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Private GP service sets sights on further NHS expansion

Babylon health plans to expand its virtual GP service to Manchester after its reported success in attracting NHS patients to use its GP at Hand business. The private company, which offers fast GP appointments by video has attracted over 60,000 NHS patients in Birmingham and London and if its plan is accepted will be up and running in Manchester by early 2020.

Despite its potential expansion to three major cities, under current regulations patients who sign-up for GP at Hand are all registered with Babylon Health’s GP practice in Hammersmith & Fulham in West London; it is, therefore, this CCG that will be required to give approval for the expansion to Manchester.

Babylon’s expansion in this way has led to major financial problems for Hammersmith and Fulham CCG as it is responsible for thousands of new patients registered on GP at Hand whether they live in their area or not.

Hammersmith & Fulham CCG eventually gave approval for the expansion to Birmingham, with the proviso that no more than 2,600 patients be registered in the area in the first three months.

However, changes announced in late September by NHS England and NHS Improvement will change this and have a significant effect on the way Babylon Health operates from April 2020 onwards when they come into force.

Full story on The Lowdown, 11 October 2019.

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