Babylon’s GP at Hand is to set up the “first UK digital doctor hub” and has plans to roll out in two other cities in the UK by the end of the year, Digital Health News can exclusively reveal.
Mobasher Butt, medical director at GP at Hand, said the hub is intended as a space in which doctors can carry out digital as well as face-to-face consultations.
He added: “With remote working, some doctors absolutely love it, they can fit it around their commitments, but others like going to a place of work.
“We wanted to create something for our GP workforce, a creative co-working space in London where doctors can carry out digital consultations but can also see patients face-to-face.
“We are becoming one of the largest GP workforces; we want to provide work options.”
Butt also said he hoped to have GP at Hand rolled out across “at least two other cities this year” with a big focus on expanding it further across London.
Dr Jefferies & Partners in Fulham, south west London, was the first to offer the Babylon-powered GP at Hand service from November 2017. The setup promised to cut waiting times by allowing patients to book appointments through their smartphone, and to video chat to a doctor within minutes.
Babylon also claims patients can get a same or next day face-to-face appointment if needed at five clinics around London.
But the service has been met with some fierce criticism, in particular claims that it ‘cherry-picks’ younger patients, putting more strain on other GP practices. Butt told Digital Health News that he felt the concerns were “not justified”, and were based on a misunderstanding of GP funding models.