Published on 02/04/2012
Thousands of NHS patients are to be cared for by staff working for a private company, after a £500m deal between NHS Surrey and Virgin Care.
From April 1st, Virgin Care will take over the running of Surrey Care Services, part of NHS Surrey. This is the biggest outsourcing deal yet for running day-to-day NHS services, and is comparable in scale to the deal for Circle to run Hinchingbrooke Hospital.
The £500m five year contract will see Virgin Care running eight community hospitals and providing community nursing and health visitors. Other outsourced work will include breast cancer screening, sexual health clinics, specialist dental work and physiotherapy.
Around 2,500 NHS staff will be transferred to Virgin Care in total, a company part owned by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Care. An NHS Surrey spokesman said there would be no change to their pay and conditions.
A joint statement from NHS Surrey and Virgin Care claimed: "This is essentially a transfer of management and follows national guidance that allows the trust to focus on developing, buying and managing the performance of services, leaving the provider to concentrate on delivering services."
A Department of Health spokesman said: "This is a local decision, aimed at driving up the quality of services and enabling more innovative models of care.
"It will provide much-needed certainty for staff, and ensure that patients receive the best care from the best provider."
However, Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison, described the contract as "more proof of the direction of travel for the NHS under the Coalition government, which is privatisation".
© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2012Categories: NHS and Hospitals