NHS England – Babylon combine to undermine London’s GP practices

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We have pleasure in reproducing this press statement from Save Our Hospitals – Charing Cross & Hammersmith (SOH), who organised a protest on 24 July 2018 outside the HQ of GP at hand, supported by London KONP groups:

Starts: Tuesday’s protest about the online private/public enterprise GP at hand was well supported by campaigners, patients and GPs from across London. They leafleted passers by in North End Rd Fulham then rallied near GP at hand HQ. The business has hoovered up thousands of patients from existing general practices – destabilising their finances and risking increasing health inequality.

Campaigners  delivered a big bowl of cherries to GP at hand staff with the message: ‘Please stop “cherry picking” younger, relatively fit patients, you are damaging frontline GP medical practices’.

London GP Dr Kambiz Boomla raised concerns about the safety of the app used by GP at hand whilst his colleague Dr Jackie Applebee talked about the potential for the new online service to create further health inequality and an undermining of the  frontline GP services  that are the bedrock of the NHS.

Responding to questions from Save Our Hospitals (SOH), Hammersmith & Fulham CCG  revealed that whilst it is being compensated financially for the huge rise in costs triggered by GP at hand this year, there are no guarantees about future funding. SOH chairperson Anne Drinkell said:

If unchallenged this private-public consortium threatens to cream off trained GPs from face to face contact, cherry pick the easiest ( & cheapest) patients and leave us with 2 tier primary care services where those with greatest clinical need get the least access to timely care. New digital technology should be used to support not disrupt GP services.

Local MP Andy Slaughter raised the issue in parliament with new Health Secretary Matt (“There-is-no-greater-enthusiast-for-technology-than-me“) Hancock focusing on the threat of a two-tier system developing in primary care. The Conservative MP Dr Wollaston raised concerns about the safety of the app used by GP at hand (” which could be missing symptoms of meningitis and heart attack“.

Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth also raised concerns about the safety of the Babylon-GP at hand enterprise pointing out that Birmingham & Solihull CCG have refused to allow expansion into their area for this reason. (See Hansard) [ends]

For more info contact Anne Drinkell (Chair Save Our Hospitals Charing Cross and Hammersmith [email protected])


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