Community and primary care provider Assura Medical is to rebrand as Virgin Care, two years after Virgin bought a controlling stake in the company.

The company operates GP practices through local “GPCos” in partnership with medics, and runs NHS-funded urgent care centres and community services. It provides around 80 separate NHS services.

The company is also the preferred bidder for a huge contract to run community services in south west and north west Surrey. NHS Surrey is carrying out due diligence tests ahead of confirming the deal.

Virgin Care chief executive Bart Johnson told HSJ the company decided against the name change in 2010 because the acquisition was taking place, and because Assura Medical is “well known and well respected within the NHS”.

But he said: “Most people now think of us as Virgin [and are] asking us when we’re going to rebrand.”

Mr Johnson said corporate branding would be changed and, for example, services would now be named Virgin in referral systems.

However, he said the appearance of its practices and other services would be largely unaffected, as they use the same NHS branding as others. He said there was no change in the company’s personnel or strategy.