High-tech GP pioneer backed by Matt Hancock to ‘revolutionise’ the NHS suffers £261m loss
A pioneering high tech health company controversially backed by Matt Hancock to ‘revolutionise’ the NHS has lost £261million since it was set up, according to accounts.
Babylon Partners has helped develop GP at Hand, a 24-hour GP video consultation service app, which was hailed by the Health Secretary in 2018 as representing the future of the NHS.
The company’s latest set of accounts, however, show that it made a loss of £95million in 2019, up from £59million, and the company has total liabilities of £261million since it started in 2013.
Babylon Partners has helped develop , a 24-hour GP video consultation service app, which was hailed by the Health Secretary in 2018 as representing the future of the NHS (file picture)
Babylon Healthcare Services, which actually runs GP at Hand, but is part of the same complex corporate structure, lost £1.8million for 2019, after recording a profit of nearly £300,000 in 2018.
The accounts will represent an embarrassment to Babylon founder Dr Ali Parsa, who is no stranger to controversy, having left his previous venture Circle in 2012 after it fell into financial trouble.
In 2018 Iranian-born Parsa, who lives in a £5million house in London, and his company received a ringing endorsement from Hancock shortly after he became Health Secretary.
Labour criticised his remarks accusing him of breaching the ministerial code by promoting a company that receives NHS funds for each patient it treats.
Despite ongoing losses the business, which focuses on research, has continued to expand, more than doubling its staff from 305 in 2018 to 698, with staff costs rising from £21million to £44million.
The accounts state that the international Babylon group has net assets of £125million at the year-end but it also reveals that it received a £274million injection from existing and new investors in 2019.
The group also raised £72million in loan notes in 2020.
Parsa has set up a complex corporate structure with multiple related companies that ultimately lead to Jersey-based Babylon Holdings, which, in turn is controlled by ALP Partners, which is also offshore.
A Babylon spokesman said: ‘In 2019 Babylon focused on investing in technology to put an accessible and affordable health service in the hands of every person on earth.
‘During the year, Babylon Partners Limited spent heavily on its artificial intelligence and telemedicine platform which is used by our patients and partners, including those in the NHS and as part of our expansion into the US and other new markets.’