Virgin Care has been awarded two five year contracts to provide community and urgent care services for a clinical commissioning group in Lancashire.

West Lancashire CCG launched a tender process for the services after the Care Quality Commission raised concerns about Southport and Ormskirk Hospitals Trust, the incumbent provider.

Older man in bed with health worker tending to him

Older man in bed with health worker tending to him

The community services contracts are worth £45m over five years

Private firm Optum, Lancashire Care Foundation Trust and Bridgewater Community Healthcare FT were also shortlisted for further discussions about the community services contract, which was previously advertised as being worth £45m over five years.

Optum and Virgin Care were the only bidders shortlisted for the urgent care services contract, including GP out of hours provision and a walk-in centre in Skelmersdale, for a contract worth around £20m over five years.

Virgin Care will start delivering the services in April.

Neighbouring Southport and Formby CCG has also recently tendered its community services, which were also run by Southport and Ormskirk Hospital Trust. This contract has been awarded to Lancashire Care FT.

The loss of the contracts could signal a significant change in direction for SOHT, which will also be subject to a “major services review” as part of the regional sustainability and transformation plan.

John Caine, chair of West Lancashire CCG, said: “Through the bid Virgin Care demonstrated a true understanding of our vision and we are assured it will deliver a quality service for our local community within this new model of care.

“Virgin Care will now work closely with the existing provider, Southport and Ormskirk Hospital Trust, in the run up to delivering the services from 1 April 2017. The CCG and Virgin Care will also be talking to the local community about their plans and welcoming views during this next phase of the process.

“Although this is a change in the provider, patients will still receive safe, quality treatment and care during this period of transition.”