Having been contacted by dissatisfied constituents about their treatment by Virgin Care,

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper raised a question of the Health Secretary during Parliamentary Questions on issues surrounding Virgin Care and its current service and delivery within West Lancashire.

One resident whose leg wound opened after getting stitches removed, was told to go and buy her own dressings from the chemist.

MP Rosie asked Jeremy Hunt MP:

“What advice would the Secretary of State give to my constituents who receive their urgent care from Virgin Care, and are told that wounds should be dressed only once and that, in the event that they need to re-attend, they should purchase further dressings from the local chemist? Free at the point of delivery?”

The Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt responded:

“I suggest that the hon. Lady gets in touch with the details. What I would say is that when care is not satisfactory, whether it is delivered by the public sector or the independent sector, we have an independent inspection regime to root out the problems.”

Rosie Cooper MP commented on the issue:

“When this £65 million contract was awarded last year to Virgin Care, it was done so behind closed doors and kept health care professionals and residents in the dark. The response I gave then to my constituents was, if these services fail you, let me know. That is exactly what they have done.

“Other constituents have complained that services are being moved, others mentioned having been told that the blood test HbA1c is now only being done once a year for each patient.

“Patients have been concerned about diabetic and other services being moved and their access to those services. What is the consultation process?

“The Ormskirk Urgent Care Centre hours were reduced from 8am to 10pm before Christmas saying there were staffing difficulties with everyone expecting them to revert to the original hours when staffing was sorted. Instead of that, since the contract was awarded to Virgin, its opening hours have reduced further to 8pm.

“The Urgent Care centre was opened to allow access to a GP when surgeries were closed and to ease the burden on A&E.  These opening hours do not meet that need and it now transpires that Virgin do not always have a GP on site!

“West Lancashire CCG and Virgin Care promised us that patients would receive quality treatment and care but the reality has been starkly different. This isn’t what the CCG promised, it is cut price medicine which doesn’t fit the bill. It is yet another clear example of their actions not matching their words.

“This treatment is exactly what I, local GPs and health service patients were worried about. Virgin Care have sent a very strong message to my constituents -; we offer a basic cheap service and after that you’re on your own.

“There needs to be comprehensive scrutiny of decisions taken by West Lancashire CCG and they publicly need to be held to account about the management of Virgin Care and the clinical outcomes.”

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