The must-read stories and debate in health policy and leadership

Revealed: Babylon email threats to CQC

In December, Babylon Healthcare and the Care Quality Commission faced each other in the High Court hearing regarding a disagreement over a critical inspection report.

This week, HSJ revealed the back and forth between the digital primary care provider and regulator leading up to that appearance.

The emails, provided to HSJ under the Freedom of Information Act, detail Babylon’s attempts to block or amend the report before publication (an amended report was eventually published).

They included a threat to sue the CQC for damages if an “inaccurate and misleading” report was published, the suggestion that one of the regulator’s chief inspectors could appear biased, and expansive criticism of CQC’s approach to inspecting digital providers, including raising doubts about the quality of inspectors.

Responding to HSJ, CQC said it was confident in its approach to assessing digital providers (and its inspectors).

Babylon said that all “requirements for improvement” outlined in the report as published, “had been acted upon”.

The company was at the “forefront of technological discovery”, it said, which was “uncharted territory” for the company and regulator alike.

“This is no easy task, it requires a mature approach and no sensationalism.”

Judge insists on more consultation over closure plan

A row over Corby Clinical Commissioning Group’s urgent care centre has taken its latest twist.

The CCG has lost another legal judgement – this time about its lack of formal consultation of plans to change the centre into a same day GP access hub.

In the High Court, Corby CCG was told it had made clear promises to its local community that it would formally consult on plans and it had failed to do so.

The CCG said it had conducted a major public engagement exercise.

The judge, Milwyn Jarman QC, ordered the CCG to conduct the consultation it had promised.

This outcome leaves the CCG in a very difficult position – it now has just seven months to consult on the service changes and procure a new provider. If it cannot do so, it will mean that the urgent care centre will close without a replacement being up and running.

The CCG has already extended the contract of the current provider, Lakeside +, and said in a statement that it cannot do so again, meaning there is a real risk of failing to provide much needed local community services.