The choose and book service is currently being rolled out nationally. It supports general practitioners in offering patient choice and enables patients to book first consultant-led out-patient appointments at times that are convenient to them.
NHS Stop Smoking Services are not currently bookable through the choose and book service, although the functionality of the service would allow it. A proposal relating to this matter is due to be considered by the national clinical reference panel, which advises the choose and book programme.
The national health service remains on target to meet its objective of 800,000 quits at four weeks over the three years to the end of March 2006. The latest figures were published in “Statistics on NHS Stop Smoking Services in England, April 2005 to September 2005”, on 13 February 2006. A copy is available in the Library.
The choose and book service records the list of commissioned options made available to patients and the providers they ultimately book. This information forms part of patients’ clinical records and is therefore available only to those with legitimate clinical relationships with particular patients.
Aggregated booking information may be used centrally to review trends in referrals to different provider organisations, but without breaching confidentiality in relation to individual patients.
The figure of 6,823,970, quoted in the answer of 25 April 2006, is the number of first consultant-led out-patient appointments booked in the period April 2005 to January 2006. The equivalent figure for the period April 2005 to March 2006 is 8,339,293. The majority of these appointments were not booked through the choose and book service.
The figure of 296,655, quoted on the NHS Connecting for Health website, is the number of appointments booked through the choose and book service as at 23 April 2006. As at 14 May 2006, the figure stands at 369,983.
The Department is establishing a data return to support primary care trusts (PCTs) in assessing whether aspiration payment criteria have been met for the choose and book element of the directed enhanced service (DES). The return will include utilisation data from the choose and book service and practice level referral data from PCTs.
It is for PCTs not the Department to monitor take up of the choice-related aspiration payment available under the DES.