Telecare system provider Mediagrids has confirmed to Telecare Aware that it is subject of a winding up order from Inland Revenue. This is despite cost-cutting measures, including redundancies, during the past year. So, despite the UK Government’s policies of encouraging telecare and supporting businesses through the recession, a Government agency is pulling the plug on the only broadly-based, broadband, video conferencing telecare system with potential to link users with not just telecare and telehealth monitoring but with online services, family and other users with shared interests.
The provider of a similar system, Netherlands-based Impact Valley, also went bust in the summer of 2007 and, like Mediagrids, lack of cash was the immediate cause. However, the root cause seems to be that commissioners and service operators are reluctant to dip a toe into innovative waters, which is a huge shame.
A Mediagrids spokesperson said “I think we were 4-5 years ahead of the market. Selling to the public sector and NHS is a nightmare and, whilst they all loved what we showed them, nobody was prepared to take the slightest risk to commit to trying it or spend any money with us…[they] have no need or desire to save money by adopting innovative software.”
Sadly, this will ring a bell with many UK equipment and service providers. It is a very common experience that it takes two years for initial local interest to evolve into a trial order. If anyone can throw any light on the reasons for this ultra-conservative mindset, please leave a comment.