Once I have made my choice, how do I make a hospital appointment?
Do I have to pay if I choose a hospital?
Is choice available to everyone?
If you GP refers you ... you can choose.
In preparation for your appointment.
During your appointment.
After your appointment.
What can I do if I am not offered a choice of hospital?
Choose and Book is a service that lets you choose your hospital or clinic and book your first appointment. When you and your GP agree that you need an appointment, you can choose which hospital or clinic you go to. You will also be able to choose the date and time of your appointment.
How does Choose and Book work? When you and your GP agree that you need an appointment with a specialist, Choose and Book shows your GP which hospitals or clinics are available for your treatment. Your GP discusses with you the clinically appropriate options that are available for treating your medical condition.
If you know where and when you would like to be seen, you may be able to book your appointment before you leave the practice. You will be given confirmation of the place, date and time of your appointment.
You may want more time to consider your choices. If so, you can take the Appointment Request letter away with you and book your appointment later. Your Appointment Request letter lists your unique booking reference number, your NHS number and a list of hospital or clinic options for you to choose from. Your GP practice will also give you a password with your Appointment Request letter.
You can then decide how you wish to book your appointment; via the telephone, using the national number on the letter or via the internet. Please note that whilst the vast majority of appointments can be booked this way, in some cases you will need to telephone your chosen hospital directly to make your appointment. This is because the hospital appointments system does not link to Choose and Book.
Can I book all my appointments through Choose and Book? When you and your GP agree that you need an appointment with a specialist, you can book your first hospital or clinic appointment using Choose and Book. Any follow up appointments, are arranged by the hospital themselves.
The benefits of Choose and Book
You can choose any hospital in England funded by the NHS (this includes NHS hospitals and some independent hospitals). More information about hospitals is available on the NHS Choices website;
You can choose the date and time of your appointment;
You experience greater convenience and certainty. With Choose and Book, the choice is yours; and
There is a reduced risk that correspondence gets lost in the post as most of the communication is done via computers.
CHOOSE AND BOOK CHANGES PLANNED FOR LATER THIS YEAR NHS England today (12th May 2014) clarified the future of its Choose and Book programme , following an article in the Observer newspaper at the weekend. Beverley Bryant, Director of Strategic Systems and Technology for NHS England explained the contract on Choose and Book, introduced in 2004 as a national electronic appointment booking service that provides patients with a choice of place, date and time for first outpatient appointments – is coming to an end.
“A new NHS e-Referral Service will supersede it later this year (2014)”, she said. “This will build on the success of Choose and Book and lessons learned to provide a more efficient service that better meets the needs of the NHS and our patients.
“When Choose and Book was introduced nearly 10 years ago it was a major step forward in creating a central appointments service with the aim of offering patients a choice of appointment at a time and place to suit them.
“As a result, up to 40,000 patient referrals are made through Choose and Book every day and to date over 40 million bookings have been made through the system. But we know that Choose and Book has worked for some and not for others and a combination of electronic and paper referrals is still being used in some areas.
“With the new NHS eReferrals Service we want to build on the successes of Choose and Book and use the lessons learnt. This isn’t about reinventing the wheel, it is about taking the next step.
“This is part of NHS England’s commitment to making all referrals electronic and the NHS paperless by 2018.
“What we have been very clear on is the need to understand what referring clinicians and receiving organisations want from the new system. Managing a mixed economy of paper and electronic referrals is onerous for hospitals and the lack of total slot availability makes it difficult for referring GPs to move away from paper.
“We want a system that is quick, easy and beneficial for healthcare professionals to use and ultimately improves patient experience by providing flexibility and choice around the services we offer wherever the patient is.
“When Choose and Book was designed back in 2003 agile, open technologies were not readily available. A major objective of the new NHS E-Referrals system will be to introduce functionality for patients as well as clinicians to facilitate Choice and to make the whole booking experience more user friendly”
The vision for the new NHS e-Referral Service was launched in June 2013. The announcement kicked off an extensive engagement with healthcare professionals and patients.
Feedback from consultations has helped drive the design of the new service and help develop a system that is simpler to use, adopts the latest technology and provides an improved service for users and better experience for patients, with a view to driving up utilisation.
The new NHS e-Referral Service will harness some of the new technologies used by the most successful IT companies in the world and, using the latest Agile development techniques, will deliver a service designed and assured by the users, that patients want and the NHS needs to deliver modern and efficient healthcare.