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Catastrophic computing

'It adds five minutes to every consultation.' 'It's just not usable.' 'It's so cumbersome.' 'We gave up when it took 45 minutes NOT to book someone in.'

'It adds five minutes to every consultation.' 'It's just not usable.' 'It's so cumbersome.' 'We gave up when it took 45 minutes NOT to book someone in.'

This is the response of GPs who have tried, and in some cases are still trying, to use Choose and Book. And there are many more which are just as critical.

Not one out of 200 GPs we asked to give their opinion on Choose and Book had a positive thing to say about it. What makes this response even more damning is that these GPs are the early adopters. These are the GPs who actually want to see the system work. Who can see the potential of electronic booking.

But whenever they try to use Choose and Book, their computers lock up, their surgeries overrun and their frustrations boil over. It is simply staggering, for example, that GPs are being told to use software as a core part of their daily work which can only run if they override their computer's security settings and allow 'pop ups'.

GPs would not allow their home computers to be open to such a threat, yet they are being ordered to jeopardise systems on which their business depends.

Clearly, Choose and Book needs to be overhauled. But this will require Connecting for Health and the Government to listen to GPs ­ something they have so far shown little sign of doing. Unless they start now, they will have yet another multi-million pound IT catastrophe on their hands.

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