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Responding to the Covid-19 pandemic

Virgin Care is part of the NHS family – we’ve been partnering with the NHS since 2010 – and we’re continuing to work together with them and with local authorities through the national emergency response to COVID-19.

As the pandemic continues to affect people across England and the United Kingdom, we want you to know how we are playing our part in the national response, how we are supporting public health and care services, and – importantly – how we are caring for our 7,000 valued colleagues and their families.

Supporting the NHS

 As the UK’s hospitals, private and public, come together as one to support the increased number of people who may require treatment for COVID-19, we’ve ramped up our community services. These allow people to return home from hospital – increasing hospital capacity.

We have:

  • Implemented NHS England’s Community Services Prioritisation Plan, freeing up our colleagues to work on priority and critical services and to ramp up capacity for patients to be discharged into the community;
  • Created additional capacity in our community and district nursing services, meaning more people can be cared for at home – reducing pressure on hospitals – and supporting terminally ill patients with end of life care and ensuring their dignity is maintained;
  • Opened our community hospital wards for ‘step down’ care, supporting our local acute hospitals to free up bed space for COVID-19 patients;
  • Redesigned many of our services and back office functions so they can keep operating while following the Government’s guidance, including launching our first entirely virtual Single Point of Access in Lancashire;
  • Launched video consultations and virtual support in our Primary Care, School Nursing and Health Visiting Services; and
  • Begun redeploying our colleagues into other critical local NHS services, ensuring they can keep operating where sickness absence might otherwise mean services would have to close.

We only ever aim to be a sustainable organisation and to break even. Sir Richard has never taken a penny out of the NHS and never will, and he has committed to reinvesting any future dividends he could take back into frontline services.

Supporting our colleagues

Our colleagues, whether they work in NHS services, local authority services or social care, are our priority and keeping them safe and supporting them to continue to be part of the national response to this pandemic is of the utmost importance to us.

We are:

  • Ensuring our colleagues have what they need to be able to work safely during this outbreak – whether that’s Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) or a laptop. We’ve delivered more than 2 million items of PPE to keep our colleagues safe while they deliver NHS and social care services with more arriving every day, and more than 150 new laptops into our services since January 2020 when we started our response, helping keep colleagues safe, and able to work to support the NHS and the people who rely on us.
  • Ensuring all of our colleagues can follow the Government’s guidance and continue to support the response – we’re supporting colleagues with working from home and we’ve implemented strict social distancing where roles can’t be done from home;
  • Reviewing and expanding our policies, enabling our colleagues to take additional leave where they need to as a result of the pandemic and empowering our colleagues to take decisions which keep services running and safe. We’ve given colleagues who need it access to additional paid leave for dependents, in addition to our existing policies.
  • Adding additional wellbeing support to help support our colleagues through these difficult times. Our Occupational Health Employee Assistance Programme has expanded, and we’ve partnered with Cruse, the bereavement support charity, to provide additional support for those whose families are affected and our online platform, MyWellness, is helping our colleagues to stay on top of their wellbeing, diet and fitness.
  • Working with NHS partners, we’ve made sure our colleagues can access Coronavirus tests when they need them, just like their colleagues across the NHS family
  • Keeping in touch with colleagues regularly so they have the latest information on the outbreak, and how we are responding to it – and saying thank you.
  • Learning and development has been made available through new online and virtual classrooms resources. For our apprentices, we have adapted our approach to secure learning, provide continual support to all apprentices and workplace facilitators to make the best use of the exceptional learning experiences due to Covid -19.
  • And finally, through Virgin Tribe our colleagues, like those across the Virgin Group are able to access exclusive discounts – including on practical items like supermarket shopping

After spending 37 years in NHS and 3 years of delivering NHS services through Virgin Care I am proud of everyone here who delivers high quality patient services.

