latest health care news

18.08.15

Private firm shortlisted for £28m NHS deal in Bristol

Virgin Care Services is bidding to become the sole provider of children’s community services in Bristol under a £28m contract.

The private firm, which provides some children’s health services in Devon and Surrey, is running against a partnership between Sirona care & health Community Interest Company (CIC), Bristol Community Health CIC and Avon & Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust.

Community Children’s Health Partnership, encompassing all community child health and child and adolescent mental health services in the city, had previously been provided by North Bristol NHS Trust in partnership with the Barnado’s charity since 2009.

Five joint commissioners – including Bristol and South Gloucestershire CCGs, Bristol and South Gloucestershire councils and NHS England – planned to extend the contract to March 2017 so the partnership venture could have time to retender the service.

However they backtracked on their decision in order to “focus on acute and hospital-based care”.

The interim provider will therefore run services for a year starting on April 2016, before a permanent replacement for the recommissioned service can take over from 2017.

Bidders will now be required to submit further information to commissioners before the deal is awarded in the autumn.

Campaigners have lashed out at the relocation of services, with more than 4,000 people signing an online petition against the move as services should be provided by “people who are interested in delivering top quality care, not making maximum profit”.

The news comes just a few days after NHS England signed a seven-year deal with private giant Capita to outsource primary care services from September.

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