"I feel like I’ve been completely left in the dark"

About: Devon Access and Referral Team (DART)

(as a service user),

I had been to my GP in Devon to deal with diabetes. I was referred by my GP to DART. However, when I phoned DART I was told that there were no appointments available.

I think it is terrible that a referral service cannot offer appointments. They haven’t even given me a date; they’ve just told me that they will get in touch over the phone.

I’ve just discovered I am diabetic and it’s a worrying time. I want everything sorted in the first few weeks. My appointment is for management of my type 2 diabetes, I don’t even know yet if I’ll need tablets or an injection.

I’m now shook up, at 61 I am worrying about my health and this delay could cause me problems. I feel like I’ve been completely left in the dark.

I must say though that my GP’s surgery (Exwick Health Centre) has been first class.

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

Dear ‘Syphon528’,

Thank you very much for posting your comments – it is really important to us that patients let us know how the service is working for them so that we can make improvements wherever possible. I’m very sorry to hear that you were not happy with the service you received.

I can completely understand how frustrating it must be to be told to phone someone for an appointment only to be told that they have no appointments to offer you and it’s obviously not something we like having to do but services become over-subscribed and the only choice we then have it to add your name to a waiting list and when more appointments are made available, you will be contacted. Sometimes this is a temporary problem when an unusually large number of patients are coincidentally referred at once and sometimes it is a longer term problem with capacity. DART work closely with all the local hospitals to try and resolve these problems as quickly as possible but it can take time.

Without being able to look into the details of your referral it is difficult for me to say which service you were referred to or why we couldn’t offer you an appointment. If you would like to, you can phone me with your details and I would be happy to investigate the matter and give you a fuller explanation – my number is 01626 883888 and I work from 8 until 4, Monday to Wednesday. However, if you prefer to remain anonymous I would completely understand.

In the meantime, as you are concerned about your health, I would suggest you contact your GP (who may be unaware that there is a wait for this service) and I’m sure they will be able to provide you with some information to read through and perhaps put your mind at rest.

I hope this response has been of use to you, please feel free to contact me again if you wish.

Best wishes,

Susan Pearce

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