• Virgin Care has partially terminated its prime provider contract with East Staffordshire CCG
  • The private provider has terminated all elements of the contract for which it does not directly deliver services
  • It follows an 18 month contractual dispute with the commissioners in which Virgin Care asked for £5m extra funding

Virgin Care has terminated large parts of a controversial prime provider contract in the West Midlands, HSJ can reveal

Following an 18-month dispute with East Staffordshire CCG, Virgin Care has terminated all commissioning elements of its £270m prime provider contract. 

On 25 September the provider handed the CCG partial termination notices for all services it is not the direct provider of. This includes hospital-based services, 111 and out of hours services.

Services provided directly by Virgin Care, which will remain part of the contract include community nursing, specialist nursing, care coordination and care navigation. 

In 2015 East Staffordshire CCG awarded Virgin Care a fixed price, seven-year, prime provider contract worth £270m for community services. 

As part of the contract, called “Improving lives”, Virgin Care took on the responsibility for the commissioning and integration of services for frail elderly patients and people with long term conditions.

When the contract was initially awarded, former chief officer for the CCG, Tony Bruce, told HSJ the commissioner did not have the capacity to integrate services and that it would be unsustainable without the deal. 

In October last year HSJ reported Virgin Care had demanded an additional £5m in funding from the CCG for the contract. 

In a statement to HSJ, a spokesman for East Staffordshire CCG said: “The Improving Lives contract which Virgin Care have with East Staffordshire CCG is a prime contractor contract and as such Virgin Care do not provide all of the services it covers themselves, but they have sub-contracts with other organisations to provide some of the services.”

“From May/June 2019 East Staffordshire CCG will enter into contracts for the services terminated by Virgin Care directly with the providers of those services instead of requiring Virgin Care to negotiate sub-contracts for them.”

The statement added any contractual changes will not impact patients as the services will continue to be provided as they currently are.

A spokesman for Virgin Care said: “We are committed to delivering the vision of the Improving Lives Programme in East Staffordshire, improving outcomes for older people and those with long term conditions. However, since this programme was established there have been significant changes to the commissioning landscape nationally.

“Reflecting this, we have discussed and agreed changes in the local contracting arrangements with the CCG – ensuring the changes will not impact patients with services continuing as they are today without interruption. We will continue to deliver improvements in the services we directly deliver as part of the Improving Lives Programme.”