Ali Parsa, CEO and founder of digital health company Babylon, has refused to criticise the performance of Health Secretary Matt Hancock during the coronavirus pandemic, arguing that people need to stop criticising others.

Responding to a question on Hancock’s performance by Walks with Founders’s David Rowan during a talk at the Collision from Home technology conference, Parsa seemed irritated, and ignored Rowan’s comments about his widely covered friendship with the health secretary.

“We know very little about this virus; we know very little about its virality, about its fatality, about its comeback, whether any drugs work. And in that environment and its economic effect, politicians and leaders need to sit back and choose between a series of very bad choices and figure out what’s the least worst choice,” he said.

“So I honestly wish we as a society, if you’re not contributing to the solution, at least we should do a little bit less in constantly sitting on our couches, and telling other people how to do it better.

“If we can do it better, we should get out there and help. But we should be more kind, more understanding in these times to  everybody: to our doctors, to our nurses, to our managers, to our authorities in what they’re doing.

“Because we do not have all the information they have, and we do not have all the advice they have. They’re trying to make the best of the limited amount of information and data they have and we should be more supportive and more understanding.”

Matt Hancock has previously faced criticism over his close relationship with Parsa and Babylon, which provides digital services to the NHS, including as Hancock’s GP.

In 2018 Hancock was accused of breaking ministerial code over his endorsement of the Babylon app in a sponsored newspaper supplement.


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