"Booking appointment through Devon Access & Referral Team"

About: Devon Access and Referral Team (DART)

(as the patient),

I saw my GP recently and we decided on a referral to the cardiology team at the Exeter hospital where I have been seen before. On Sat I received a letter from the GP Surgery asking me to ring the DART team to book an appointment. When I rang (on Monday as they don't work at weekends) and gave my UBRN (which I presume means Unique Booking Reference Number) I was asked if I would like to be seen at Exeter, Taunton or Torbay. I chose Exeter. I was then informed that DART would now send the GP referral letter to the Cardiology team in Exeter. They would decide an appointment date and let me know.

I asked why the GP letter had to go via DART, which has delayed the process by a week? The explanation was given that DART could make an appointment at Taunton or Torbay but not at Exeter. If that is the case - and I had decided on Exeter in discussion with the GP - why does the process not accommodate that choice rather than enforce all referrals to Exeter cardiology to be delayed by going via DART?

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Response from Project Support Manager - Devon Referral Support Services, Devon Access & Referral Team (DART) We are preparing to make a change

Dear ‘99scilly’,

Thank you very much for your feedback, we are very grateful to you for taking the time to let us know about your experience.

I agree that it does not make sense that you had to phone DART, given that you had already discussed your options with your GP, and I would like to apologise for the inconvenience. As you have pointed out, our process does not accommodate patients in your situation as most patients have their ‘choice discussion’ with DART rather than their GP. The problem is compounded by the fact that you have been referred to a service that cannot currently be booked by DART.

We have been working closely with the hospitals in the area for some time to come up with a solution to the problem of DART not being able to book appointments for all clinics. I am pleased to be able to tell you that we are currently revising our processes so that more patients will be able to book their appointments with DART rather than having their details passed on and waiting to hear from the hospital directly. I realise that this doesn’t help you but I wanted to let you know that we are working on the problem so that future patients won’t have to go through the same thing.

I would also like to reassure you that your referral will not have been delayed by phoning DART. The RD&E would have needed to see the letter from your GP before offering you an appointment and they wouldn’t have received it any sooner even if it had been sent directly.

I hope that this response has been useful to you. If you would like to discuss the matter further please feel free to respond on Patient Opinion or to phone me directly on 01626 883702 – I work 8-4, Monday to Wednesday.

Best wishes,

Susan Pearce

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