Feeds

Slow start for Choose and Book

0.007 per cent take-up

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Take-up of the NHS' Choose and Book system by GPs is off to an extremely slow start.

A report by the membership magazine of the British Medical Association, BMA News says only 67,820 referrals have been made by GPs in England out of an estimated yearly total of 10 million.

The figures are from data collected by the Department of Health (DoH) from Strategic Health Authorities (SHA) across England by December 23, 2005.

They indicate that "Choose and Book had barely registered in some parts of the country" and even when patients are offered a menu of choices for booking treatment, it is still being done manually.

The Counties of Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire registered a combined 46 referrals before Christmas. This compares with figures of 288 in Cumbria and Lancashire, and 374 in Essex.

Efforts by the DoH to boost usage of Choose and Book have seemingly had little effect. NHS director of access Margaret Edwards wrote to all SHA chief executives over a year ago calling for them to push Choose and Book as the primary channel, "in preference" to interim manual solutions.

Financial incentives have also had minimal impact. Primary Care Trusts were offered £100,000 if they could demonstrate that 50 per cent of its GP referrals had been made through Choose and Book by October 2005. Durham Dales was the only successful PCT.

A number of issues have compounded the problem.

VK Singh, chairman of Leicestershire and Rutland LMC (local medical committee), says low staffing levels in city-based GP offices, where referral levels tend to be higher, is the main cause preventing implementation.

Avon LMC chief executive Steve Mercer says his LMC has been "vigorously opposing" both Choose and Book, and manual choice, "while there remain appreciable unknowns about workload, financing, systems and functionality."

GPs have also experienced delays in making the referrals with one Liverpool GP taking 57 minutes to refer three patients.

According to Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire LMCs Chief Executive Peter Graves many GPs are ambivalent about Choose and Book, saying that "it has barely registered."

Choose and Book is a service that for the first time offers doctors and patients the opportunity to choose which hospitals they are referred to and to select convenient appointment times. It is one of the key systems that will help the government deliver its patient choice agenda.

The latest implementation goal is for 90 per cent of GP referral to be made through the system by March 2007.

Copyright © eGov monitor Weekly

eGov monitor Weekly is a free e-newsletter covering developments in UK eGovernment and public sector IT over the last seven days. To register go here.

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.