Virgin Care
Virgin Care

Featured News

Virgin Care has joined businesses from across the UK in an initiative to help Britain and its most vulnerable citizens through the coronavirus crisis. It has teamed up with former Cabinet Minister, Rt Hon Justine Greening, as a founding member of the C-19 Business Pledge.

Photograph of Julie Harrington

I work for Virgin Care and during this crisis they have been amazing!

Supporting our communities

Our colleagues and the services we run are at the heart of communities across England, from Devon to Teesside, from Kent to Lancashire and everywhere in-between and we’re committed to continuing to support communities through this outbreak.

We’re working with third sector organisations like Mind and Age UK and with local authorities to run services like our Compassionate Community Hub, which is helping vulnerable people across Bath and North East Somerset access essential support and services, and our teams are developing new ways of working with families – like these fantastic Joe Wicks-inspired videos from our team in Harlow, Essex to help keep toddlers entertained.

Our adult social care team in Bath and North East Somerset is also helping to keep the most vulnerable safe, as part of the national Social Care response to the pandemic.

Supporting Virgin Group

We’re part of the 70,000-strong Virgin Family which covers the globe, and we’re working with the Virgin Group to respond to the pandemic.

We have worked with Virgin Unite and Virgin Atlantic to arrange cargo flights bringing the NHS vital supplies, and colleagues whose normal jobs are disrupted by the pandemic are working to support the NHS and in our services.

And our colleagues at Virgin Atlantic are supporting NHS services through volunteering directly with the NHS and through Virgin Care.

Virgin Care
Virgin Care

Featured News

Our school nurses are on hand to give young people help and advice on a range of issues during Lockdown through the confidential texting service ChatHealth.

Virgin Care
Virgin Care

Featured Blog

We at Virgin Care have been working flat out with the NHS, local authorities and other partners helping the response to Covid-19. Here, our Head of Commissioning and Wellbeing in Bath and North East Somerset, writes…

Our regional response

Each of our services is working closely with its local health and social care providers to contribute to the local response. This is just a flavour of what we're doing.

Lancashire

  • We’ve redeployed 15 colleagues from our Lancashire Young Person and Families service to support COVID-19 patients at NHS Southport and Ormskirk NHS Foundation Trust
  • We’re training 110 colleagues from our Lancashire Young Person and Families service so that they can be ready to support unplanned and urgent care services across the country, including in our West Lancashire service, keeping vital NHS services operating
  • We’ve launched a virtual Single Point of Access in our Lancashire Young Person and Families service, with 25 colleagues working remotely to continue to accept and process requests for help from doctors, families and teachers
  • In West Lancashire, our Urgent Care team have partnered with local GPs to provide additional services at our two Urgent Care centres meaning people can still access support and care throughout the pandemic

Bath and North East Somerset

  • We’ve redeployed more than 130 colleagues from our non-critical services to keep critical services across the area operating, or to expand their capacity.
  • We’re supporting our third sector partners, care homes and primary care services with access to Personal Protective Equipment, and with supporting communities through initiatives like the Compassionate Communities Hub which our wellbeing service is hosting.
  • We’ve worked with partners to get people home from hospital, supported as soon as possible in line with NHS England’s Hospital Discharge Service Document – a reduction of more than three quarters of “super stranded” patients, and reducing delayed transfers of care from our local acute and our community hospitals to 0.

Primary Care Services

  • We’ve increased our virtual GP consultations by 80%, supporting continued access to General Practice for people with illness other than COVID-19, while following Government guidance on social distancing and continuing to support vulnerable patients.
  • We’ve expanded capacity where we can – for example, our Luton Integrated Care Service is supporting the wider health and social care system by changing to work 8am to 8pm 7 days a week, and introducing new initiatives like the MSK Assist app which supports patients to access support and guidance from home.
  • We’ve transformed our walk-in centres to support local responses. For example, in Reading we’ve transformed the walk-in centre into a respiratory hub which is seeing patients with suspected COVID-19 symptoms while our GP service continues to operate from another site.

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