• Paul Bate to lead NHS work for Babylon Health, the digital health company started by Circle founder Ali Parsa
  • Mr Bate instrumental in overhaul of regulation in wake of Francis report and led on CQC’s new strategy
  • Babylon provides services to two GP practices but plans to expand to “many more”

Paul Bate, the Care Quality Commission’s director of strategy and intelligence, is to leave the regulator to join a digital health company started by Ali Parsa, the founder of Circle Health.

Mr Bate will lead the NHS work for Babylon Health, a company which allows patients to consult with doctors using a mobile app.

He joined the CQC in 2013 and was instrumental in the overhaul of health and social care regulation following the Francis report.

Recently he led on the development of CQC’s strategy for the next five years, which was published this week.

In a message to staff on the CQC’s intranet, Mr Bate said: “I’m very excited by the opportunity to lead the NHS work for the digital health company Babylon – Babylon brings clinicians, mobile technology and artificial intelligence together to deliver great healthcare to patients in the NHS and across the world.

“I am immensely proud of what CQC has achieved over the last three years, and strongly support the new strategy. Quality regulation will become more focused, more responsive ‎and more collaborative.

“The commitment of staff in CQC and across health and social care to encouraging improvements in quality, makes this a positive moment for me to move on.”

David Behan, the CQC’s chief executive, said he was “incredibly grateful” for Mr Bate’s contribution over the last three years.

“His combination of intellectual rigour, detailed understanding of the health and care system and – most importantly – a personal and genuine passion for improving care have made him an outstanding executive director of strategy and intelligence; an admired and respected colleague; and the ideal architect for our new five year strategy,” he said.

Babylon was founded by Ali Parsa, who previously set up and led Circle, the private firm which operated Hinchingbrooke Health Care Trust until it pulled out from the contract early in April 2015.

According to Babylon’s website, the company has begun a partnership with the NHS to provide “patients of specific practices with consultations via smartphone”.

Currently the service is limited to two GP practices in Essex – the Highland Surgery and the Eastwood Group Practice. However, it is “soon to expand to many more” the website adds.