Wiltshire

Wiltshire child healthcare takeover 'catastrophic'

Doctor
Image caption Wiltshire Council said the transfer would streamline services with no noticeable effect on existing patients

A private company taking over community child health services in Wiltshire will have a "catastrophic effect", a parent has said.

Virgin Care will run children's care services in the county including community nursing and speech therapy.

Wiltshire Council said the transfer would streamline services with no noticeable effect on existing patients.

But Karen Tilley, whose 10-year-old daughter Josselin receives care, says "key" staff will not transfer.

Josselin has Charge syndrome, which causes a combination of acute physical and mental disabilities, and is treated in Bath.

'New model'

Mrs Tilley, from Westbury, said: "We were told it would be a smooth, slick takeover and we won't notice any difference because the same staff are staying. But we know that's categorically not true.

"We are losing key people. When you have a complex child and you are suddenly faced with losing a lot of professionals at the same time, it will have a catastrophic effect."

Wiltshire Council said "only a very small number" of clinicians who work with families in Bath and Swindon would not be transferring to the new service.

Children's services commissioner Julia Cramp said: "Initially our aim is to keep everything running smoothly, and we're not expecting anyone to see any change.

"Over time we would expect Virgin Care to deliver a new new model of children's community healthcare services that we as commissioners have developed with parents and children."

She said Wiltshire Council would carefully monitor the new service, and it would work closely with Virgin Care to ensure "the plan is delivered" successfully.

The five-year contract will see Virgin Care care for about 110,000 children across the county. The company declined to comment.

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