"DRSS appointment service"

About: Devon Access and Referral Team (DART)

(as the patient),

I recently contacted Devon Referral Support Services to arrange an appointment to see an ENT specialist. After giving my referral number, my address, my name, the name of the surgery and my date of birth I was told by the operator that she assumed I would want the appointment at the Royal Devon, which I agreed to. But I was then told that I would be referred to the Royal Devon and they would get in touch with me. So what is the point of the letter asking me to call to make an appointment? Surely the Doctor could at the time of the referral ask the patient what hospital they wanted to go to and then the process by-pass the Referral Support Services and the referral letter be sent direct to the hospital of the patients choice. This seems a bit of pure bureaucracy costing the NHS thousands of pounds needlessly, which could be better spent on treatment.

A doctor has since told me that DRSS should have offered me an appointment, unless there was a long waiting list in which case the operator should have informed when I questioned why she could not give me an appointment. She should have offered to look for an appointment at another hospital. So what is the correct procedure. Dart appears to be just an extra tier of unnecessary red tape!

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Response from Project Support Manager - Devon Referral Support Services, Devon Access & Referral Team (DART)

Dear ‘Ronasia’,

Firstly, thank you for taking the time to send us your feedback; we are really grateful to everyone who takes the time to do it so that we can improve the service as much as possible.

I’m very sorry that you did not receive the service you should have when you phoned. Your doctor is correct; when you phoned you should have been offered a choice of hospitals to consider (if more than one offers the service you require which is the case for ENT) and, if an appointment wasn’t available, the reason should have been explained to you.

There are a number of possible reasons for you not being offered an appointment and I obviously can’t tell from your post which would apply to you so I’m sorry that I can’t offer a fuller explanation. If you were willing, you could phone me and if I can take your details, I would be happy to look into it and explain what should have happened – I can also post an update on this site if you wanted me to. My number is 01626 883702 and I work 8-4 Monday to Wednesday. This would also help us to pinpoint the individual that you spoke to and we could look into any training issues that might apply. However, if you would rather remain anonymous I would completely understand.

Best wishes,

Susan Pearce

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