In March news broke that Virgin Care, the healthcare arm of a Richard Bransons business empire, is set to sue 8 NHS commissioners following a failed bid to win the tender for community children's services in Surrey.
The £82m contract for running the services (which include school nurses, occupational/physiotherapist and speech and language services) was won by a consortium of in-house NHS providers. Virgin have launched a legal bid on the basis that there 'may have been serious flaws in the procurement process'.
The legal challenge raises serious concerns about the place of privatisation and outsourcing within the NHS, and previous experience from England has shown significant dissatisfaction and anger with the outsourcing of services - such as the incident in Nottingham in 2014 where several senior doctors resigned over concerns of private outsourcing of dermatology services to Circle. There were many vocal opponents to the move, with concerns that academic development and research would be sacrificed at the expense of profit margins.
Virgin Care currently holds over 400 NHS contracts including one valued at £700m for providing over 200 adult and child social care services in Bath and North East Summerset over a seven year period.
In Scotland, concerns have been raised over the knock on effect to services here - as NHS England pushes for tighter spending and increased limitations on services provided the effect to the block grant could be detrimental to Scottish NHS spending.
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