FAQs

Following consultation with the local community, the CCG and Council decided to adopt a prime provider model to deliver community health and social care services in the area. 

The prime provider will be responsible for coordinating over 200 community health and social care services. Whilst they will directly deliver some of the services themselves, they will also work in partnership with a wide range of local organisations and sub-contract some services to other providers.

Many services will be delivered directly by the prime provider but others will be subcontracted to other organisations.

Click here to view a full list of the services within the scope of the contract and how they will be delivered. 

  • Age UK Bath and North East Somerset
  • Alzheimer's Society
  • Arch Care
  • Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust
  • Bath & North East Somerset Carers’ Centre
  • Bath & North East Somerset Council
  • Bath Ethnic Minority Senior Citizens Association
  • Bath Mind
  • Candlelight Home Care
  • Care South
  • Carewatch
  • Children's Hospice South West (Charlton Farm)
  • Clean Slate
  • Community Pharmacies
  • Creativity Works
  • CURO
  • DeafPlus
  • Developing Health and Independence
  • Dorothy House Hospice Care
  • Eddystone Trust
  • Freeways
  • Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • Guinness Housing Association
  • Julian House
  • Keyring - Living Support Networks
  • Knightstone Housing Association
  • Kumari
  • Methodist Homes Housing Association
  • Off The Record, BANES
  • Options for Living
  • Phoenix
  • Quartet
  • Rethink
  • Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust
  • RV Care
  • Safe & Sound
  • Specialist Drugs and Alcohol Service (SDAS)
  • Second Step Housing Association
  • Sirona care & health
  • Solon South West Housing Association
  • Somerset Care and Repair
  • Soundwell Music Therapy Trust
  • SPA Peggy Dodd
  • St Mungo’s
  • St Peter’s Hospice
  • Stonham (a division of Home Group Ltd)
  • Stroke Association
  • Supported Independence
  • Swallow
  • Swan Advocacy
  • Way Ahead
  • West of England Centre for Inclusive Living (WECIL)
  • Wiltshire Community Health
  • Your Say Advocacy

Two organisations bid for the new prime provider contract:

1. Virgin Care
 
2. LiNK – a partnership of local providers comprising:
 
  • Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust
  • Bath and North East Somerset Enhanced Medical Services (BEMS+)
  • Dorothy House Hospice Care
  • Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust
  • Sirona care & health
Over 50 service users, carers and subject matter experts have been involved in evaluating the two bids. Their individual scores and feedback have been combined and agreed to identify Virgin Care as the preferred bidder.
 

Virgin Care’s bid has faced intense scrutiny throughout a very rigorous process. The CCG and the Council have studied their financial, economic and legal arrangements in forensic detail in line with Government guidance and we are satisfied that they are fully compliant.

People told us they want more care closer to home.  Virgin Care will organise their services around GP practices so that people have access to a wider range of health and care professionals in their local community to improve the health and wellbeing of the community.
 
People told us that the separation between different services can make it harder to get the right support. Virgin Care plan to set up a care coordination centre so you only need to speak to one person to access all the services that can help you. 
 
People told us they only want to tell their story once. Virgin Care have tried and tested technology that will join up both health and social care records securely so that everyone involved in a person’s care and support, including the person themselves, has access to the information they need.
Virgin Care delivers more than 250 health and care services around the country. They have cared for more than five million people since they started running services in 2006. 
 
We spoke to a number of other commissioners that have awarded contracts to Virgin Care as well as partners and sub-contractors that work with them. The feedback gathered from these interviews provided evidence of an “outstanding” approach to transitioning services resulting in very positive outcomes for the people in their care as well as for the workforce.  In all cases the references demonstrated that Virgin Care have a strong track record for delivering on their promises.
The aim of the CCG and the Council is to deliver the best health and wellbeing outcomes for our population and we will work with any organisation that can help us to do that whether they are classed as public sector, private sector or voluntary sector.
 
We have commissioned organisations to deliver health and care services in the community for a number of years including community interest companies, charities and private providers such as domiciliary care agencies. This process has been about finding the best possible organisation to coordinate community services for local people.
 
Virgin Care has a proven track record of improving outcomes, operating over 250 NHS and social care services across the country. They successfully work alongside a range of providers in other areas including local and national charities, care providers, local businesses, hospital trusts and GPs. Their national scale means that innovations from elsewhere in the country can easily be replicated in B&NES.

