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GPs go forth

Virgin Care to take over GP out-of-hours services in multi-million contract win

Virgin Care has clinched contracts worth £65m to provide urgent care services – including out-of-hours GP services – and community services in one region of England.

The company will take over the five-year contracts for NHS community health services, worth £45m, and urgent care services, worth £20m, for West Lancashire on 1 April 2017.

The services include district nurses, community matrons, IV therapy, end of life teams, GP out of hours and walk-in centres.

In February 2016, NHS West Lancashire CCG announced that two private companies, Optum Health Solutions (UK) and Virgin Care Services, would go forward to compete to provide urgent care services.

The same two private companies were also in the running for the community health services contract, along with two NHS foundation trusts, Lancashire Care and Bridgewater Community Healthcare.

The current provider, Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust, was not shortlisted for the contracts. The trust was rated as ‘requires improvement’ by the CQC inspection on 15 November and received the same rating in April this year.

Claire Heneghan, chief nurse of NHS West Lancashire CCG, said: ‘The aim is to develop and enhance community and local walk-in and out of hours services, helping to prevent avoidable acute hospital attendance, relieving pressure on such a vital resource.’

Dr John Caine, chair of the CCG, added: ‘Through the bid Virgin Care demonstrated a true understanding of our vision and we are assured it will deliver a quality service for our local community within this new model of care.’

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Virgin Care said: ‘We look forward to continuing our engagement with the local community so we can provide a high quality service that has been shaped by the people who use it.’

However, West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper is angry about the decision to award the contracts to a private company.

In a statement on her website she said: ‘Now the contract has been awarded it is time for the CCG to open the books on this entire process. Time to show us exactly on what basis local GPs decided to privatise our services and damage our local hospital.’


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Readers' comments (13)

  • £65 m to cover urgent care services for the whole of west Lancashire . £ 74 m for the great british bake off. Presumably virgin are looking forward to the great british rake off.

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  • "Time to show us exactly on what basis local GPs decided to privatise our services and damage our local hospital"

    All part of the plan. Blame GPs (for that is what CCGs are don't forget) for the end of the NHS and damaging the local hospital - we do ADMIT all those sick people who are blocking the beds from the community rather than look after them.

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  • National Hopeless Service

    and another thing.."Time to show us exactly on what basis local GPs decided to privatise our services and damage our local hospital".

    It was your labour party that first introduced private companies to the commissioning table in the early 2000s

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  • Just Your Average Joe

    Virgin took over Community care in Surrey.

    500 million contract over 5yrs - so immediately about 50million at 10% was earmarked for 'profit', and costs of running it.

    So a 500 million budget immediately is reduced and less patient care is available.

    The whole idea is a private company is much more efficient and efficiency saving will outstrip the lost 10% so more money will effectively be available for patient care.

    The best way to be efficient in primary/community care is to stop doing anything not explicitly written into the contract that they were to supply.

    Gone all the usual expected things you might expect from D/nurses in most cases - no blood taking in community, no dressings, no flu jabs given - all requiring extra funding outside the contract to provide.

    All good will care, which was done not because it is in a contract but because a patient needed it - gone, to the dismay of staff on the ground, who would be ruthlessly forced to only do work managers approved.

    Renegotiations over years started to get some things back in limited amounts.

    Most of time wasted with Virgin's eagle eyed lawyers running rings around the pi55 poor contract written by PCT staff who barely knew how to tie their own shoe laces, and didn't know to make a cast iron contract which was not shared with local GPs due to 'commercial sensitivities' until essentially signed and delivered.

    Getting private companies in, in the vast majority of cases is a wate of public resources, as they are their to make money not run a charity funded service for patients. Social enterprises run not for profit could be different, but otherwise they are there to strip out funding for patients into profits, cherry pick the most profitable services in the low risk patients leaving the costly and difficult expensive work to the NHS, which then don't have the easy cases to subsidise the costly ones.

    Good luck - you will need it.

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  • Bet they got more money than the last saps to do this.Remember when GP coop did out of hours with the principal getting paid nothing for their time.In THE BAD OLD DAYS. Pandoras box has been opened and there is no closing it now.

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  • it continues

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  • Brightondrjohn

    Well this should really please Nutter from UKIP - who has already stated that he wants the NHS privatised.
    I really really hope that someone is checking that no one is linked to the bidding entities in any way what-so-ever!
    This stinks!

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  • 2012 and the purchaser provider split CCGs outsourcing privatisations the internal market PFI's are all total catastrophes that have wasted north of probably 200 billion since this madness commenced under the insane thatcher..and continue to waste probably around 10 to 15 billion a year ..who will be held to account for the massive suffering and poor care this disgraceful political waste has caused?
    the dysfunction of our failed archaic political of the least democratic and most corrupt in the western extreme.
    I note our current illustrious CEO simple simon was a major blue sky confused thinker resulting in the internal market couldn't make it up.

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  • Since the advent of the internet there has been huge exposure of the corruption among the global elite. Lobbying groups expanding+++ and resultant contracts awarded to the usual suspects. That is why there has been a swing towards populist, anti-establishment, anti-banks Politicians (Trump, Brexit?, Beppe Grillo and France and Germany soon to vote).

    The elite are now trying to shut down Fake news sites to prevent the rise of populism. Which is more fake MSM or so called fake news sites?

    As GPs we are expendable pawns.

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  • It would have been far cheaper and more effective to improve and upskill the existing workforce
    AQP and contracting nonsense is insane.
    I have not heard of a single privatisation or outsourcing that has worked
    CCGs and the whole rotten failed marketised deformed 'nhs' should be abolished.

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