Source : Business Times Singapore.

No doctors available at seven of HMC clinics

There are no doctors available in seven clinics of Healthway Medical Corp (HMC) on Monday (13 March) as the Corporation faces disorder.

According to The Straits Times, there were no doctors at the clinics because certain anchor doctors fell ill and no locum doctors could be found to take their place.

A receptionist at Holland Drive clinic told ST over the phone that no doctor would be on duty this week until the anchor doctor comes back next Tuesday.

The Holland Avenue branch is closed until tomorrow evening, as both regular doctors are on medical leave. A woman who picked up the phone at its Serangoon clinic said the clinic would be open while Serangoon clinic would be open until midnight. However, there is no doctor, as they could not find a relief doctor since last week.

One of the doctors interviewed by ST,  who declined to be named, stated that the company had started to fall behind on payments even earlier, saying, “Doctors don’t live hand to mouth. If they fold, they fold. I can work somewhere else.”

HMC revealed in its statement last week that it had not paid the salaries of its doctors and senior management, amounting to $3.9 million, for last month.

HMC said that it has, and manage, over 120 full-time doctors, adding that locums are in short supply due to the school holidays. On the other hand, it noted that the specialist and dentist clinics were relatively crowded.

HMC is one of Singapore’s largest private clinic operators with close to 50 family clinics.

The Corporation is in a liquidity crunch after losing millions of dollars in questionable loans to two entities, in which the SGX has called for an independent review of these loans.

By 31 March, HMC needs $10.7 million to settle overdue payroll and debt obligations. While it had only a cash balance of $527,000 at the end of last year against trade and other payables of $27.7 million.

HMC also has $70 million convertible bond deal it inked in January with a fund called Gateway raised SGX’s eyebrows and an outcry from minority shareholders, which would be secured on the shares of all HMC group companies.

This means that it may have resulted in a loss of HMC’s entire core business.

Gateway would also be transferred a controlling interest in HMC as part of the bond issuance. However, just one day before the notes were set to be issued, Singapore Exchange (SGX) stepped in.

SGX then told HMC the issuance must be put to a shareholder vote in compliance with Catalist listing rules.

HMC also said that it has re-entered discussions with Gateway to consider alternative proposals.