Surrey NHS stonewalls on £2 million payout to Virgin over 'flawed' children's health services contract

Surrey NHS stonewalls on £2 million payout to Virgin over ‘flawed’ children’s health services contract

Surrey’s NHS bodies have refused to answer questions about a £2 million out of court settlement paid to Virgin in a dispute over a contract for children’s services.

The county’s six clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), the bodies responsible for procuring services for the NHS, were sued along with NHS England and Surrey County Council by Virgin Care in 2016 after the private healthcare provider lost out on an £82 million contract to provide children’s health services across Surrey.

The company, part of Sir Richard Branson’s business empire, claimed there were “serious flaws” in the way the contract was awarded.

Guildford and Waverley CCG, which had led the procurement process on behalf of the other bodies, initially denied there had been any problems, but in November 2017 announced it had agreed a “confidential” out-of-court settlement with Virgin.

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The total cost of the settlement was finally revealed in June 2018 following the publication of the CCGs’ accounts for 2017/18.

The six CCGs and NHS England agreed to pay a total of £1.6 million while Surrey County Council agreed to pay a further £440,000.

East Surrey CCG, which covers Tandridge, Reigate, Redhill and Horley, paid out £198,800 just months after being placed in special measures over its “inadequate” financial performance, leadership and planning.

The CCG’s most recent accounts reveal an overspend of £25 million in 2017/18 despite being instructed to restrict its deficit to £6 million. East Surrey CCG now has a cumulative deficit of £67 million.

Payouts to Virgin from Surrey’s NHS bodies

Guildford and Waverley CCG – £239,000

East Surrey CCG – £198,800

Surrey Downs CCG – £328,000

North West Surrey CCG – £417,000

Surrey Heath CCG – £106,000

North East Hampshire and Farnham CCG – £54,177

NHS England – £221,000

Surrey County Council – £440,000

TOTAL – £2,003,177

SurreyLive asked Guildford and Waverley CCG what had gone wrong with the procurement process that had caused them to agree the settlement and what lessons had been learnt from the episode.

In response, a spokesman would only say: “In 2016 Guildford and Waverley CCG ran a procurement process for the Surrey Children’s Community Health Service on behalf of itself, five other CCGs, NHS England and Surrey County Council.

“The procurement process was challenged and, following legal advice and a mediation process, the parties involved agreed on an out of court settlement.”

NHS England directed us to Guildford and Waverley CCG, the body in charge of the procurement process.

Surrey County Council was also asked to comment.

Article courtesy of Get Surrey