13. July 2012 10:56
Virgin Care has gained a £130m deal to provide NHS and social care services for children and young adults in Devon.
Richard Branson’s company will take over 1,100 staff currently employed in children’s services by NHS Devon and Devon county council.
The integrated services were put out to tender as a single contract.
Virgin, which gained a £500m contract to provide community health services in Surrey in March, is becoming a major NHS presence in the south of England.
It gained the three-year Devon contract ahead of two rival bidders that were partnerships: Devon Partnership NHS Trust with charities Barnado’s, Young Devon and Interserve; and Cornwall Partnership NHS Trust with Serco.
The company says its one year’s experience of working with charity Kids’ Company has equipped it for this role.
Branson’s Virgin group purchased health provider Assura Medical in 2010 and rebranded it Virgin Care this year. The company now runs 120 NHS services.
Rebecca Harriott, Director of Commissioning Development at NHS Devon, said the PCT cluster had “been careful to involve as many stakeholders as possible in the evaluation process including young people, parents and carers and professionals such as GPs and head teachers.
“Bringing together community-based health and social care staff has brought many benefits for children, young people, parents and carers,” she added. “Keeping these services together and developing them further means finding the right provider with the right vision and commitment.”