MP says Virgin Care has launched smear campaign against her

Paula Sherriff.

Paula Sherriff.

Virgin Care has launched a smear campaign against an MP who shamed the company for artificially increasing its income from the NHS, it has been claimed.

Labour’s Paula Sherriff used Prime Minister’s Questions last week to accuse the private health contractor of unethical practices to boost its revenue.

She said the company has since accused her of lying, suggesting that she had not raised her concerns with bosses while working at the dermatology service in West Yorkshire, before becoming an MP.

In the House of Commons, she said the “rich and powerful” company had sought to “intimidate or smear” her.

“Can we reiterate that even the richest individuals and the wealthiest corporations should always stick to the truth about this House and its Members, however inconvenient that truth may be to their private interests?”, she said after raising a Point of Order.

She claimed that Virgin Care had introduced extra consultations ahead of minor surgery at a cost of more than £100 a time since taking over the NHS service.

Prior to being privatised, the dermatology service allowed patients to receive minor surgery immediately if it was clinically recommended. Ms Sherriff told the Commons: “Virgin Care has since issued a statement to the media stating that it has no record of my raising such concerns at the time. I am glad it brought that up as its failure to keep accurate records is one of my concerns.”

She said she raised her complaints “at the highest level” including with chief executive of Virgin Care, Bart Johnson, in 2012.

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