Department of Health to re-procure e-booking system and consider future of NHSmail
The Department of Health (DH) has confirmed that it is re-procuring Choose and Book, the e-booking system intended to enable patients to choose a hospital and make outpatient appointments when they have been referred by their GP.
Choose and Book, which was introduced under the National Programme for IT (NPfIT), is currently supplied by Atos Healthcare under a £65m five-year contract. The deal expires in 2014.
“We are working with clinical commissioning groups, GPs, service providers and patients to help shape the system and ensure it will meet the needs of all,” a spokeswoman for the DH told Government Computing.
The DH said that Choose and Book already provides valuable referral data and information which will support the commissioning of health services in the future, but it intends to procure “further improvements which will lead to more efficient healthcare”.
Also under way is a project to examine options for NHSmail, the email and directory service available to NHS staff in England and Scotland.
The DH said the project is intended to prepare for the expiry of the current contract, also in 2014. NHSmail is currently supplied under a 10-year deal with Cable & Wireless valued at £207m.
“The project will recommend a decision to the Department of Health and NHS Commissioning Board, after considering the options in consultation with stakeholders in health and social care organisations,” the spokeswoman said.
Both NHSmail and Choose and Book are consider by the DH as “substantial achievements” of NPfIT, along with Spine, the N3 broadband network, the Secondary Uses Service and Picture Archiving and Communications Service.