Virgin have today announced that their private healthcare arm is to merge with Virgin Media. From 2019, people will be able to ‘build a bundle’ of healthcare services alongside their broadband, TV and phone packages.
Recent revelations that Virgin Care have been awarded almost £2bn worth of NHS contracts in the past 5 years have caused alarm, and left the Government open to criticism of the privatisation slowly creeping into the health service. Virgin spokesman Simon Dowd told The Liberator:
“Some people see this as a steady erosion of the NHS. But we see it as a way to offer consumers more choice. From 2019, we are going to start offering a range of healthcare services bundled in with our media packages.”
“If you’ve been in a car accident, then for only £600 a month you can get all your rehab and physiotherapy attended to, and we’ll throw in BT Sport and a 100mb line for free.”
“For £1000 per month, you can catch all the latest box sets and cancer drugs that aren’t available anywhere else, with our ‘experimental treatments and binge-worthy TV’ package. Or you can build your own bundle, and have it your way.”
Critics of the proposed scheme have suggested it could lead to a two-tier healthcare system, and say that Virgin are likely to restrict access to care during times of peak demand. Olivia Sanders of the ‘Save our NHS’ campaign had this response to the news:
“There are some very disturbing proposals buried in the detail of this press release. For one thing, Virgin reserve the right to withhold access to a hospital bed for anyone in breach of their monthly download limits. We need to fight this kind of nonsense if we want to keep our NHS free at the point of use.”