NHS Delays e-Referral Service Launch Until 2015

Charlotte Jee | ComputerWorld UK | October 6, 2014

Service failed an assessment by GDS in July on 11 out of 26 criteria

The launch of the new NHS e-Referral service has been delayed until spring 2015, the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) has announced.  The service was originally due to go live next month. It will replace the existing electronic booking system Choose and Book, which allows patients to book hospital appointments and has been used by the NHS for almost 10 years.

However HSCIC admitted it still needs to test “how the service functions, how quickly it performs and how it operates with GP and hospital systems, as well as the NHS Spine.”  It added: “We are also working on training materials, the design and appearance of the user screens and online help files.”  HSCIC said it will confirm the revised launch date by the end of November.

e-Referrals failed an assessment by the Government Digital Service (GDS) in July, with GDS saying it had not managed to fulfil 11 out of the 26 criteria used for evaluations and it did not see “sufficient evidence” that e-Referrals was on track to meet them.  The service failed on points including understanding user needs, having a suitably skilled team and manager, building a service than can be frequently iterated, creating a simple and intuitive service, having appropriate assisted digital support, and making source code open and reusable.  GDS said the e-Referrals team would need to “carry out significant additional work to demonstrate compliance with the required standards.”...