"Devon Access and Referral Team (DART) "

About: Devon Access and Referral Team (DART)

(as the patient),

I was referred to a specialist clinic by my GP but find I have to go through an added and completely unnecessary additional layer of bureaucracy to get this appointment.

This has created not a small amount of stress and worry. Why was this layer added to a perfectly workable system? It has added nothing positive to my experience of the NHS. Only yet more worry and anxiety as I am to be forced into using what is in effect, a service that has enabled double-handling into the system.

This is inefficient and not in the patients best interests. When my GP says she will get me an appointment with a specialist, I expect a letter telling me when this appointment is and to attend. Simple as that, not be forced into worrying about which code number is which and whether I can trust the staff at DART with my information. My medical needs are between myself and the clinicians which treat me. This extra layer of stress has added to my illness and caused me to refuse to use NHS services which go through this pointless system.

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

Dear ‘felidista’,

Thank you for sharing your comments with us, I can only apologise for the stress and worry you have experienced.

The DART team is here to offer patients a choice of time and place for their treatment, wherever possible, and to provide information that patients may require before they make their choice. The service has been designed following the national mandated choice programme, and is overseen by, local GPs who feel that this service is the best way for patients to make their appointments.

I would like to assure you that all staff employed with the DART team are employed by the NHS and are trained in call handling and speaking to patients about their healthcare choices and services available to them. The team have a vast amount of knowledge about the services provided by NEW Devon CCG and South Devon & Torbay CCG and are here to assist with an appointment booking. I would also like to explain that all NHS staff have a legal duty to keep information about you confidential and secure.

I would also like to reassure you that we act on behalf of the GP Practice and you as a patient. I have received some useful information from the NEW Devon CCG Information Governance Team which may be helpful to know. There are alternative options for you if you wish to withdraw your consent to information sharing and the following leaflet may be of assistance. The following patient leaflet can be found on the NEW Devon CCG website (https://www.newdevonccg.nhs.uk/) and via the at the following website link: https://www.newdevonccg.nhs.uk/who-we-are/information-governance/100094

I hope this has been helpful, if you would like to talk about this or about the response I have given please feel free to contact me on 01626 883712. I work from Monday to Friday, from 9am-5pm.

Best Wishes

Gemma Tremlett

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