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Virgin Trains , Virgin Airlines And ... Virgin Care ? - Carers UK Forum

Virgin Trains , Virgin Airlines And ... Virgin Care ?

Discuss news stories and political issues that affect carers.
Not a joke !

For some , it will be a welcome to Virgin Care.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/201 ... h-somerset

Why ?

Is there money to be made ?

Priority to be delivering affordable care using trained staff or watching the bottom line ?

Free £ 10 voucher for a train journey on every further hour booked ?

Suffice to say , welcome to anyone not already slightly bemused as to the almost daily shocks this Sad New World tends to throw up.

Whose next ? MacDonalds ? Amazon ? Group 4 Security ? Perhaps a leading Insurance company touting funeral plans ... that would be a conflict of interest when it comes to the elderly .... especially in collaboration with the DWP ?

A new tv ad for a care home funded by a certain Insurance company .. a smiling Michael Parkinson greeting new LA funded residents .... " Welcome. I hope you don't stay long " ... mindfall of the need to discourage the riff raff in favour of fee payers ... smile Michael ... smile .... as the man behind the camera waves a few £ 20 notes as encouragement ?

I can smell the stench from here.

Why not just auction off the whole social care sector ? With the monies raised , and lives likely to be lost , the future will be looking rosy ... for those at the top , or having shareholdings / interests in the new providers.

After all , what do they know of social care beyond signing a cheque out of their loose change every once in awhile. For some . get the servant or maid on a zero hour contract at somewhere south of the minimum wage to write it out. No need to toll unnecessarily , your signature is all that's needed.

Then , give the accountant a call. There must be some way of offsetting the cost against tax ? Ask him to call back with the details. After all , it keeps the cost of phone calls down ?

I have every sympathy with those at the Eye now working 24 / 7. The choice for the next issues' front cover must be in the hundreds ... and that's just from the social care sector !
I do not see how public services can both serve the public and make a profit. It's happening in education too.

Citizens being packaged together as if they are mere goods to be sold off to the highest bidder whose number one priority is profit.

That's the free market economy for you. Austerity as a weapon to protect it.

Straight out of the Life of Brian .... " What did the bankers ever do for us " ... shifting his chains to stop cramp setting in , reaching for his crust when it was once bread ... and fresh too ... well , 3 days old !

No need to make it up , for many readers , just look out the window.
A little more on Virgin Care / NHS / Social Care kindly provided by the Eye :

View from a burning platform ?


Pigs in the trough ?

All encouraged by today's Government.

Whatever next ?

A link up with an outfit such as HomeTouch ?

Home carers turning up in Virgin uniforms armed with every leaflet going selling Virgin products ?

Perhaps a move into the funeral business provided that the potential " Conflict of Interest " temptations can be overcome ... in front of a judge ?

Take your pick.

If there is money to be made , some outfit will make it !
Some threads never remain dormant ?

https://www.theguardian.com/society/201 ... e-contract

NHS trusts win legal fight over Virgin Care child health contract.

Court throws out Lancashire council’s awarding of £104m services deal to private firm.

A decision by Lancashire county council to award a £104m contract for children’s healthcare services to Virgin Care has been thrown out after a legal challenge by NHS trusts.

A high court judge found the local authority’s process was flawed and the contract for services for children aged 0-19 should not have been awarded to the private provider late last year.

The case hinged on the scoring system used by the council when it reviewed rival bids for the deal, which the trusts claimed had been applied incorrectly.

The contract for delivering the Lancashire’s healthy child programme, which includes providing health visitors and school nurses, was advertised in September.

After the tender process, the local authority announced its preferred bidder was Virgin Care, part of Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group.

It was chosen over the existing providers – Lancashire Care NHS foundation trust and Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS foundation trust.

On Friday, the judge, Justice Stuart-Smith, upheld the trusts’ legal challenge, saying the council’s decision to score Virgin’s bid more highly than theirs was not adequately supported in its notes of the scoring procedure.

After reviewing them, he said he had “come to the conclusion that the reasons given were not sufficient in law in the circumstances of this case”.

