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. St George’s Choose and Book system has been formally recognised by NHS London as one of the most improved in the capital and for its low appointment slot issues (2% or less).
Using Choose and Book brings a number of benefits to GPs and St George’s Healthcare. The system provides a full directory of all the secondary care services available under Free Choice via the Directory of Services as well as those services locally commissioned by Primary Care Trusts.
You can find out more about what Choose and Book offers by reading Choose and book Myth Buster
GPs and practice staff can direct the patient to use the Choose and Book appointments line or the internet where they are unable to complete the booking themselves. Flexibility in the Choose and Book service means the referral process can be adapted to suit different working conditions and you can identify services with shortest waiting times.
You can access service-specific guidance to help shortlist the most appropriate services and highlight any helpful preliminary investigations. Advice and guidance from specialists can be sought prior to referral, supporting the development of better referral pathways and closer collaboration with secondary care colleagues.
GPs and practice staff can track the progress of a patient’s referral through Choose and Book and you have much greater access to patient care management plans, ensuring that the correct appointments are made. The system also reduces the amount of time spent on paperwork and bureaucracy.
You can contact the choose and book service at the following times, using the numbers below:
|Monday to Friday:||08:00 - 20:00hrs|
|Weekends and bank holidays:||08:00 - 16:00hrs|
|Choose and Book appointment line:||0345 60 88 88 8|
|Textphone service:||0845 8 50 22 50|
Please use the reference number and password from the patient’s appointment request letter. You will need to have these in front of you when booking an appointment.
Please search our services to find the service you are looking for. Clinicians in all specialties have been involved to ensure that our information accurately reflects the services that we offer.
Two-week rule referrals are also supported by Choose and Book. If there are no slots available, please fax the referral proforma to the two-week rule office on 0208 725 0778.
Data from previous electronic booking pilots show that when patients are given a choice of date and time for their appointments they are more likely to attend. This leads to fewer wasted appointments and helps to improve the overall efficiency of outpatient clinics.
The amount of time spent by administrative support staff in responding to patients' enquiries about the progress of referrals is huge. In some cases a patient will book an appointment with their GP specifically to enquire about their referral. This reduces the amount of clinical time available in a practice. Eliminating this administrative burden brings an immediate benefit in primary care for patients, GPs and practice staff.
Referral information from primary care systems will be made available to hospital clinicians in a legible and consistent format. Development of the National Care Record service will allow relevant patient information supplied by GP and hospital systems to be accessed by authorised users wherever and whenever it is needed.
The journey through the NHS is increasingly patient focused. Appointments and admissions are made in discussion with the patient to get a mutually suitable date and time.
Waiting to hear about appointments is a key concern for all patients. The electronic booking of appointments provides patients with more certainty. This helps them make arrangements and plan for the appointment. They will know straight away when their appointment will be, so they don’t have to wait for a confirmation letter to arrive.
The system gives patients confidence that the referral information reaches the hospital. The information is protected by a series of stringent access controls and information governance. The system can also update referrals with up-to-date clinical developments.