Virgin claims to be the UK public's most admired brand and its plans to enter primary care were watched with great interest when they were announced earlier this year.
Originally intending to launch one health centre in 2008 and eight in 2009, Virgin Healthcare has admitted that its plans may take longer to come to fruition than originally hoped.
However, it claims discussions are ongoing with several practices and the company remains optimistic that it will gain a foothold in primary care in the short to medium term.
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- Primary care presence Virgin announced in January that it wanted to sign up GPs to work in Virgin-branded health centres which would also provide services such as dentistry, physiotherapy and complementary therapies.
- How it works Virgin plans to provide premises and administrative services while GPs provide clinical expertise. GPs would remain independent contractors but benefit from a share of the centre's profits from patients not on the practice's list.
- Success to date The company hoped to launch its first health centre in conjunction with a practice in Swindon in summer 2008 but announced in September that it will not now go ahead, blaming the economic climate.
- Plans for future Virgin says it has been in discussion with more than 300 practices and hopes to launch its first Virgin-branded health centre next year. It is also looking at a broader range of entry options into primary care. Chief executive Mark Adams has stepped down but is still involved as a strategic adviser.
- Worth noting Virgin has said it does not intend to bid for APMS contracts.
- Financial information Sir Richard Branson has complete control of the Virgin brand. Virgin has more than 200 branded companies worldwide. Revenues in 2006 exceeded £10 billion.
- Find out more www.virginhealthcare.net.