The controversial app-based GP service has won approval from government inspectors, it has been announced.
GP At Hand won “good” ratings from the Care Quality Commission under most headings – although it has been told to improve its effectiveness.
The service, which is used by health secretary Matt Hancock, has caused alarm by seeking to spread across England. Some 50,000 patients are registered with one NHS practice in Hammersmith, London, and this has caused financial problems to local clinical commissioning groups who finance the practice.
Mr Hancock has promoted it as the future of primary care – but critics have accused the service of catering for the “worried well.”
Inspectors raised concerns about some basic services such as vaccination and cervical screening. GP At Hand blamed the vaccination problem on the “small number” of children on its list but added “the choice on immunisation lies with parents however.”
It was rated as good for being safe, caring, responsible and well-led. It was also rated as good in its care of people with long-term conditions and those with poor mental health – but ordered to improve services for working age people.
The practice is also seeking to be designated as a stand-alone primary care network, it has been revealed.
Its medical director Dr Matt Noble said: “We are very pleased to have been rated as Good, that they recognised just how quickly people can get an appointment and how satisfied our patients and staff are.
“Our NHS GP practice offers round the clock access to GPs at no extra cost to the NHS. We have transformed how people can see a GP and this is independent confirmation that we are doing so safely in a caring and responsive manner.”
He added: “One of the most exciting aspects of Babylon GP at Hand is the speed with which we can review our systems, adapt and improve. We have introduced a number of innovations including our Care Coordination Team.
“In addition to this, we are perhaps the only GP practice with a comprehensive, multidisciplinary team that offers daily intensive contact to support those with the very highest needs such as complex mental health issues, multiple medical problems, or addiction, and to help them with every day living.”