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Choose & Book? Do it simpler and cheaper!

From Dr Vic Bradbury Brentwood

We have not received any of the 'choose booklets' you mentioned (News, 5 January). However, we have been sent single sheets of paper with a helpline number and a list of eight hospitals.

We already refer to three of these but the other five are too far away, have poor public transport access and we have no personal knowledge of the consultants or their specialties or abilities.

I phoned the helpline but the switchboard operator had not heard of Choose and Book!

She finally put me through to someone who knew about the service and I requested booklets. A later phone call assured me they would be sent to our practice 'in the next month'.

Our patients usually ask us, as their GPs, to recommend who they should be referred to.

Patients wanting a private appointment are then given a referral letter and phone numbers of the local private hospitals (ie we choose, they book!).

This has worked well for the past 30-plus years and is much simpler and cheaper than the politically-motivated but expensive, time-consuming and unworkable new system.

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