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Patient Choice Schemes

Volume 476: debated on Tuesday 20 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many patients have been affected by a Choose and Book system error since the system’s inception; (205570)

(2) how many times unique reference numbers for Choose and Book have been transposed between patients since the system’s inception.

We are aware of only one choose and book system error that has affected patients. Out of 8.5 million bookings made, the error is known to have affected 272 bookings, between 11 April 2008 and 24 April 2008 through the transposition of unique reference numbers.

The affected cases were quickly identified and action was taken to minimise any potential impact for patients. All hospitals and patients were contacted where the possibility had arisen of notification of incorrect appointments resulting from the error. In many cases it was established that no adverse effect on patients had occurred and at no time was patient confidentiality compromised.

The supplier made corrections to the system and no recurrence of the problem has been experienced since 24 April 2008. While no further recurrence is expected in future, an automated process has been put in place to identify the problem immediately if that should happen.