Virgin Care rejects Channel 4’s report as unbalanced and misleading despite efforts to provide Channel 4 with clear evidence showing that their intended report was inaccurate.
A spokesman said: “Virgin Care is a leading provider of high quality and safe NHS services and does not accept the deliberately misleading and potentially defamatory way Dispatches has chosen to represent its services and is disappointed that Channel 4 refused to allow Virgin Care to answer the allegations in person.
“Virgin Care has now treated over 2.5 million patients to high levels of satisfaction, improved the NHS services it delivers and saved millions of pounds for the NHS.”
Channel 4’s report fails to make clear that many of the services taken on by Virgin Care and its partners were significantly under performing when they were taken on. A major part of Virgin Care or its partners’ involvement in the NHS is to turn the services around and provide local people with the services that they deserve.
Virgin Care is also disappointed with the news gathering techniques employed by Channel 4’s production team and the fact that Dispatches refused to allow Virgin Care to respond in person on the programme.
In respect of the services highlighted within the report, Virgin Care wishes to clarify the following:
Channel 4’s report fails to take into account that the Kings Heath and Lings Brook Practices were significantly under performing when they were taken on and that several improvements have been made.
In addition, Channel 4 inaccurately alleged that the service was too reliant on locum GPs and that the commitment to provide extended access to GPs was not being met. At all times, sufficient qualified and experienced staff have been available to meet patient need in line with PCT service specification.
Deer Park Medical Centre
Channel 4’s report failed to take into account that Deer Park Medical Centre was significantly underperforming, which was why the contract to run it was put out to competitive tender. Virgin Care has invested a great deal of time, energy and money into turning the practice round. Following a visit on 18 October, Councillor Booty visited the practice and wrote to Virgin Care expressing his gratitude, and that of the Patients Group, with the significant improvement in performance we have achieved. This evidence was supplied to Channel 4 who chose not to feature it in their report.
Chlamydia screening, Teesside
The practice referred to in Channel 4’s report of promoting the benefits of screening using home Chlamydia screening kits to friends and family to take home chlamydia testing kits was already happening when Assura Stockton took the services on and was immediately stopped once it was brought to their attention, which is contrary to Channel 4’s misleading portrayal.
Since taking on the sexual health service Assura Stockton has significantly increased the proportion of 15-24 year olds screened for Chlamydia. The service has achieved its 2012/2013 target of screening 35% of 15-24 year olds for chlamydia, which is not only an improvement from the 21% screened when it took on the service, but is significantly higher than the national average of 24%.
Liverpool and Wirral
Virgin Care maintains that all clinicians across all of its services are appropriately qualified to provide services as per commissioners’ specifications.