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Uncertain future for Babylon Health in the UK

Recent moves by Babylon Health raise more questions on how long the company will remain a partner to the NHS, as it leaves contracts in the UK and looks to save money. 

In the past month the company has announced the end of partnerships with two large hospital trusts in the Midlands – University Hospitals Birmingham (UHB) Foundation Trust and The Royal Wolverhampton Trust (RWT) – as the company says they are “no longer economically viable.”

And the company’s chief financial officer, Charlie Steel, has said the company cannot ‘continue to fund the NHS forever’ as it reported on losing money on its GP services for the NHS.

The two high-profile contracts are expected to end later in 2022. 

The UHB partnership, which began in May 2019, covered the launch of the symptom checker service Ask A&E, whose use the trust hoped would reduce the pressure on its A&E and hospital services. However, it was not universally welcomed by GPs in the area. 

Pointing to funding problems in primary care and a lack of support for GPs, Birmingham local medical committee executive secretary, Bob Morley, said the chief executive of UHB Dr Rosser’s vision of vertically integrated care, in combination with Babylon, was “a truly frightening prospect that is going to be nothing but massively damaging for healthcare in Birmingham”. 

Full story in The Lowdown, 9 August 2022

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