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Virgin drops GP practice plans

Plans to take over an NHS practice have been abandoned by Virgin Healthcare (VHC), part of Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group.

It has broken off talks with a practice in Swindon in light monitoring economic conditions, the company says, but it still claims to be committed to entering the primary healthcare market.

In a statement Virgin Healthcare said: "Virgin Group remains very committed to entering the healthcare sector. Over the last year Virgin Healthcare has consulted with more than 3,000 GPs, received 300 expressions of interest and the team is actively pursuing advanced discussions with a number of these practices."

Gordon McCallum, chief executive of Virgin Group UK, said: "The development team at VHC continues to spend a great deal of time ensuring that when we enter this market we enter with the right proposition for both patients and doctors.

"We are optimistic that at least one of these options will come to fruition in the short to medium term."

Virgin Healthcare's current chief executive, Mark Adams, said: "The Virgin Group believes the NHS will undoubtedly face huge challenges in the coming years. By working with the medical profession we can bring innovation and new ways of thinking to help sustain the NHS."

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