Online GP surgery biz Babylon gives up fight against Brit health watchdog, owes £11k

App maker wanted to keep 'inaccurate' review private

Digital health outfit Babylon has withdrawn a legal challenge against the UK's Care Quality Commission (CQC) concerning a report into its practice's operations.

The biz, which lets people video chat with and text doctors rather than seeing them in person, will have to cough up £11,000 in costs.

Yesterday Rebecca Lloyd-Jones, director of governance at the CQC, the body responsible for overseeing healthcare in Blighty, said "there are no more legal proceedings" between the CQC and Babylon, as the company had withdrawn its "challenge on limited grounds" fully.

This comes after a High Court judgment in London on December 8, which ruled that Babylon Health Services' application to keep a CQC inspection report private was rejected, and that the report should be published.

Babylon did not want the report to be made publicly available because it claimed it contained "many inaccuracies" despite also praising Babylon.

Babylon runs its phone app services for London-based NHS GP at Hand, however, the inspection, which took place before the NHS-backed service was launched, concerned the private side of its business, where users can pay for fast-access video appointments with GPs.

The report, available on the CQC website since the judgment (PDF), is generally positive, but does note that the service sometimes prescribed medicines in ways that were not in line with national guidelines and best practice.

It said "prescribing decisions were not always made appropriately" and "information was not always shared with a patient's primary physician to ensure prescribing was safe or appropriate". It added: "There was no system in place to give assurance that patients' conditions were being appropriately monitored."

Responding to the report, Babylon said: "Despite the praise that CQC give us, we are disappointed that CQC's inspection report contains many inaccuracies," adding it was "concerned that the regulator has found it so difficult to assess digital healthcare in its most recent round of inspections."

A CQC spokesperson said: "We are pleased that we are now able to report on our findings in line with our statutory responsibility."

The Register has asked Babylon to comment. ®

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