A spokesperson for both trusts said: “As public bodies, the trusts are always reluctant to resort to legal action, in particular against other public bodies. However, we felt that we had submitted a strong bid and wanted to gain clarity on why we had not been successful.

“We believe the connectivity with other wider NHS services is important in terms of being able to fully meet the needs of the children and families who access these types of services in a joined-up way.

“We are proud of the services within this contract and our teams that deliver them.”

Virgin Care had been due to begin the five-year contract in April. However, after the legal proceedings began, the trusts were granted an extension until April 2019.

The council said this would stay in place while it considered its options.

Shaun Turner, the local authority’s cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “Putting services out to the market is not a political decision, it is simply part of what the county council is required to do in order to meet its legal obligations.

“Although we’re disappointed in the outcome of this judgment, we are reassured that with the exception of the moderation element, the county council’s procurement processes was appropriate and that individual panel members were not found to be at fault.”

Turner said the council would not be rerunning the procurement process or inviting new bids, as only the final part of the process had been judged as being flawed.

“Our existing contract with LCFT and Blackpool NHS Teaching Hospitals trust runs until March 2019, so there will be no disruption to these services,” he said.

“We recognise this is a stressful time for our health visitors and school nurses. We value the vital role they play and will continue to support them in delivering the best outcomes for our children and families.”

Virgin Care has been a growing provider of healthcare contracts awarded by NHS bodies and county councils, and offers similar child health services in other parts of the country.

The company was awarded £1.6m by NHS commissioning groups this week after legal action over a children’s services contract it missed out on in Surrey.

Perhaps the brown envelope was not thick enough ?

" How dare you insinuate that contracts are awarded in that manner ! "

Old as the hills , squire ... as old as the hills.

Still , no more excuses if a Virgin care worker arrives late ... " Signal failure at Retford " or " Delay in the baggage handling at Stanstead "" ... a whole new divison of Virgin ... Virgin Excuses PLC , registered in the BVI to handled them ???
https://www.theguardian.com/society/201 ... five-years

Virgin awarded almost £2bn of NHS contracts in the past five years.

Exclusive: Richard Branson’s company now one of UK’s leading healthcare providers, analysis reveals.

Virgin has been awarded almost £2bn worth of NHS contracts over the past five years as Richard Branson’s company has quietly become one of the UK’s leading healthcare providers, Guardian analysis has found.

In one year alone, the company’s health arm, Virgin Care, won deals potentially worth £1bn to provide services around England, making it the biggest winner among private companies bidding for NHS work over the period.

The company and its subsidiaries now hold at least 400 contracts across the public sector – ranging from healthcare in prisons to school immunisation programmes and dementia care for the elderly.

This aggressive expansion into the public sector means that around a third of the turnover for Virgin’s UK companies now appear to be from government contracts.

While some of Virgin’s UK subsidiaries have little of the parent company’s cash, others are wholly owned by Branson’s Virgin Group Holdings Limited, based in Road Town, Tortola.

Though there is nothing untoward about the arrangements, the growth of the company, the lack of transparency over the contracts is beginning to raise concerns among campaigners.

Last year, it won a cash settlement from several NHS trusts when it took court action over a children’s services contract in Surrey, with details of the £2m payout only revealed recently in their accounts.

Sara Gorton, the head of health at the trade union Unison, said: “The company has been so keen to get a foothold in healthcare, it’s even been prepared to go to court to win contracts, moves that have cost the NHS dearly.

“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 Essex

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 £117m in government payments in 2016-17.

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.

“We don’t know the final shape of it, but players like Virgin and Care UK clearly see a big opportunities for business to continue to deliver clinical services for the NHS.”

There you have it folks.

One beneficiary of our disfunctional NHS ... at the expense of just how many hundreds of thousands ?

Follow the money ... ours !
One very interesting article from this morning's Guardaian ... also posted on the VIRGIN CARE thread :

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfr ... on-branson

Virgin Care must be kept away from the NHS.

