A strong defence of NPfIT Choose and Book

A strong defence of the Choose and Book system has been sent to me after yesterday’s article on the IT Projects blog in which the president of the Royal College of Surgeons, John Black, attacked the system.  

The email says:

“Patient choice is key and the ability of patients to influence the direction of care episodes is paramount to the future of the NHS. It is vital that patients have the ability to choose where and by who follow up procedures and continuity of care is provided and that they are given appropriate information to make an informed decision.

“I find Mr Black’s comments on the ability of the general public to make informed decisions about their own care to be insulting at best but this is of course not entirely surprising from a group of people who seem to think that they and only they know what is best for individuals… Far be it for the lowly patient to have any say in their own care…

“For too long, patients have been hamstrung by outmoded surgery times which benefit doctors and not patients, lack of choice as to which surgeon to choose or hospital to be treated at and so forth. Programmes such as ‘Choose and Book’ give patients the ability to influence their own care and have a say in its direction.

“Mr Black’s comments are very similar to those of GPs purportedly concerned about so-called ‘Darzi Centres’. The concerns are dressed up as concerns about continuity of care but are in reality about the GPs practices ‘bottom line’. I for one welcome such centres which allow me as a patient to get appointments at times to suit me. ‘Choose and Book’
provides a similar ethos and I for one welcome it.”

Link:

President of Royal College of Surgeons attacks Choose and Book – IT Projects blog

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I'd be interested to know if the author of that email is a member of the general public or someone who works for Connecting for Health.

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I asked myself the same question. But I thought the email put the counter arguments well whatever the author's job.

My view is that Choose and Book is a good idea in principle - with advice from their GP, a patient should be able to choose what hospital they go to and who sees them, and be able to book the appointment on an electronic diary. Some GPs I have spoken to support the idea of Choose and Book - but they don't like the system or the way it operates. And its reliability is suspect - it can prove difficult sometimes to complete a booking. So will all GPs use it as time goes by? I don't think so.

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I posted the comment,as a informed unpaid Community Volunteer. I have attended nearly all the Health Meetings in my area for several years.I have never worked for Health or any public organisation.My interest is in the inaqualities and how badly thought through new systems can widen IT gap.All avenues for highlighting problems faced by some of the poorest members in our communities have been closed down!! There is only the complaints system.The problem with this is you need to get ACCESS before being able to complain and also be able to understand the system(chicken&egg.)situation.

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