The list of conditions previously deemed unsafe for patients able to register with GP at Hand have been removed by Hammersmith and Fulham Clinical Commissioning Group, in response to a clinical review which has been carried out by NHS England, but not yet published. However the CCG says patients will still be advised that sometimes it may not be appropriate to register with a practice that is not near their home.
NHS England has deemed that all technology used by GP at Hand, which is provided by Babylon Healthcare, meets NHS safety standards.
GP at Hand is an online GP service offered by a Fulham based practice, partnered with Babylon Healthcare which provides video consultations and other digital services. It has been renamed “Babylon GP at Hand”.
Patient groups previously unable to register with GP at Hand included:
- Those with complex physical and or mental health conditions;
- people with learning difficulties;
- pregnant women;
- people living with dementia;
- older people with conditions related to frailty;
- those requiring end of life care
Data published by Hammersmith and Fulham indicates that around 2,500 patients per month, mainly from other London boroughs, have registered with the service over the last six months.
With increasing news of GP shortages and increasing numbers of patients in the UK, one can see how this model could help to alleviate the problem. However, having spent many years defending doctors in clinical negligence claims and in regulatory proceedings, I have concerns about patient safety and the ramifications for doctors working to this model.
The list of conditions previously deemed unsafe for the GP at Hand service have been removed by Hammersmith and Fulham Clinical Commissioning Group