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The NHS Commissioning Board has today announced that there will be a completely paperless referrals system in place by 2015 – good news for Choose and Book fans and community services going through AQP.

In October, Tim Kelsey said that there would be no more “referral letters or lost records because we won’t have paper anymore in the health service”, a comment that was at first misquoted by some news websites.

Pricare remembers back in 2002 when the NHS IA said that Choose and Book would be in use by every NHS establishment by 2005, with 90% of referrals being made by this method by 2007 – a mere 8 years late and variety of estimates of cost to the tax payer.

Many blame GPs for the slow uptake while many GPs blame the system for being slow, complicated and missing many services. We can see both sides of this argument with points from each argument being completely valid.

The latest official figure estimates that the NPfIT project has now well exceeded the £12bn original figure, and a more accurate amount is difficult to find. 

This new date is doomed to failure once more unless secondary care providers are engaged and encouraged to quickly publish their services onto the Choose and Book platform. 

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