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MAD AS HELL BLOG

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By MadAsHelll&NotGoingtoTakeitAnymore, Sep 10 2017 08:57PM

Can Brent NHS commissioners tell their apps from their elbow?


Gaynor Lloyd, a Brent Patient Participation Group Core Group rep, thinks not.


In July this year she discovered that GP practices in Brent were thinking about starting to trial the very expensive Babylon app for private GP services, produced by Ali Parsa, Founder and CEO of Babylon Healthcare.


Or perhaps that they already had - confusingly, the Brent NHS commissioners’ paper also said the trial was already underway in a number of practices and the “pilot in Brent has seen 1450 visits”.


Gaynor is particularly concerned as her large practice has recently lost 2 of its 4 fulltime GP's. The Babylon app promises to “put a GP in your pocket” and claims that its symptom checker is safer and more accurate than GPs’ and nurses’ advice.


Babylon app’s unevidenced claims

GP and author Dr Margaret McCartney has asked for evidence to support Babylon’s app, as its claims are not founded on an independent, real life study that is capable of examining real life harms.


Dr McCartney states that


...“non evidence based policy making, and serial IT innovations, have wasted money and provided poor value for patients.”


She’s been asking for details of the North London pilot since March 2017 but has received no details about the evaluation, assessment of safety and accuracy or the financial arrangement between the NHS and Babylon.


Freedom of Information requests for details of app trial and patient data protection


Gaynor has pointed out that patients need to be informed if they are to be part of a pilot/trial, but Brent NHS Commissioners have responded with prevarications and obfuscations.


At the July Brent Council Community and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee meeting,the CCG officer said it was "just one of the apps being looked at. In terms of risk assessment, as a clinical tool it is perfectly safe. It has to pass clinical governance standards.”


The CCG officer added "the trials don't choose a patient; it's a choice by the patient through the practice.

It is up to the patient to share their data; the patient clicks on the app and the app shares the information itself."


Just how many questions does that beg?


The CCG officer said that the Brent trial had not yet started but she "believed" it has started in North Central London. NW London is only "looking at it" in particular on "information governance and whether it's an option". 


It has subsequently transpired that the app trial in Brent has not yet started, but expressions of interest in piloting it have come from two Brent practices (both of which are run by AT Medics - a private company that describes itself as the largest provider of primary care in London. NHS England notes a number of innovations that AT Medics has developed in direct response to NHS England’s General Practice Forward View.


Neither the Privacy Impact Assessment nor the Information Sharing Agreement yet exist.



Fighting corporate interests in access to patient data.


Following the Information Commissioner’s decision in the Deepmind and Royal Free Hospital case,

that patient data sharing between the Royal Free Hospital and Deep Mind was illegal, Gaynor sent a FOI request about data protection in the Babylon app trial.


She is still awaiting the result of her appeal against a partial refusal to respond.


Brent CCG say that they have no "obligation to seek the views of the National Data Guardian or the Information Commissioners Office for a project such as this."


They claim that Babylon's terms and conditions and the still-to-be finalised Privacy Impact Assessment and Information Sharing Agreement will protect the patients.


Gaynor said, “If you believe that you’ll believe anything. Just look at Baylon’s privacy terms and the partners and suppliers they can share app users’ data with”


The NW London Sustainability and Transformation Partnership Clinical Advisory Group on Whole Systems integrated Care has


"Agreed that incorporating Babylon 111 Data into Whole System Integrated Care Data Warehouse would be clinically useful, with need to explore possible visualisations of data to fulfil direct care purpose"



Gaynor is referring these and related data protection issues to the ICO.

Joint Health Scrutiny Meeting notes here: http://democracy.brent.gov.uk/documents/s56260/7.%20PrimaryCareTransformation.pdf


COMING UP NEXT in part 2... meet the backers, feel the disruption




By MadAsHelll&NotGoingtoTakeitAnymore, Dec 1 2016 11:51PM




Our North West Mad as Hell And Not Taking It Any More correspondent Kevin Donovan recently urged the public to call upon Wirral MPs and Labour and other councillors to try to rein in the Chair of Wirral Health and Wellbeing Board, Cllr Phil Davies (nominee for String Vest Award) and the runaway coach of the Sustainability and Transformation Plan.


And people did.


On 28th November 2016, Wirral People Overview and Scrutiny Committee agreed this statement by a majority decision:


“The Committee is concerned that elected members have had no opportunity to feed into the development of the STP nor were they given the opportunity to see the plan before it was published on 23 November.

The Committee is also concerned about any lack of meaningful consultation with the public of Wirral prior to the publication. As a result of the failure by the authors of the Plan to engage with the local authorities in Cheshire and Merseyside, the Committee is concerned at the high levels of anxiety and speculation on the implications of future delivery of health service in Wirral which the plan has generated.

The Committee further notes that although there is very little detail included, many of the proposals would represent a significant variation in service delivery and would therefore need to be presented for scrutiny to this Committee and possibly a pan-Merseyside and Cheshire Committee before any proposals could be implemented.

The Committee does not believe that Wirral Council can agree to the STP without absolute clarity on the proposals and a meaningful process of consultation and engagement with elected members and local residents.”


Is this the Road to Jamsaskus?

The Road to Dontaskus?

The Road to Damnaskus?

Or The Road from Posttruthus?


Are Councillors playing to the gallery or actually doing something useful when they say they reject the STPs?


Our NWMHNTIAM (North West Mad as Hell and Not Taking It Any More) Correspondent says:

“This is a real emergency! The crucial point is that contracts for STP-related NHS/care services have to be signed by 23rd December so delaying any protest/consultation is far too late. Councillors may argue that they can’t halt the STP avalanche but the Local Government Assocation & NHS Providers’ STP briefing clearly states: ‘Although STP leads and the partnerships working on the plans have no statutory basis and are not legal entities, they derive their authority to act from the consent and participation of their participant organisations, namely CCGs, providers of NHS services and local authorities.’


The consultation is simply hot air by some councillors to make it look as though they are standing up for the NHS when in fact they are happy to let things take their malign course. 23rd December is the end! Unless.... a council can mount a strong legal challenge- now there's an idea...

Could it be a Hammersmith & Fulham Council legal challenge?


How did things get to this sorry pass? You can read the backstory CLICK HERE




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