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Is Choose and Book in Cornwall really 'working pretty well'?

Choose and Book was the subject of a series of questions to health minister Ben Bradshaw on Tuesday.

By Steve Nowottny

Choose and Book was the subject of a series of questions to health minister Ben Bradshaw on Tuesday.

Many of the questions and debates have been well-rehearsed already, but this one caught our eye. Andrew George, the Liberal Democrat MP for St Ives in Cornwall, asked whether Choose and Book really gives value for money given patients prefer their GPs' advice. And Mr Bradshaw's reply was illuminating.

'If, as he says, there are GPs in Cornwall who are not offering their patients that choice, I find that as unacceptable as he does,' he told Mr George. 'If there is a problem with the Choose and Book system whereby slots are not becoming available, which may be what he wants me to address, that is an issue that the local primary care trust needs to address.'

He could have left it there, but he went on:

'The latest figures for Cornwall that I have show that it is one of the highest performers in the country on Choose and Book, with up to 80 per cent of GP referrals being made through that system. It therefore sounds to me as though both Choose and Book and the choice system are working pretty well in Cornwall.'

Without of course wishing to contradict the minister, he might wish to have a look why exactly Cornwall is one of the highest performers in the country. Uploading paper referrals certainly can't hurt - although whether that's an example of the choice system 'working pretty well', we couldn't possibly comment.

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By Steve Nowottny

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