Virgin Care staff in B&NES thanked for hard work and dedication

Kirsty Matthews, Managing Director of Virgin Care’s Bath and North East Somerset Community Health and Care Services contract which aims to join-up health and social care services and help people stay well, has recognised the achievements of the hard working and dedicated staff for their support on the 1st anniversary of the contract start date.

Since the transfer, Virgin Care has set about delivering the first year in its three year plan of transformation including training and up-skilling colleagues, building the foundations of a new technology system which will mean health and social care workers spend less time in the office and more time face-to-face with people who use services, and begun a number of community engagement projects through the Citizens’ Panel.

Since 1 April 2017, Virgin Care has made significant progress including:

  • Inductions and training for colleagues on new systems – ‘arrivals’ events held throughout the year across Bath and North East Somerset welcomed our 1,300 colleagues who transferred and new starters who have applied and joined since then.
  • Launching its Citizens’ Panel, a virtual panel of local people who are informed, asked and involved in transformation projects locally. The panel has been involved in providing feedback on experiences of services helping people with falls, co-produced leaflets and documentation for new services and met in person to make suggestions about future work.
  • Launching the Feel the Difference scheme including staff awards, goals and funding.
  • Begun planning work for the rollout of the Integrated Care Record, which will mean people using services will only need to tell their story once.
  • Rolling out a new computer network, desktop and laptop computers and phone system.
  • Launched the first phase of a new website, giving local people a ‘single front door’ for services – work which will continue into year 2 and 3.
  • Begun work to re-launch the ‘wellness’ service during Year 2, as a key part of the roadmap to deliver services which support local people to stay well, not just get well.

Virgin Care has also worked with its commissioners Bath and North East Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group, the Royal United Hospitals Bath and South Western Ambulance Service to deliver a falls ‘rapid response’ service, avoiding unnecessary hospital admissions and improving outcomes by helping service users stay at home with additional support and receive help and advice to avoid future falls from experts.

Photo by Guy Harrop. Pic of Virgin Care photoshoot around Bath image copyright guy harrop 07866 464282

Through its ‘Feel the difference fund’, a £100,000-ringfenced pot which is invested in ideas to help people feel the difference suggested and implemented by frontline colleagues, Virgin Care has also invested in additional improvements. Ideas are voted on by members of the public through the Citizens’ Panel and by a “panel of peers” from within Virgin Care to decide where the money is spent.

Successful applications for funding in Bath and North East Somerset included a choir to help people who have had a stroke to build and practice their communication skills, an ‘electronic lobby sign’ to help people find their way around St Martin’s Community Hospital for outpatient appointments and a ‘meet and greet’ event for Shared Lives Carers.

Carers often work in very isolated environments and the ‘meet and greet’ was an opportunity for peer support as well as shared learning.

Kirsty Matthews, Managing Director of the Bath and North East Somerset Community Health and Care Service, said: “The past year has not been without challenges which we have both recognised and apologised for, but the hard work and dedication of the whole team means we have still achieved a great deal of work both within the community services and across the local health system, with our partners.

“We are now fully focused on continuing to work with local people and colleagues to deliver the vision of ‘Your Care, Your Way’ – joined up, co-ordinated services which are easier to navigate and support people to stay well not just get well.”

Projects for Virgin Care’s second year of the contract include building on:

  • ‘Three Conversations’ – a project which will see social care workers come together to identify potential changes and improvements to social care services for adults. The project will bring together experts from across Bath and North East Somerset to share each other’s experience, case studies and data to improve services for local people.
  • Launching the first phase of the ‘care co-ordination’ project, which will bring services together and improve outcomes by providing a single point of expert contact for service users, carers and local health professionals

Local people wanting to be get involved in the changes or hear more regular updates can sign up at There’s no commitment, and members can chose to take part in individual projects as their time and preferences allow.

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