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Apr. 17th, 2007

Here's how the NHS choose and book system works.

1. Your GP says, "I'm going to refer you to a consultant. Here's a brochure about the different hospitals in the local NHS Trust. Pick the one that's shiniest."
2. You read the brochure and pick the one that's shiniest.
3. A letter comes from the 'Choose and Book' Appointments Line, anxiously enquiring why you haven't yet made your appointment. You will need a reference number and a password.
4. You search frantically for reference number and password.
5. You ring your GP practice and say, "OMG WTF have lost reference number and password!!!"
6. GP practice say, soothingly, "Don't worry, it will be sent out soon: it comes from the local NHS Trust, but the Appointments Line are more efficient than them."
7. Go to step 3.
8. A letter arrives! It is your reference number and password! And the numbers for each of the available hospital options!
8a. There are two (2) options.
8b. They both have the same address.
8c. And the same phone number.
9. You ring the number (or perhaps the other number, since they are, as noted, the same).
10. You listen to a badly-looped version of Handel's Arrival of the Queen of Sheba (occasionally interrupted by an authoratitive voice telling you that all their staff are busy) for 23 minutes.
11. Someone answers the phone! She takes your reference number and password! And transfers you!
12. Someone else answers the phone!
13. "The next available appointment is June 7th, 10am, Dr X: we'll send you a confirmation letter in the post."
14. Your name is Hobson and this is your Choice.

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