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Virgin fights commissioners

Virgin Care has begun what is likely to be a very drawn out battle with East Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Group.

After just over a year of providing community services under a “prime provider” contract, Virgin has demanded more money for its services.

As part of the prime provider contract, Virgin agreed to take on the financial risk and responsibility for coordinating certain community services in East Staffordshire for a fixed fee of £270m for seven years.

At the time, the of signing the contract was controversial, not least because the CCG said it would be financially unsustainable without it.

Now Virgin Care, presumably having realised the £270m financial envelope is not enough, has got stuck in to contract dispute with the CCG.

Sources told HSJ the private provider is requesting addition sums of up to £5m but the CCG was very clear in an FOI response to us that it is resisting any claims from Virgin for more money.

The company has refused to say why it is asking for more cash or if the contract is even sustainable at the current amount.

The unanswered questions are: Can the CCG can indefinitely resist Virgin’s demands? Could the private provider hand its contract back if the CCG does not yield? And where will commissioners be left if this does happen?