Virgin set to lose Devon children’s services contract

Virgin Care looks set to lose its six-year contract to run children’s services in Devon as commissioners have selected an NHS consortium as preferred bidders.

Northern, Eastern and Western Devon and South Devon and Torbay CCGs have confirmed that a new seven-year contract, with a possible three-year extension, will run from April 2019.

Virgin’s contract, which has been in place since 2012, was extended by 12 months last October so commissioners could plan a new procurement process.

According to HSJ, Virgin submitted a bid to keep its contract.

However, the CCGs have awarded preferred bidder status to Devon Children and Families Alliance for the running of children’s services in Devon and Torbay, and have named Livewell Southwest preferred bidder for children and special education needs and disability services in Plymouth.

The Devon and Torbay contract is worth £23.8m a year while the Plymouth contract is valued at  £12.5m annually.

Devon Children and Families Alliance is made up of Torbay & South Devon NHS Foundation Trust in partnership with Devon Partnership NHS Trust, Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust, Livewell Southwest and Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust.

A Virgin spokesperson said the operator had not had ‘formal’ feedback from the CCGs beyond a public statement put out last Thursday (27 September) and said the procurement process was ongoing.

He said: ‘We are proud of what we have achieved over the last six years: significantly improving the services, making them easier to access and reducing waiting times which resulted in the Care Quality Commission rating our services as Good.

‘Supporting our valued and hardworking colleagues through the next few months and ensuring services continue to support the children and young people in Devon is our absolute priority.’