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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)

  • The end of the NHS is here. You could look on the bright side. With the profits Branson makes from his health business, you might find increased broadband speeds and more TV channels available in your area soon. On the other hand, if you're looking for a nurse in your community hospital, I wouldn't hold my breath. There will soon be fewer than before. After all, there are profits from your illness to be gained.

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  • tinkerbell

    will the nurses be dressed as flight attendants? I was a dolly trolley for 4 years in a private hospital. You have to look reasonably attractive (it was a while ago, i can't achieve the look anymore) as you swipe the old mastercard for paying customers.

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  • tinkerbell

    "to remain within the NHS pension scheme"

    this is my concern, what about when we are taken over by private concerns and there is nowhere else to move us, our NHS pensions won't be worth the paper they are written on.

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  • looks like nurses are being bought and sold!

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  • tinkerbell

    Anonymous | 30-Mar-2012 5:47 pm

    and they can't wait to get their grubby mits on us and make a profit out of OUR NHS whilst we all earn less to retain the privilege of working as a nurse.

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  • I wouldn't wish to be called a Virgin Nurse!

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  • And I always thought old Richard was a nice bloke. Hey, just thinkk it might be like his other Virgin brands. If you work for the broadband you get free sky, the airline staff get so many free flights (business class, no less). Pehaps there will be free operations in Virgin Health! Boob jobs for the ladies, willy enlargements for the boys (I'll give mine to the homeless), and this would be every year! Pretty soon we will have the sexiest health service in the world, all perky T&A, big white teeth. It'll be like TOWIE, but with less morons.

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  • tinkerbell

    redpaddys12 | 30-Mar-2012 7:59 pm

    Yeah but, 'Beauty fades - dumb is forever'.

    Judge Judy.

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  • isn't this similar to agency work with variable quality?

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  • Our attractive Virgin Trolley Dollies will be coming round offering optional extra bedpan and bottle services! There will be extra charge for emptying them.

    Upgrades are available at extra cost plus VAT. Please consult our in-hospital magazine at the end of your bed, or get it delivered free of charge to your door, for the available choices of glass, plastic or disposable. May we recommend our very latest attractive Sterling silver models - warming and covers available at extra cost plus VAT.

    Euros, Dollars or Sterling will be accepted. Payments in cash or by credit or debit card. Change given in Sterling.

    There are extra charges plus VAT for male and female catheterization and the emptying thereof.

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