The NHS wants Gran to use mobile Apps

Massive rows raging over Digital communication in the NHS

Things are hotting up;  the new Minister of Health, Matt Hancock, openly admits he has signed up to Babylon.  Yes, the company that says  “Babylon’s mission is to put an accessible and affordable health service in the hands of every person on earth”. 

Fine, but free it ain’t.  

Image result for nhs humourIt was on the cards that private suppliers would be looking for ways to get a bigger slice of NHS action.

When Hunt jumped ship for the delights of being Foreign Minister (a pad in Carlton House Terrace, Chevening as a  weekend bolt-hole, etc) it was obvious that Whitehall gurus who dictate policy to politicians would choose someone they could manipulate to promote the latest idea: Digital Health – and the new Minister of State for Health would be chosen from those already using private medical care.

The fact that the NHS IT service has cost well in excess of £60 BILLION -and still doesn’t work – was conveniently swept under Whitehall’s carpets (kept for the purpose, one suspects).

Reality check

But – and there is a BIG but – Babylon as a provider is all very well, but no-one seems to realise that Gran might not be too happy talking to her doctor via a mobile phone;  that’s supposing she has one, and can afford this new technology.  Silver surfers are a rapidly expanding market, but not all have them can afford to use this.

Silver Surfers are savvy about money, and will happily use a lap top, but it can be expensive using a mobile.  For someone on a pension, paying over £450 -700 per annum rental is impossible.  If they ‘pay as you go’  the cost of making a call is too expensive for many: 50p per minute, and that annoying “your call is important to us” bumps up charges. On a pension either is a massive chunk out of this.

If Dept. Health want help rolling out their crazy schemes, at least CONSULT with users.  But this is far too sensible.  I have yet to meet one single Silver Surfer who has been consulted about the roll-out of NHS Digital (ND).

Ask those who know

Chris Lewis is one who understands costs, and has founded the Charity SimPal, designed to help cancer patients with limited income keep  in touch with family.  I bet he won’t be too happy if SimPal has to fund cancer survivors on a pension who need to see a GP, if they are signed up for ND and Gran’s health problems means she constantly calls her GP.

If Gran is going to ‘go all digital’, someone is going to have to look at the cost, and come up with a way of making this type of service much less expensive.

Currently, most Grans and elderly patients have a set-up that takes them to their GP’s surgery at minimum cost.  She may have had to wait days to see her GP, but she doesn’t want to spend a large percentage of her pension on talking to her GP, so will wait;  it’s free and she reckons time is something she has plenty of.  THe IT-obsessed gurus in Whitehall need to understand this simple fact.

So what ARE NHS bosses doing?

For a start, we are told “NHS England is ‘reviewing safety regulations for GP diagnostic apps”

Isn’t this bleeding obvious and should be happening anyway?  Or has some Whitehall guru suddenly woken up to reality?

Hear it from the horse’s mouth

Speaking at an event the health secretary said: ‘I’ve signed up for Babylon Health so I no longer have a physical GP. ‘My GP is through the NHS on Babylon Health – it’s brilliant.’

A spokesperson for Mr Hancock confirmed that he was, in fact, referring to the GP at Hand app.

Oh Boy – the Dept. Health must be slithering around on the can of worms that this opens up.


Share This