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NHS e-Referral service delayed until spring 2015

The NHS has delayed the launch of the replacement for its Choose and Book hospital appointment system until spring 2015 to allow further time for testing.

The new NHS e-Referral service was due to go live later this year. It is replacing the £356m Choose and Book system, despite this being regarded as one of the few successes of the failed £12.7bn National Programme for IT (NPfIT).

“The decision [to delay] has been taken to ensure there is confidence that there will be no disruption to patient care for the 40,000 patients who use the service every day and to ensure over 60 million referrals are safely and securely transferred into the NHS e-Referral Service,” said a statement on the Health & Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) website.

“Delivery highlights to date include a successful transition to a replacement supplier for the Telephone Appointment Line, the building of a new NHS e-Referral Service infrastructure to host the future service, and a new, modern, open-source-based software which has been developed and is now being tested. There remains, however, a significant test, assurance and defect resolution activity to complete for us to be able to sign off the system as ready,” the statement said.

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