Choose and no book

Choose and Book (C&B) is one of the successes of NHS IT, with the programme provided by Cerner’s e-booking software. The software is working well, but things are getting in the way of smooth success.

The first obstacle was me. I had lost my paperwork. A call to C&B told me I could get my password from my GP practice. I called; it would take 15 minutes to retrieve it, they’d call me back. They didn’t, so I called again later. Password lost, could I call back. Third time lucky, I had my password. Back to C&B to book my hospital appointment. Ah, now for that hospital they don’t use C&B, you have to call direct. I called direct. Ah, now for that speciality we aren’t making bookings because we are full and your appointment would exceed the waiting limit allowed, I was told. “But we can put you on the waiting list to be called to make an appointment”. When will you call me? Oh – sometime in the New Year.

Moral of the story: software is working fine, but people are getting in the way, and don’t believe what you read about the 18 week target success.


About Julia Manning

Julia Manning is a social pioneer, writer, campaigner and commentator. Formerly a clinical optometrist specialising in diabetes and visual impairment, she is the founder and Director of 2020health, an independent, social enterprise Think Tank whose aim is to Make Health Personal and Social. 2020health has through research, events and campaigning influenced opinion and action in fields as diverse as bioethics, alcohol, emerging technologies, fraud, education, consumer technology and vaccination. In 2014, 2020health were founding partners of the Health Tech and You Awards with Axa PPP and the Design Museum. Since 2016, 2020health has increasingly focused on digital health and public health in the community. Julia is a Fellow of the RSA and now also a part-time PhD student at the UCL Interaction Centre, studying the use of digital technology for stress management in the workplace. Julia has shared 2020health's research widely in the media (BBC News, ITV, Channel 5 News, BBC 1′s The Big Questions & Victoria Derbyshire, BBC Radio 4 Today, PM and Woman's Hour, LBC) and has taken part in debates and contributed to BBC’s Newsnight, Panorama, You and Yours and ITV’s The Week.
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