Apps, Primary Care News

Babylon Health allowed to expand out of London

Babylon Health the virtual GP service has been given to go-ahead to expand to its second major city following leaders dropping their objections.

The company is set to expand to Birmingham following NHS England confirming it had found a solution to its previous concerns around access to immunisation and screening programmes.

The service has been heavily criticised for ‘cherry picking’ healthy patients, but Health Secretary Matt Hancock has previously described GP at Hand as “revolutionary”. Hancock has also stated that he wants to see the service available everywhere.

It means that Babylon Health can now expand to Birmingham and offer a GP consultation via a smartphone 24 hours a day to patients who live or work in various locations in the city, with the promise of a video consultation within two hours of booking.

Birmingham and Solihull CCG had previously rejected the expansion and released the following statement this week:

Paul Jennings, Chief Executive of NHS Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “We have previously raised concerns about GP at Hand’s expansion into the Birmingham area; our objections have nothing to do with improving technology, for the benefit of patients. Working in close collaboration with our GP provider organisations, we are supporting the development of a local digital offer that will help to transform the lives of our 1.3 million patients. This will be available to all Birmingham and Solihull practices by the end of March 2019.”

“This is part of our commitment to offer patients local, responsive and high-quality primary care services, which meet their needs, as well as helping to future proof and sustain general practice.”

“Working as part of the wider local health and care system, we are excited about the digital developments ahead for Birmingham and Solihull.”