Extra nurses, new tech & more to come in Kent

Virgin Care has reduced waiting times, filled more than half of the vacant nursing posts they inherited and begun introducing ‘mobile working’ technology, after their first 100 days running NHS community services in North Kent.

Virgin Care started providing North Kent Adult Community Services in September 2016. The services they now provide in Dartford, Gravesham, Swanley and Swale include speech and language therapy, neuro-rehabilitation and management for people with long term conditions. Virgin Care was picked by the local NHS commissioners (who buy healthcare on behalf of local people) to reduce the use of non-permanent staff and make services more efficient.

Since taking on the services Virgin Care has recruited 45 new permanent colleagues to the services, filling more than half of the vacancies they inherited when they took on the services and recruitment is continuing to fill the remaining posts.

To date, Virgin Care has run three recruitment events and run local and national adverts to attract nurses and other colleagues to join the services and help service users in North Kent feel the difference.

During the first 100 days, Virgin Care has also launched the care co-ordination centre to provide support to services across North Kent, giving service users, doctors and others one point of contact for all of the services. Virgin Care has also begun to introduce mobile working technology, freeing up colleagues from unnecessary journeys to office bases by allowing clinicians secure access to patient records and notes while ‘on the road’.

Building on that success, over the coming months Virgin Care’s team will continue work with GPs, patients and frontline teams to refine and implement long-term transformation plans, introducing tele-health solutions and supporting a reduction in acute hospital admissions.

Patient forums, Virgin Care’s Citizens Panel and other opportunities for local people to work with Virgin Care to improve services will also be introduced in coming months.

Richard Comerford, Regional Operations Director at Virgin Care, said: “Since September, thanks to the hard work of our dedicated colleagues we’ve made significant progress at improving services.

“We’ve welcomed more than 40 people to the team, while many more are currently going through the recruitment process; feedback from patients has been overwhelmingly positive but there is still more to do, and we’re looking forward to continuing our work over the coming years.”

While they work to fill the remaining vacancies, Virgin Care has secured agreements with agencies to fill the roles on a daily basis, making sure that the services are fully staffed.


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