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Independents' Day

GP at Hand practice adds another 2,500 patients

The London host practice of GP at Hand - the online GP app offering NHS appointments 'in minutes' - has added another 2,500 patients in the last month.

Dr Jefferies and Partner had 26,500 patients on 1 May, up from just over 24,000 a month earlier.

Since partnering with private company Babylon to offer the app to Londoners in November last year, the list size of the Fulham-based NHS practice has grown from just 4,000 patients.

This comes as GP at Hand recently told Pulse that 40,000 patients have applied to join the service in total.

But it also comes as NHS Hammersmith and Fulham CCG, of which the GP practice is a member, has struggled with the financial implications of such a swift influx of patients.

Its latest estimate shows it will require an extra £18m in primary care allocations from NHS England to be able to balance the books in 2018/19.

Board papers from last week said some in-year additional funding was 'expected but not confirmed at this point'.

The impact of the launch of the new service on patient care, which Babylon is able to offer across London using the NHS practice and the out-of-area registration scheme, has yet to be evaluated.

The CCG launched a bid in March worth £250k to hire an independent evaluator to assess the ‘outcomes and impacts’.

GP leaders have warned GP at Hand is 'cherry picking' young and healthy patients, but Babylon has said it has a diverse range of patients.

Most recently, Doctors in Unite warned health secretary Jeremy Hunt that the model 'threatens the model of general practice' by 'hoovering up' younger, fitter patients.

Babylon has said that 'the reality is that people across London are exercising their rights to choose their NHS general practice'.

Readers' comments (4)

  • am I reading this right?
    40,000 applied but only 20,000 registered,
    so they rejected 50% of the punters
    someone needs to pull the plug now before this gets messy

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  • AlanAlmond

    Indeed..a practice list size of 26,000 and 40,000 applications to join in total. And they aren’t cherry picking?? Do they hold interviews or something? It sounds like something akin to joining the local golf club..only the ‘right people’ get in...i.e. the fit and well

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  • Strange,why can't the rest of us cherry pick our patients anyone with thick notes or that we know will need lot of work that are unviable in the £130(at best)all you can eat NHS buffet can be rejected.This stinks of high up corruption if not financial a corruption of morality.Oh I forgot for a moment who was in governement!

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  • Facinating and infuriating... see the article on the Soho GPs. The contrast is striking. The playing field is not close to level. A small long standing struggling practice does not get support, but gets a CQC inspection. Babylon select 20,000 healthy subjects from 40,000 'applicants' and is seen as innovative. For the same cherry picking behavior, a private politically backed Babylon wins praise. The next step for the small Soho practice surely must be to stop the recruitment of a GP and to hire a lobbyist and a PR consultant to sell this as giving patients choice.

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