COMMERCIAL: Conservative MP for Woking Jonathan Lord claimed in a parliament debate last month that community services in part of Surrey had improved since they were taken over by Virgin.

Virgin Care signed a £500m community services contract last year with NHS Surrey to deliver services including eight community hospitals in North West and South West Surrey. The contract, which started in April 2012, is due to end in 2017.

In a debate on the involvement of private companies in the public sector, Mr Lord said: “My Surrey community healthcare contract has gone to Virgin Care.

“Even within the first six months of operation, using much the same staff, but lifting the bar and using new working methods, the average waiting time for referral for a first appointment has gone down from 31 days to 19 days, and the waiting time to see a community nurse has gone down from seven days to two days.

“Customer satisfaction has risen from 71% to 82%,” he told the Commons.