Patients are more likely to miss out on outpatient appointments if they are left to book themselves in under Choose and Book than under the conventional referral system, according to Pulse Magazine [requires registration].
This is an interesting finding. In the past appointments were made without the patient’s being asked what time or date suited them. A local hospital or clinic sent a letter to the patient stating the time and place of the appointment, whether it was convenient or not.
Under Choose and Book part of the NHS’s National Programme for IT [NPfIT], the onus is on GPs or patients to make appointments by phone or online at a time and hospital to suit them. If the patient forgets to make an appointment after a referral by a GP they are sent reminders by the NHS.
One would have thought this was better than the old system But it seems that some patients would prefer the appointment to be made for them, not by them.
Pulse is running a campaign that calls on the Government to “halt to Choose and Book – at least in its current form – before any more millions are wasted”.