Letters, calls and emails: We have effectively junked Choose and Book

Dear Editor

Dr Paul Searle is quite right about Choose and Book (GP, 27 October). 

Being a progressive practice we decided to use it. It has caused considerable problems. The system is slow, when it was demonstrated you could gain immediate access and the whole procedure of the actual booking was done fairly quickly.  

In vivo, you can sit there like a lemon with the patient waiting for the system to respond. My average booking time was in excess of five minutes.  

We tried all methods of getting round this including asking our staff to book the patients later and telephone them. This was wasting a lot time and causing great problems.  

The final straw was an elderly patient who attended outpatients with a Choose and Book booking, but was sent away because the referral letter could not be accessed from the hospital computer.  

For the time being, our practice has decided to reduce our commitment to Choose and Book which effectively means junking it for the majority.  

Choose and Book is a not a bad idea, but it appears that the IT system is not up to scratch. Personally I did not train as a GP to act as an appointments clerk, and even an extra two minutes per referral is significant if you  extrapolate it to all the partners over a working week.  

Despite this, some of my partners like to refer patients through Choose and Book because they feel the patients like it.  

Of course patients would like a free foot massage, coffee and flowers at the surgery but that does not mean it makes good financial sense.  

Dr Paul Charlson  

Brough, Cumbria 

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins


Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

Woman holding face in pain

Should GPs treat patients presenting with dental problems?

The MDU's Dr Kathryn Leask considers what GPs should do if a patient presents with...

Conservative Party leadership candidate and foreign secretary Liz Truss

Liz Truss vows to resolve GP pension tax crisis if she becomes prime minister

Liz Truss has affirmed her commitment to resolving the GP pensions crisis but has...

Baby receiving a vaccine in their thigh

JCVI advises changes to routine childhood and HPV immunisation schedules

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has recommended a change...

GP consultation

General practice delivering 'up to double the appointments it is paid for'

General practice in England may be delivering as many as double the number of appointments...

Sign outside BMA House

GP suicide sparks calls for measures to protect doctors from spiralling workloads

The government and policymakers must do more to safeguard doctors and NHS staff from...

Talking General Practice logo

Podcast: Living with long COVID

In August we’re bringing you some of the best interviews from series one of the podcast....