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NHS England instigates rule changes for digital providers

New rules from NHS England to be put in place in April 2020 will mean digital-first GP providers will have to set up a clinic in most localities where they have patients, and will be denied entry to areas which already have enough doctors. 

The new rules were adopted at a joint NHSE and NHS Improvement board meeting. The changes will have a significant impact on Babylon Health and its GP at Hand app, the only such provider to currently operate on a GP contract. The changes provide a regulated route for other digital-first providers to enter the market.

Many of the changes are due to a consultation over the summer. Digital-first companies will now be limited in the number of “out of area” patients they can register at a single practice in a given clinical commissioning group area. From April 2020, once a practice registers 1,000 people in a given CCG area, then they will need to be awarded a new and separate “alternative provider medical services” contract for that area meaning that no single list will get too full of out-of-area patients.

GP at Hand has used flexibility in the current rules to register around 60,000 patients to its practice which is based in Hammersmith and Fulham, and which have all effectively become the responsibility of Hammersmith and Fulham CCG. These out-of-area patients will now have to be split into different lists under new contracts.

Full story in The HSJ, 26 September 2019

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