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What has Babylon ever done for us?

Copperfield

copperfield duo 1500x1000px

copperfield duo 1500x1000px

So there I was, the other week at Pulse LIVE, dimly aware that Babylon – of ‘GP at Hand’ app infamy – had a stand somewhere or other. And I was also dimly aware of a headline I’d read about GP campaigners staging a protest against Babylons’s GP at hand app. Which is why I conflated the two and decided that, instead of joining the coffee queue, I’d look for the nearest mob, knowing that would lead me to GP at Hand where, presumably, it would all be kicking off.

And I was right, but for the wrong reason. The campaign was actually at some other time at some other place (Thursday, Tower Hamlets). But there was a mob: of doctors showing a distinct interest in what Babylon had to offer and a distinct disinterest in any of the well-aired ethical reservations over the concept.

So I observed in a smug, detached kind of way. Yeah, OK, so the pay is good. And that job flexibility does look attractive. And, hmmm, those medico-legal fears do evaporate when you discover that your defence subs are paid. And…err…it was at this point that I found myself swept up, almost against my will, dragged by the current of curiosity out into the deep water of the stand and its representatives, right in front of the final inducement: private healthcare for me and my family.

Opting for private healthcare would mean me dying of irony overload

Now, why would I, a GP of 30 years NHS service, have any interest in private healthcare, something I’ve always viewed with suspicion, contempt or outright loathing? No reason at all. None. So what if I’m older now and therefore increasingly aware of my own morbidity and mortality? So what that I want quick and efficient healthcare, if needed, for me and my family? So what if my few recent personal interactions involving the NHS, and my daily professional molar-grinding engagement with it, do not actually inspire me with the confidence that I’m going to get out of it anything like I’ve put in? In other words, apart from the fact that, taking all this into consideration, free private healthcare looks irresistibly attractive, what is the attraction?

Besides, the paradox of me spending my entire working life in the in the NHS and then, when push comes to shove, opting for private healthcare would almost certainly mean me dying of irony overload. Though I’m betting it would be diagnosed quicker than under the NHS.

So I said thanks for the free tote bag, but no thanks. My soul remains unsold. Mind you, if they’d offered to pay my travel…

Dr Tony Copperfield is a GP in Essex

Readers' comments (6)

  • Nice one Tony
    I suspect this is now unstoppable
    Jam for those practices that get into bed with these new providers pain for those who don't
    Can see newbie GPs and those nearing retirement loving this and then just watch as the work goes to ANPs
    I could do with a new car as well-Tempting but for all the wrong reasons

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  • Oh Copperfield, if you did not like the Tower, well, at least the Gardens are a nice place for GPs to be Hanged in, and there's plenty of that coming with the 'you MUST prescribe antibiotics'/'you must NOT prescribe antibiotics' legal hazards!

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  • It's a gimmick. The first few doctors that get struck off for the inevitable errors will cause indemnity to rise. Patients will realise the grass isn't greener when they use it and come back.

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  • I agree! Indemnity will rise as “ prescribing errors” are exposed and negative publicity follows! Continuing Care will always be safer than cherry picking easy patient demand!

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  • We know where we're going, uh!
    We know where we're from.
    We're leaving Babylon,
    We're going to our Father land.

    Exodus, Bob Marley

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  • I can just see those manslaughter and GMC charges coming to these brave lambs.

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