Bath and North East Somerset Council approve ‘Virgin Care’ contract

Bath and North East Somerset Council has awarded a seven year contract to Virgin Care to deliver community health and care services in the area, following opposition from residents.

The Board of Bath and North East Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) approved the plans at a meeting, after a lengthy consultation process.

It is the first time a for-profit company will deliver a council's social care for adults.

The private company will run or oversee more than 200 health care and social care services in the area.

Preparations will now begin for services to be transferred to Virgin Care in April 2017.

John Drake, UNISON regional organiser, said: “It’s time to move forward together to build a stronger health service for local people. We’ve spoken to hundreds of staff since the bidding process began, and their dedication to doing the best for patients shone throughout.

“But staff are anxious about Virgin Care taking over. Services are already under intense strain because of the government's failure to invest in social care. Many community health staff are paid a pittance, despite the long hours they put in and their dedicated work.

“Employees need clear recognition from Virgin that a well-run health service means investment in staff. Our priority is an effective public service that values staff, and we will hold Virgin Care to the high standard that the workforce and the local community deserve.”