Virgin Care continues to encourage locals to sign up to its Citizens’ Panel

Virgin Care – the independent sector provider delivering community and urgent care NHS services in West Lancashire – is encouraging locals to sign up to its Citizens’ Panel, a virtual group of local people who want to be informed, asked and involved in delivering transformation, as it gears up to mark its first full year in May.

West Lancashire CCG – the NHS organisation responsible for purchasing NHS care on behalf of local people – commissioned Virgin Care to deliver community and urgent care services with an ambitious set of transformations which would improve outcomes and reduce hospital admissions, ultimately making it easier to access community services for local people and GPs.

Transformation the NHS asked Virgin Care to complete included introducing mobile working technology to allow nurses to spend more time with patients and less time traveling to and from the office, and a care co-ordination service for community services to make it easier to access services and co-ordinate the care of local people.

Virgin Care launched its Citizens Panel, a virtual group of local people who are informed, asked and involved in delivering the plan by the organisation, several months later and sign ups remain open to local people who want to know more and get involved in the plans.

Anyone registered with a West Lancashire GP can join the Citizens’ Panel online at http://westlancscommunityhealth.nhs.uk/citizenspanel/get-involved/signup/, or by contacting Virgin Care on 0300 303 1950.

Since taking on the services, Virgin Care has delivered or started to deliver more than 15 transformation projects including:

  • The first stage of the care co-ordination service, a Single Point of Access (SPA), service has launched for anyone who wants to contact our community services for any reason including patients, carers, GPs, Care Homes etc. All services operated are now accessible via a single telephone number with a temporary ‘automated system’ allowing patients to navigate between services. This will be replaced with a new team of care co-ordinators who will answer all calls in the next few months.
  • Working with the local acute hospitals, Virgin Care has introduced the ‘Discharge 2 Assess’ scheme, helping to reduce delayed transfers of care from hospitals into the community.
  • Introduced the foundations of new technology – with brand new computers, iPads, network and phones – in order to move to an efficient paperless service supporting the vision of mobile working
  • Introduced a number of staff development programmes including MindCoach, ServiceCoach, TypeCoach – Virgin Care’s change programme – and clinical upskilling to meet the demands of service users
  • Worked with the Commissioners to define the ‘outcomes’ which will be used to measure Virgin Care’s performance in the coming years, this includes patient experience measures launching in year one to ensure services are tailored and meet the needs of people who use services
  • Extended opening hours at the Skelmersdale walk-in centre to match Ormskirk, with both services now open from 8am until 8pm every day improving the access for patients

Elsewhere in England, where Virgin Care has introduced care co-ordination services it has helped improve outcomes – reducing a need for local people to be admitted to hospital and visit A&E – and improved people’s experience by answering the phone more quickly and providing answers to most patients’ questions with just one phone call.

Citizens’ Panel members are being informed, asked and involved about the progress of the transformation programme through surveys, meetings, workshops and events.  Members’ events, that’ll include a range of engagement activities, are being planned for the anniversary period to introduce the plan for delivering the transformation programme for the second year.

Michelle Lee, Managing Director for Virgin Care in West Lancashire, said: “We’ve had a very successful first year, delivering the transformation plan the local NHS asked us to deliver and while our focus remains on continuing to deliver the next year of the plan it’s also a good time to take stock and to acknowledge what we’ve achieved.

“This would not have been possible without the hard work of the colleagues who joined us on the transfer day – we are so grateful for their continued dedication.”

Colleagues who worked for the previous provider transferred to Virgin Care with the services. Patient care continued uninterrupted throughout the transfer, and colleagues’ transferred to Virgin Care Services Limited with their terms and conditions and pay protected under TUPE regulations.

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