So, I follow my letter from the NHS. Go to the C&B website. Find a hospital that suits me and then call up.
I get a nice lady on the phone who first tells me that my hospital of choice doesn't actually do what I need doing on the NHS. O... Kay. So, what do they have? Well, I get some options, which are quite a while away, but if I want I can go to another hospital that's outside the area, but I have to call them myself.
I then have to get a password (why?) to enact this transfer so that when I phone the other hospital outside the area, they can then pick it up.
So, I've not only had a letter, with no reference number, which I then have to call someone, and to actually get an appointment, have to get a password, call someone else and so on.
And here's the thing: I know how to build the process and software so that not only could you have the person I call booking it anywhere, I could make it even more efficient by just printing some codes on the letter and letting me do the whole thing online.
Honestly, Choose and Book cost something like £200m and it's all at a near semi-manual stage. They're at the sort of point with software that the private sector were at 15 years ago. There's absolutely no reason that the whole process they're talking about can't be done via internet, or allow for national searching and cross-booking with the technologies that are available like web services for a fraction of this cost.
God knows how many times my experience is being duplicated. How many nice ladies are being employed instead of it just being done via the internet, and how much does that take out of the budget for clinical care?