Babylon has been rated ‘good’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) two years after the company was found to be providing unsafe care in previous reports.
The latest report, published on 4 December 2019, found the digital provider had adhered to previous safety advice around prescribing and patient safety.
The independent regulator rated Babylon Healthcare Services good overall, and outstanding for well-led services after an inspection in February 2019.
The CQC noted data on waiting times, patient satisfaction, prescribing rates and clinical coding were monitored daily, and clinical support meetings were held routinely to identify and respond to emerging risks.
Daily, weekly, fortnightly and monthly reviews of all prescribing had also been put in place, allaying previous concerns around prescribing risks with the provider.
“All medicines prescribed to patients during a consultation were monitored by the provider to ensure prescribing was evidence based. The GPs could only prescribe from a set list of medicines which the provider had risk-assessed,” the CQC found.
Babylon, which powers GP at Hand, had also improved its practice of sharing information with a patient’s primary GP, something it had previously been criticised for.
The CQC found all patients were asked for consent to share details of their consultation and any medicines prescribed with their GP on each occasion they used Babylon’s services.
Some 57% of patients prescribed medication consent to having their information shared with their NHS GP and 51% of all patients consent to share their consultation information with their NHS GP.
The digital provider had previously been criticised by the CQC over concerns regarding the potential for prescriptions being misused and information not always being shared with the patient’s primary GP.
The concerns, raised in a December 2017 report, sparked a legal battle over the CQC’s right to publish its findings on Babylon’s services.
The provider said it had a “duty” to point out the “shortcomings” of the CQC report, but the High Court ruled against the injunction and it was published on 8 December, 2017.
Babylon agreed to pay the CQC £11,000 in legal costs.
In the latest report, the CQC found: “The service had comprehensive systems to manage risk so that safety incidents were less likely to happen. When they did happen, the service learned from them and improved their processes.”
It also noted the service “routinely” reviewed the effectiveness and appropriateness of the care it provided.
But it found Babylon needed to review and act on inconsistencies with clinical record-keeping, and continue to develop outcome-led quality improvement activity.
Dr Matt Noble, medical director of UK clinical service for Babylon, said: “We’re delighted to have been rated as outstanding for well-led services and being rated good overall.
“We’re particularly proud that the report highlights how our patients are treated with compassion, kindness, dignity and respect. 93% of patients give our service five or four stars.
“We are also very proud that the CQC recognises our ‘exceptional access’ with consultations available all day, every day. 50% of patients wait fewer than two hours for an appointment and 75% wait fewer than four hours.
“That success is down to our staff who felt ‘valued’ and ‘proud’ of Babylon.”
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