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GP at Hand practice adds another 2,500 patients



The London host practice of GP at Hand – the online GP app offering NHS appointments ‘in minutes’ – has added another 2,500 patients in the last month.

Dr Jefferies and Partner had 26,500 patients on 1 May, up from just over 24,000 a month earlier.

Since partnering with private company Babylon to offer the app to Londoners in November last year, the list size of the Fulham-based NHS practice has grown from just 4,000 patients.

This comes as GP at Hand recently told Pulse that 40,000 patients have applied to join the service in total.

But it also comes as NHS Hammersmith and Fulham CCG, of which the GP practice is a member, has struggled with the financial implications of such a swift influx of patients.

Its latest estimate shows it will require an extra £18m in primary care allocations from NHS England to be able to balance the books in 2018/19.

Board papers from last week said some in-year additional funding was ‘expected but not confirmed at this point’.

The impact of the launch of the new service on patient care, which Babylon is able to offer across London using the NHS practice and the out-of-area registration scheme, has yet to be evaluated.

The CCG launched a bid in March worth £250k to hire an independent evaluator to assess the ‘outcomes and impacts’.

GP leaders have warned GP at Hand is ‘cherry picking’ young and healthy patients, but Babylon has said it has a diverse range of patients.

Most recently, Doctors in Unite warned health secretary Jeremy Hunt that the model ‘threatens the model of general practice’ by ‘hoovering up’ younger, fitter patients.

Babylon has said that ‘the reality is that people across London are exercising their rights to choose their NHS general practice’.