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Choose and Book - A guide for GPs.

Choose and Book is a national service that combines electronic booking and a choice of place, date and time for first hospital or clinic appointments.

It allows patients to choose their initial hospital or clinic appointment, and book it on the spot in the surgery or later on the phone or via the internet.  Use Choose and Book.

How does Choose and Book work?

When a patient and their GP agree that they need an appointment with a specialist, Choose and Book shows their GP which hospitals or clinics are available for their treatment. Their GP discusses with them the clinically appropriate options which are available for treating their medical condition.

If a patient knows where and when they would like to be seen, they may be able to book their appointment before they leave the surgery. Patients will be given confirmation of the place, date and time of their appointment.

Patients may want more time to consider their choices. If so, they can take the appointment request letter away with them and book their appointment later on the phone or via the internet.

Benefits of Choose and Book to patients

  • Patients can choose any hospital in England funded by the NHS (this includes NHS hospitals and some independent hospitals).
  • Patients can also choose their preferred date and time from the available appointments offered by the hospital provider.
  • Patients experience greater convenience and certainty. With Choose and Book, the choice is yours.
  • There is less chance that information will get lost in the post because more correspondence takes place through computers.
  • Patients can check the status of their referral and change or cancel appoints easily over the phone or on the internet.

Benefits to NHS staff and clinicians

  • GPs can search for services that are available for different conditions and get information on waiting times whilst with the patient.
  • Choose and Book helps improve the communication between primary and secondary care and ensures that the patient's journey through the system is transparent and effectively managed.
  • Choose and Book's Advice and Guidance facility offers GPs the opportunity to discuss cases electronically with consultants in hospitals, helping to ensure that patients do actually need a referral and, if so, that they are booked into the correct clinic.
  • GPs and practice staff see a reduction in the amount of time spent on the paper chase and bureaucracy associated with existing referral processes.
  • Did Not Attends (DNAs) have reduced at a number of trusts, because patients have been more involved in deciding where and when they will be seen by a consultant or specialist.
  • By reducing the time spent waiting to receive their first outpatient appointment, Choose and Book will help measure and manage the 18 weeks pathway for patients.