Privatisation has been a disaster for public services. The NHS should be in public hands, not run by corporations like Branson’s.

Richard Branson’s Virgin Care has hoovered up £2bn worth of NHS contracts over the past five years.

This should get the pulse rate of rightwing ideologues racing, and they will no doubt gleefully point to Virgin’s rhetoric about how these contracts have “saved the NHS and local authorities millions”. They will also undoubtedly trumpet the company’s claim that they have made no profit from these contracts and that Branson has said he will put any dividends he receives from these contracts back into the NHS. Heartwarming indeed.

But we need a second opinion; an alternative diagnosis. Branson may not seek personal gain from his private healthcare contracts, but it is clear that ideologically driven privatisation of public services is primarily concerned with the bottom line. The damning 100-page report by MPs earlier this year into the dramatic failure of Carillion, the private company that managed huge government construction projects as well as services ranging from school meals to NHS cleaning, summarised the company’s business model as “a relentless dash for cash”.

But is this a wise business tactic? Virgin need look no further than its own railway contracts to know how easily this private model can hit the buffers. Earlier this year the east coast mainline was brought back under government control, following the failure of franchise operators Stagecoach and Virgin Trains to get their sums rights. But in a clear example of the private-good, public-bad mentality that has blinded all governments in recent decades, this was the third time in a just over a decade that the government called in the East Coast franchise. Following the collapse of GNER in 2007 and National Express East Coast in 2009 it was taken back in-house and run as a not-for-private-profit outfit.

During this time the route generated a surplus for the Treasury and achieved the highest passenger satisfaction level of any long-distance franchise. But to ensure that public ownership never succeeds for long, the Tories privatised the route again, handing it to Virgin Trains and Stagecoach. As the TUC general secretary, Frances O’Grady, said: “Privatisation broke it. Public ownership fixed it. And now privatisation has broken it again.”

But what of the NHS ?

Is this any different – can the private sector, as the ideologues and Virgin Care claim, improve patient and employee satisfaction and save the NHS and local authorities millions ?

Perhaps the head of Virgin Care, Bart Johnson, can answer that. He was recently forced to apologise personally to staff in Bath following the company’s failures after they took charge of community health and care services in Bath and North East Somerset. Patients had appointments cancelled, letters and reports were not sent out, and nurses had problems updating patient records during the first months of the private contact. Virgin Care staff were even asked to “hold off” reporting their safety concerns to the health watchdog, despite having a legal obligation to do so if they feel their service is unsafe.

As for the company’s commitment to save the NHS and local authorities millions, suing NHS England and a county council is hardly the way to achieve this. In November 2016 Virgin Care sued six clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) after losing an £82m contract for children’s services to a rival bid involving a local NHS trust and two social enterprises. To settle, the CCGs paid Virgin an undisclosed sum.

With a responsive government and evidence-driven policy one would think the disastrous collapse of Carillion, the failings so evident in our privatised rail network, not to mention the total mess privatisation has made of the probation service, would have led to a pause and a rethink of the entire privatisation agenda. But research in 2014 showed that a fifth of ministers in the coalition government had links to private health companies, including both Andrew Lansley and Jeremy Hunt, we may be waiting a while.

Meanwhile, the NHS continues as a battleground; a war in which we know the public is overwhelmingly on one side and government ideologues and corporations like Virgin on the other.

This is a battle between a publicly funded, publicly provided health service and a healthcare system viewed as a market for the private sector.

The public must win this war, which is why Greens strongly back the campaign for NHS reinstatement to roll back the “internal market”, end contracting, and return the NHS to purely public provision. If we fail, corporations like Virgin will be left running our health service.

Hardly anything to argue about with this analysis ?

Virgin and other privately run operators are only in it for one thing ... profits !
Just a headline from this morning's Independent ... concern is growing ?
More than 100,000 demand Richard Branson 'stop dragging NHS through courts.'

Campaigners oppose private health firm winning £2bn in NHS contracts while engaging in legal battles against it

The petition, by campaign organisation 38 degrees, has gathered 107,898 signatures in a matter of days.