Virgin Healthcare: Some Things You Might Like to Know


Information provided by  the NHS Support Federation.

Virgin operate some GP services as well as walk in centres in Hull and are part of the aggressive move to privatise the NHS in our area. £30 million worth of NHS contracts were privatised here in Hull during 2014 including physiotherapy. This is the company stalking our local NHS!

Who are Virgin Healthcare?

Virgin Care Ltd was founded in March 2010 when Virgin acquired a majority stake in Assura Medical; the renaming took place in March 2012. Assura began life in 2003 as a property investment company, The Medical Property Investment Fund Limited (MPIF), which then became Assura Medical in 2006. The property arm of Assura continues to trade as a separate company listed on the LSE as Assura Group Ltd. Virgin Care is ultimately controlled by Richard Branson and his family through a complicated network of companies in the UK and elsewhere including in tax havens. Baroness Morgan of Huyton, an ex-director of failed care home firm Southern Cross, is a paid member of the advisory committee board for Virgin Group Holdings Ltd. As Sally Morgan she ran Tony Blair’s office when he was UK prime minister.

What do they do?

Virgin Care now has contracts in a number of areas including musculoskeletal, dermatology, children and young person’s health and sexual health services. They are moving away from GP control (too complicated and risky profit wise) to high turnover/ high profit NHS contracts. Since 2010 Virgin Care has won contracts for NHS work totaling almost £1 billion. However, this is likely to be an underestimate as several contract awards have not been reported publicly or the monetary value of the contract has not been disclosed.

A £280 million contract won in March 2015 to provide services for the frail and elderly in East Staffordshire. Virgin Care will be the prime provider under this contract and could sub-contract the work to other organisations.

In early 2015, Virgin Care was reported to be bidding for the end-of-life care contract worth £535 million which is out to tender from four Staffordshire CCGS; this is one of two 10 year “prime provider” contracts – the other being for cancer care that together are worth £1.2bn.

Cooking the Books.

Virgin encountered problems in Teesside, where the company provides sexual health tests. The service repeatedly missed targets on the numbers of people screened for Chlamydia. A memo revealed staff were asked to take home testing kits to use on friends and family to help make the numbers up.

Tax Avoidance.

In March 2015, an investigation by Richard Murphy a chartered accountant at Tax Research UK, published in The Guardian, highlighted the use of tax havens by Virgin Care. The investigation found 13 holding companies, some of them offshore, between Virgin Care and its ultimate parent company, based in the British Virgin Islands, a tax haven.

Virgin Care does not currently record a profit in the UK after administrative expenses, but the company borrows money solely from a holding company and says it will repay that loan, which will be corporation tax-deductible, when a profit starts to be recorded. That holding company is based in the UK but it, in turn, owes money to other parts of the Virgin empire, whose ultimate parent company is in the British Virgin Islands. Its principal beneficiaries are billionaire businessman Sir Richard Branson and his family. According to Murphy the company structure makes it unlikely that Virgin Care will pay any tax in the UK in the foreseeable future.

No wonder Virgin are so desperate to cling onto and hide behind the NHS logo! Trust is everything when it comes to patient/ medical professional relationships.





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