Community services, including provision of nursing care at eight community hospitals, have been transferred to the private sector in a deal worth £500m.
From 1 April Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Care will be responsible for delivering services including eight community hospitals in North West and South West Surrey, as well as sexual health services and prison healthcare Surrey wide.
However, staff currently working for NHS Surrey’s provider arm, including around 900 nurses, will not move to Virgin Care.
Instead, the 2,500 strong workforce and executive team, which includes health minister Anne Milton’s husband Graham Henderson who is medical director, will move to a social enterprise called VH Doctors in an arrangement designed to allow staff to remain within the NHS pension scheme.
Staff will continue to use the PCT’s provider arm brand Surrey Community Health for the time being.
Virgin Care chief executive Bart Johnson said: “We are delighted to be working with Surrey Community Health and look forward to making a real difference to patient care in Surrey.
“We have a strong track record of providing NHS care that is convenient, accessible and most importantly, delivers improved health outcomes for patients while providing improved value for money for the NHS.”
Virgin Care beat competition from social enterprise Central Surrey Health and Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust to win the contract.
Royal College of Nursing regional director for the south east Patricia Marquis told Nursing Times members were pleased the services had stayed together and they would keep their NHS pensions.
However, she said they were concerned about the added financial pressure of making a profit on top of the 4-5% efficiency savings required by the NHS.
“It’s a concern that provision will be able to continue to the same standard with that level of savings.”
A spokesman for Virgin Care said profit would come through improving efficiency of services.