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 entrepreneur, writer, campaigner and commentator. She is based in London and is the founder and Chief Executive of 2020health, an independent, social enterprise Think Tank whose aim is to Make Health Personal. Through networking, technology, research, relationships and campaigning 2020health has influenced opinion and action in fields as diverse as bioethics, alcohol, emerging technologies, fraud, education, consumer technology and vaccination. Julia studied visual science at City University and became a member of the College of Optometrists in 1991. Her career has included being a visiting lecturer at City University, a visiting clinician at the Royal Free Hospital, working with south London Primary Care Trusts and as a Director of the UK Institute of Optometry. She specialised in diabetes (University of Warwick Certificate in Diabetic Care) and founded Julia Manning Eyecare in 2004, a home and prison visiting practice for people with mental and physical disabilities using the latest digital technology, which she sold to Healthcall (now part of Specsavers) in 2009. Experiences of working in the NHS, contributing to policy development, raising two children in the inner-city and standing in the General Election in Bristol in 2005 led to Julia forming 2020health at the end of 2006. Julia is a regular guest on TV and radio shows such as BBC News, ITV’s Daybreak/ GMB, Channel 5 News, BBC 1′s The Big Questions, BBC Radio, LBC and has taken part in debates and contributed to BBC’s Newsnight, Panorama, You and Yours and ITV’s The Week. She is mum to a rugby-mad son, a daughter passionate about Shakespeare, and wife of a comprehensive school assistant head-teacher. She loves gardening, ballet, Zimbabwe, her Westies Skye and Angus, is an honorary research associate at UCL and a Fellow of the RSA.
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