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24/7 healthcare via mobile phone as new digital service launches

babylon health has partnered with NHS GPs to today launch GP at Hand, a free, transformative NHS service offering GP appointments within minutes via smartphone, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

GP at Hand is being led by a group of London NHS GPs and has today launched across London, and will be rolling out across the country in the near future.

The service has been trialled in Fulham with nearly 90% of patients giving the service a 5 star rating and 96% of patients giving it a 4 or 5 star rating. In just a few weeks, 3,000 people have become members of the new service, with over 10,000 more registering their interest to join as the service rolls out.

Dr. Ali Parsa, CEO of babylon, said:  “babylon’s mission is to put accessible and affordable healthcare in the hands of every person on earth.  So it’s particularly satisfying that our own NHS has become the first health service to harness technology to offer round the clock, accessible healthcare to our people.”

Dr. Mobasher Butt, GP at Hand Partner, said: “We do everything from grocery shopping to our banking online yet when it comes to our health, it can still take weeks to see a doctor and often means taking time off work for an appointment. With the NHS making use of this technology, we can put patients in front of a GP within minutes on their phone, so the days of ringing frantically at 8am for an appointment should be long gone.    This new NHS service makes it easier for patients to see a doctor quickly at anytime and from anywhere and doesn’t cost the NHS a penny more. It’s a win win.”

Dr Ian Abbs, Chair of the DigitalHealth.London Advisory Board said:  “Londoners use technology in almost all walks of life, and healthcare should be no exception. GP at Hand brings together the quality and safety of NHS GPs with worldleading technology to create a great service for people across the capital. I am extremely pleased to see babylon, who are part of the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator programme, supporting the NHS in this way”.

Dame Barbara Hakin, formerly a GP and National Director in NHS England, said: “I know just how difficult times are for GPs these days and how busy they are. GP at hand, in addition to being very convenient for patients, can help the service given the recruitment crisis we know is facing us. This technology can take more of the strain and ensure the best information and insight is available ahead of consultations which will then relieve some of the pressure on hard pressed clinicians”  Jane Barnacle, Director of Patients and Information for NHS England London region said: “GP practices are right to carefully test innovative new technologies that can improve free NHS services for their patients while also freeing-up staff time. The NHS is now developing modern new treatment options for our patients, recognising that one size does not fit all when it comes to primary care.”