By Harry Cockburn in The Independent.
Richard Branson’s Virgin Care won a record £1bn worth of contracts.
NHS spending on care provided by private companies has jumped by £700m to £3.1bn with non-NHS firms winning almost 70 per cent of tendered contracts in England last year.
Private care providers were awarded 267 out of a total of 386 contracts made available in 2016-17, including the seven highest value opportunities, worth £2.4bn.
Richard Branson’s Virgin Care scooped a record £1bn worth of contracts last year, meaning the company now has over 400 separate NHS contracts, making it the dominant private provider in the NHS market.
The extent of Virgin Care’s portfolio has angered campaigners, as the company pays no tax in the UK, and its parent company is registered in the British Virgin Islands – a tax haven.
Virgin Care also sued six NHS commissioning care groups (CCGs) last year after it failed to win an £82m care contract, losing out to an NHS provider and two social enterprises.
The figures, revealed in a report by campaign group the NHS Support Federation, undermine repeated government claims that private companies play a small role in NHS care provision.
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