What is Choose and Book?
Choose and Book is a service that lets patient choose their hospital or clinic and book their first appointment.
When the patient and their GP agree that an appointment is needed, the patient can choose which hospital or clinic they go to. The patient can also choose the date and time of their appointment.
Choosing your hospital
Most patients now have the right to choose which hospital provider they are referred to by their GP. This legal right, which was introduced in April 2009, lets patients choose from any hospital provider in England offering a suitable treatment that meets NHS standards and costs.
Patients can choose which hospital they are seen in accordance with what matters to them most, whether it is location, waiting times, reputation, clinical performance, visiting policies, parking facilities or other patients' comments.
A choice of hospital is available for most patients and in most circumstances. Exceptions include emergency and urgent services, cancer, maternity and mental health services. If you need to be seen urgently by a specialist (for example, if you have severe chest pain), your GP will send you where you'll be seen most quickly.
What does Choose and Book mean for the patient?
As well as giving patients a choice of hospital, date and time for their appointment, Choose and Book will also give the ability to:
plan and manage appointments around any existing appointments, if patients are currently undergoing treatment;
fit treatment in with other commitments, at home and at work;
choose appointments that fit with the patient's schedule; and
check the status of referrals and change or cancel of appointments easily over the phone or on the internet.
How does Choose and Book work?
When a patient and GP agree the need for an appointment with a specialist, Choose and Book shows the patient's GP which hospitals or clinics are available for treatment. The GP than discusses the clinically appropriate options that are available for treating the medical condition.
If the patient knows where and when they would like to be seen, a booking can be made before leaving the practice. The patient will be given confirmation of the place, date and time of their appointment.
Can patients book all appointments through Choose and Book?
When the patient and GP agree the need for an appointment with a specialist, patients can book the first hospital or clinic appointment using Choose and Book. Any follow up appointments, are arranged by the hospital themselves.
The benefits of Choose and Book:
Patients can choose any hospital in England funded by the NHS (this includes NHS hospitals and some independent hospitals). More information about hospitals is available on the NHS Choices website;
Patients can choose the date and time of their appointment;
Patients experience greater convenience and certainty. With Choose and Book, the choice is the patients; and
There is a reduced risk that correspondence gets lost in the post as most of the communication is done via computers.
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