Patientline rebels raise pressure on chairman

Click to follow

Rebel shareholders in Patientline, the hospital bedside telephone company, increased the pressure on its chairman, Derek Lewis, to quit yesterday by putting forward an alternative candidate, Barclay Douglas.

The group has parted company with its chief executive to try to appease investors. But the rebels, led by Shore Capital, went ahead yesterday with their call for an extraordinary meeting to oust Mr Lewis. Mr Douglas is a director of Shore Capital and is credited with the turnaround of struggling businesses such as Sock Shop in the early 1990s.

The rebels said: "We believe the chairman who presided over the catalogue of problems is not the right person to lead this team to recovery." Shore said it had 27.8 per cent shareholder backing and other investors indicated they would support it.

Patientline has racked up mounting losses and debts of £90m since it floated in 2001 and its shares have plunged 80 per cent. It had hoped NHS trusts would sign up to extra services provided by its hospital bedside phone and multi-channel entertainment systems, but take-up has been slow. Mr Lewis vowed to stay until he retires in July or longer to deal with the problems.