Over half the hospitals using Choose and Book are using Indirectly Bookable Services (IBS), according to the latest figures from NHS Connecting for Health (CfH).

The statistics – which are updated fortnightly – show that out of 25 hospitals using Choose and Book on 26 July, 13 were using IBS, a stand alone interim fix for practices not yet able to connect their system to the NHS spine or through to local hospital systems, and unable to use the integrated Choose and Book system

By 4 August, according to CfH, Choose and Book was live in 45 PCTs and 2,395 patient appointments had been made across 35 specialities. About half of all appointments through Choose and Book have been made using Indirectly Bookable Services.

Over 1,300 patient appointments had been made since 1 June 2005. This demonstrated the gathering pace and momentum of the programme, said a spokesman.

He added: “NHS Connecting for Health is pleased to have delivered Indirectly Bookable Services, a key feature of Choose and Book release 2.0, as scheduled on 30 May.

“Furthermore, we’re pleased that the infrastructure is now in place that will enable PCTs and trusts to implement Choose and Book and patient choice at the point of referral, regardless of whether compliant systems are in place or not.”

There were no reported problems with the National Service Desk that related to Indirectly Bookable Services, he said.

There are over 14 million outpatient appointments booked in the NHS every year. PCTs have until October 2005 to make 50 per cent of first consultant outpatient appointments using Choose and Book. They have until the end of 2006 to phase out IBS and use the fully integrated Choose and Book system to book 90 per cent of appointments.