Feeds

Slow start for Choose and Book

0.007 per cent take-up

High performance access to file storage

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
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
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
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Big Content goes after Kim Dotcom
Six studios sling sueballs at dead download destination
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
Jack the RIPA: Blighty cops ignore law, retain innocents' comms data
Prime minister: Nothing to see here, go about your business
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
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.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.