, considering the impact on the nation and it's patients in hospital it must require a rapid and thorough investigation to what has happened to this company and how the services are going to be maintained..

1 comment:

Tim Abell said...

Imagine what we could have achieved with an non profit system running an OSS (open source software) stack, allowing full pc functionality at the hospital bed. Email, web, im and voip based telecoms, plus tv and radio transmitted over ip, all at minimal cost. In fact, if you run the whole hospital with dumb terminals linked to a linux remote X server, you could have scalable top notch functionality very cost effectively. Damn, I'd love to architect a system like this, especially for such a good cause. Shame the vultures got there first. These people have no vision beyond their wallet.

The current system looks like a stealth tax to me. Underfunded NHS gets kickback from evil corp for ability to exploit people who have fallen on hard times. Shame on those who orchestrated this embarrassment to the country.

I found your blog as I was trying to find out why I'd been charged £17 for a 45 min phone call. (approx 31p/min, bulldog phone line).

(C) Very Seriously Disorganised Criminals 2002/3/4/5/6/7/8/9 - copy anything you wish