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GP at Hand ‘not impacted’ by Babylon UK insolvency

GP at Hand ‘not impacted’ by Babylon UK insolvency

Babylon’s GP at Hand operation will not been impacted by the sale of the UK business, and it is expected to continue to provide care to 100,000 NHS patients in London.

Earlier this month, the company had confirmed that a planned merger with digital therapeutic platform MindMaze had failed, and as such it would have to ‘wind down’ its US operations while also pursuing the ‘divestiture of its UK business to third parties’.

It also said some of its operations would ‘file for bankruptcy protection’ or other routes for an ‘orderly wind down’ or ‘liquidation’.

Last week, administrators Alvarez & Marsal confirmed that Babylon’s clinical services business was sold solvently to US digital health business eMed.

But Pulse was told by Alvarez & Marsal that GP at Hand is a ‘completely separate’ third-party partnership that is a GP practice that contracted with the Babylon Group, and will not be impacted by the sale.

The GP at Hand practice was not part of the deal because it could not be as it is not part of the group, the administrators said.

It has not gone through any insolvency process and is still contracting with Babylon Healthcare Services Limited, which has remained outside of an insolvency.

Pulse exclusively revealed earlier this year that Babylon had indefinitely suspended out-of-area patient registrations for GP at Hand.

And its website said it was registering patients based in Fulham, West London, only.

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North West London ICB told Pulse that it is ‘actively monitoring’ the situation but that is not expecting an impact on patient services.

A spokesperson for the ICB told Pulse: ‘The situation remains unchanged. We are actively monitoring the situation and are in regular contact with Babylon GP at Hand so we can be forewarned if anything changes.

‘We have not received any updates from them in relation to any sale process and we are not expecting any impact on patient services.’

Andrea Jakes, managing director at Alvarez & Marsal Europe LLP, said: ‘The appointment of administrators over Babylon’s UK business to facilitate a sale to eMed ensures the least possible disruption for Babylon users, which should continue to operate as normal.’   

In April, Babylon said it had no plans to pull out of providing care to its NHS patients in London and suggested its financial woes had been inaccurately reported.

The company’s NHS arm GP at Hand became the first practice in England to register more than 100,000 patients on a single list in August last year.

However, its Birmingham operation was forced to close in November as part of a strategy of ‘winding down’ unprofitable NHS contracts.

Upon launching GP at Hand as a mobile GP service which registered out-of-area patients for remote consultations, Babylon was accused by critics of ‘cherry-picking’ younger, healthier patients, leaving other practices to care for patients with greater needs. 

However, last year CEO Dr Ali Parsa said the company needed to be ‘super careful’ about expanding its UK GP services as it loses money on every patient, with accounts revealing the NHS GP at Hand arm was reliant on profits from the private side of the business.



Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

Darren Tymens 4 September, 2023 5:48 pm

Presumably Babylon’s implosion just leaves the GPs holding the (presumably GMS) contract?
Babylon itself said that they were losing money on every patient.
Without the support of Babylon ploughing in investor capital to keep the ship afloat, how viable is this massive practice?
If I were one of the partners remaining on the contract I would be *terrified* of the potentially unlimited liabilities.
If I were a local commissioner I would be *terrified* of it collapsing and 100K patients flooding into other practices in an uncontrolled manner.

Nicholas Sharvill 4 September, 2023 6:33 pm

there was a time when selling GP practice (as opposed to the buildings) was illegal under the NHS. regulations. When did this change

Douglas Callow 4 September, 2023 7:00 pm

bad reporting

Anthony Gould 4 September, 2023 11:20 pm

Could NHSE and investors not see that Babylon was a bad idea and would not be sustainable
Matt Hancock espoused it and he is not a clever guy !