“In healthcare is welcome but concerns still remain”…writes Judy Ingman to the Champion Letters. While referring to the way Virgin Care is managing the running of the clinics and services they have been contracted to cover for the NHS through the Clinical Commissioning Group, she says “It is good to know that Virgin care have spent £75 million in investing in the NHS and have taken nothing out for profit”.
She wonders if they are paying the same numbers of staff needed and whether they are paying for their pensions when they reach retirement age. And she ponders the possibility they will “sue the council” as they did a few years ago in southern England”. Not to mention Lancashire!
And she closes with the thought that if Branson is indeed wanting to really help our treasured NHS by donating some of his millions [4+£billions!] as a genuine philanthropist “then I offer apologies for ever doubting his intentions”.
Perhaps she doesn’t know about some criticism of the fees taken by the fundraising platform Virgin Money Giving when processing donations for the various initiatives it is running to support the NHS during the coronavirus crisis? Branson claimed “Virgin Money Giving, our non-profit fundraising platform, has also received criticism for the fees they took when processing a donation to charity. Virgin Money Giving never makes a profit and never will”. He added that the two per cent fee charged on donations was “to cover overhead costs, which Virgin Money are now generously stepping in to cover completely for all charities”.
And then In response to a Branson letter about a government “bailout”, Greenpeace climate campaigner Fiona Nicholls said “Branson’s letter failed to convince us that suing the NHS wasn’t bad for the health service, moving his money to a tax haven wasn’t to avoid tax, or that emitting millions of tonnes of pollution wasn’t bad for the environment. There are still no justified grounds to give Virgin an unconditional bailout”.
Perhaps this exchange tells us all we need to know? The Virgin founder had tweeted a photo of himself and his wife Joan Templeman with the caption “I truly believe that ‘stuff’ really does not bring happiness. Family, friends, good health and the satisfaction that comes from making a positive difference are what really matters”.
In response, Jeremy Corbyn replied “Perhaps our NHS could have the money back from when you sued it?”