Around 5,000 London patients registered with GP at Hand service

Concerns have been raised that the new service might not help patients with more complex needs.

[London, UK] About 5,000 patients have registered so far with the new GP at Hand service offered by the NHS in areas where it has been deployed, including people working or living in zones 1 and 3 of London, according to Hansard records.

GP at Hand is a free service developed by Babylon Health in partnership with NHS GPs to offer virtual consultations to patients.

It was launched at the beginning of November after a trial in Fulham, South-West London, which reportedly saw 3,000 people sign up within weeks.

Conservative MP and Health Minister Steve Brine said the 5,000 people that have now joined the GP at Hand service represents a ‘very small proportion of the population’ where it has been made available.

Asked how the Department of Health plans to assess the impact on GP practices affected by the roll-out of the platform, the MP said the primary care commissioning committee of the Hammersmith and Fulham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has called for a ‘robust evaluation’.

Meanwhile, an ‘oversight group’ formed of CCG and NHS England London representatives will monitor progress.

The launch of the app generated mixed reviews across the NHS, with Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Royal College of GPs Chair, expressing concerns the service might not help patients with more complex conditions.

At the Giant Health event on Tuesday in London, Babylon Health Clinical Director Dr Umang Patel said he disagrees with claims that the new service might be ‘cherry-picking’ patients and increasing workload for GPs.  

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