GP at Hand sale looms as Babylon merger fails

11th August 2023 by NASGP

GP at Hand sale looms as Babylon merger fails

Babylon is seeking to sell off its UK business including GP at Hand after a planned merger failed, Pulse reports.

statement on its website said: “In order to explore these opportunities for a Third Party Sale and enable business continuity, Babylon is in discussions with potential strategic partners to secure additional funding… To the extent that Babylon is unable to secure additional financing and complete a Third Party Sale of a particular business, the applicable entities of the Group will file for bankruptcy protection or implement other alternatives for an orderly wind down and liquidation or dissolution.”

GPs in NASGP’s closed Facebook group for sessional GPs often report working for Babylon. Others have noted its falling stock price as a reason to avoid the company.

In 2020, NASGP chair Dr Richard Fieldhouse commented on the trend for GP locums to be ‘sucked up’ by private health companies following lockdown cancellations and CCAS problems.

Dr Fieldhouse told GP Online that private firms had been able to ‘suck up’ locums during the pandemic because of a lack of work: “Patients have also got used to off-practice services, although I don’t think that is many patients’ preferred choice at the minute. This will lead to more patients using services such as Babylon Health.”

Commenting on the possible sale of GP at Hand, Dr Fieldhouse said: “Whilst some GPs have valued the opportunity of working for GP at Hand, and some patients have valued the convenience of its digital-first service, many others have complained of its long-term destabilising effects on workforce and patient care.

“Was Babylon the Government’s Plan B for the NHS? If so, that would explain a lot. But for Babylon, it has its work cut out to convince GPs in its employ that it remains a service with a future.”

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Leanne Lincoln, scheduling co-ordinator, Beccles Medical Centre

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