Private firm’s involvement in NHS “looks and smells bad”

By Midsomer Norton & Radstock   |   Editor   |
Thursday 3rd March 2022 9:00 am
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No private company will have any decision-making powers on how public money is spent following a shakeup of health services.

Campaigners said it “looks bad and smells bad” for HCRG Care Group – the new name for Virgin Care – to have a place on the partnership board for B&NES, Swindon and Wiltshire.

Speaking last month, Baroness Thornton said: “The objective is that private providers cannot have any part in decisions about how NHS resources are allocated or how contracts are placed.”

Johnbosco Nwogbo, the lead campaigner at We Own It, said: “How can people in Somerset be sure that the care they are getting is the best that can be given to them, when there may be people involved in the decision-making process that may be trying to profit from the decisions.

“It looks bad and it smells bad. It is very important that the newly designated chair of the local ICS board, Stephanie Elsy, makes a public commitment that Virgin Care and any private company will not be allowed to sit on the board deciding how our NHS money is spent.”

Ms Elsy has now made that commitment, saying: “I am happy to confirm that HCRG Care Group will not have a place on the future ICB board – nor will any other private provider.

“It currently includes HCRG Care Group and Medvivo because they are providers of local community services. But these meetings will end before the new legislation puts our integrated care system on a statutory footing.”

HCRG Care Group said: “We were invited by the NHS to sit on the partnership board in BSW as we deliver vital community services. The partnership board doesn’t make any decisions about how NHS resources are allocated or how contracts are placed.”

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