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Wiltshire child health services transferred from NHS to Virgin Care

All community child health services in Wiltshire will be privatised under a five-year £64m contract with Virgin Care, it has been announced today (11 November).

Services are currently provided by the five NHS providers within the Wiltshire CCG catchment – a set-up which NHS England, Wiltshire Council and the CCG believe blocks access to “consistent and equitable” levels of care and support.

As a result, these services – including, among others, children’s specialist community nursing, health visiting and speech and language therapy – will be transferred to the private giant from April 2016.

The contract was awarded following what the CCG has called a "robust" procurement process fed by the views of the children and parents affected by services.

Deborah Fielding, accountable officer for the CCG, said: “It was important to us that before we started looking at the contract for community child health services, that we really understood how the children, their parents and their families feel about the services they receive.

“So, together with Wiltshire Council, NHS England and our partners around the county we held several workshops, developed an online survey and spoke with children, their families and carers. It’s with their help that we designed the principles that the new service will adhere to.”

Other professionals involved in the move – such as NHS England’s director of commissioning and Wiltshire Council’s two corporate directors – are adamant that privatising services will ensure children receive the best possible start in life.

Importantly, they believe that the new contract will open up possibilities of joined-up working between health and social care professionals to lift standards of care and improve service access.

The move will also help services continue to meet statutory duties linked to safeguarding and the new responsibilities in relation to children and young people with a special educational need or disability.

Staff working in these areas will continue their role with the same employment terms, but will respond to Virgin rather than the NHS from next year.

In July, Virgin Care bagged a larger £130m deal to run child services in Devon. It competed with – and outbid – a consortium of Devon Partnership NHS Trust with charities Barnado’s, Young Devon and Interserve, as well as with Serco and Cornwall Partnership NHS Trust.


Derrick Johnson   11/11/2015 at 19:30

NHS safe in Tory hands. The privatisation continues. To privatise services means someone wants to make a profit. If they have the same income as present services this has to mean a reduction in the standard of service.

Margaret Hickey   11/11/2015 at 19:55

This is a disgrace! Privatising these services Is likely to mean worse for the people who need them as they will now be profit driven! Why aren't we shouting from the rooftops about this? This government are riding roughshod over us and we are allowing them to! This is only the beginning

Emilie   11/11/2015 at 22:46

It's a disgrace! Junior doctors and other organisations are shouting from the rooftop but the government doesn't listen! more info on

Stella   12/11/2015 at 06:33

The concern is who will have the governance and responsibility in five years if it fails? All will have moved on. Need longer term planning, maybe a Commission?

Kate   12/11/2015 at 06:39

This is very sad news, the last paragraph says it all giant corporations side swiping agencies such as Banardos which have always done so much good for young people. In my mind local agencies know their particular area much better and would be more suited to looking after local childrens needs. The giant corporations should not be awarded the contracts solely on money as if they fail at their job it will cost more in the long run. Would be interesting to know who makes these decisions and what thought had gone into it. 1st steps towards privatisation of our whole NHS system.

Pam   12/11/2015 at 08:20

I despair of this government and Hunt. By 2020 there will be no NHS left. It should never be profit driven. Bevan will be turning in his grave

Fran   12/11/2015 at 11:19

The trouble is, it ISNT the beginning, it started five years ago and it's end-game under the snake-oil-salesman Jeremy Hunt. Starved of funds, vilified, sidelined and dedicated staff on the run, the private sector has already moved in for the kill.

Andrew Haldane   12/11/2015 at 14:10

"That's the standard technique of privatization: defund, make sure things don't work, people get angry, you hand it over to private capital. That's the Social Security scam. If they can succeed in defunding it -- they've been trying for decades, it's too popular to do much about, and very efficient incidentally, miniscule administrative costs..." Chomsky

Bob Steel   12/11/2015 at 18:38

The privatisation gravy train trundles on, accompanied by denials from Jermey *unt and his acolytes. Disgraceful...and worsened by the abysmal record that this outfit have in places like Croydon already

Helenm   12/11/2015 at 19:22

Regardless of quality of service, privatisation of social care ALWAYS puts up the cost for the public purse.

Humite Yubee   12/11/2015 at 19:48

Incredible ignorance by commenters on here of procurement rules. The government does not have day to day oversight of the process. Surely one provider will be cheaper than the current 5.

Bernard Hurley   12/11/2015 at 22:53

It is all very well to complain about this disgusting and immoral sale of children's welfare, but the important thing is to do something. We ought to boycott all Virgin companies in protest.

