Advert for GP access smartphone app banned by watchdog

Full story in The Guardian, 3 October 2018

A watchdog has banned adverts for a smartphone app that promises to let patients “see an NHS GP in minutes for free”.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has told the private health firm Babylon Health not to advertise its GP at Hand service, which has been endorsed by the health secretary, until it corrects factual errors used in its promotion.

It criticised Babylon for not making clear in the adverts that patients signing up to GP at Hand first had to deregister from their existing family doctor, a move that GP leaders warned would prove damaging.

The ASA’s ruling raises questions for Matt Hancock, the health and social care secretary, who has explicitly backed the service, despite fears in the NHS that its expansion will destabilise traditional GP services.