Headlines: April 3rd, 2002

More than five million National Health Service patients across Englandare now getting booked admissions for their hospital appointment oroperation.Booked admissions were introduced in 1998 after the NHS Plan promisedthat waiting lists for hospital appointments and admission would beabolished by 2005 and replaced with booking systems giving all patientsa choice of a convenient time within a guaranteed maximum waiting time.

Evidence from Trusts already booking admissions shows that it reducesthe likelihood of patients failing to turn up for their appointments.

Five Enterprise Communities are being established to take electronicbooking further and faster as a prelude to spreading electronic bookingmore widely.

They are South East London, North West London, Dorset, Manchester andWest Yorkshire. They will be supported by two million pounds of fundingto help them develop quickly and put support systems in place.

Starting this month they will test the practicalities of a variety ofelectronic booking systems within a clear national framework. Systemswill be judged on the basis of the benefits they provide to patients,such as increasing the patient’s choice of date, time and place fortreatment as well improving access generally.

They will also be judged on their ability to promote better planned care – making sure patients are treated in the right place, at the righttime, and by the right health care professional.

Further areas were being set up as shadow electronic booking communitiesfrom next month so that they too can be made ready for electronicbooking.

Source: www.pm.gov.uk/news.asp