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Choose and Book mixes up patient appointments

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The NHS hospital booking service has sent up to 340 patients incorrect appointment data, delaying a software upgrade.

According to Connecting for Health (CfH), the agency in charge of the NHS National Programme for IT, a system error led to some patients receiving other people's appointment details. It said the error is still being investigated, and will release more information when it has been determined.

Most patients given the wrong data have been informed before attending hospitals, since the error started on 11 April 2008.

"A few did turn up for appointments which were not there for them," said a spokesperson for CfH. "We apologise for inconveniencing them."

CfH added that it put into action plans to contact providers so patients would receive the right appointments, and that it did not believe patient confidentiality had been breached.

The problems stopped a planned upgrade, from release 3.6 of Choose and Book's software to release 4, on 12 April. It has been postponed with no new date for implementation. The spokesperson said there did not appear to be a connection between the problems and the upgrade work, which had not started when the wrong appointments were generated.

"The programme continues to run on the current 3.6 release while NHS CfH works closely with Choose and Book's principal supplier (Atos Origin) and its sub-contractors to resolve the issue affecting a relatively small number of patient bookings," the spokesperson said.

Choose and Book has been used in making seven million appointments since its inception.

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

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