Babylon GP at hand – please be aware of Dr John Puntis and many other doctors’ complaints:
The leaflet from ‘GP at Hand’ is being distributed through letterboxes in parts of London. As you see, it promises an instant recovery (“Get well now”) for patients with symptoms. GP at Hand has been destabilising practices by taking out young, well individuals from GP lists, and reducing practice income needed to look after complex and chronically ill patients. Despite an ongoing independent evaluation of the service not yet being completed, Babylon Health has recently had the go ahead to expand from London into Birmingham. GPs have expressed concern over fragmentation of care and patient safety and have pointed out that the service flies in the face of the place-based care delivered by a practice embedded in the local community that is the focus of the new GP contract.
I have lodged the following complaint with the Advertising Standards Authority:
‘Babylon GP at Hand’ have produced a flyer being hand delivered to residential addresses in Islington. I was given a copy of this flyer yesterday. It implies that symptoms will resolve instantly (“Get well now”) with a telephone consultation. It does mention that to register with the ‘GP at Hand’ service patients will need to de-register from their current GP, but does not explain that this will cause considerable problems if the need for urgent care arises.
The flyer also states: “prescriptions delivered to the pharmacy of your choice within an hour” which disguises the fact that prescribing without seeing and examining a patient is extremely poor medical practice and fraught with risk for both doctor and patient. My complaint is that this flyer gives a mistaken impression of the benefits of using ‘GP at Hand’ and fails to point out inherent risk. There are also wider risks to the NHS from young, well and tech savvy patients being registered with ‘GP at Hand’ and removed from GP lists thus reducing the practice income that is required to look after older and more complex patients with chronic conditions.