NHS England will have a say on whether a clinical commissioning group’s (CCG) objection to the rollout of GP at Hand in Birmingham is lifted, board papers have suggested.
Last month, Hammersmith and Fulham CCG formally objected to the Babylon-powered service being introduced in Birmingham, citing concerns regarding patient safety.
Latest papers from a meeting on Tuesday (14 August), reveal members of the CCG’s Primary Commissioning Committee (PCC) have been asked note an update on the situation, and decide whether to lift its objection.
But the papers confirm that even if it does so, “this matter will then be referred to NHS England for approval”.
This is because the CCG has been advised that “the matter could be considered ‘novel, contentious or repurcussive'”, and so subject to input by NHS England.
The papers add: “The notice of objection will remain in force unless and until such further decisions is taken by NHS England and the CCG.”
This would seem to suggest that both bodies must agree on whether the objection should be lifted.
Proposed conditions to deal with the CCG’s patient safety concerns are included in the papers.
These conditions include ‘a revised roll out plan’ which features a cap on the rate of registration and monthly clinical review meetings.
The PCC is asked to consider whether these conditions have “satisfactorily resolved” the CCG’s patient safety concerns and decide whether it feels the objection should be withdrawn.
However the papers add that the NHS England (London) medical directorate believes it “would not be reasonable to lift the objection” at this time.
GP at Hand, which offers video consultations via an app as well as face-to-face appointments. already operates from five London locations.
But all those using its services have to be officially registered with Dr Jefferies & Partners in Fulham, south-west London.
This would remain the case were the service to roll out in Birmingham – while patients would see GPs in that city, their formal registration would be with the London practice, which falls within Hammersmith and Fulham CCG.
Despite objections being lodged against the Birmingham roll out, Digital Health News reported in August that Babylon Health was allegedly already starting to recruit GPs in the area.