Any surplus Virgin Care has generated to date has been reinvested back into improving services including multi-million pound investments in technology and award-winning training programmes for staff.

Virgin Care has agreed that this practice of reinvestment will be continued in Bath and North East Somerset and the CCG and the Council will hold them to this commitment in two ways.

Firstly, there will be a clause in the contract which requires any financial surplus to be reinvested into services in B&NES. Secondly, there will be a cap on management and administration costs to ensure that money is directed into front line services.

The services provided by Virgin Care will be funded by the CCG and the Council. The vast majority of services will continue to be free at the point of access. Some social care services such as domiciliary care and day services will continue to be subject to a financial assessment and may require contributions from service users. This represents no change from current arrangements.

One of the top priorities for community services identified by local people and professionals is to “join up the information” so that people don’t have to repeat their story every time they see a new professional.

Virgin Care has invested in secure technology that will allow people to view their integrated care record and control how information is shared with health and care professionals as well as their own choice of friends, relatives or carers. The system will pull data together from a range of clinical systems across social care, GP practices and hospitals subject to the appropriate consent.

Any organisation providing NHS services must adhere to very strict protocols for managing your personal data and Virgin Care must adhere to these.

We are lucky to have such a talented and hardworking team of health and care professionals delivering community services in B&NES. Their skills, experience and compassion are vital for the delivery of high quality care so we expect the vast majority will continue in their current roles when the new contract begins on 1 April although they may be working for a different organisation.

Any members of the workforce that are required to transfer to another organisation under TUPE regulations will retain their existing terms and conditions, pay, and pension.

The CCG and the Council will ensure that everyone receiving health and care services in B&NES has continuity of care and experiences clear improvements as the community’s priorities begin to be delivered.

 

The demand on local services is increasing rapidly as people are living longer with more complex conditions.  If we carry on running services in the same way as we do now then we will run out of money. We need a new approach to delivering health and care services that is focussed on keeping people healthy and independent for as long as possible.  
 
Our consultation with local people identified their top five priorities were:
 
A person, not a condition
A single plan
Invest in the workforce
Focus on prevention
Join up IT systems
This is not a cost-cutting exercise. We are awarding a contract worth £69.2 million a year for seven years with the option to extend for a further three years which is in line with our current spending on community services.
The scope of this project includes over 200 services and bringing these together into a simple and easy to use system will take time. A seven year contract allows enough time to plan for the future health and care needs of local people as well as supporting the next generation. The contract length also gives reassurance to the prime provider that they can invest time and money in long term projects to transform services.
The CCG and the Council must follow strict Government guidance about procurement for a contract of this size.  We must advertise the contract to any qualified provider in the European Union.  The procurement process has also given both bidders the chance to showcase the new ideas and technology they can offer to deliver the improvements that local people have asked for.

As commissioners, the CCG and the Council have a legal responsibility to hold all our contracted providers to account on behalf of the public, ensuring that services provide a high quality of care and deliver value for money for the tax payer.  

Virgin Care will be required to deliver a set of outcomes for the health and wellbeing of the local population and will publish their performance against these outcomes using an online dashboard which everyone will be able to see. They will also be subject to regular inspections by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) with the results made publically available online.

Virgin Care will be subject to the same public accountability as any other independent provider delivering publicly-funded services. Freedom of Information requests relating to the services provided by Virgin Care can be submitted to the CCG or the Council and these will be dealt with in line with our current FOI procedures.

Our team of community champions have all had direct experience of community services as service users or carers so they really understand what needs to change and what would make a real difference to their lives.

They have received training to evaluate bids in the procurment process, working alongside subject matter experts to select Virgin Care as the preferred bidder. They will continue to be involved in the mobilisation and transition process to ensure the priorities of local people are delivered. 

Virgin Care’s proposal for a Care Coordination Centre is a new and exciting approach that will help people to navigate their way through a complex system, accessing all the support available to them without having to repeat their story to lots of different people. 

Virgin Care have just set up a Care Coordination Centre in East Staffordshire but it is too early to evaluate its success at this stage. However, this is a good example of how Virgin Care’s national scale will allow innovation and best practice that has been tested in other areas of the country to be easily replicated in Bath and North East Somerset.