Patientline UK has announced its decision to enter administration and been acquired by the newly formed Hospedia Ltd, a hospital entertainment and telephony company funded by the existing Patientline banking syndicate.
The acquisition, which was announced late on Friday, will see £35m of Patientline’s debt wiped out through a debt for equity swap, if it is approved by the Office of Fair Trading.
Hospedia, which is also acquiring Premier Telesolutions, says it will take over the running of over 80,000 NHS bedside systems and will provide patients with “lower incoming call charges, better services and more reliable equipment as a result of the change.”
The announcement marks the end of a detailed review of options to restructure Patientline’s debt position and is designed to bring financial stability to Patientline UK.
The company announced operating losses of £11.2 million for the first half of 2007 and had debts approaching £90m before entering administration.
The hospital entertainment and phone provider was forced to reduce the prices on outgoing telephone calls, after an initial increase on rates in an effort to reduce its debts.
Nick Winks, Patientline CEO, said: “After many months of working to turn around Patientline and exploring many potential options, I am convinced that this transaction is in the best interests of our customers, staff and banks.
"We have also put in place the basis for a transformation of the whole industry, making it much more stable. As part of the new Hospedia company, Patientline UK will be in a position to focus on delivering the highest standards of service to NHS trusts across the UK.”
Hospedia says it hopes the OFT will approve the deal by October. It also says it aims to provide a service to another 20,000 beds, in hospitals where patients have no bedside TV or phone, leading to new employment opportunities.
Tim Sherwood, chair of Hospedia, said: “This is great news not only for patients and hospitals, but also for staff and suppliers. Our goal is to rebuild consumer confidence in NHS bedside entertainment systems.
“The restructured debt and new finance gives much needed stability to the business, allows for the delivery of new, innovative services and gives a real opportunity to begin to provide improved value for money.”
The company added that hospitals will also benefit from new services aimed at helping them in their daily operations. These include cleaning tracker systems to help combat the risk of infections patient survey systems aimed at improving the patient experience.
Patientline stressed that although the original holding company of Patientline UK Ltd, is now in administration, the operations of Patientline UK, its contracts and the services it provides at each hospital continue uninterrupted.
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