CQC say Virgin Care can demonstrate it improves patient care in the community services it runs

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CQC inspectors have travelled across England to inspect Virgin Care Community Services sites as part of a new, comprehensive programme of independent sector inspections and found evidence of sustained improvements to patient care, ‘outstanding’ leadership, management and governance and positive feedback from patients and colleagues.

Inspectors from the government’s independent watchdog visited multiple Virgin Care Community Services sites in Lincolnshire, Bury, Oldham, Wiltshire , Surrey and corporate offices and spoke with the Executive Team in both announced and unannounced inspections during February, March and April to look at whether services are safe, effective, caring, responsive to people’s needs and well-led.  Virgin Care Services were rated good overall.

Published by the CQC on Thursday (10 August), the report says Inspectors saw that the organisation could “demonstrate through documented evidence that following acquisition of services they had managed to bring about a sustained, significant improvements to patient care,” going on to say that “staff spoke positively…and felt they were supported to provide good care.”

The report highlighted improvements in Wiltshire Children’s Services where clinical governance scores had been improved from 45% when Virgin Care took on the service (April 2016) to 85% and said they’d seen “similar patterns of improvement” in other new services.

The report not only praised the safety and effectiveness of Virgin Care Services but also the outstanding leadership, management and governance. The inspection team found a “strong assurance framework and sound governance systems” were used to bring about improvements while Virgin Care’s rolling programme of ‘internal service reviews’– six-monthly inspections of services based around the CQC’s five key questions – with results reviewed by the Board, were commended.

Inspectors also found:

  • Safety as a key consideration when services were transferred into and out of the organisation, with a bespoke 100 day plan for each service following go-live assessing services to identify crucial improvements and provide newly-transferred staff with support.
  • Positive feedback from colleagues, who said they had the right tools to deliver improvements, reporting good support from corporate and regional Virgin Care teams
  • Senior managers taking an open approach in a supportive environment, a supportive environment and Freedom to Speak Up Guardians supported by an anonymous online platform.
  • “People were very positive about the services they received” from Virgin Care Services, giving several examples of positive feedback the CQC received from patients. Feedback on the NHS Friends and Family Test is also positive, with consistently high scores and response rates.
  • Achievement of the Cybersecurity Standards of General Data Protection Regulation, mapping 22,000 data flows within the organisation and ensuring it was prepared for the new GDPR rules which take effect from May 2018.

Positive changes being made as part of the Feel the Difference Fund, a £100,000 ring-fenced fund for ideas from frontline colleagues which would improve the patient experience, and from the ‘You Said, We Did’ scheme which sees Virgin Care make more than 1,000 changes each year based on feedback from people who use services, were also praised.

The report includes ratings for safety (good), whether services are effective (good), caring (good), responsive (good) with an outstanding rating in the ‘well led’ domain for leadership, management and governance.

Dr Peter Taylor, Clinical Director at Virgin Care, said: “I am immensely proud of the services we deliver across England and every single member of our 7,000-strong team for delivering good, safe services and continually improving them for the people who use and rely on them.

“While we welcome this very positive report we will continue to focus on how we can improve, make the best use of technology to deliver more joined-up care, and ensure that people using our services, the dedicated people who work for us and the communities we serve feel the difference.”

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