Cookie policy notice

By continuing to use this site you agree to our cookies policy below:
Since 26 May 2011, the law now states that cookies on websites can ony be used with your specific consent. Cookies allow us to ensure that you enjoy the best browsing experience.

This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

RCGP will no longer accept Babylon as sponsor of its annual conference

The RCGP has decided that it would no longer accept Babylon Health to sponsor its annual conference after the college accused the private company of using this year's conference ‘as a platform for hosting a recruitment event’.

The RCGP said they made the decision that they would not appoint Babylon as a sponsor next year if the company applied.

They took the decision after Babylon emailed GPs advertising a separate recruitment event it was holding, but linked it to this year's RCGP conference. 

At the conference in Liverpool this year, Dr Mobasher Butt, Babylon’s medical director, and associate medical director Dr Matt Noble led a sponsored session entitled: ‘Replacing GPs with chatbots – will AI take our jobs?’, and the company held an exhibitor stand.

But, prior to the conference, it sent an email to GPs titled ‘babylon @ RCGP’, which stated: 'Babylon are pleased to announce we are sponsoring the RCGP Annual Conference this year and we would love to see you there!

'The day we arrive in Liverpool, we will be holding an assessment evening at the Staybridge Hotel, Liverpool between 6-9pm for prospective Babylon GPs, so if you are interested in joining Babylon, please email... to reserve your place to be interviewed by one of ourmedical leadership team.'

It then went on to explain it had a stand at the main conference event, and was hosting the 'chatbots' debate.

However, Professor Kamila Hawthorne, vice chair of the RCGP, said the college was only made aware of the recruitment event after members of the council, who received the email, alerted the RCGP.

Professor Hawthorne said: ‘At a time when hardworking GPs are feeling the impact of GP shortages on a daily basis, we are extremely disappointed that Babylon chose to use our conference as a platform for hosting a recruitment event that could potentially lure more GPs away from the NHS.’

She added that the conference aims to reflect ‘the changing face of general practice, which is why we accepted Babylon’s offer of sponsorship in good faith’.

But, she said: ‘This move placed our relationship in a precarious position and, after a formal investigation and careful consideration, we have decided that we will not be accepting Babylon sponsorship for our annual conference in 2018.’

The decision comes after Babylon was accused of ‘cherry-picking’ patients by offering an online ‘GP at Hand’ service as a replacement to regular GP practices across London.

RCGP chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard warned, at the time, that the scheme ‘is undoubtedly luring GPs away from frontline general practice at a time when we are facing a severe workforce crisis’.

Babylon declined to comment on this story.

Email in full: 'Babylon@RCGP'

Babylon are pleased to announce we are sponsoring the RCGP annual conference this year and we would love to see you there!

Wednesday 11th October

The day we arrive in Liverpool, we will be holding an assessment evening at the Staybridge Hotel, Liverpool between 6-9pm for prospective Babylon GPs, so if you are interested in joining Babylon, please email me... to reserve your place to be interviewed by one of our Medical Leadership team.

Thursday 12th-Friday 13th October

We will be exhibiting at the RCGP Annual conference and you can visit babylons stand (F15) at the ACC Conference Venue anytime throughout these days.

As well as this, our Medical Leadership team will be giving two speeches entitled: ‘Replacing GPs with chatbots- will AI take our jobs?’

Babylon refer a GP scheme

If you know of any other GPs who may be interested in attending, do let me know also as you will be due a referral fee of up to £3,000 if they join.

Interested in joining Babylon but unable to attend?

No problem, simply reply to this email with your CV and we shall invite you to a digital interview you can complete from home.

 

Readers' comments (8)

  • Nhsfatcat

    That’ll be horse arses I see in the distance.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Oh dear. In my view there should be no sponsorship of CPD-accredited conferences. Yet it is very much the norm.

    This approach (sponsorship of education) facilitates unrealistic medicine.

    Why did the RCGP not listen to Dr Margaret McCartney and others?

    Dr Peter J Gordon
    NHS Psychiatrist for Older Adults

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • RCGP a cult that ceased to be relevant years ago; Babylon were wasting their money.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • ''Professor Hawthorne said: ‘At a time when hardworking GPs are feeling the impact of GP shortages on a daily basis, we are extremely disappointed that Babylon chose to use our conference as a platform for hosting a recruitment event that could potentially lure more GPs away from the NHS.’''

    when will our ''leaders'' come off this obsession with ''saving the NHS'' ? Why not try to lead GPs into a uncertain future and develop alternatives to the NHS?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Professor Hawthorne said: ‘... we are extremely disappointed that Babylon chose to use our conference as a platform for hosting a recruitment event that could potentially lure more GPs away from the NHS.’

    But it is ok for the NHS to lure doctors and nurses from other countries ?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Come on guys!

    The RCGP has just found a way to wash their hands of Babylon after the GP at Hand debacle made Babylon "persona non grata" because of their cherry-picking of easy to manage patients, which they did because of lack of facilities for face to face/examination if it becomes needed following telephone consult.

    All's fair in love and war...

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Rejected by the RCGP? Suddenly they have gained Kudos.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • wow well done rcgp but too little too late.

    also does raise sponsorship debate. maybe bmj or others could look at this in detail re how much money changes hands and which hands are involved - a dark can of worms

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say