GP at Hand – Fact Sheet

Babylon GP at Hand – Fact Sheet

At a glance: 

  • NHS England (London) wants to ensure that all our patients have access to high quality primary care when they need it. As set out in the Long Term Plan, the NHS will see an increasing use of digital technology and from 2021 every patient in England will have access to online and video consultation – if they choose it.
  • Babylon GP at Hand is just such an innovation. It is a practice within NHS Hammersmith and Fulham CCG who now offer digital and in person consultations to patients who are registered with them including patients who register from out of their area.
  • It is free at the point of use for patients.
  • It is subject to all the usual information governance and information security rules – just like any NHS practice.
  • The service is available for patients to register if they live or work within 30-40 minutes of the practice.
  • The service is designed to benefit people with episodic, well defined needs, those who are digitally confident, and those who find it difficult to access services near where they live.
  • As set out on their website, the Babylon GP at hand service “is designed to provide high quality NHS primary medical services for people of all ages, and whether in good health or not.”
  • However, as with any other NHS general practice, it may not be suitable for everyone’s needs or preferences.
  • We will continue to evaluate the service to ensure it is delivering for all patients who use it.


What is Babylon GP at Hand?

‘Babylon GP at Hand’ is a practice in North West London operating under a GMS Contract. They offer traditional general medical services to patients registered with them.  The enhanced model they are implementing now focuses on a digital first service through the use of a mobile app which is provided by Babylon Health.

It also provides in-person services should patients require them at sites in and outside of Hammersmith & Fulham CCG area. This is made possible under the national GP choice policy enabling patients in and around London to register with the practice.  Any practice can register patients outside of their practice area using the GP Choice Policy.

How has this service been commissioned?

The Babylon GP at Hand practice is a practice within NHS Hammersmith and Fulham CCG, who are commissioned as a primary medical service in the usual way.

Has this been commissioned within the scope of the existing GMS contract?


Is this an NHS service?

Yes – this is an NHS General Medical Practice.

Can the service be used by anyone?

Patients will need to live within a certain proximity to Babylon GP at Hand’s surgeries in order to register. They can also register if they work in London zones 1 -3.

It is important that patients have the widest possible choice of services and reflect the way people live their lives today. The service offered through Babylon GP at Hand will work very well for some patients.

Patients need to de-register at their current NHS GP practice and join the Babylon GP at Hand practice.

In the early stages of rollout, patients were advised on the practice website to seek advice before registering as an out of area patient if they had particular complex care needs.

This was reviewed in September 2018 by the NHS England and Hammersmith & Fulham CCG Clinical Assurance for Babylon GP at Hand. As reported to the Hammersmith & Fulham CCG Primary Care Committee in November 2018, “an amendment is being made to the information on [the practice] website for patients looking to register with them. The list of conditions where it may not be clinically appropriate for patients with them to register will be removed.”

It’s not the case that those with mental health issues, who are frail or are pregnant cannot be registered but for some, this type of digital or remote care model may not be clinically appropriate. Therefore these patients would be advised of that by the practice.

Will the service involve charges for patients?

No. Like any other NHS GP practice, NHS services will not be charged for.

Where will the service be operating?

Babylon GP at Hand will be operating out of the following clinic locations in London:

  • 82 Vincent Square, Westminster, SW1P 2PF
  • 1 Westferry Circus, Canary Wharf, E14 4HA
  • Battle Bridge House, 300 Gray’s Inn Road, King’s Cross, WC1X 8DU
  • 139 Lillie Rd, SW6 7SX
  • 292 Munster Road, SW6 6BQ

 Why has NHS England lifted its objection?/ Can you be confident these patients will have access to the same services locally as other patients?

We have a duty to ensure that all patients get good access to high quality health services.  Following initial concerns regarding access to immunisation and screening programmes for Babylon Babylon GP at Hand patients, a solution has now been identified.  NHS England has removed its objection to Babylon GP at Hand expanding services to Birmingham.

We will work with local providers, Birmingham, NHS Digital, and Babylon GP at Hand to ensure the solution is in place and patients can access the same service locally as other patients, before the service is launched.

How soon could Babylon GP at Hand open in Birmingham?

Before this service is launched, we need complete assurance that patients registered with Babylon GP at Hand will have the same access to local screening and immunisation services as other local patients. We will work with local providers, Birmingham, NHS Digital, and Babylon GP at Hand to ensure the solution is in place and patients can access the same service locally as other patients, before the service is launched.

How does this fit in with the announcement of Digital First primary care as per the Long Term Plan and the GP contract?

NHS England made a clear commitment in the NHS Long Term Plan that every patient will be able to access a digital first primary care offer by 2023/ by:

  • creating a new framework for digital suppliers to offer their platforms to primary care networks on standard NHS terms; and
  • ensuring that new ‘digital first’ practices are safe and create benefit to the whole NHS. This means reviewing current out of area arrangements and adjusting the GP payment formulae to ensure fair funding without inequitably favouring one type of GP provider over another.

 Is there a danger you could end up with multiple digital providers competing for the same group of patients? Won’t this just confuse people, rather than help them get a better service?

We will monitor progress very closely over the coming weeks and months which will help inform future NHS plans.

Is this safe?

GPs from NHS England (London) medical directorate, North West London Sustainability and Transformation Partnership, an independent GP and the heads of primary care for NHS England (NWL) and Hammersmith & Fulham CCG met members of the practice to review the clinical model, governance processes and patient safety aspects of the services in August 2017.

Is there a risk of a data breach?

This is a single practice and therefore the patient records will be on a single practice system. This digital element of the practice service is subject to all the information governance, data protection and information security rules applicable to any NHS practice.

How is this service being regulated?

The service is regulated in the usual way. The provider is regulated by the CQC; the GPs working in the service are regulated by the GMC and through the NHS Performers List.

How will the service be paid for?   

The normal weighted capitation allowances practices receive through a GMS contract remain the same. Any arrangement the practice have agreed with Babylon is commercially sensitive information that remains with the Practice.

Babylon GP at Hand has pushed Hammersmith and Fulham CCG into deficit – how is NHS England supporting the CCG?

NHS England are working closely with Hammersmith and Fulham and other London CCGs on their financial plans including considering the implications of Babylon GP at Hand.