Clinical Informatics

Choose and Book: A critical appraisal of its early development


  1. Introduction and definition of “Booking”

  2. Historical context

  3. Aims and Contents of the Choose and Book project

  4. Key findings of the National Audit Office report: Patient Choice at the Point of GP Referral, Jan 2005

  5. The strength and weakness of the original proposal

  6. Overall appraisal of the project

  7. References


The Choose and Book project had been conceived with the aim of emphasising patient-centred care, facilitating choice and hence, convenience and increased patient participation in their own care. It also aims to deliver certainty, allowing patients to fit their health care into their life, and not the other way round.(1)

The provisions of up-to-date highly relevant and valid information as regards the NHS services, supported by an advanced electronic booking system are the keys to this.

The secondary aims of the project are the anticipated improved administrative and organisational efficiency from the reorganisations required to support this endeavour. It is also mentioned in the National Audit Office report that this should result in annual savings in terms of operating cost for the NHS.

Definition of “Booking”

Before proceeding any further, I think it is important to define some terms.

The formal definition for a fully booked appointment or admission is:

The formal definition of a partial booking is:

The later is only defined in order to provide an alternative transition phase in the work towards achieving full booking.

In order to appreciate the scale of the project, these figures should be kept in mind (as of 2005):

  1. 270 NHS Hospital

  2. 10,683 GP Practices

  3. 30,000 GPs

  4. 55 million patients

  5. 255 million GP consultations per year

  6. 9.4 million referrals GP referrals to secondary care per year


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Page Updated: 17 May, 2017

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