Agenda item

Virgin Care Update

This is the fourth report submitted to the Panel as a commissioning update on Virgin Care Services Limited’s delivery as the prime provider for integrated health and social care services for the B&NES locality. At the request of the Panel this update report will concentrate on the key themes of service user/patient experience and workforce planning.



The Director of Adult Social Care introduced this report to the Panel. She began by thanking all staff within Virgin Care for their hard work throughout the pandemic.


She explained that at the request of Panel this update report concentrates on the key themes of service user/patient experience and workforce planning.


She said that on a monthly basis, Virgin Care hold an internal quality and safety meeting which is also attended by a member of the CCG Quality Team. There is currently also a bi-monthly quality group meeting which is chaired by the Associate Director of Patient Safety and Quality (CCG) and this meeting provides assurance on the quality data and escalates any concerns or issues to the Contract, Quality and Performance Meeting (CQPM). 


She referred to the service user and patient experience section of the report which detailed Virgin Care’s performance across a range of safety indicators, these include, serious incidents, pressure ulcers, falls, never events and safeguarding. She said that the report also details feedback from service users and patients through surveys and customer feedback. She added that adult social care and safeguarding performance and assurance is also included in this section of the report.


She stated that the section for workforce planning gives detail of Virgin Care’s priorities for 2021/22 and the focused activity to deliver the priorities. There is also detailed information and data on appraisal, communication, staff engagement, reward and recognition, staffing – starters/leavers/vacancies, staffing absence, training and wellbeing. She informed the Panel the report also gives an overview of current workforce pressures and challenges.


She updated the Panel with regard to the Contract Performance Notice (CPN) that was issued to Virgin Care in May 2021 following the closure of Sulis

Ward (St Martin’s Community Hospital) due to staffing capacity. She said that they had now been assured that St Martin’s has enough stable staffing in place.


Referring to page 36 of the agenda pack the Chairman asked which venue had been identified as closer than Keynsham to allow easier access for Health Visitor clinics for people in the Chew Valley.


The Head of Contracting & Performance replied that she would follow up that point on behalf of the Panel.


Councillor Liz Hardman said, as the ward councillor for Paulton, she was concerned to read about the score for Privacy, Dignity and Wellbeing at Paulton Hospital (para 2.7, p40) and asked how the figure of 77.98% compares with the previous year and are there any plans in place to improve this.


The Director of Adult Social Care replied that figures within the report were not correct as should have been as follows.


2018: St Martins 79%  Paulton 71%

2019: St Martins 89%  Paulton 87%


She added that figures for 2020 were not available due to Covi-19 and that following dedicated support through a Quality Lead from Virgin Care she expected figures to improve again when collected for 2021.


Councillor Hardman asked how to more service user engagement would be enabled.


The Director of Adult Social Care replied that this is seen as an important issue by Virgin Care and that following a review, a new engagement strategy had been compiled. She added that a series of public forums would be held throughout 2022.


Referring to paragraph 2.10.1 of the report (Adult Social Care and Safeguarding) Councillor Hardman asked why it was felt that cultural change be undertaken at pace.


The Director of Adult Social Care replied that there had been an issue regarding the approach to strength-based assessments and stated the importance of making sure that the person’s voice needs to be heard. She said that this approach was well supported by Virgin Care and acknowledged that further work was required.


Kevin Burnett commented that the report overall seems to be good, he asked if the Council was happy with its content.


The Director of Adult Social Care replied that she was really pleased to present the report to the Panel and felt that it was very balanced. She said that all parties had worked well together to maintain services as much as possible over the past 18 months.


Kevin Burnett asked if there was any comparative benchmarking data in relation to the Friends and Family Test.


The Head of Contracting & Performance replied that she was not aware of any direct comparison, but was prepared to carry out some research on behalf of the Panel.


Kevin Burnett asked for an explanation of Transitional Monitoring Assessments.


The Director of Adult Social Care replied that these had been put in place to capture data as full CQC Assessments had not been possible during the pandemic. She added that it was felt a full assessment was likely to take place within the next six months.


Kevin Burnett asked if the workforce were happy to be working with Virgin Care.


The Head of Contracting & Performance replied that the staff survey was due to close soon with the findings expected around December.

The Chairman said that he would be interested to see the outcomes of the survey.


The Head of Contracting & Performance said that the results of the survey could be shared with the Panel.


Corinne Edwards said that she echoed the comments made by the Director of Adult Social Care regarding the work of Virgin Care and acknowledged that they have delivered services and worked with partners greatly over the course of the pandemic. She added that the arrangements that had been put in place were because of their collaboration work.


Councillor Andy Wait referred to the statistics on page 31 of the agenda pack and asked how this data was collected – is everybody asked or is it voluntary?


The Director of Adult Social Care replied that data is collected through Liquid Logic, the Council’s social care case management system.


The Head of Contracting & Performance added that further information could be provided and that the Quality Group meets regularly to analyse scorecards and data.


Val Scrase, Managing Director, B&NES Virgin Care said that all service users are asked to complete the Friends and Family Test, but that this is voluntary. She added that it is always interesting to receive the feedback and to then respond accordingly.


Councillor Andy Wait asked if the actual number of responses could be shared with the Panel and could they be sent a blank copy of the test.


Val Scrase replied that she would ask for that information on behalf of the Panel and send through a copy of the test.


Councillor Andy Wait asked if there was any further information regarding staff recruitment and incentives such as the Golden Hello.


The Director of Adult Social Care replied that the Council is part of the Proud to Care campaign that seeks to support people looking for a career in social care. She added that work was also planned to take place locally with the universities. She said that there was a need to bring new people into the service and to make roles more accessible / interesting and to be part of a career path.


The Chairman commented that he welcomed this focus and asked if agency staff choose to have that role rather than a permanent position as it is more lucrative for them.


The Director of Adult Social Care replied that she felt that it was more about the individual having flexibility in when / where they work and that this needs to be considered more in future roles.


Val Scrase said that the Golden Hello is used to support and retain staff who are committed to working within B&NES. She added that the amount of money involved can vary from person to person.


Councillor Paul May commented that there was little reference within the report to Children’s Services / Health and that he would welcome a section being included in future versions.


The Director of Children's Services & Education supported greater focus on children’s’ community health services being included in future reports, but was able to assure the Panel that Virgin Care deliver high quality services for children and young people in B&NES.


The Panel RESOLVED to note the content of the report and identified that Children’s Health could be the focus for the next update report due to Panel in March 2022.

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