First class lounges
If you have kidney failure and you cannot get a transplant, you have to go to a clinic every other day for four hours to have your blood cleansed – for life. It becomes a really significant part of your life, and you want to be in an environment that is comfortable. Our dialysis units were like first class lounges, with natural light, personal music and TV stations, and great clinical service.
It took a few years to get anyone on board, but in time, people learned about us and saw it was a comfortable place to be treated, offering great care. Off the back of that we won a contract from the NHS and then kept on winning.
In 2009, we had been going two years and had ambitious plans. I wanted to do an initial public offering (IPO), but then the financial crash happened. It was impossible to raise money. Most of my investors were desperate to get their money out.
We had lined up to do an IPO in October 2009, which took us most of the year to get ready for, then there were no IPOs on the planet. I was left with bills to pay – lawyers, accountants, PR, sponsors, over a million pounds worth of bills. Everyone wanted to be paid even though the IPO didn’t go ahead. Plus, investors wanted their money back, so it all turned into a big fight.