Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Care has been declared to be the suitable bidder for running services for children and young people in the Devon area, which is worth a £130m contract. The contract gives them the responsibility of running the services, which used to be run by NHS Devon and Devon county council.
It has been reported that Virgin Care will be taking up the responsibility of the services of the south-west by next year March and will be accountable for the services for the next three years.
However, critics have warned: “Such deals herald the breakup of the NHS, with private firms cherry picking services”.
Previous reports suggest that even earlier, Virgin was named as the preferred bidder for running community health services under a £500m contract with NHS Surrey. At that time, the company has to surpass two of its rival bidders, one of which was an association of Devon Partnership NHS Trust with three other charities and the other one was Serco with Cornwall Partnership NHS Trust.
Under this new contract, the company will be undertaking more than 1,100 staff, which was employed by the earlier service providers. The staff was deployed to keep a check on about 2,400 children with disabilities or had mental health problems.
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