Feeds

Slow start for Choose and Book

0.007 per cent take-up

Top three mobile application threats

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.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Edward Snowden on his Putin TV appearance: 'Why all the criticism?'
Denies Q&A cameo was meant to slam US, big-up Russia
Reprieve for Weev: Court disowns AT&T hacker's conviction
Appeals court strikes down landmark sentence
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.