From January 2006 all patients in the UK have been able to use the new Choose and Book service for all elective care. Choose and Book is a national service that will, for the first time, combine electronic booking and a choice of time, date and place for first outpatient appointment. It is available to all patients in England requiring elective care (over 10 million each year).
Patients needing elective treatment will be offered a choice of at least four providers once ther GP has decided that a referral is required. These providers could be NHS trusts, foundation trusts, treatment centres, private hospitals or practitioners with a special interest operating within primary care.
As well as choosing where they go, patients will be able to choose when they go by phoning an appointments line, booking over the internet, or booking at the GP surgery.
In the meantime, all patients waiting longer than six months for an operation are offered a choice of an alternative place of treatment. This is called Choice At Six Months. You can find out more at the choose and book website. www.chooseandbook.nhs.uk/