Monday, 14 April 2008

Choose and book (or not!)

I think I am one of the first patients to try the new 'choose and book' system of arranging your out-patient appointment. I saw my GP on Friday and on Saturday a letter arrived with a reference number and a password. Fortunately I have a computer and so could access the on-line booking system so at midnight last night I started my hunt! In reality I have a 'choice' between 4 local hospitals but two of these are totally inaccessible unless you have a car! I looked for availability at all the hospitals. My nearest one had no available appointments although I suspect that was because they have not managed to get their computers to liaise with the 'choose and book' computers! I could have phoned but decided that if they can't get their act together to get their booking system sorted then what will they do with my case notes! In the end I 'chose' a slightly longer wait to go to a hospital where, although the buildings are run down, the standards of medical care are pretty good. Two things amused me. Firstly I got a message saying this appointment is not confirmed until you get a letter from us and secondly the bottom line of the letter from my GP states

The Patient Care Advisory service is your local point of contact for any queries relating to your appointment. Please do not ring the surgery as we are unable to assist you with these matters.

Do you think they are anticipating problems?

(actually I have just looked at the 'choose and book' website. The section on 'technical queries is great and includes the following gem!

Why doesn’t Choose and Book work with my web browser?
The Choose and Book patient application currently supports Internet Explorer version 5.0 and above. Internet Explorer is used by over two thirds of all Internet users in the UK, and whilst we accept this does not make the site accessible to everybody at this time, we are working hard to ensure 100% accessibility as soon as possible. Later this year there will be more enhancements, including access for those patients who prefer to use the Firefox web browsers

Heaven help us! Do you think they have a 'deal' with microsoft!?)

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