A MUM says her severely disabled daughter and her family have received abysmal support ever since a private care provider took over from the NHS in April last year.

Homecare visits have been completely slashed for Josselin Tilley, 11, who has a complex life-limiting syndrome known as CHARGE, and she has not seen a consistent paediatrician ever since child healthcare in Wiltshire was privatised under Virgin Care on April 1, 2016, according to mum Karen.

Mrs Tilley and her husband Lee, 39, who also have two sons Alex, 13, and Dalton, five, used to be visited three nights a week by NHS carers and had bi-monthly respite visits, but in mid-January their care package was stopped, leaving them with no care at all for the past three months.

Despite this, Virgin Care said that “there have been no changes to the level of service provided”.

“Everything we were worried about happening before the transfer has happened,” said 36-year-old Mrs Tilley, of Bitham Mill in Westbury.

“Since mid-January we’ve had no visits at all when we used to have five a month, which has put Josselin in a dangerous position.

“She’s on a ventilator and heart monitor overnight so I’ve had to sleep on a camp bed in her room every night in case her alarms go off.

“Lee works full time so we’re exhausted. It started off badly and has got worse. I think they overestimated the size of the job and it’s a real disappointment.”

Mrs Tilley, a full-time carer for Josselin, was shocked when Virgin Care did not carry out a consultation when it took over and thinks that oversight is the cause of its downfall.

Her concerns over the service have been shared by Sarah Smith, mum of autistic 10-year-old Thomas, of Bitham Mill.

The 42-year-old teaching assistant said: “It has been a really shoddy service.

“The correspondence is atrocious and the telephone manner of their receptionist is often quite rude when we manage to get through to them.

“We no longer have a consistent paediatrician and one of them didn’t even know what condition Thomas had.”

A Virgin Care spokesman said: “Since we started to provide these services 12 months ago we have made improvements, bringing together all of the community children services in Wiltshire from five separate services, creating a single, consistent and Wiltshire-focused service.”

Appearing to contradict Mrs Tilley and Mrs Smith’s experience, they added: “While we continue to recruit for permanent colleagues in a minority of posts, we have made long-term agreements with doctors so that families can see the same professional.

“Each family has a named health professionals they can contact and contact details for our senior managers so they can raise any concerns they may have.”

When Virgin Care took on the five-year contract, Wiltshire Council said that children and parents would have access to consistent care and the council’s corporate directors, Maggie Rae and Carolyn Godfrey, said families would receive a “high quality, joined up and consistent service”.

A Wiltshire Council spokesman said: “If we are made aware of any issues with any of our contracts we always make sure they are dealt with appropriately and we understand that in this case it is being addressed.”

A Wiltshire CCG spokesman said they could not comment on specific cases, adding: “Wiltshire CCG works closely with its service providers to ensure that commissioned services meet the needs of children and families.

“Where necessary we are in daily contact with providers to gain assurance that they are acting in the best interests of their patients and families.”

Have you been let down by Virgin Care? Email Robin Murray at robin.murray@newsquest.co.uk