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Babylon medical director named most influential GP in UK

The medical director of online consultation service Babylon, Dr Mobasher Butt, has been named the most influential GP in the UK in 2018 in Pulse’s annual Power 50 list.

Dr Butt, who also oversees Babylon’s GP at Hand service for NHS patients, has taken over as number one from BMA GP Committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey, who topped the list in 2017 – and this year makes number three.

This year’s second place is taken by Dr Nigel Watson, who is leading the government’s GP partnership review.

Making up the remaining top spots are RCGP chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, in fourth place, and House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee chair Dr Sarah Wollaston, in fifth position.

Babylon launched its GP at Hand service for NHS patients in November through a partnership with west London practice Dr Jefferies and Partners, leading to over 30,000 patients registering with the service within nine months.

The GP at Hand service has been accused by some parts of the profession of cherry-picking healthier patients and destabilising general practice funding.

However, it has been praised by the new health secretary, Matt Hancock, who is a patient of the service.

Meanwhile NHS England has proposed changes to the GP contract to allow fairer distribution of funding between ‘digital-first’ practices and their traditional counterparts.

Dr Butt told Pulse that GP at Hand wants to expand across England – and that there is interest in the devolved nations. He says his team is in discussions ‘with tens of practices’ about setting up partnerships.

The Power 50 list was put together following hundreds of nominations from GP colleagues.

In addition to the main list, Pulse has also named 10 rising stars, who are GPs under the age of 40 with an increasing influence on the profession.

They include London GP Dr Ishani Patel, who set up a ‘cancer safety netting’ pilot to help prevent cancer and diagnose more cases earlier, Dr Krishan Aggarwal, who has unpicked problems with the processing of GP pensions by private firm Capita, and Dr Nick Rayner, leading a super-partnership and 58-practice federation in Suffolk.

In 2018 Pulse has also recognised a range of local GPs from across the UK nominated by colleagues and patients for their unfaltering commitment to general practice.

This list of unsung heroes includes 67-year old Derbyshire GP Dr Ilyas Ahmed, described as an ‘inspiration as he demonstrates the capacity to work at full steam in a system under strain’, Dr Gurjinder Randhawa for turning around a practice in a deprived area of south Leeds, and Stockport-based Dr Charlotte Reddick, nominated for her ‘compassion and caring manner.’

Pulse editor Jaimie Kaffash said: ‘At a time of major change for general practice, Pulse’s Power 50 GPs have the power to shape the profession – for better or for worse.

‘These GPs are moulding the future of partnerships, developing new models or showing how grassroots can affect change.’