Matt Hancock has come under fire for praising a private app in a newspaper article.
The Labour Party want the Health Sec to face an “urgent investigation” after he seemed to endorse, Babylon, a GP app.
The piece appeared in the Evening Standard, edited by George Osborne, where he praised the app, even telling the paper he had it on his own mobile device, reports the Huffington Post.
The article was printed “in association with” Babylon, which matches patients to NHS GPs for free – and offers a £9.99-a-month premium service.
The Ministerial Code says ministers should not normally “offer support to, pressure groups, or organisations dependent in whole or in part on Government funding”.
The Code adds: “Ministers should take care to ensure they do not become associated with non-public organisations whose objectives may in any degree conflict with government policy and thus give rise to a conflict of interest.”
A Department of Health spokesman said: “As the Health Secretary has made clear in the past, he holds no portfolio for any particular company or brand and regularly champions the benefits of a range of technologies which can improve patient outcomes, free up clinicians’ time and make every pound go further.
“We are working to create a tech ecosystem which allows all innovations to flourish in the NHS, a number of which were highlighted in the article.”
A representative from the Evening Standard told HuffPost UK the interview was an “editorial decision” and the Standard “retained full editorial control” over the content.
“The interview was subject to the full rigour of Evening Standard editorial judgement,” the statement said.
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