Virgin amends its profit plans

Virgin Healthcare has abandoned a plan under which GPs could be paid for referring NHS patients to private Virgin services.

GPs who sign up with Virgin will remain independent contractors, but will work within a Virgin-branded health centre offering services such as dentistry and physiotherapy. The company had said that practice income would include a share of the entire centre's profit.

But the BMA warned the plan would damage clinical objectivity, because GPs would have a financial incentive to direct patients to other services within the centre.

Virgin has now altered its model, so that only profits from patients not on the practice's list will count towards the profit share. A spokeswoman said this had been done after consulting the GMC, in order to 'avert any conflict of interest'.

GPC negotiator Dr Chaand Nagpaul welcomed the decision. But he warned that: 'This is a reflection of how unaware the commercial sector is of the ethics that are central to the NHS.'

Comment below and tell us what you think

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus


A-Z listing of therapeutic areas. Find the latest clinical news and education


Browse a list of all of the pages and topics on GPonline

Pain Resource Centre

Information on chronic and neuropathic pain

Otitis Externa Toolkit

Resources to help treat this outer ear infection

GPs practising in the UK can request to receive free copies of GP by completing our online registration form. For paid subscriptions to GP visit our subscriptions site.