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Virgin Care has been given a £700 million contract to operate more than 200 NHS services, the first time a company will deliver a council’s social care for adults. Bath and North East Somerset councillors backed the contract by 35 votes to 22 at a council meeting in Bath.

The settlement came following a vote by health bosses at the council’s NHS clinical commissioning group (CCG), which allowed the contract to go ahead. Preparations will start for adult social care, sustaining healthcare and children’s community health to be given over to Virgin Care, controlled by Sir Richard Branson, on April 1 in a seven-year agreement.

According to Virgin Care, their purpose is to make a genuine difference to people’s lives by giving services that are without charge, are greater than previously, give a great experience for everybody, and save the NHS and public money.

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Supposedly they are going to give front line NHS and social care services across the country. Since 2006 they have treated more than seven million people giving care good enough for families.

Their purpose is to make a genuine distinction to people’s lives by offering NHS and social care services that are:

Free at the point of need
Better than what went before
A great experience for everyone
Better value for the public and the NHS
We understand that it’s our people living our values that makes us who we are, and it’s about how together we can make a difference.

What do they mean, to the point of need?

A National Health Service free at the point of use will shortly be unsustainable if the political parties do not come forth with comprehensive strategies for reform. Idle health spending coupled with ever increasing costs and demand suggest the NHS is suffering the most challenging period in its 65-year existence.

In a candid evaluation of the risks encountered by the health service, senior officials at the confederation say that the two years following the next general election will be crucial in determining whether the NHS can continue to provide free health care for all patients.

Treasury funding for the service will be at best level in real terms, given that demand remains to increase, medications cost more, and NHS inflation is greater than general inflation, the NHS is facing a funding hiatus calculated at up to £30 billion by 2020.

They claim that the NHS must change from a health service intended to address the needs of the 1960s, with a focus on hospital care and handling of critical sickness and trauma, into a service fully implemented to look after people with long-term ailments, with a focus on community care.

If they do not achieve a post-election drive for change it is quite likely the prevailing foundation of the NHS free for all at the point of need will become unsustainable in the future.

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