Virgin Care bags major £700m health and care co-ordination deal
Virgin Care has been chosen as the preferred bidder to co-ordinate over 200 health and care services in Bath and North East Somerset as part of a major £700m contract.
According to NHS Bath and North East Somerset CCG, the deal is intended to strengthen health and care co-ordination in the region after several complaints from people who claim to “have difficulty finding their way” around the system.
The contract is worth £69.2m a year and will run for seven years, with the option to extend for a further three years, which the CCG and the local council say is in line with their current spending on community services.
Dr Ian Orpen, clinical chair of the CCG, added: “We have listened carefully to what local people had to say and we have a very good understanding of the improvements they would like to see.
“Virgin Care’s proposal means that services can be better co-ordinated and people will be supported to access all the services that can help them improve their health and wellbeing.”
The major deal follows a two-year engagement and consultation programme with local staff and residents in order to pinpoint the priorities for health and care services delivered outside of hospitals and GP practices. This included the involvement of over 50 community champions and subject matter experts tasked with evaluating Virgin and its contender, Sirona Care & Health.
Cllr Vic Pritchard, cabinet member for adult social care and health at the Bath & North East Somerset Council, said: “People told us they want more care delivered closer to home so services will be organised around GP practices providing access to a wider range of health and care professionals in people’s communities.
“They also asked us to join up services and information so that it’s easier for different professionals to work together to coordinate care. Virgin Care will enable this to happen by bringing people’s health and care records into one secure place.”
Under Virgin’s oversight, the CCG said it will become easier for different health and care professionals to work more closely together and deliver better outcomes.
Subject to further assessment and a full business case to be presented at the council and CCG board meetings on 9 and 10 November, the two bodies expect to award the contract in November. There will then be a five-month transition period, as well as three months of “intensive testing and discussions”, before services transfer entirely on 1 April next year.
The council and the CCG will also include a clause in the contract which requires any financial surplus made by Virgin to be reinvested into services in the region.
Earlier this year, the private giant also beat local competition from three NHS foundation trust in the race to take over community services in Kent.
(Top image c. Ian Redding)
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