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900 nurses in Virgin community services deal


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.


Readers' comments (48)

  • tinkerbell

    Hopefully they won't run out of paninis like they always do on easyjet.

    If you're a speedy boarder its best to get up the back near the galley to avoid the panini cutbacks.

    But seriously this is the biggest rip off isn't it? All done with 'misdirection and speed' and the speed of this monumental carpet bagging of OUR NHS just highlights how the millionaires are waiting in the wings to pounce. All nicely lined up to move in with their bulldozers and change the face of our society. Privatisation = death to OUR NHS as we know it and to NHS patients.

    Everyone gets lulled in to thinking 'this is nice' and then the next move is to pull the rug as the availability to get treatment becomes clear to those who can't afford it. Why give it to someone who can't afford it
    after they have made their money out of us and fleeced the NHS of its funding?

    The futures not bright if you are sick or chronically ill. If you're condition is not a money spinner. When your GP sees you as a drain on his budget and would like to off load you.

    No the futures not bright at all for the working class and poor. 60 years of social reform destroyed in just a couple of years and they still have another 3 years in unelected government. We will rue the day we ever allowed this to happen, no doubt about it.

    The speed in which they have implemented all these changes is truly frightening.

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  • From Anonymous | 31-Mar-2012 9:02 am

    My apologies to the new Virgin nurses for my skit on Virgin. I am sure you will all do fine as long as you are allowed the autonomy, authority and responsibility to do the job you are trained for and to make all the decisions concerning patient care without further outside interference from the non-clinical managers.

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  • Tinkerbell

    'misdirection and speed'

    looks as though it was all already planned under the table long before the bill was passed! probably over all those Mckinsey lunches and free trips around the world for the likes of Lansley.

    "NHS patients to be treated by Virgin Care in £500m deal"

    according to the Telegraph

    excuse me asking and excuse my naivety but I would just like to clear up one question I have. Where is this money £500m? Is it to be invested in patient care, invested in all the resources required to provide patients with a state of the art service and invested for profit to continue to innovate and keep the services up to date by continuing to provide for all of the above?

    If one reads the history of the NHS it has constantly undergone reforms and very radical ones under each successive government but it seems to move backwards instead of forwards as far as comprehensive, good quality up to date care facilities are concerned gobbling up and wasting large sums of money in the process - and we all know about the results of wasted and inadequate resources! The resources and the potential for great service and job satisfaction is there if only we were allowed to exploit it.

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  • George Kuchanny

    Ha! Ha! Good comments, gave me a wry smile especially tinkerbells. The whole thing is that the nurses will stay in the NHS pension scheme as a safeguard. No more than that. Richard's pockets are not deep enough to take on the pension arrangements. Met him once a few years ago when he was full of youthful bounce. Remarkably open and without the usual four faced characteristics you see in many at his level.

    I wonder if male nurses will get unfiroms covered in gold braid or will they have to dress up as trolly dollies? The state of my legs should put most patients off groping me for sure!

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  • tinkerbell

    what about the drinks trolley?

    "what would you like to drink sir?"

    "I'd like a caribbean stallion".

    "wouldn't we all dear".

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  • tinkerbell | 31-Mar-2012 6:08 pm

    Anonymous | 31-Mar-2012 9:02 am

    not sure they would have time to serve drinks, dear!

    although true, without input there would be no output!

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  • ... and obviously, the goal here is to make profits in any way they can!

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  • Is this an early April Fools joke???

    If it is it's in very poor taste.

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  • doubt it. don't think cam and lan are into jokes.

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  • tinkerbell

    no they must not be underestimated. They are into finishing what Thatcher started, privatising the NHS so that bankers and their like can make more money and bleed the workers dry. They have absolutely no interest in the working classes apart from how much money/profit they can make out of us because we are their wage slaves.

    We provide the service from which they make thr financial profit. Kerching.

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