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GP leaders ‘cannot have confidence’ in Hancock if he continues Babylon support

GP leaders said they ‘cannot have confidence’ in health secretary Matt Hancock if he continues his support of Babylon’s GP at Hand scheme at the English LMCs Conference in London.

The GPs voted in favour of the motion that said they ‘cannot have confidence in him if he continues to demonstrate ignorance of the value, worth and function of general practice’.

Mr Hancock has previously lauded Babylon’s model, which allows NHS patients from across London to sing up to its practice for digital consultations.

The health secretary said he is a patient of Babylon, and that the company is ‘taking the pressure off the NHS’.

Speaking at the England LMCs conference, motion proposer Dr Brian McGregor – a GP from North Yorkshire LMC – said: ‘GPs ensure we treat any and all patients who approach us to the very best of our ability, without discrimination, opening our doors to all who need us. GP at Hand has disregarded these principles.’

He continued: ‘Yet our secretary of state for health endorses this approach, uses the Babylon head office for public announcements.

‘Welcoming this innovation segregates large sections of society into the too difficult to deal with category.’

The conference passed the motion, with the exception of part four, which called on Mr Hancock to retract his statement until the Department of Health and Social Care-comissioned report is complete.

Last week Pulse revealed that NHS Hammersmith and Fulham CCG has lifted its clinical restrictions for which patients Babylon’s GP at Hand app can sign up.

However, Babylon’s proposed expansion of GP at Hand to Birmingham is still currently blocked due to clinical safety concerns relating to patient screening can be resolved.

Motion in full

AGENDA COMMITTEE TO BE PROPOSED BY NORTH YORKSHIRE: That conference with regard to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care:

(i) welcomes NHS England’s independent evaluation of GP at Hand service

(ii) is shocked and dismayed by his flagrant endorsing of the GP at Hand model within the Babylon headquarters

(iii) calls upon him to publicly retract his comments that GP at Hand was “good for NHS patients, clinicians… and relieved pressure on other NHS services” until such a time as the report commissioned by his own ministerial department is completed

(vi) cannot have confidence in him if he continues to demonstrate his ignorance of the value, worth and function of general practice by his support for a virtual system incapable of providing holistic care.

Source:  BMA