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Friday 28th October 2016

'Correct' use of Choose and Book guidelines issued

10th December 2009

The Department of Health has issued guidance to hospitals, primary care trusts and family doctors on how best to use the Choose and Book system.

It urges them to reconsider workarounds for the electronic booking system.

The new advice covers areas such as how it should be used by individual clinicians, referral management services, availability of appointment slots and technical problems.

It comes after wide variation in use.

National medical director for Choose and Book, Dr Stephen Miller, said he hoped local health communities would look at the guidance and re-examine how they were using the system.

The guidance urges practices which delegate shortlisting to administrative staff to ensure they are adequately trained and have relevant clinical knowledge to make the appropriate referral.

It also encourages PCTs and provider organisations to make sure that computer hardware and software meet the required specifications for optimal Choose and Book usage.

Dr Miller said slot availability issues had fallen from a high earlier in the year of almost 20% to under 12%, but the goal was for all hospitals to have slot availability issues of less than 4%.

“At the moment it is still more than one in ten patients who are trying to book an appointment and not being able to which is not acceptable. However it is clear that trusts are now starting to proactively manage capacity and demand,” he said.

The guidance has been backed by the BMA, which says it is crucial that trusts and PCTs meet the requirements set out in the document.


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