Choose and Book is a central part of the UK Government patient choice agenda that seeks to provide patients with a choice over the time, date and place of their first outpatient appointment. This is done through the use of a computerised booking system. After a 2004 pilot study, Choose and Book was formally launched in January 2006. This is the first study of patient experience of Choose and Book since then.
A questionnaire survey of reported experience of choice over the time, data and place of appointment, carried out in a National Health Service hospital in London. 104 patients at their first outpatient appointment completed the questionnaire, consisting of a consecutive series of patients referred through Choose and Book and a sample referred through the conventional booking system.
Among the Choose and Book patients, 66% (31/47; 95% CI 52 to 78%) reported not being given a choice of appointment date, 66% (31/47; 95% CI 52 to 78%) reported not being given a choice of appointment time, 86% (37/43; 95% CI 74 to 94%) reported being given a choice of fewer than four hospitals in total and 32% (15/47; 95% CI 20 to 46%) reported not being given any choice of hospital.
In this study, patients did not experience the degree of choice that Choose and Book was designed to deliver.