"Choose & Book doesn't mean the Practice Manager chooses!"

About: Royal Hallamshire Hospital / Dermatology Sheffield PCT

(as the patient),

I went to my GP surgery for an appointment and was referred to the dermatology clinic. I understand the processes for Choose & Book, so I was surprised to hear from a receptionist call that the Practice Manager had made an appointment on my behalf, and without consulting me about a suitable date or checking with me where I might want to go for my appointment. I was busy on the date she chose, which was about 4 working days after my initial appointment.

I called the surgery and was told that I had to go back to the practice to collect my login details so that I could change the appointment myself, as although they had been able to book on my behalf, they were unable to make any changes on my behalf.

I then also had to call the Hallamshire Hospital to let them know that I would be unable to attend my appointment due to the short notice (the appointment letter arrived on the morning of the appointment date). The appointments clerk at dermatology was very helpful but explained that she was unable to let me have another date as I had gone to them via Choose & Book, and directed me back to my doctor.

From my understanding, Choose & Book allows patients the freedom to compare hospitals, and then make an informed decision of the hospital and when they would like to go. From my experience, this has not been the case in any way and moreover, has wasted my time, the Practice Manager’s time and importantly, hospital time and resources. And I still have no appointment!

I would be interested to know how the PCT are monitoring the process for Choose & Book within individual practices. It appears that a little more training is needed.

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