Virgin awarded NHS contracts worth £2bn in past five years

Virgin’s NHS £2BN Virgin awarded nearly £2billion worth of NHS contracts over the past five years

Sir Richard Branson’s company has now reportedly become one of the UK’s leading healthcare providers

VIRGIN has been awarded nearly £2billion worth of NHS contracts over the past five years, it was reported last night.

Sir Richard Branson’s company has now become one of the UK’s leading healthcare providers, according to The Guardian.

Virgin Care and its subsidiaries reportedly hold more than 400 contracts to provide healthcare in prisons, school immunisation programmes and dementia care for the elderly.

Sara Gorton, the head of health at the trade union Unison, said: “While the NHS remains dangerously short of funds, taxpayers’ money shouldn’t be wasted on these dangerous experiments in privatisation.”

One former surgery manager who spoke to the Guardian said Virgin appeared to be paid more for doing less in her area, although the company said “because the contracts are generally not directly comparable, we don’t believe it to be true”.

Guardian analysis reveals the way the company that began selling records in the early 1970s has diversified in a bewildering way over recent years.

While Branson has focused on his high-profile efforts to put tourists into space, his businesses have been hoovering up low-profile contracts in unusual places, taking advantage of changes to the NHS that have forced local service providers to consider private companies.

The services include:

*A nine-year contract to provide sexual health services for councils in the north-east of England

*A £700m deal to run district nursing, dementia care and support for vulnerable children in Bath and north-east Somerset

*A contract to run GPs’ surgeries in Esse*

*A partnership to deliver ‘startup’ loans for the government

*Healthcare, including dentistry, in a number of low-category prisons

*A contract with NHS England to give school flu jobs in Devon.

Precise details of all the contracts are difficult to establish because neither the Department of Health and Social Care or NHS England keep a centralised record.

Virgin’s first foray into healthcare was in 2008 when it announced plans for six branded clinics offering a range of services. However, it was only in 2010 when it bought a stake in an existing provider, Assura, that it began to show greater ambition in the market.

Since then, Virgin Care Services Ltd has bid for – and won – dozens more.

In March 2017, it had almost 1,200 staff – a five-old increase from the year before. Over the same period, its turnover increased from £133m to £204m and its operating profit rose from £7.3m to £8m.

Though healthcare is a growing part of the group, Virgin still appears to make most of its money from transport.

Virgin UK Holdings, the UK business which holds its rail and healthcare ventures, reported revenues of £1.5bn in 2016 and paid £22m in tax.

Earlier this year, Virgin Trains had its west coast line franchise extended for another year.

That deal netted Virgin and its partner Stagecoach £47m in dividends in 2016-17. In the same year the government made an allocation of £117m to Network Rail for the upkeep of the track used by the West Coast line franchise.

Virgin Care told the Guardian it was not making a profit and its focus was on “improving patient and employee satisfaction and saving the NHS and local authorities millions”.

A spokesperson said: “Virgin has created multiple billion-dollar companies across the globe … which are not connected in any way to government procured contracts.”

“Virgin Care accounts for less than 1% of the Virgin Group’s value and has not made a profit to date. Richard has pledged that if and when he could take a dividend from Virgin Care he will put 100% of that money back into the NHS, with frontline employees deciding how best to spend it.”

Paul Evans, the director of the campaign group NHS Support Federation, said: “Virgin Care are the biggest private sector winner to emerge out of the NHS experiment with competition and outsourcing.

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So what do you think?

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Source : https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/6949032/virgin-awarded-nearly-2billion-worth-of-nhs-contracts-over-the-past-five-years/
Source : https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/aug/05/virgin-awarded-almost-2bn-of-nhs-contracts-in-the-past-five-years


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