I’ve had cause to try and book a couple of hospital appointments online using the NHS Choose & Book system.
The name itself is a complete misnomer as my experience was that it gave me one choice of appointment. If you don’t like the date or time of that appointment then tough luck. No flexibility in the system from the user’s perspective.
More importantly when I first attempted to use the Choose & Book site it informed me that it did not support my web browser. Which is Firefox running on Ubuntu Linux. I was able to borrow a friend’s laptop running Windows to get the first appointment booked.
This morning when attempting to book another appointment I got the same message.
So that’s three months between my attempts to use the site and it still doesn’t support Firefox? I called the appointments hotline and politely expressed my displeasure at this failing.
In the technical questions page of the site, the NHS Choose & Book website says that
The Choose and Book patient application is compatible with all versions of Internet Explorer and with the latest version of Firefox. Whilst we accept that this does not make the site accessible to everybody at this time, we are working hard to ensure 100% accessibility as soon as possible.
I’ve got news for you – it isn’t.
TheBigOptOut confirms my experience with Choose & Book. Maybe I can tweak the user agent string but why should I? If my details are being processed I want them processed safely, securely and without my needing to bugger around with a browser setting that ideally I shouldn’t have to touch.
On a personal level I can’t see my relatives or the older people I know coping with the whole Choose & Book process all that well. I’m not the only one (warning: some comments are uncensored and very frank). Here’s another interesting view of Choose & Book (again some uncensored and frank views expressed).
In an interesting piece of research BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making confirmed that I am far from being the only person who is not receiving anything like the service Choose & Book is intended to provide.
It asks Does Choose & Book fail to deliver the expected choice to patients?
The answer is a resounding “No it does not”.