Peta   12/11/2015 at 23:14

I agree with all of the above: Privitisation of health services is only beneficial for the private health care companies and it's shareholders. Services should be structured around patient's needs and not profit These companies are paying lip service to often-described ideal and aims of services in the tendering process but usually fail to deliver . How can Virgin Healthcare really have the local knowledge and experience to provide a properly coordinated service liaising with education , social services. The NHS is being deliberately starved of funds and because Paediatric and CAMHS services are stretched by endless cuts and restructuring they are deemed to have failed and the private health companies are moving in. In short why don't we improve funding to Paediatric and CAMHS services where we have amazing staff and wealt of experience and services which have suffered form savage cutbacks in the face of escalating demand. lets keep the British taxpayers hard earned cash out of private health care companies shareholder's pockets and properly fund the excellent NHS services

Andrew   13/11/2015 at 04:47

The fruit of the PFI seed, sown a generation ago.

Help4joss   13/11/2015 at 07:32

Shame on you WiltsCCG! A consultation period involving 9 people! My life limited complex health daughter is loosing her life long community paediatrician and lifetime service. You cancelled public consultations, our children have not been heard!

Alison   13/11/2015 at 07:34

I have to say I've read these comments and as a parent of a young boy who was 12 1/2 when he didn't want to live anymore, referee to CAMHS locally who did nothing, he's been bounced around local services for 3 years and still hasn't had an assessment! He's been on a list for community paeds for the last 6 months and we haven't even had a letter! We've been to our GP in distress numerous times and are at breaking point as a family my son is now 15 1/2 am we still haven had an assessment!! On Monday I again went to GP and begged in tears with my son for someone to help and still haven't herd anything!! If I don't hear after Wednesday we are going to see a private Psychologist and pay....the state of these services and the distress means something has to change whether this way or another!! Also before people rant about privatisation I don't agree with this as a policy as I too work in the NHS!!

Healthguru2020   13/11/2015 at 10:33

I understand how people feel, and thinks it's incredibly important tonharness the passion and feeling that many people have shared here. It speaks volumes of the importance of front line health care provision in the UK to our population. If we were able to take a step back from this debate to consider the overal objectives of moving these services to a new provider, it wold be apparent that these services need to improve. They need to improve so that health and wellbeing of children in Wiltshire is improved. Now whoever can provide that improvement is largely an academic question. As long as this deal ensures the required improvement, and that we are able to see evidence of this, then why does it matter who? And perhaps we should consider that the NHS themselves have taken part in this procurement process moving services to a provider that can deliver the continuation of and the improvements to the services providing much needed health and social care to OUR next generation?

Awake And Aware   13/11/2015 at 10:58

There are already blistering examples of how privatising NHS services is a really bad idea. Take Circle and Hinchingbrooke hospital, basically Circle ended up pulling out and leaving a right mess behind. Now the NHS has got it back and even in this current climate with what the gov are doing to 'try and "prove" the NHS is failing' by squeezing the funds tighter than a camels backside in a sandstorm, everything has improved, waiting times are very short, staffing is running at almost or actually at 100%... The NHS would be absolutely fine if the Tories gave it enough to run, instead of making it fail to justify selling it off.

Gardengirl   13/11/2015 at 16:06

If you want to have your say in what the government does with the NHS over the next 5 years, we have 10 days in which to respond to the NHS Mandate document, only just out. details of the document and how to respond can be found on "Our NHS" website. THIS MAY BE ONE OF OUR LAST CHANCES - PLEASE TAKE IT

Alastair   17/11/2015 at 22:23

Outbid=Underbid=probable underestimate=wage freeze=pension contribution reduction=staff departure=service failure=children at risk.

Inotrope   24/11/2015 at 06:57

As long as I can upgrade my Virgin broadband service or quibble my phone bill whilst they check the bairn for hip displasia I'm happy. Hopefully their will be a gym and I can be up sold both cosmetics or a transatlantic flight whilst we wait. I'll do my bit to keep the shareholders happy!

Nick   12/01/2016 at 20:52

The NHS are safe in our hands was The Tories mantra. This is privatisation of the NHS plain and simple.

Richard   15/06/2016 at 12:44

My experience of the many and various Virgin companies across Media, Transport and Finance is whilst they excell in branding, marketing and PR, they often fall down on the quality of the services they actually delver.This does not bode well for healthcare.

Mark Jenkins   13/07/2016 at 07:46

It is privatisation it is also about the decision making of the CCG and senior management of the existing services -

Nick   10/08/2016 at 11:48

Sounds a good idea to me especially as current service seems very poor (Alison's email 13/11/15). CCG have recognised that something had to change - very brave of them to make what must have been a difficult political decision.

Paul   31/08/2016 at 11:13

The hippocratic oath is turning into the hypocritical oath

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