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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Virgin Care beats GP federation to £176m adult health services contract

A GP ferderation has lost out to Virgin Care for a £17 million a year contract for delivering adult community health services. 

NHS Guildford and Waverley CCG announced Virgin Care Services were their preferred provider of the contract to lead the delivery of services across community nursing, therapy services and community hospitals.

The contract which starts April 2017, is worth £176 million across its ten-year lifetime.

Virgin’s bid was chosen following a competitive procurement which included bidders from local GP federation, Procare Health Ltd, Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, and Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust.

The CCG said that Virgin Care Services will work across health and social care to deliver a ‘fully integrated’ service, which delivers care in patient’s homes where possible, with general practice at its heart.

Vicky Stobbart, executive nurse, director of quality and safeguarding, NHS Guildford and Waverley CCG said: ‘The CCG is committed to commissioning high-quality, safe, patient and carer centred services that are compassionate, responsive and needs-led. It is important that we work collaboratively towards achieving improved health and wellbeing for our local population.’

The CCG also announced, today, the launch of an urgent repeat medicines service to free up availability in GP out of hours services.

The CCG estimates 30% of NHS 111 calls on a Saturday are for urgent repeat medication requests.

The new services will allow call handlers to direct patients to a participating community pharmacy where a pharmacist will make an assessment of the patient before issuing an emergency repeat prescription.

The service will be available to patients registered with a local practice out of normal GP opening hours.

Readers' comments (9)

  • Surrounding areas can now expect to pick up nursing staff as Virgin do tend to lose them quite quickly!

    These contracts need to be transparent - it would be interesting to know how much the other bids were for and how Virgin intend to keep costs down

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  • You will never know - trade secrets. That's what I was told when given a non-negotiable APMS contract at GMS rate of 64 pounds while those around were given up to 250 per patient plus bonuses as it transpired from the FOI request. My Medway is the epitome of all ills in NHS - enough to look around and every pathology country wide is available in this small region.

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  • I've seen the procurement process and even if it's done fairly it is heavily advantageous for big company who have dedicated staff to manage the procurement. Smaller organizations with no expertise application will have no chance.

    This doesn't mean you'll get the best provider. A bit like the job interview - one that can appear nicer on the day will pip those that's capable but doesn't do so well on selling themself

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  • Virgin accepts making a loss on the basis that when the partnership model has died they can jack their prices up.

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  • what a shame lets hope with Brexit we will be able to do away with this lottery and use the best provider

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  • Robert Koefman - just wanted to say that unfortunately Brexit has very little to do with how procurement is being done - there is a fair amount of flexibility in the "Light Touch Regime" that now applies to health services - it is the government who chooses to use it to penetrate the whole of the NHS with competition because they believe this will improve the services (haha). The procurement system could be set up to support NHS providers/GP providers to be the provider of choice and avoid the huge costs of a full procurement and as noted above the crazy processes that means the best written proposal wins rather than the best provider. This is about UK politics - the Conservatives believe that market will do something good despite the evidence to the contrary and therefore the system that has been developed requires commissioners to make the case for not using a competitive procurement process and we are discouraged from doing so with the threat that we might get challenged by a provider such as Virgin if we opt for a non-competitive process. Far better that we should have to make the case for why we want to use a competitive process and the default being working with the local providers to develop and transform services. In non-competitive procurement we simply have to ensure the prices is right/value for money is achieved. We do not have to procure as we do because of the EU - there is lots of flexibility to the LTR which we do not use. So Brexit will not help - sadly!

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  • What the article doesn't say is that local GPs - who have experience of Virgin as their current provider of services - are furious about the decision.

    Just as the rest of the NHS moves towards GP-led MCPs providing integrated community services, and towards developing GP federations (partly as a way of investing in general practice), their CCG gives Virgin a 10 year contract because their slides looked the nicest, and because arcane procurement rules mean they are apparently not allowed to take Virgin's previous local performance delivering the same services into account.

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  • All GPs know that the failing practices are set out to fail with low payments some as low as £55 per patient and the "successful APMS" paid over £200 per patient. Juniors should work to the high standards requested and not discharge patients too early as it increases their risks. We should also prescribe the most expensive statins/drugs as appropriate etc in the best interest of patients.

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  • Well that didn't last long ! Going back out to re-procurement. Anyone know why ?

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