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Branson’s health group abandons clinic takeover plan

22 September 2008

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Part of Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin empire has backed down from taking over an NHS practice in Swindon, citing current economic conditions as the reason for the change of heart.

Virgin Healthcare, which is part of the Virgin Group, was launched earlier this year to open new health centres jointly with NHS GPs and other health professionals.

Virgin Healthcare’s current chief executive, Mark Adams, is to step down but will be retained as a strategic advisor to Virgin Group’s board.

A spokeswoman said the firm was watching the current economic climate “closely” but was still committed to entering the primary healthcare market.

She confirmed Virgin Healthcare (VHC) had discontinued discussions with the practice, but said this was just one of many such projects.

Gordon McCallum, chief executive of Virgin Group UK, said: “When we enter this market we will enter with the right proposition for both patients and doctors, at the right scale and importantly at the right time.

“Given the current economic conditions and the challenges within the sector we have decided to measure our pace and to evaluate a broader range of entry options.”

Copyright © PA Business 2008

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