The national NHS Choose and Book team want to get more GPs and practice teams regularly using the system before the year is out, said Dr John Nicholas at the Management in Practice Event on Wednesday.
Dr John Nicholas, GP Principal, said yesterday that his team wants to make Choose and Book the nation's standard method of referral.
However he did acknowledge that for this to happen, the NHS would have to dispel the negative media coverage of Choose and Book and ensure that the application evolves to meet the needs of patients and professionals.
This can be achieved by ensuring that the directory of services is accurate, easy to navigate and has regular up dates, he says.
He added that GPs often complain they don't have the time to carry out the Choose and Book referral process, but added that this can be overcome by delegating the work to medical secretaries.
The NHS Care and Book team is also working to make the system quicker and more reliable, he says.
When questioned by the audience about hospital's habits of cancelling appointments, Dr Nicholas said GP surgeries should always talk to their primary care trust to make the NHS Care and Book system works smoothly and consistently.
The London Management in Practice Event will be back in Birmingham on the 10 October 2007.
Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply)
"I am not convinced that patients want choice other than over the date of their consultant appointment. Basically they just want to be seen as soon as possible. I know that it will be argued that patients have indicated in surveys that they want choice but if you simply ask the questions without explaining the implications you will always get the answer you want to hear" - Allan M Stewart, Civic Medical Centre, Wirral