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'Use Choose and Book to beat postal strike', GPs told

By Laura Montini

Connecting for Health bosses are urging GPs to increase their use of Choose and Book in a bid to overcome delays to hospital referrals caused by the ongoing postal strikes.

Dr Stephen Miller, medical director of Choose and Book and a GP in Lambeth, southeast London, has written to all SHAs proposing Choose and Book as a solution to recent communication problems.

'Given the current postal disputes and concerns that patients' on-going care may be compromised due to delays in written referral letters being received by hospitals, and/or appointments being posted to patients, I am writing to remind you of some of the many benefits of Choose and Book that could potentially help doctors and their patients in this situation,' he wrote.

'A number of PCTs are already taking this opportunity to remind GPs of the advantages of using Choose and Book over paper-based systems and you may wish to cascade the information in this email to your colleagues in both primary and secondary care.'

He added: 'Because all information is transmitted electronically, [Choose and Book] does not rely on postal services to either deliver the referral information to the hospital nor the appointment to the patient. In addition, those patients that require written material are able to print this off either in the GP practice or from the Patient Web Application.'

Dr Miller's push comes at a time when the popularity of Choose and Book has stagnated for months.

Fifty-four percent of all referrals to first outpatient services across the NHS are currently made using Choose and Book, a Connecting for Health spokesperson said - a figure which has remained steady since April.

Choose and Book can help avoid referral delays caused by the postal strikes, GPs have been told Choose and Book can help avoid referral delays caused by the postal strikes, GPs have been told

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