Virgin Care invests £100,000 in frontline projects delivered by colleagues

Virgin Care, one of the largest independent providers of NHS services in England with more than 400 health and social care services, is celebrating a successful year of projects to improve services designed, developed and delivered by its frontline health and care colleagues.

The Feel the Difference Fund is £100,000 of money the company invests each year in projects which will improve the experience of using the health and social care services the company runs for staff, patients and communities.

Ideas are submitted by colleagues themselves and funding decisions are made by a panel of ‘peers’ comprising of colleagues from across the organisation and considers views from the public.

Since March 2017, more than 100 projects have been put forward with the majority (76%) awarded funding.

Projects funded include:

  • Delivering extra help for autistic children in Devon with attention-grabbing and motivating toys which are used as part of support for children to interact with others
  • Supporting John’s Campaign, installing the facility for carers to stay with their loved ones in the Surrey Community Hospitals
  • Helping people find their way with electronic signage at St Martin’s Hospital in Bath, after years of complaints from patients that finding their own way round was too difficult
  • A new national falls prevention scheme based on the ‘6 steps to prevent falls’. Falls are a major issue for older people both at home and in hospitals, costing the NHS many millions each year.
  • Introducing ‘sensory gardens’ at our two short break children homes in Devon. The gardens were designed with help from the people who use the service, and help support the home’s work.
  • Improving the experience of using the Surrey Specialist Dental Service, including a new reception area and a story book helping to ease young patient’s anxieties about visiting the dentist by showing them what to expect

The Feel the Difference Fund is a core part of the organisation’s purpose and part of a wider programme – including goals which are objectives set by teams to help deliver a great service, and awards that recognise and celebrate colleagues who go above and beyond to deliver great care – to help drive positive change in health and social care across Virgin Care.

The programme is providing colleagues with the vision, tools, recognition and development to bring the ‘feel the difference’ purpose to life.

Last year, the government’s health watchdog, the Care Quality Commission, said that Virgin Care “could demonstrate through documentary evidence that following acquisition of services, they had managed to bring about a sustained, significant improvement to patient care”.

They also saw how colleagues felt innovation was encouraged through the Feel the Difference Fund.

Stuart Rennison-Price, People and Service Director at Virgin Care, said:

“The Feel the Difference Fund is about empowering our dedicated, frontline colleagues to make the improvements they know will improve the services we run and complement the transformation plan we’re delivering across Virgin Care.”

Virgin Care is part of the Virgin Group and founder Sir Richard Branson has committed to re-investing profits (over and above his original investment) back into NHS and local authority services to benefit patients young and old, with frontline NHS colleagues deciding how the money is spent.