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.