Exclusive: 42% stop Choose and Book

More than a third of GPs in England have dropped Choose and Book in response to the pay freeze, a GP survey has revealed.

Forty-two per cent of GPs said that their practices had stopped doing Choose and Book. In addition, 28 per cent said that they had ditched other existing unfunded work such as the access directed enhanced service, while 13 per cent said they were boycotting the national care record system.

Fourteen per cent of respondents worked in practices that had moved to open-but-full lists.

Ninety GPs took part in the survey conducted at the LMCs Conference in London last week.

The findings come after the GPC issued details of work practices could reject after the pay freeze in April.

The guidance stated that: 'Many GPs will evaluate their involvement in Choose and Book over the next year, particularly where they feel using the software offers no benefit for patients and takes up too much time.'

GPs were urged to turn down unfunded new work, ditch underfunded work and consider moving to closed or open-but-full lists.

GPC chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum cast doubt on the results. 'More of the politically motivated GPs were at the LMCs conference than the clinical GPs so it was not a true reflection of GP opinion.'

He added that opinions differed on Choose and Book.

However, Cleveland LMC secretary Dr John Canning believed that the number of GPs who had actually dropped Choose and Book might be much higher than the 42 per cent identified by the survey, because of frustration caused by using the system.

But GP clinical lead for Connecting for Health Dr Gillian Braunold said many GPs at the LMCs conference had actually praised Choose and Book.

'The black-and-white nature of the LMCs conference means that views are always taken to the extreme,' she said.

'Everyone knows that Choose and Book is not perfect, but people do like the system and it is of real benefit for the patients.

'For the week commencing 4 June, Choose and Book was used 88,000 times. This accounts for 78 per cent of practices.'

Meanwhile, the head of the agency responsible for NHS IT development has quit. Connecting for Health chief executive Richard Granger plans to return to private sector work when he steps down this year.

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