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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

    just watched andrew lansley being interviewd by Andrew Neil on the sunday politics show.

    Thought i would try to listen to lansley and keep quiet and try to be objective.

    Well i thought he sounded like a nice man, reasonable and that he really wants to help us all out, and that these private companies are only investing money to help us all out because they care about us.

    For a moment i forgot about all the destruction i have seen happening to our frontline staff, unit closures, redeployment, cutbacks, wage freezes, increment freezes, pension changes.

    Nearly had me there. Back to reality.

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  • tinkerbell

    Please support our doctors trying to save OUR NHS.

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  • Soon have a health service more concerned with how things look than patient care. More spent on nice TVs and room service than nurses to attract the private patients into those "nicer looking" hospitals. We'll be judged more for our hotel-like services than whether or not we're competent at caring for the individual...

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  • Grant Byrne | 3-Apr-2012 4:46 am

    the reality is probably nearer than you think. ward staff in one hospital in Europe have already been sent on a course run by an airline to learn about customer service (with a smile) in the cabins. The idea behind it is competitive marketing of their product so that patients will recommend their hospital for first class and friendly service above others in the area. Another hospital are trying hotel standard silver service where they come round serving afternoon tea and dainty cakes on from an elegant trolley. A third hospital had another idea which I can no longer remember!

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  • tinkerbell

    i think we need a modern day Robin Hood and this is what our doctors who are trying to SAVE OUR NHS are doing for US.

    The Sheriff of Nottingham (Lansley) wants us all to think he knows better than those working on the frontline, how arrogant can you get. Out of the hoi polloi they are going to make so much profit they can hardly contain their glee. The rich are going to get richer, the working class and poor are going to get poorer. It's all working out just as they planned.

    And still most ordinary people are more concerned about whether they can get petrol and a pasty. Unbelievable.

    The only things that are infinite are the universe and mans stupidity, and i'm not sure about the universe. - Einstein.

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  • tinkerbell

    Grant Byrne | 3-Apr-2012 4:46 am

    Grant i worked in the private sector for 4 years and the one thing you must never, ever do is tell a private patient that 'we are short of staff'. If you do you will find yourself in a meeting with your managers and get a 'warning' that you must never, ever, ever say this again.

    It just doesn't look good, never mind the reality.

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  • Steve Williams

    Eh, Issa joke? This really is the death the last death throes of The NHS Titanic. You are all shuffling around the deckchairs while the ship finally goes down.

    God knows I have tried to be funny about it....



    But you children (because that is how you seem to me) just do not get the point.

    This supposed wave of "new reforms" is not about making the NHS more "efficient" - there is no such thing.... I fou want to go and see a sobering report about efficiency then go and read "Go figure: Does efficiency always save money?"

    Read it right down to the last three paragraphs - that's when it gets interesting for you, me and all of us in the "Nursing" industry.

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  • tinkerbell

    there is a good way to keep smiling through it all though. Go to bed with a coat hanger in your mouth. By the end of the week you'll have a smile like the 'joker' in batman. 'What doesn't kill me makes me stranger' - Joker

    Also to keep your teeth pearly white for all the smiling use Colgate. After all, you're a nurse, you need to smile a lot, that's part of your job.

    I think that Colgate advert may have been paid for by Virgin. You can't expect to work in the private sector with manky teeth.

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  • Steve Williams

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  • tinkerbell

    Steve Williams | 3-Apr-2012 12:59 pm

    I still have clothes from the 70's that are back in fashion. Not that i'm a dedicated follower.

    Like most women i also have a draw in the kitchen stuffed with plastic carrier bags, just in case.

    I have a screw driver in the boot of my car, well you never know when you might need one. I also have a huge roll of bubble wrap that our new meds trolley came wrapped in, well you never know.The repair men at work never seem to have one and always ask me if i have. Their jaws nearly hit the floor when i say ''well i have actually'. They still disappear as quickly.

    When the housekeeper tells me 2 men at waiting to see me on the ward, the maintenance guys, total waste of space that they are, i say 'unless it's tom cruise and denzel washington i'm not interested' Oh how we laugh, when i see them i say 'you's two have changed a lot since your last movie'. They still leave without completing any work, but at least we all had a good laugh.

    And that's all we seem to be able to do in this job, laugh or go insane. I'm always on the brink, like a donkey on the edge lately.

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