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Patient Choice Schemes

Volume 468: debated on Monday 26 November 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) which web browsers are compatible with Choose and Book; (164552)

(2) what web browsers are compatible with (a) each element and (b) all elements of the NHS information technology programme.

The choose and book professional application is fully compatible with Microsoft Internet Explorer version 6.0 (IE6). Users are advised to employ IE6, but can also use Internet Explorer version 7.0 (IE7). Instructions on optimum browser configuration for IE7 have been published on the choose and book website.

The choose and book patient application currently supports Microsoft Internet Explorer version 5.0 (IE5) and above. Microsoft Internet Explorer is used by over two thirds of all internet users in the United Kingdom, and for this reason was selected as the browser for which the patient web application was originally devised in order to provide access to the greatest number of patients in the shortest possible time. While this means that the site is not yet accessible to all internet users, work is in hand to ensure full accessibility, including to those who access via the Firefox and Safari web browsers. A new release of the patient application will mean that the Firefox browser will be supported from December 2007.

All the national programme's core applications and services require web browser functionality. Suppliers are delivering solutions which will in due course be accessible via all versions of IE or Firefox. However, in the short term, some current versions of suppliers' solutions are limited to IE6.